How to remove rust stains from carpet

We have lived in our house for 3 months now.  The house is about 25 years old, so it has some wear and tear that goes along with the age. Overall, it’s in pretty decent condition, but slowly over time we are having to deal with the carpet stains, the scratches and holes in the walls, and the indents left in the carpeting where the previous owners had their furniture.  We really are taking it one little project at at time to try to get the house in tip top shape.

Today I decided to tackle one particularly obnoxious stain in the carpet in Leah’s bedroom.

before and after shot of rust stain removal from carpet

I think the previous owners used her room as their guest bedroom, so the carpet is in really good shape other than these stains.  It looks to me like one of their chests had metal feet, and being right in front of the window, perhaps a little rain got in one day when the window was left open. They left us with two rust stains that looked like this:


I wasn’t even going to try to remove these because it just looked so bad.  But now that I’m blogging, I’m up for all sorts of new challenges and I won’t let a little carpet stain get in my way!

I did some research, and found that the most recommended substance to remove rust stains from carpet was just plain old white vinegar.  Luckily for me, I had a feeling that vinegar would come in handy, so I picked up a giant 4L container the last time I was at the grocery store:


How to remove rust stains from carpet

I started by making sure there wasn’t any loose rust or dirt in the stain, basically by poking at it with a spoon.  I’m new at this, so I was kind of winging it.


Then I poured vinegar directly onto the stain, enough to completely saturate the stain.


I poked it with the spoon again to work the vinegar in and left it sitting for about 40 minutes and went back and blotted out all of the vinegar with a dry cloth.  Check out all of the rust coming up from the stain onto my cloth!


I let the carpet dry for about 8 hours and then I went back to what was left of the stain with a wet cloth to soak up any remaining vinegar, and then dried it as best I could with a dry cloth.IMG_7791

I was very surprised and impressed that the super dark rust stain is now virtually gone from the carpet.  The rust had penetrated the carpet fibers all the way through the thickness of the carpet, so it will be a lot harder to get rid of the rest.  But you can only see it if you know where it is and if you look reeeeeeally closely, so that is good enough for me!


Let’s look at the before and after shots.




I had always heard that vinegar was great for cleaning, but I had no idea how or for what.  Well, now I know that vinegar is an excellent rust remover!  I’m so pleased that that terrible stain is gone!

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  • Theresa

    Thanks for posting this