How to Remove Rust from Tiles 

Ceramic tiles can do wonders to make your home more beautiful. But having tile floors also means that you need to know how to clean them properly because tiles are a common rusty item and both the kitchen and bathroom are usually the affected area.

Rust stains from metal objects are the most common problem you will often see on a tile surface. The best way homeowners can get rid of stubborn stains on tiles is to use a pumice stone. Others will say the best thing is to mop tiles with warm water or even hot water.  The best option for homemade grout and tile cleaner? Using a spray bottle, the best ratio solution would be a half cup or equal parts (cup) of baking soda and 1/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide with a teaspoon of dish soap and a little water.

There are a variety of products to help remove rust from tiles. Most offer an easy process but the good news is that you have many options. Three percent hydrogen peroxide is the perfect percentage for household cleaning or disinfecting your kitchen and bathroom. This product ranges from three to twelve percent in strength.

Even WD-40 multi-use product works well. You can use the straw for precision spraying to clean and wipe off the excess after cleaning. It’s good to use a stainless steel sponge in the grout areas to clean up your rusty tiles. You’ll want to be careful with stainless steel, as you don’t want to damage the delicate surfaces; especially, vinyl tiles. The WD-40 company makes a low odor version to be on the safe side with any smell in the bathroom, with bathroom fixtures, or in your kitchen.

WD-40 110071 Multi-Use Product Spray with Smart Straw, 11 oz. (Pack of 1)

But if these methods don’t work on your floor tiles, you can still bring back your porcelain tiles to their original beauty using other methods that include commercial products and natural products that take care of surfaces with a protective layer. Your floor tiles need the same care as delicate fabrics.

Table of Contents

  1. Oxalic Acid Solution Powder
  2. Kerosene 
  3. Lemon or Lime
  4. Tomatoes 
  5. Toothpaste 
  6. Vinegar 
  7. Frequently Asked Questions
    1. Can you remove rust from tiles with CLR?
    2. What is the best rust remover for tiles? 
    3. When can you replace tiles stained with rust?

Oxalic Acid Solution Powder

You can use Oxalic Acid in powder form or a simple solution would be to mix it with water. It’s another method of rust stain removal that delivers the best results. Your best bet is to test this against surface rust in a small inconspicuous area. Wet your kitchen tile, apply the powder or the resulting paste with clean water, and make circular motions on the rust-like coloring on the tiles and the tile grout. It’s a good idea to rinse the leftover residue from your tiles. Given the chemical composition, there is a good chance you might need to re-apply sealant over tile grout after this type of cleaning.

Oxalic Acid (40 lbs) 99.6% Pure - Metal & Wood Cleaning and Bleaching, Rust Removal (C2H2O4) - HDPE Container w/Resealable Child Resistant Cap

Given the molecular structure of most commercial-grade cleaning products, I also strongly recommend you use protective gloves and eye protection.

Kerosene

Kerosene gets often used for removing rust stains from different surfaces, and it works just like vinegar, but it is faster and even more powerful this time. If you plan to use kerosene, it will be good to wear protective gloves. 

Kerosene – 1-K Heater Fluid – 1 Gallon – Clean Burning Fuel – Heaters, Lanterns and Stoves – Domestically Sourced – Made in America

Pour two tablespoons of kerosene over the rust stains.  Allow it to settle for up to 10 minutes. Use a clean cloth to rub the stained area. 

Do not wash away the kerosene. Let it stay for five more minutes before removing it using a paper towel or water. 

Lemon or Lime

Both lime and lemon have high amounts of citric acid and are probably two of the best natural cleaners available in almost all households. These are great alternatives to commercial rust remover products that you can use if you don’t want a harsh cleaning solution.  A little lemon juice or lime juice goes a long way as it doesn’t only remove rust marks from tiles.

Mrs. Meyer's Tub and Tile Cleaner, 33 Fluid Ounce, (Lemon Verbena, Pack of 4)

You’ve had a taste of lemon juice. Thanks to its antibacterial properties it’s sour, refreshing, and can help get rid of germs.  Many acidic products will have lemon and water present.

The solution is simple. Extract the juice from lemon or lime in a bowl, then add a pinch of salt to it. Pour ¼ teaspoon of the solution over the rust stains. Allow it to sit for up to 10 minutes, and clean it afterward using a soft-bristled old toothbrush in a circular motion. This will keep fragile surfaces in pristine condition, like marble tiles.

You will notice that the rust stains start to disappear on the area of tile treated or the entire area of your kitchen floor.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes, just like lemons, also contain citric acid that works well when it comes to getting rid of deposited stains or minerals.  Grab a tomato and cut this into two halves.  Sprinkle the rust with a little salt (rock salt) and rub the area with the tomato. 

Allow it to sit for approximately 5 to 7 minutes, and use a dry cloth to clean it afterward. 

Tomatoes also work great if you get skunked. Happened once as a kid, and my mom made me do a tomato bath! Amazing, it worked. 😉

Toothpaste

Another excellent mild cleaning agent that you can use in place of abrasive cleaners is none other than toothpaste. 

Although there are different kinds of toothpaste on the market, those made from baking soda effectively remove dental plaque and even deal with ugly rust stains and scuffs. 

Cleaning rusty tile grout with a toothbrush

Apply a thin coat of toothpaste over the rust stain.  Take a soft brush and start brushing at the stain in circular motions. After you finish, clean the files using tissue paper or water. 

Vinegar

No list of home remedies for stain removal will ever be complete without including the acidic nature of vinegar in the first place. Simply put, this is because you cannot find other household cleaners with the same cleaning strength as vinegar.  Vinegar solution is used in so many different ways and can clean tiles and metal furniture.

With vinegar, you can easily buy it from the local grocery store. You can even use a small amount of vinegar to clean stains from vinyl flooring and natural stone tile without using an abrasive sponge. 

Aunt Fannie's Floor Cleaner Vinegar Wash Concentrate - Multi-Surface Cleaner, 32 oz. (Single Bottle, Bright Lemon)

Whether you want to clean rust stains, grease, and other mineral deposits, vinegar’s acidic nature is powerful enough to easily dissolve almost all kinds of stubborn stains quickly. 

Pour 2 to 3 tablespoons of white vinegar over the rust stain. Let it sit for 3 to 5 minutes. Wipe down the floor using a soft and clean damp cloth.  Repeat the process as needed until the rust stains on the floor start disappearing.

Your next step is to decide whether to make homemade solutions or buy commercial-grade products.

Dirty tiles in the bathroom before cleaning with commercialdetergents or natural cleaning.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you remove rust from tiles with CLR?

Yes, you can use CLR or Calcium, Lime, and Rust Remover to clean rust from tiles, and this is a good remedy for rust removal on tiles and other ceramic products. 

What is the best rust remover for tiles?

One of the best rust removers you can buy is Iron Out. This product is even more beneficial for areas with high iron deposits and hard water stains. 

When can you replace tiles stained with rust?

It would be better to replace tiles once the nasty stains reach the tile pores, the second layer under the wax surface of tiles.