How to Clean Rust Stains How to Clean Rust Stains

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Old Method

Chemically, acids are the preferred way to remove rust stains. Believe it or not lemon juice (citric acid), or the "stronger" white vinegar (acetic acid) are mild ACIDS which may resolve the problem. In the corner of an affected area, I would test both acids to determine which one is most effective. Apply the acid with the clean sponge side of a white, nylon scrub pad backed sponge (available at supermarkets). Agitate with the scrub pad side. Rust stains are the result of oxidation. Rinse thoroughly afterwards and blot dry.

Another method on clothes is to try a waterless hand cleaner like Goop or DL. Just work it into the spot, then wash it. Test an inconspicuous spot first to make sure it doesn't fade the fabric. A member who had rust stains on a pair of white pants cleaned them using hand cleaner and a nail brush.

NOTE: Always test an inconspicuous area for colorfastness, etc. before treating the exposed area. Also note that certain stains are permanent.

NEW Way

Motsenbocker's Lift Off #3 is a new biodegradable and water based product and is designed to remove most inks, including: indelible ink, permanent markers, fountain tip pens, surgical markers, roller ball pens and ball point pens. It can also be used to remove stains caused by nail polish, blood and hair color. The product can be used on carpets, fabrics, wall covering, metal, formica, clothes, vinyl, plastic, countertops, tools, tile and upholstery. It works better than existing products; it works in the same reactionary time; it is safe on all surfaces; it costs the same or less than other products and it is safe for the user.

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This article has been contributed in part by Michigan State University Extension

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