PSA: rust stains can cause property damage and health risks.
However, since they are also an eyesore, we’re sure that’s a top priority.
In this article, we’ll discuss cleaning rust off concrete with a pressure washer and the safety precautions you should take beforehand.
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents - Click to Skip
About The Author
Meet the expert behind this article.
Co-owner & Service Director
Hey there, I’m Cody.
A decade of residential and commercial pressure washing led me to start JCS Refresh. Now I can share my knowledge with folks like you.
Reading from Washington State?
Contact our team for a quote and you might meet me in person.
Just need the steps?
Here’s how to remove rust stains from a concrete surface with your pressure washer in 6 easy steps:
- Prepare the supplies
- Wear protective gear
- Apply the rust cleaner to the rust stain
- Scrub the stain away with a brush
- Hook up your pressure washer
- Rinse the surface thoroughly
But if you’re free for a couple more minutes, let’s cover these more in-depth!
Quick questions before starting
Before starting, it’s crucial to understand a few key points.
Will a pressure washer remove rust from concrete? Yes, a pressure washer will remove rust from concrete.
How difficult is this to do? This task will be of medium difficulty because some rust stains are more difficult to remove than others.
How long does it take? It can take about 15 minutes, but it may take longer for stubborn stains.
What takes rust off concrete?
A commercial rust remover costs about $16 to $40, but you can also make a DIY rust removal cleaner with lemon juice or white vinegar.
You might also need a brush to scrub away the stain. A wire brush can cost anywhere from $5 to $7.
Of course, a pressure washer can thoroughly remove even the most stubborn rust stains. You can rent one for about $40 to $100 per day or buy one for $160 to $380.
Removing rust from concrete with a pressure washer in 6 steps
Now, here’s how you can use a pressure washer to remove rust:
1. Prepare the supplies
Gather your rust cleaner of choice, a brush, and your protective gear. Keep your pressure washer nearby to start it as soon as the cleaner has dissolved the stain.
2. Put on safety equipment
Don’t forget to wear your safety gear, mainly your goggles and rubber gloves.
We also recommend wearing a rain jacket, pants, and rubber boots because you will be exposed to chemicals that could end up in your eyes, on your skin, or in an open wound.
3. Apply the rust cleaner to the stain
If you’re using a commercial rust cleaner, follow the instructions on the package, as they may differ depending on the product.
You can apply lemon juice or white vinegar directly to the concrete surface if you’re using lemon juice or white vinegar.
For painted concrete, you can dilute it with water to make it less acidic, so it cleans the stain without removing the paint.
Allow the cleaner to sit for about 10–15 minutes (according to the instructions).
4. Scrub the stain away with a brush
Scrub the area with a stiff-bristled brush to break down the stain. For painted concrete, you may opt for a softer brush, so it’s gentler on the paint.
5. Hook up your pressure washer
You may now start your pressure washer. The instructions will differ slightly depending on whether you use a gas or electric model.
For the initial setup, read the manual that came with your machine. Then, connect the hoses by clicking the high-pressure hose to the wand and the other to the water supply.
If you still need to figure out how to connect your pressure washer, read our detailed guide on starting a pressure washer, which covers gas and electric models.
6. Rinse the surface thoroughly
If you’re treating rust stains on a concrete driveway, now is the time to wash it to tackle two tasks at a time thoroughly.
First, after treating the stain, you can use your concrete cleaner before rinsing.
To rinse, attach the 25-degree nozzle to the wand of your pressure washer and rinse. Alternatively, you can use a 15-degree nozzle if necessary.
If you decide to clean your driveway entirely, you can read our comprehensive guide on pressure washing concrete next.
Keep these safety considerations in mind.
Choose your rust cleaner wisely
The types and brands of commercial rust cleaners vary.
Read the labels to ensure it’s safe to use. Some cleaners can also be harsher on painted concrete, so keep that in mind.
Select the appropriate nozzle
Concrete is porous but durable. However, depending on the condition of the concrete, it is still necessary to select the appropriate nozzle.
We always recommend starting with a 25-degree nozzle and working your way up.
Don’t forget to wear your safety gear
Rust can cause eye injuries and bacterial infections if exposed to an open wound, so use proper protective equipment.
Frequently asked questions
Here are some of the most common questions when removing rust from concrete.
If you have a question that still needs to be answered here, please contact us, and someone from our team will get back to you.
What causes rust stains on concrete?
Iron oxide is the most common cause of rust stains.
When this comes into contact with water, a chemical reaction occurs, resulting in rust.
In addition, dissolved minerals, acidic materials, snow and ice, and other rusted objects that may transfer can also cause rust.
How do I remove rust from painted concrete?
With the same steps, you could mix baking soda and water.
Apply baking soda to the stain to break it down, then dip a brush in water and scrub gently to avoid removing the paint.
If this doesn’t work, use white vinegar, which is mildly acidic from lemon juice and can remove rust without causing damage to the paint.
Removing rust stains as soon as you notice them is critical to protect your property from damage and keep your family safe.
Rust stains are usually easier to remove if you use the correct cleaning solution and a pressure washer. But if the stain doesn’t come off, you may need to repeat the steps or hire a professional.
JCS Refresh is a licensed pressure washing company with expertise in stain removal and driveway cleaning in Washington State.
Thanks for reading!