Rust can be a problem for many homeowners and business owners, especially if their water contains high levels of iron (commonly found in well water). And as you know, rust can be an eyesore. Though it may be difficult to remove if it is allowed to sit for several years, addressing it can at least diminish the appearance of stains. Power washers—especially when used with certain cleaning chemicals—as well as certain brushes (but be careful with using wire brushes) can be highly effective when it comes to removing rust.
If a metal surface is not painted, you can easily use a power washer in tandem with cleaning chemicals to remove stains. Pressure washers are highly recommended for rust and even paint removal from metal surfaces. They can blast away stains with their power and cleaning features.
- Select a pressure washer based on your specific needs. For example, you’ll want to decide whether to use a hot water or cold water pressure washer.
- Use the right wands and accessories. Most power washers come with a wide selection of nozzles to choose from; from narrow to wide-angled. When using pressure washers to remove paint or rust from metal surfaces, narrow angle nozzles are the best option as the concentrated pressurized water can exert its force on a small area for better results.
- Test a small area of the metal you are cleaning and adjust the pressure on your power washer accordingly. Be sure to follow safety measures when using a pressure washer.
Concrete is a rather durable surface, so you can easily remove most rust stains with the use of lemon juice and/or vinegar along with a hard-bristled brush.
- Wash the area in which you want to remove rust from with soap and water. Allow it to dry completely before continuing.
- Pour or spray pure lemon juice on the stain and allow it to sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Use a stiff bristled brush to scrub the rust stain off the surface.
- If the acid in lemon juice isn’t as effective on the stain as you had hoped, follow up by pouring or spraying white vinegar on the stain.
- Let it sit for 10 minutes and scrub with a stiff brush.
- Repeat with vinegar as necessary, until the stain is completely removed.
- Rinse the cleaned area with water
You likely won’t be able to use a high powered pressure washer or any hard bristled brushes on painted surfaces without damaging or removing the paint. Your best bet is to try and remove stains with a sponge instead.
- Use diluted white vinegar when working on painted surfaces (1 cup of vinegar to ½ cup of water). Spray the vinegar on the stain, but test a small corner of the surface first to ensure you won’t stain or damage the paint.
- Use a sponge to dab at the stain and scrub in small circles.
- It may take a several washes to fully remove the rust, but patience and persistence will pay off!
Sometimes, lemon juice and vinegar just won’t cut it. In these case, it’s best to rely on heavy-duty cleaning chemicals like F9 BARC and a power washer. When using harsh chemicals be sure to work in a well-ventilated area, use gloves and eye protection, and wear long-sleeved shirts and pants to protect your skin. You’ll also want to make sure you fully rinse chemicals off surfaces completely and quickly after cleaning to avoid discoloring the surface.
- Mix and apply your cleaning chemical of choice as indicated on the directions.
- Use a stiff brush and scrub in circles to lift the rust stain.
- If a brush isn’t removing the stain or you just can’t scrub any harder, use a pressure washer. The high-powered hose will not only rinse away your cleaning chemicals, but the concentrated force should also lift the rust stain off the surface.