Cleaning Guides

Erase Rust Stains: Your Quick Guide to Pristine Carpets

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Rust stains on carpet fabrics are the worst. They quickly become an eyesore, altering the room’s feel. There are tricks you can try yourself to remove them, though. With that said, read on to learn how to get those nasty rust marks out of the carpet.

Does rust permanently stain a carpet?

Rust can indeed leave a permanent mark on carpets. When metal items meet moisture, they undergo a chemical reaction that produces rust. This rusty residue can then latch onto carpet fibres. Untreated rust particles can embed deep in the carpet or rug, making removal difficult. So, it’s crucial to address rust stains quickly with the right cleaning methods. This step prevents them from becoming permanent eyesores on your carpet.

Before you proceed to cleaning solutions, remember to always remove the source of rust and any remaining particles from the carpet fibres.

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What safely removes rust stains from the carpet?

You can remove the stains with common household items. You should already have…

Vinegar and salt

Many people wonder, “Does vinegar really remove rust?” Yes, it does. White vinegar, in fact, is particularly effective for this purpose. Others wonder, “Does malt vinegar get rid of rust?”. The answer is yes, but white vinegar is more effective for cleaning.

All you need is 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and 1 tablespoon of salt.

  • Combine your white vinegar and salt. This will become a paste;
  • Apply the paste directly to the rust stain;
  • Allow the paste to sit for about 30 minutes. This dwell time allows the solution to break down the rust;
  • After 30 minutes, blot the area. Use a clean cloth. This should help lift the rust stain from the carpet fibres;
  • Rinse the spot with cold water. It should remove any residue;
  • If the stain persists, repeat until it’s gone.
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Lemon juice as an alternative natural acid

Another popular homemade rust remover – lemon juice. You will need: 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of salt. Lemon juice removes rust from carpets safely. Proceed by:

  • Mixing lemon juice and salt to create a paste;
  • Apply this paste directly to the rust stain;
  • Let the paste on the stain. Wait about 30 minutes. The natural acids in the lemon juice will break down the rust;
  • Blot the area with a clean cloth;
  • Rinse the spot with cold water;
  • If necessary, repeat the process.

Are home remedies not working?

Trust your professional cleaners istead!

Learn more

Are home remedies not working?

Trust your professional cleaners istead!

Learn more

Hydrogen peroxide or baking soda

If you’re wondering how to get rust stains out of light carpet or how to remove rust stains from beige carpet, well then these methods are particularly suitable. The good news is these options won’t harm your carpet. Use hydrogen peroxide for light carpets like cream, beige, or white. Baking soda also works.

The hydrogen peroxide method

You will need:

  • 2 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide
  • 1 tablespoon of dish soap
  1. Mix 2 tablespoons hydrogen peroxide and 1 tablespoon dish soap;
  2. Apply the mixture to the rust stain;
  3. Let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes;
  4. Blot the area with a clean cloth;
  5. Rinse with cold water;
  6. Repeat if necessary until the rust is gone.
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The baking soda method

You need to get:

  • 2 tablespoons of baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  1. Mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda with 1 tablespoon of water;
  2. Form a paste;
  3. Apply the paste to the rust stain on the carpet;
  4. Let it sit for 30 minutes;
  5. Blot the area with a clean cloth;
  6. Rinse with cold water;
  7. Repeat if needed until the stain is gone.

You might be tempted to use bleach, especially on white carpet. However, it’s best to avoid this approach! Using chlorine bleach on a rust stain will actually set it permanently.

Chemical carpet stain removers

Natural remedies often fail against stubborn rust stains, especially the older ones. In these cases, chemical carpet stain removers are very effective. Here is what to look for in commercial rust removal products, regardless of their brand:

  • Oxalic acid – Because it’s known for its effectiveness in its rust stain removal;
  • Hydrofluoric acid which is a powerful rust remover but should be used with extreme caution;
  • Sodium hydrosulfite breaks down rust particles. That’s why it’s in rust remover products.

