If you have steel furniture or other steel items placed on your carpet, you will eventually discover rust stains on your carpet. How do you deal with this situation? Let’s find out in the article.
What Causes Rust Stains on The Carpet?
Rust stains can show up on your carpet due to one or more of the following reasons:
1- Rust stains are generally caused by metal furniture pieces sitting on carpet surfaces. The metal comes in contact with moisture thus resulting in oxidation which, essentially is rust.
2- Another way rust stains get on carpets is through the placement of rusty items (such as old pans) on the carpet or moving rusty items across the carpet.
3- If there is water leakage, especially around the walls and ceilings in the home, water can wash down some of the rust on the walls and ceilings down onto the carpet.
4- Rusty appliances like water heaters, water containers, and pipes can also cause rust stains if they get on the carpet.
Tip: If you must place metal furniture or lamps or home décor items on the carpet, use a non-penetrable cloth or a sheet over the carpet first. You will need to be a little creative in making it look nice.
How to Get Rust Out of Carpet (8 Methods)
When trying to get rust stains out of the carpet, the first thing you should do is use a blunt object like a butter knife or a plastic ruler to scrape off as much of the rust as you can.
This step is necessary; especially the stain is pronounced.
For light-colored carpets, you have to be careful so you don’t discolor or bleach them while cleaning. Avoid using dark-colored towels or clothes on them.
#1- Using Hydrogen Peroxide (For Light Colored Carpets)
Hydrogen peroxide can dissolve rust, even from carpets but because it is also a bleaching agent, you have to be careful when using it. Don’t use it on dark-colored carpets because if it beaches the area stained, it will be more visible. And when using it on light-colored carpets, don’t let it sit too long.
1- Hydrogen peroxide
3- White cloths
4- Butter knife
5- Vacuum cleaner
STEP 1- Scrape the rust stain from the carpet with a butter knife. This gets dried and excess rust particles from the carpet and make it easier to clean.
STEP 2- Vacuum the rust flakes or particles from the carpet. If you don’t have a vacuum, you can brush the particles onto a dustpan and get rid of them.
STEP 3- Mix 3 parts of 3% hydrogen peroxide with 1 part water in a bowl.
STEP 4- Dip a white towel in the solution and dab the rust stain repeatedly. The stain will start transferring to the do cloth. When a part of the white cloth gets rusty, dip another part in hydrogen peroxide solution and continue the process. Do this until the rust stain stops transferring to the cloth anymore.
STEP 5- Pour the remaining hydrogen peroxide solution into a spray bottle and spray the carpet until it is wet. Do not saturate the carpet but it has to be visibly wet. Let the hydrogen peroxide solution sit on the carpet for 2 minutes. It will loosen leftover rust stains that didn’t transfer to the cloth.
STEP 6- Place a white towel or paper towel on the carpet and put something heavy on it. The towel will absorb the hydrogen peroxide along with the rust stains.
STEP 7- Pour warm water on the carpet to get rid of the hydrogen peroxide. Place a dry towel on it and press it so it can absorb excess water and any hydrogen peroxide left on the carpet. You may need to use more than one towel if the area is large.
#2- Using Dish Soap (For Light & Dark Colored Carpets)
If the rust hasn’t set in or it’s in a small area, dish soap will be effective.
To avoid discoloration especially since you are cleaning a light-colored carpet, don't use colored dish soaps like blue, green, etc. Also, if you're using the soap on darker carpets, make sure to use a non-bleac containing dish soap.
1- Dish soap
4- White Cloth
5- Butter knife
6- Vacuum cleaner
STEP 1- Use a butter knife to scrape the rust to get as many particles as possible out. Follow the direction of the fibers so you don’t damage your carpet and be gentle. Then Vacuum the rust particles to get them out of the way.
STEP 2- Mix 2 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of dish soap in a bowl.
STEP 3- Dip a sponge in the soapy water and wring it out a little bit. You don’t want to completely get the soapy water out of the sponge.
STEP 4- Now, dab the rust stain with the sponge repeatedly. Dip the sponge in the water and dab the stain until the carpet is soapy. At this point, some of the rust stains would have been removed. Let the soapy water sit on the carpet for about 5 minutes breaking up the rust.
