Skip to Content

How to Remove Rust Stains from Tiles

How to Remove Rust Stains from Tiles

Rust stains are very noticeable and are stubborn stains to remove. The initial idea that pops up in our head is scraping it with a knife or scraper. Sharp objects on tiles will only result in scratches. 

We can remove rust stains from tiles with commercial rust removers for that specific type of tile. These products should always be the priority method to opt for removing rust. Always check the compatibility of the product with your tiles.

Home solutions like vinegar, lemon juice & borax poultice, toothpaste, kerosene, and WD 40 multi-purpose spray are effective alternatives.

These solutions work, but if you leave them on for too long, the surface of the tiles will get damaged. All these solutions are for spot cleaning. The real key to removing rust is not to let it happen in the first place. Regular cleaning of these surfaces will save you a lot of hardship.

What Causes Rust Stains on Tiles

Rust is the oxidation of iron into a brittle powder that gets stuck on the tile surface. Tile surfaces can get rust stains from metal furniture, décor items with metallic bottoms, utensils, towel cabinets, soap holders, screws, pipes.

The weirdest cause can be water with iron that stays on the tile surface for a long time.

Consider the Implication of Alternatives

 Before using any alternatives, we need to understand a few things.

  • In an ideal situation, we shouldn’t have let rust accumulate on tiles in the first place, and we could daily clean with PH-neutral cleaners.
  • Any solution below PH 7 is considered acidic, and anything above is alkaline. Using too much acidic solution will etch the surface; too much alkaline solution will erode the surface. As rust removal is a spot cleaning, we will have to factor in either acidic or alkaline cleaning solutions to get the job done. 
  • That said, marble, limestone, and vinyl tiles are very sensitive to this type of solution. We recommend only opting for commercial rust removers made for that surface. In the worst-case scenario, opt for the alternatives below.
  • Ceramic, Porcelain, Granite is stronger than marble, so they may be more resistant.
  • Mosaic tiles are especially sensitive to abrasion.
  • Use non-abrasive sponges or very soft-bristled toothbrushes while cleaning tiles.
  • We recommend multiple applications rather than one concentrated effort.
  • Do not let leave residue of any cleaning product solutions on the tiles. Rinse the area immediately and wipe it off with a clean, dry rag if rust is gone. Do not splash water on vinyl tiles. Use a damp cloth or rag to wipe off residue and apply dry rags.

How to Remove Rust Stains from Tiles

Follow the alternatives suggested below to remove rust from tiles.

Use Commercial Rust Removers/cleaners Compatible With Tiles (Recommended)

There are plenty of rust removers specifically made for tiles. Be sure to check the compatible tile type as products vary according to tile materials. There are also universal tile cleaners.

We recommend using specific commercial rust remover more than any of the steps below. These products should be the go-to step. Follow manufacturer’s specifications for the application.

Popular tile cleaner brands are Floor Cleaner, EcoProtec, HG Film, Fila, Bar Keepers Friend, Rust-Oleum, etc. If you can’t find a specific rust remover, use a commercial cleaning solution made for your type of tiles.

Spray Wd 40 on the Stain

WD 40 is a reputed multi-use spray product that has a reputation for removing stubborn stains.

  • We recommend spraying some WD 40 enough to saturate the stain.
  • Leave the sprayed solution on the stain for roughly ten to fifteen minutes.
  • Take a soft-bristled toothbrush, brush the area gently, and wipe the area with a cloth or thick layers of paper towels.
  • Rinse the area with clear water & wipe it down with a dry microfiber cloth.
  • Repeat the process if necessary.
    wd 40

Use Lemon Juice Alternatives 

Lemon juice is effective against rust stain as lemon is a citrus plant, and its juice is acidic.

Solution Method

  • Squeeze some lemon juice & add a pinch of salt to the solution for an initial effort.
  • Apply the solution to the rust-stained area and leave the solution on for roughly 2-3 minutes.
  • Scrub the area gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush. The stain should start breaking down.
  • Rinse the area with clear water and wipe the floor with a dry microfiber cloth or rag.
  • Repeat the process if necessary.

