How to Remove Old Rust Stains From Carpet: 6 Simple Solutions

Rust stains on carpets are the most difficult to remove, especially if you don’t address them in the right way. Removing these stains takes time and patience, but it’s not impossible. By using several basic household items, you’ll be able to remove those persistent rust stains from your carpet without spending much money or effort.

Want to know how to remove old rust stains from carpet? Here are 6 simple methods to try: 

Method 1: Apply Lemon Juice and White Vinegar Solution

Apply Lemon Juice and White Vinegar Solution

Use a butter knife or scraper to gently loosen the rust from the carpet’s fibers. Now get your vacuum cleaner out and remove all the loosened debris. Once you’ve loosened the rust particles, blot the area with a damp towel before applying a solution of white vinegar, lemon juice and water. Leave the solution on the treated area for 20 minutes. Now take a sponge, a bristle brush or an old toothbrush to gently scrub the carpet fibers. Blot the treated area again and leave it for 10 minutes.

Method 2: Rinse with Dishwashing Liquid and Ammonia

Rinse with Dishwashing Liquid and Ammonia

Using a small glass bowl, mix one tablespoon of ammonia with two tablespoons of dishwashing liquid and two cups of warm water. Dip a clean cloth into this solution and apply it on the affected area. Let the solution sit for 10 minutes before rinsing with a clean cloth dipped in plain water. This will rinse away the soapy residue. Let the carpet air dry or use a hairdryer.

Word of caution: be careful you don’t oversaturate the carpet as excess moisture in the fibers can cause mold or mildew growth. Always dry the carpet thoroughly after removing the stains.  

Method 3: Clean the Stain with Cream of Tartar

Clean the Stain with Cream of Tartar

Also known as potassium bitartrate, cream of tartar is a cake or bread making ingredient found in most kitchen cabinets. If you don’t have this item, you can easily find it in most grocery stores. When combined with hydrogen peroxide, it can effectively clean rust stains from carpets.

Simply pour the powder into a container mixed with a small amount of hydrogen peroxide. Stir until a paste-like consistency is achieved. Now use your fingers to apply the paste on the rust stain surface.

Let the solution sit on the affected area for half an hour before using a white, damp cloth to wipe away the stain. Rinse with clean water and if necessary, repeat the procedure. Use a paper towel or hair dryer to dry the carpet thoroughly.

Method 4: For Persistent stains, Try Baking Soda

For Persistent stains, Try Baking Soda 

For persistent stains, you can use our first method but without the lemon juice. Dab a clean cloth into white vinegar and baking soda and apply it to the rust-stained area. Make sure you press the solution deeply into the carpet fibers so it absorbs the liquid. The combination of baking soda and vinegar will provide a bubbling action that removes the toughest stains. Now sprinkle some salt over the treated spot and let it sit for 30 minutes. Use a dry, clean cloth to dab at the area until all the stain has gone.

Method 5: If the Stain Remains, Use Rubbing Alcohol

If the Stain Remains, Use Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is another highly effective way of removing tough rust stains from carpets. Pour this solution into a bottle sprayer and dilute it with water before spraying generously on the stain. Blot the stain gently with a white cloth afterwards. Rubbing alcohol will work its way into the fibers and within half an hour, the rust stains should disappear. 

Method 6: If all else fails, try WD-40 

If all else fails, try WD-40

A small amount of WD-40 can be sprayed on the rust stain to get rid of it. Point the nozzle to the stained area and spray two times. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes before using a clean cloth dipped in warm water to rinse the carpet fibers. 

In case none of the above methods totally remove the rust stains from carpet, you can always opt for commercial products. But just be aware that commercial cleaning products may alter the carpet color so use them with caution. Look for specially formulated carpet cleaning products for rust treatment. 

How to Prevent Rust Stains on Carpets 

If your carpet rust stains are a recurring problem, you need to look for the source of the rust to prevent it from happening again. Corroded furniture legs or toys can leave stains on carpets, especially when they are wet or damaged. Metal furniture or appliances are the most common culprits for carpet rust stains. If you are just focusing on cleaning the stain and putting the furniture back on the carpet, you’ll be forever spending time on removing the rust stains. Consider moving the culprit to another area, such as on wooden flooring. You may also add furniture protectors to the feet of your tables, sofas or any other metal leg.

Aside from metal furniture and rusting appliances, there are also other culprits that can cause rust stains on your carpets. These are:

  • Laundry, dishes, kitchen and bathroom fixtures are all water sources that can cause stains on carpets. If your carpets have been stained because of the iron bacteria in your fixtures, you must treat the water by using a water filtration system.
  • Rusty or corroded water pipes, heaters or water containers cause rust stains. These pipes should be replaced as soon as possible before they burst and cause floods.
  • The enamel of old washers and dryers can chip over time and expose the metal behind the enamel. This metal rusts in wet or humid environments, thus causing rust stains on your carpets. You can repair the chipped or rusted enamel on your washer or dryer using appliance repair paint. 


Professional carpet cleaning products contain harsh chemicals that can alter your carpet’s color. By using natural, home-made methods, you can effectively remove those persistent rust stains from your carpets. These inexpensive ingredients may take a little time and patience to work on the stained area, but they won’t harm your carpet fibers, plus you can re-apply them as necessary.  

How to Remove Old Rust Stains From Carpet 6 Simple Solutions