How To Remove Rust Stains
From Carpet

Rust stains can appear anywhere moisture, iron and oxygen meet. This reddish brown chemical stain can be absorbed into or built up on the carpet fiber and contain oxides of iron.

Simply using a water based cleaning product will not remove rust spots. These stains must first undergo a chemical reaction before they can be cleaned away with a water based cleaning product.

A stain remover designed for rust works by making the stain invisible. Once this chemical reaction occurs, the stain remover should be rinsed away with an alkaline cleaning solution (pH 9-10)

Procedures to remove rust stains

  1. Apply a stain remover for rust directly to rust spots while carpet is still dry. There are a variety of commercially formulated stain removers for rust available through carpet cleaning supply outlets. Most are oxalic acid or ammonium bifloride based solutions. Avoid any products containing hydrofluoric acid, since the vapors can etch glass. These rust removers are for professional use only. Err on the side of caution and wear the appropriate safety gear like safety glasses and gloves. 
  2. Always pretest any stain remover on an inconspicuous area of the carpet. Caution must be exercised when using. Although these rust removal products are effective, they can have an adverse effect on the chemically sensitive user or building occupant. Read the product's material safety data sheet before using.
  3. Agitate gently with a bone scraper or other blunt object and allow the stain remover to dwell.
  4. Rinse all spotting agents from the carpet with an alkaline cleaning solution . If available, utilize a carpet cleaning machine or a spray bottle to apply the alkaline cleaning solution to flush the stain. Then extract to remove the cleaning agent from the carpet. As an alternative a shop vac may be utilized for extraction purposes. Dry treated area as much as possible. Care must be taken not to over-wet the carpet.
  5. Blot with dry clean bleach-free cloth to remove and dry any moisture from the rinsing procedure. When most of the moisture is removed, you may use clean, dry towels weighed down by flat, heavy objects like a book or brick on the damp area to absorb any remaining moisture. This helps prevent wicking of any deep staining material not removed that will move to the surface as the carpet dries.

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