STEP 5- Press a damp cloth over the carpet to absorb the soapy water solution. The rust will be absorbed along with the soap.
STEP 6- Pour some warm water over the carpet and absorb it with a dry towel again. This ensures that no soap is left on your carpet.
Sometimes, soap can get stuck in carpet and dries off after a while. So getting that soap out of your carpet is necessary. You will need to pour water and keep drying with a towel until the bubbles start to vanish.
#3- Using WD 40 (For Light & Dark Colored Carpets)
This spray cleaner gets into the carpet fibers and loosens the rust stains, which can then be cleaned safely and easily. The action is immediate and results in no time wastage. (Source)
2- Vacuum cleaner
4- Bucket of Water
5- Damp Sponge
6- Clean Rag
STEP 1- If there are hardened rusty chunks on the carpet, you should first use a scraper to scrape them off and use a vacuum to pull the disintegrated particles away from the carpet surface.
STEP 2- Clear the carpet by taking away big items such as furniture or metallic showpieces. This simple act of putting them aside may reveal more rust stains (if the items are metallic) than you had expected.
STEP 3- Now, spray your WD-40 directly over the rust stains in a moderate fashion. Over-spraying the carpet may weaken and damage the fabric. After spraying, wait for 3-4 minutes so that the cleaner starts its action.
STEP 4- Using your damp sponge, start to scrub the rust stain. Keep doing this for some time (until the rust stain dissolves and sticks to the sponge). You can wash and squeeze the sponge if more action is needed.
STEP 5- After the rust stains are out, you will only need to get the lingering liquid as well as the dampness out from the carpet. For this press a clean rag on the surface and keep doing it until it stops absorbing any moisture.
#4- Using Vinegar & Salt (For Light Colored Carpets)
Vinegar’s acidic properties also make it a great tool for breaking down rust and cleaning it from carpets. Vinegar, however, can have a mild bleaching effect.
4- White towel
5- Vacuum cleaner
6- Blunt knife or scraper
STEP 1- Scrape off any rust residue from the carpet with a blunt knife or scraper.
STEP 2- After pouring white vinegar into a spray bottle, spray it on the rust stains until it is wet. Don’t saturate it because you don’t want the stain to spread to other areas of the carpet. It is always best to tackle the stain spots in sections.
STEP 3- Let this sit on the rust stain for about 5 minutes. Allow the vinegar to work on the rust and break it down.
STEP 4- Soak a sponge in vinegar, wring it out and dab the rust stain repeatedly. The rust will start transferring to the sponge. Rinse the sponge and dab again until the sponge isn’t lifting any more rust stains.
STEP 5- Sprinkle salt on the carpet and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Salt happens to be a good absorber of stains for a variety of textures. Any leftover rust will be broken down and absorbed.
STEP 6- Now Vacuum out the salt from your carpet surface.
STEP 7- Finally, Blot your carpet with a towel to get vinegar residue out and let it dry.
#5- Using Lemon juice & Salt (For Light & Dark Colored Carpets)
Lemon juice contains citric acid which is an ingredient used in many multi-surface cleaners because It can dissolve rust due to the acidic content in it.
Lemon is also a natural bleaching agent that can remove stains and lighten stained surfaces but it does not take away the color of the fabric.. The quantity of lemon juice you will require for this process depends on how pronounced or extensive the stains are. But on average, two to three lemons should be enough.
1- Lemon juice
STEP 1- Mix 1 cup of lemon juice with 1 teaspoon of salt in a bowl. You can use squeeze some lemons to make juice or buy an already-made one.
STEP 2- Dip a cloth in the solution and dab the rust stain repeatedly. This will loosen the rust and fade it a bit.
STEP 3- Spray the lemon and salt solution on the carpet and let it sit for about 5 minutes. It allows it to get deeper into the carpet and break down the rust.
STEP 4- Wipe the spot with a corner of a damp towel repeatedly lifting the stains. When a corner gets dirty, use another corner until the carpet is clean. You can rinse the towel to get the dirt out occasionally if necessary.
#6- Using Baking Soda (For Light Colored Carpets)
Naturally, baking soda is an excellent stain remover; combining it with vinegar makes it more effective in removing rust stains from the carpet.
