How to Remove Rust Stains from Ceramic Tile Flooring

Extensive rust stains on a surface of small tiles.
  • 2 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 30
What You'll Need
Work gloves
Work clothes
Clean cloths or rags
Lemon juice
Ready-made cleanser
Pumice stone

Rust stains on ceramic tile are unsightly, and they can easily happen in places where metal and moisture mix, such as in the bathroom. You don't have to spend a fortune retiling to get your shower enclosure looking great again even if you're dealing with stubborn stains. Instead, try mixing a few household products together for some cleansing agents that should do the trick.

Step 1 - Take Safety Precautions

When working with any chemicals or abrasives, even natural ones, you should always make sure you first protect yourself. Stop cleaners from drying out your skin by wearing work gloves at all times, and wear expendable work clothes so you don't have to worry about your good garments getting stains.

Step 2 - Move Surrounding Objects

While you remove rust stains from the tile, your cleaning agent can spread onto other objects, ruining finishes and causing discoloration. To be safe, move all nearby objects away from the where you are working.

Step 3 - Wash

Fill a bucket with water and lather it up with detergent. Dip a sponge in the cleaner and start scrubbing the rust-stained area. This alone will not remove the stains, so only scrub enough to get up any debris and loose deposits.

Rinse the sponge, soak it with clean water, and wipe the surface to rid it of detergent. Dry the surface with a clean cloth before letting it air dry the rest of the way.

Step 4 - Mix a Cleaning Solution and Apply

To get rid of the rust stains themselves, you need to prepare a cleaning solution. Mix borax with lemon juice in equal proportions until you get a paste-like consistency. Scoop it up with a spatula and spread it out evenly on the tile where needed. Make sure that you do not touch the area again until the mixture completely dries.

Afterward, use a sponge to wipe the mixture away, and rinse the surface with clean water.

Step 5 - Try a Vinegar Solution

In the event that the borax and lemon cleanser doesn't remove the rust completely, vinegar can be used in another solution instead. Mix equal parts vinegar and salt this time to get a different kind of paste the you can apply. Leave this cleaner on the stained spot for about five hours before adding hot water. Scrub gently with a sponge. Be aware that it can take around 10 to 15 minutes of scrubbing before you see any results.

Step 6 - Use a Ready-made Solution

At the store you can find several ready-made cleansing agents. These agents work faster, but they do contain chemicals, so they are not as environmentally friendly and you will have to make sure you cover your mouth and nose while using them.

Step 7 - Scrub with a Pumice Stone

Pumice stone is great tool that will come handy while trying to get rid of these rust stains. You can use one of these instead of just a sponge if the stains prove stubborn, as it will not scratch the ceramic surface.

Following these steps should get your tiles looking good as new again, but as always, the sooner you attend to a problem, the easier it will be to solve it.