How to Remove Rust From a Sidewalk

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Many metal objects, as well as fertilizers that contain iron, can leave rust stains on your sidewalk. Removing these stains is very difficult unless you use the right kind of product—rust won’t scrub off with soap and water. Most products for rust removal contain very strong chemicals that must be carefully handled. Now, however, you can choose safer, biodegradable rust removers that require less protective gear and are easier on nearby grass, plants and wildlife.

Things You'll Need

  • Broom
  • Rubber gloves
  • Eco-friendly rust stain remover for concrete
  • Bucket
  • Sprayer or sponge mop
  • Stiff brush
  • Garden hose

Sweep debris from the area you are going to treat. Put on rubber gloves and open the container of eco-friendly rust stain remover (unless it is sold, as some are, in a spray bottle).

Pour the rust remover into a clean bucket. Wet a sponge mop in this, and mop the remover into the stain—or, if applicable, spray the rust remover on the rust stains.

Wait to let it work on the rust (15 minutes at least). If the rust has not disappeared by this time, apply more rust remover. If it still does not fade all the way, you may need to scrub it with a stuff brush. Many rust removers claim no scrubbing is required, but often you can speed up the stain-removal process by scrubbing (this is especially true if the stain has settled deep into the concrete).

Spray the sidewalk with clean water. This is to clean off remaining rust remover.

Turn on a garden hose. Spray down nearby plants and grass with water to wash off and neutralize any product that may have come into contact with them. This is necessary for some products (be sure to read the product label, as this step may or may not be required).

Tips & Warnings

  • You can buy rust stain removers for concrete at many home improvement stores.
  • Non-biodegradable rust removers work well too, but many contain harsh chemicals (and acid) that may harm your grass and any animals.

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