Also, some safety precautions are in order when applying chemical rust removal products on a carpet or rug:

  1. Open windows and use fans to disperse fumes;
  2. Wear gloves and safety glasses, it’s highly recommended;
  3. Always perform a spot test on a small, inconspicuous area;
  4. Carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and dwell time;
  5. Rinse the spot with cold water;

Popular rust removers that may not be suitable for carpets

Some rust removers work on certain surfaces but harm carpets. So, while you may be tempted to test them, we recommend you reconsider and resort to homemade remedies or specific rust-lifting products for carpets.


WD-40 is used for greasing hinges and removing adhesives. It can also be a cleaner and degreaser for sensitive but mainly solid surfaces, which carpets are not. Whether it can be used for treating rust stains on fabric is debatable. Although there is information that WD-40 can be effective against some carpet stains, rust is not mentioned and, therefore, it is not clear what the effect would be.

It is possible that it may not work as well for rust stains because of the specific composition of the stain. The type of carpet fabric can also play a role, as some materials are too delicate and could suffer discolouration or other damage when treated with the wrong product.

And there are also the TikTokers, who suggest WD-40 can be effective for extracting oily stains from clothes, supposedly because of its degreasing qualities. However, this may prove to be unsafe, as a laundry expert does not support the idea, defining it as risky and one that could leave you with a worse stain.

And there’s also the smell… The product has a specific pungent smell that may linger long after treatment, which is not a nice thing to have in your living room (or on your clothes…).

So, with all that said we have to conclude that using WD-40 on carpets is risky. It’s uncertain how the product would react with rust on a soft material and could leave an oily residue that attracts dirt. Its strong smell is also something to consider. If after all, you decide to try it, take great caution and always test it on a small hard-to-see area to see what happens to the fabric.

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Bleach is good around the house for cleaning and sanitising but it might not work for rust stains on the carpet. It works well on some stains but can make rust stains worse by setting them deeper into the fabric.

So, be careful with bleach when treating carpet stains.


Toothpaste can remove minor rust marks with its mild abrasives. However, it’s not effective for larger or tougher old stains. It’s good for small metal items like jewellery. However, on carpets, it could leave a residue that attracts dirt.


Coke contains phosphoric acid, and thanks to it, it removes rust from metal. It’s safe for small metal items but not for carpets. The sugar in it can cause even more stains. Plus, its acidity can harm carpet fibres.

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What causes rust stains on rugs and carpets?

Whether it’s from a forgotten drink can or metal furniture legs, rusty stains ruin your carpet’s look. When you know why these stains happen you can better remove them.

So, how does rust end up on your carpet? It all starts with a chemical reaction – oxidation. When metal items become damp, they start to rust. This rusty stuff can then transfer onto your carpet, leaving behind those annoying dark marks.

There are a few main reasons why rust stains happen on carpets:

  • First, if you’ve got metal furniture with legs touching the carpet, any moisture can lead to rust stains over time. The rust can gradually rub off onto the carpet fibres, leaving those unsightly spots.
  • Then, there’s the issue of high humidity levels. Rooms containing metal items and lots of moisture, like basements, are a prime spot for rust formation. Poor ventilation just makes it worse.
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Now, to avoid future rust woes, here are some handy tips:

  • If you’ve got metal furniture, try using plastic caps or sheets underneath the legs to keep them from touching the carpet directly.
  • Keep an eye on moisture levels in rooms with metal items. Use a dehumidifier or improve the ventilation. This will keep carpets dry and rust-free.
  • Regularly check your metal items for rust or corrosion. Catching it early means less chance of stains on your carpet.
  • Consider swapping out metal caps or studs on furniture legs for plastic ones. They’re easy to find at hardware stores and can help prevent rust stains from forming.

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  • Removing rust stains from carpets is hard;
  • If left, rust can permanently damage the carpet;
  • Do Use vinegar, lemon juice, or baking soda;
  • Don’t use WD-40 or bleach. They are risky products that could worsen the rust stain instead of removing it;
  • To prevent future stains, shield carpets from metal furniture and moisture.
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