Poultice Method

Be careful while using borax as it irritates the skin.

  • Take your lemon juice in a small bowl and mix some borax into it till it forms a paste-like substance.
  • Spread the homemade poultice on the rust stain on the tiles.
  • Let the paste dry completely.
  • Clean it off with clear water and a soft sponge or soft-bristled brush.

Apply a Layer of Toothpaste 

As toothpaste is made for teeth, they are gently cleaners for tiles. We recommend using toothpaste that has a bit of baking soda in it. Baking soda is an effective stain cleaner.

  • Squeeze a layer of toothpaste on the stain and scrub it gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Our goal is to mix the paste with the stain.
  • Leave it in for roughly 5-10 minutes.
  • Rinse the area and wipe it down with a dry microfiber cloth. Repeat the process if necessary.toothpaste

Baking Soda Poultice 

  • Take some regular powdered baking soda and mix it with water to form a paste. You can ballpark the mixture.
  • Apply the paste on the rust-stained area and scrub the rust with a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Rinse the surface with clear water. Once the rust stain is gone, wipe it down with a dry rag or microfiber cloth.

Apply a Vinegar Solution 

White vinegar will be fine for the job. If you have a specific vinegar cleaner, then that will work too.

  • Apply two to four tablespoons of vinegar on the stain with a pinch of salt and let the solution sit for roughly four to eight minutes.
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently scrub the stain and wipe it down with a microfiber cloth.
  • Repeat the process if necessary.

After removing the stain, rinse the area with clear water and dry with another dry microfiber cloth.vinegar

Use Kerosene 

Be extra careful with kerosene as they are highly flammable substances and have a strong odor. Open ventilation is recommended.

  • Use about 2 to 4 tablespoons of kerosene, apply it over the stain, and let it sit for about 1-3 minutes max.
  • Take a cloth or soft-bristled toothbrush to rub the stained surface.
  • After roughly five minutes of mixing kerosene with stain, wipe the area and check if the stain is removed.
  • If the stain is gone, rinse the surface with clear water and wipe it again with a dry microfiber cloth or rag.
  • Repeat the process if necessary.

Rub Pumice Stone on Soaked Stain 

Soak the rusted area of the tile and apply the pumice stone to the area. The stone will slowly dissolve as you rub and remove the rust from the tiles. We recommend getting ones with the handle for easy application.

Apply Toilet Cleaner Solution

Toilet cleaners are what every household has at ready. All of them will have an acid solution embedded into the product. The most common is hydrochloric or phosphoric acid. These acidic ingredients make them a plausible rust remover.

Apply the toilet cleaning solution for the affected area and leave it in for one to three minutes. Scrub gently with a non-abrasive sponge or soft-bristled brush. Rinse the area and repeat the process till the rust is gone.toilet cleaner

 Worst Case Scenario 

  • For heavy rust stains, you will need to get a remover compound that has oxalic acid in its component. Use that on the stain and scrub gently with a damp cloth or soft-bristled brush. Rinse with clear water once the stain is gone.
  • If the stain is Set and is not getting off, get oxalic acid crystals from your local hardware store, add them to water, and mix them in talcum powder to make a poultice paste. Apply the poultice to the rust-stained area and let it dry. Rinse afterward thoroughly to remove residue.
  • An alternative can be some naval jelly. Apply it to the rust stain and let it soak for roughly an hour. Rinse the surface after the stain is gone.

How to Prevent Future Rust Stains on Tile

  • Regular cleaning of tiles is necessary. Do not let rust stains build up in the first place.
  • Felt or floor protectors wherever objects with metal surfaces meet tiles.
  • Try to keep the tiles dry after showers or rinses.
  • Use Tile & Grout sealers on tiled floors. Check the compatibility of products with tile materials before application. Some popular brands are LTP, Glean, SRP, HG, etc.