How to Get Rust Off Tiles

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Prevent rust from forming by keeping metals as dry as possible.
Prevent rust from forming by keeping metals as dry as possible. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

When moisture oxidizes on metal, rust begins to form. If left untreated, the rust eats away at the metal surface. But metal is not the only material affected by rust. When a rusty item comes in contact with other surfaces -- such as tiles -- the rust can transfer from the metal and leave an unsightly stain on your tiles. Fortunately, you can remove the rust from the tiles using a few common household items.

Things You'll Need

  • Soft cloths
  • White vinegar
  • Small bowl
  • Table salt
  • Spoon
  • Towels
  • All-purpose household cleaner containing alkaline
  • Cream of tarter
  • Plastic spatula
  • Small container
  • Dish soap
  • Old toothbrush

CeramicTiles

Dampen a clean, soft cloth with cool water and wipe as much of the rust off the ceramic tiles as possible. Dry the tiles with a towel.

Pour 1 tbsp. of white vinegar in a bowl. Add 2 tbsp. of table salt and mix with a spoon. Add more salt -- 1 tbsp. at a time -- until a thick paste forms. Alternatively, create a paste with lemon juice and borax in the same manner.

Spread a thin layer of the paste over the rust. Make sure you completely cover the rust. Let the paste dry for three to four hours before rinsing it off the ceramic tiles with a cloth dampened in hot water. Wipe the tiles dry with a towel.

Vinyl Tiles

Dampen a clean cloth with an all-purpose household cleaner containing alkaline. Wipe the rust off the tiles with the damp cloth. Rinse the tiles clean with a clean cloth dampened in cool water and dry the tiles with a towel. Continue with the remaining steps if the rust is still present.

Pour 1 tbsp. of water in a small bowl. Add cream of tartar -- 1 tbsp. at a time -- until a thick paste forms. Spread the paste with a plastic spatula directly on top of the rust. Keep the paste spreading on in an even layer and let dry for one hour.

Fill a small container with warm water and add two to three drops of dish soap. Mix the contents together. Dip an old toothbrush in the warm, soapy water and scrub the paste in a back-and-forth motion. Continue scrubbing until the rust is no longer visible on the tiles.

Rinse the tiles clean with a cloth dampened in cool water and dry with a towel.

Tips & Warnings

  • Test the rust removal method on an inconspicuous area of the tiles. If damage or discoloration occurs, discontinue use.
  • Do not use bleach to remove rust. Bleach sets the rust in.

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