2- Spray bottle
3- Baking soda
4- Dry cloth
5- Clean rag
STEP 1- Pour vinegar into the sprayer bottle and spray it on the stain.
STEP 2- Apply baking soda to the same stained portion of the carpet after spraying. The chemical reaction between the alkaline property of the baking soda and the acidic property of the vinegar would result in a foaming effect. The foaming removes the rust stains from the carpet.
STEP 3- Use a dry cloth to wipe off the foam and the stain.
STEP 4- Rinse with water and dry it with a clean rag afterward.
#7- Using Cream of Tartar (For Light Colored Carpets)
Cream of tartar is a cleaning agent, but it might not be effective on its own when it comes to removing rust. However, you can combine it with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide for results. The acidic properties of cream of tartar will be combined with the bleaching properties of the other 2 ingredients will do the magic. (Source)
1- Baking Soda
2- Cream of Tartar
3- Hydrogen Peroxide
STEP 1- Make a paste-like mixture using one spoon of cream of tartar powder, one spoon of baking soda with a few drops of hydrogen peroxide.
STEP 2- Apply the mixture to a small portion of your carpet to check if there is any form of discoloration that occurs due to the presence of hydrogen peroxide.
If no side effects are observed, apply the paste to the rust and leave it for about 30-40 minutes to penetrate and dissolve the stain.
Repeat the process until all the rust stains are no longer visible.
STEP 4- Rinse the carpet afterward and allow it to dry naturally.
#8- Using Ammonia (For Light Colored Carpets)
Ammonia may bleach darker rugs and carpets. It can also weaken the fabric and damage it in the long run. (Source) So keep this method only for backup purposes.
You need to be careful when dealing with Ammonia (1). For safety purposes, use your gloves, safety glasses, and a respirator or mask.
2- Dish soap
7- Vacuum cleaner
STEP 1- Use a scraper or butter knife to loosen visible rust from the car carpet. Then use a brush to loosen caked-on mud and dirt.
STEP 2- Vacuum the carpet. A cordless vacuum with a crevice tool is recommended for better access and hard-to-reach places.
STEP 3- Mix 2 cups of warm water, 1 tablespoon of ammonia, and 1 tablespoon of dishwashing liquid in a bowl.
STEP 4- Use a sponge to apply this solution to the rust on the car carpet. The goal is to saturate the rust, so it can loosen. Allow the solution to work for about 5 minutes.
STEP 5- Use a clean cloth to blot the stain. The loosened rust will transfer to the cloth and the rust stain will gradually fade from the carpet. Rinse the cloth when it gets dirty and continue, or use a new cloth.
STEP 6- Spray some water on the carpet and use a dry cloth to blot it out. Press the dry cloth on the carpet to get out excess moisture. This will get the ammonia solution of your carpet.
Will CLR (Calcium Lime Rust) Remove Rust From the Carpet?
There are two products that confuse people. One is STAIN-FREE CARPET, FLOOR AND FABRIC CLEANER and the other one is CALCIUM, LIME, & RUST REMOVER.
For the first one is safe to use on carpets and other fabrics for normal stains. The company, however, does not specify anywhere that it can be used for rust stains.
For the second product, which is surely used for rust stains, the official CLR website asks you to avoid contact with carpeting and a few other things. However, it is often seen that CLR can remove rust stains from fabrics which include carpets as well. But it has the potential to bleach some kind of dyes.
Therefore, if you want to use CLR on your carpet, test it out on an inconspicuous portion of it. This way you’ll get to know if the product has the possibility of damaging the color or fibers of your carpet.
The following steps will help you:
1- Apply CLR mixed with an equal amount of warm water over a test area of your carpet with an old toothbrush.
2- Let the solution penetrate the carpet and stay there for 2 minutes.
3- Use water to drench the area.
4- With an old towel, soak up the wet area of your carpet.
5- Repeat the process until you get the rust stains out completely.
Rust stain over your carpet is surely not the most pleasant thing to see but it’s not that hard to clean it, after all. I have shown you almost all the ways that are used for getting the job done.
Apply any one of these and you will have a clean carpet again.