Ugly rust stains on concrete are homeowners’ worst nightmare. The one solution on the top of their head in such dire need is using bleach to deal with the unappealing stains. But will bleach remove rust from concrete?
The short answer is, unfortunately, no.
Will bleach remove rust from concrete?
While bleach helps remove many varieties of stains from multiple surfaces, it’s not effective on rusted concrete. To remove rust from concrete, the cleaning agent must penetrate the concrete layers, but unfortunately, bleach does not reach such depths.
As concrete surfaces are porous, rust gets right through the surface. While bleach does remove the rust formed on the top concrete layer, it does not impact the rust on the layers below and ends up exposing the ugly stains.
Besides, the common household bleach, a concoction of water salt and sodium hypochlorite, fails to break down the rust on concrete. Rust removers, on the other hand, have powerful acids that break the concrete’s rust particles and eventually dissolve them.
Bleach can only remove a certain amount of the reddish rust color pigment on the concrete but does not effectively remove the rust.
What Removes Rust Stains From Concrete?
Even though bleach does not work on concrete for rust removal, there are quite a few options you can use depending on the severity of the rust formation. But before beginning, it’s advisable to wash and scrub the surface to eliminate any dirt and debris between the rust stain and the stain-removal solution.
Once the concrete surface is satisfactorily cleaned and dried, you can delve into the various options listed below:
- Lemon juice: This is the least caustic option and is only useful for mild rust stains on concrete. Pour the lemon concentrate on the affected area and let it rest for ten minutes before washing the concrete.
- Vinegar: A slightly more potent option than lime juice, white vinegar is another option for removing minor rust stains from concrete. Like lemon juice, pour the vinegar on the affected concrete and let it rest for ten minutes before scrubbing it. If the stains persist, repeat the process.
- Pressure washers: These tools are effective for cleaning patios and decks; however, throw caution while using them lest they might damage your flooring. Using the power washer at a low setting is best to check the progress before increasing the speed.
- Store-bought rust removers: These will be required in case of a massive rust episode. Most commercial rust removers feature the manufacturer’s user instructions and must be used in well-ventilated surroundings. Using safety gear while handling such chemicals is mandatory.
In addition to these, you can also consider using Tri-sodium phosphate (TSP) or Hydrochloric acid for rust stain removal.
How do you remove stubborn rust from concrete?
The process of removing rust from concrete is not an elaborate one. There are only a few simple steps to achieve desired results.
- Wash the concrete: For the rust removal solution to be effective, any barrier, like dirt and debris, must be removed from the affected surface. A mild soap and water mixture should work well for this purpose. Scrub the affected area of the concrete with the soapy solution. You can also use a pressure washer to clean the surface more closely.
- Apply the rust removal solution: Depending on the severity of the rust deposition, choose your rust removal solution. If the stains are mild white vinegar and lemon juice can be effective. However, you need commercial rust removers and other associated acids like hydrochloric for more aggressive rust stains.
- Scrub the area: Wait for the solution to be absorbed within the porous layers of the concrete before scrubbing the surface with a hard-bristled nylon brush. Such brushes get off the rust stains without impacting the concrete surface. On the other hand, metal bristled brushes will damage the concrete’s protective layer.
- For a painted or textured concrete surface, it’s best to use a soft sponge or scrub. Keep in mind that the caustic rust removal solution eats through the rust and the paint; thus, use a mild cleaner and apply less pressure during scrubbing.
- Wash the concrete surface: Most potent rust removal solutions will damage the concrete surface if left for a long time. It’s best not to overdo the waiting time and wash away the solution using a hose or pressure washer after scrubbing it.
In case the stains persist, you have to repeat the cycle.
Will Baking Soda Remove Rust From Concrete?
Besides lemon juice and white vinegar, baking soda mixed with laundry detergent is also an effective solution for mild rust removal. Equal parts of baking soda mixed with laundry detergent into a paste-like consistency can help with rust stains.
After applying a layer of the mixture covering the stain, a waiting time of an hour is recommended. After an hour, wash the mixture away using water and scrub the area clean.
The baking soda creates an alkaline solution that dissolves the rust. However, this solution can only be effective for mild rust stains.
Does CLR Remove Rust From Concrete?
CLR, commonly known as Calcium Lime Rust, is a popular household rust cleaning agent that can dissolve rust from many surfaces, including concrete. However, conducting a spot test with the solution is advisable to avoid any adverse reactions.
Using CLR on sealed, stamped, or any pigmented concrete surface is strongly discouraged as the chemical will affect the color pigment and lead to discoloration of the concrete surface. But despite its caustic reactions in some cases on certain concrete surfaces, CLR is the safest rust removal option.
The chemical is water soluble, biodegradable and non-toxic for humans. All ingredients used in CLR are plant-based and contain no strong acids.
Will Hydrogen Peroxide Remove Rust From Concrete?
Hydrogen peroxide is a safe chemical for rust removal on concrete surfaces. Besides, it can also clear grime and dirt. The application process is straightforward– spray the solution on the concrete floor and scrub it with a brush. After a few minutes, wash the solution with a hose. If the stain persists, repeat the process.
You May Also Find Interesting: How to Find Crystals in Your Backyard?
Rust and its stains can damper the aesthetics of your concrete decor. Thankfully, there are ways to deal with mild, moderate, and extreme rust situations. We have inclu