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How To Clean Rust Stains from Carpet

Rust is one of those stains that can appear mysteriously under objects left to rest on the carpet. Furniture feet and surfaces containing metal are common culprits, particularly in moist environments. Plant stands can also be to blame. After using these remedies to remove rust stains that you have discovered on your carpet or rug, consider using protective pads or inexpensive throw rugs to help prevent future problems. Keep in mind that carpets come in a wide variety of materials, and unusual carpet pigments or materials such as leather, suede or exotic synthetics may not react favorably with cleaning solutions. Wool and silk can also require specialized care, and are particularly ill suited to enzymatic or alkali based solutions. You may also wish to consider the backing material of your carpet or rug, and whether or not it will react to the cleaning solution. Any stain remedy should be tested in an inconspicuous area. The advantage to a rust stain is that it forms over time, and though they should be treated promptly after discovery, there is no need for speed; you are free to work as carefully and methodically as you wish.

First, brush away and remove any part of the rust stain that you can. Thoroughly dampen the area using a clean sponge dampened in water and a blotting motion.  Note that silk rugs can be damaged by water, and may require treatment with dry-cleaning remedies only, or professional assistance. Make a dilute solution using 1/2 cup of water, 1 TB of Bar Keeper's Friend, and 1 TB of lemon juice. Mix well. Borax can be substituted for the Bar Keeper's Friend. Apply the solution with clean cotton swabs for rings and small marks, or a clean cloth for larger marks. Alternate with a light overall cleansing using mild pH neutral dishwashing liquid diluted with water. This step will help prevent the acid and rust removal additives from having too much time to interact with your carpet. When stain removal is complete, end with the dishwashing step and follow with a clear water rinse to completely remove remaining cleaning residue and stain solutions. Blot dry or use a wet/dry vacuum to remove excess moisture.

Caution: Never mix cleaning agents or chemicals, the result can be dangerous or deadly. Before cleaning, always test the agent on an inconspicuous location to determine its suitability and to make certain it does not damage the material. Wear appropriate clothing such as gloves and protective eyewear, and work in a well-ventilated area. Accidental inhalation or ingestion of cleaning agents can be hazardous and even fatal, particularly to pets and children.

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