The Best Way to Remove Rust from Concrete

During our recent new home build, some nails were left on our freshly poured concrete back porch. This was during the framing stage, so we didn’t have a working roof yet. Rain fell on the nails, which caused rust spots to appear on the concrete.

Since our brand new back concrete patio had newly formed rust spots, I set out to find the best product for removing rust from concrete. Rust spots on concrete are a common problem that many homeowners face.

I found a product that not only quickly and easily removed the rust, but it is non-toxic, biodegradable, and super safe on the skin and eyes! There are lots of other really great features about this product that I’ll cover in this article, along with steps on how to remove rust from concrete. However, the main thing you need to know about it is how effortless it was to remove the rust spots from the concrete!

Best Concrete Rust Remover

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The product is called Evapo-Rust. It is by far the most effective and safest way to remove rust from concrete that I have found.

Since it worked so well on concrete, I decided to try it on old stubborn rust stains that was on metal. It worked just as well as it did on the cement! I used it on a rusted surface of my jointer attachment for my ShopSmith, which had become rusty after a few months of not using it. Moisture sat on the surface of it and quickly formed rust. Then, the rust sat there for awhile, probably a year or so.

The rust was quickly removed and the jointer is back to being as good as new! It did take a couple of coats of the product, but the process is so simple, that really wasn’t a big deal. And, there were so many layers of rust, I really wasn’t surprised by that.

There are other home remedies out there for removing rust form concrete. These remedies can use household things like lemon juice and white vinegar. However, I found these to be much less effective and more labor intensive.

The assumption is that people would use common household items to remove rust from concrete because they are perceived as safer. However, the product I will be covering is incredibly safe, non-toxic, biodegradable, and contains no acids like oxalic acid or hydrochloric acid.

Best Way to Remove Rust from Concrete

I will share the simple steps I used to remove the rust spot left from old nails sitting on our concrete back porch that caused rust stains. The main thing I love about this process was how easy, quick, and very little elbow grease it took to remove the rust spots.

Like I mentioned earlier, the product that I used to remove the rust from the concrete is called Evapo-Rust. It can be purchased on Amazon or Home Depot. This rust remover product can be used on a variety of surfaces like cookware, hardware, auto, tools, metal furniture, outdoor surfaces like patio furniture, and antiques. It is ready to use out of the container and doesn’t require any mixing or diluting.

It also doesn’t harm other surfaces like copper, brass, aluminum, vinyl, or rubber.

Materials Needed to Remove Rust from Concrete:

Step 1: Scrub the Concrete to Remove Dirt and Oil

It’s a good idea to clean the surface as much as possible before applying the product. Removing the rust will be much more effective if you are starting with a clean concrete surface. Oil stains could affect how well this product works, so while this is an added bit of elbow grease, it is worth it in the end.

If needed, use a combination of water, a cleaning product with a degreaser like Dawn dish soap, and a stiff brush to clean the concrete. Be sure to rinse the soap off completely from the surface of the concrete after you have scrubbed it.

Since I was treating a spot that was on freshly poured concrete, I didn’t have much cleaning to do. However, if you are treating a spot that needs to be cleaned, be sure to do that thoroughly. If the concrete surface is especially dirty, a pressure washer might be needed to fully clean it.

For best results, you should allow the rust spot to dry fully after cleaning it before moving on. Skipping this part might dilute the product, causing it not to work as well.

Step 2: Soak a Paper Towel with Evapo-Rust

Soak a paper towel with Evapo-Rust that is large enough to cover the rusted area on the surface of the concrete. Make sure that the area on the paper towel that is covering the rust spot is completely soaked with the product. Don’t skimp on this part. We want to make sure there is enough product to completely cover and eventually remove the spot.

Since this product is so safe, there is no need for protective gear like gloves, face mask, or eye protection.

Step 3: Cover the Rusted Area with the Remover on the Paper Towel

Cover the whole rusted area on the concrete with the soaked paper towel. Press down firmly on the paper towel. Be sure to smooth out the surface of the paper towel so that it will lay flat on the rust spot. This will allow the product to penetrate into the surface of the concrete.

In order to prevent the paper towels from drying out too quickly, cover the paper towel with plastic wrap. This will prevent the product from evaporating from the paper towel, giving it time to work.

Use a heavy object to keep the paper towel and plastic wrap from blowing away.

Leave this on the surface of the rusted area of concrete for at least 1 hour. For more stubborn rust stains, you can leave it for up to 12 hours.

Step 4: Clean the Concrete

Once you are ready to remove the paper towel, you will see that some of the rust already soaked into the paper towel. This product worked so well, that I had to do very little scrubbing on the surface of the concrete after the product had time to soak in. I briefly scrubbed the affected area with a firm bristled scrub brush, which removed any remaining residue very quickly and easily.

If the stain needs something a little stronger to scrub it out, try a wire brush, as the bristles are a little firmer.

Pour a small amount of water and continue scrubbing in small circles. This will help get the last few rust spots up from the concrete.

For a fun concrete project where this might come in handy later down the road, check out this wood and concrete dining table! And if you’ve ever wondered how long it takes for concrete to set, be sure to check out that post as well.

As you can see, the rust is completely gone from the surface of the concrete. Also, the product didn’t leave any residual stains on the concrete.

Although this product is safe on eyes and skin, be sure to wash your hands after use and rinse your eyes thoroughly with water if it does come in contact with them.

This worked great on our porch, but it could also be used on a concrete driveway or a garage floor, since most garage floors are concrete as well. This is also a great product for anyone with concrete floors in their home, which have become very popular recently. I can only imagine how frustrating it would be to have a rust stain on the interior of your home!

It can be used to remove rust stains from a small area or a larger area like gas tanks. If you are treating a large surface, I recommend buying the larger 5-gallon option. You can soak a towel like mentioned above, then keep the towel on the surface by attaching magnets holding the towel on. Evapo-Rust is great for removing anything from minor rust stains, to stubborn stains, to deeper stains.

If for some reason, this didn’t completely remove the rust from the concrete, the process can be repeated over and over without damaging the surface of the concrete.

This rust stain remover is a great option for those looking for rust eliminators that don’t contain strong acids or alkalis, is non-flammable, and non-toxic!

And that’s it! This is such a simple, safe, easy, effective, and environmentally friendly way of concrete rust stain removal.