How to Remove Rust Stains From Vinyl Flooring Safely

Updated May 3, 2022
Bucket with sponges, chemicals bottles and mopping stick

Learning how to remove rust stains from vinyl flooring can help you save money and maintain a clean look throughout your home. From basic home remedies to store-bought concoctions, there are a few different ways to conquer pesky rustiness without replacing your flooring.

Understanding Vinyl Flooring and Its Vulnerability

Rust stains can be unsightly and very difficult to remove due to the composition of the vinyl itself. Vinyl is a synthetic material created out of chlorine and ethylene. In layman's terms, it is a durable plastic manufactured to substitute for metal flooring. It is cheaper to purchase, easier to install, and unfortunately, can be susceptible to rust stains when the room's continual oxygen flow combines with the vinyl to produce oxidation.

How to Get Rust Stains Out of Vinyl Flooring With Homemade Solution

This homemade solution will fade the rust stain off your vinyl floor.


Before you get started, you need to grab a few materials.

  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Rags


Now that you've got your baking soda and vinegar, it's time to get to work.

  1. Spread a thin layer of baking soda over the rust stain. Baking soda is rough in texture. It can work as an abrasive in the scrubbing process.
  2. Wet your rag with vinegar and rub over the stained surface.
  3. Rinse with water and repeat until the stain has faded away.
  4. Make one final rinse and wipe with clean water. Vinegar is acidic, so you don't want to leave it on your vinyl floor.

Remove Rust From Vinyl Floor With Magic Eraser

Removing Rust From Vinyl Floor With Magic Eraser

Magic Erasers are great for getting scuffs off floors and walls. But they can work on rust stains on vinyl floors too.


Before you get your clean on, you need to grab:

  • Magic Eraser
  • Cloth


With your Magic Eraser in hand, it's time to let a little wizardry happen.

  1. Get the Magic Eraser wet.
  2. Squeeze out the excess water.
  3. Scrub the rust spot on the floor gently.
  4. Continue until it's gone.
  5. Wipe the area with a damp cloth to remove any residue.

Removing Rust Stains With a Commercial Remover

Many home improvement stores or marine supply shops carry oxalic acid solution powder that can be used to remove rust stains. Remember that oxalic acid is extremely poisonous, so purchase only a small amount, or keep the remainder up high out of reach of young children. Oxalic acid can also be found in wood bleach.


It's time to grab your supplies.

  • 5 percent oxalic acid solution
  • Large bowl or bucket
  • Protective gear


It's essential to be very careful with the oxalic acid and wear protective gear like gloves and mask before cleaning. You'll also want to make sure the area is well ventilated. You'll also want to test the acid in an inconspicuous area to ensure it doesn't harm your floor.

  1. Sprinkle the oxalic acid over the stain. Follow the instructions on the container.
  2. Upend a bucket or bowl over the acid to prevent fumes from the solution from escaping into the air. Take care to ventilate the area well when you remove the bucket.
  3. Leave the solution in place for one hour, then rinse well with clean water.

Products Options for Removing Rust

Cleaning products on a wooden floor

Vinyl floors have special requirements to avoid discoloring while you remove the rust. Keep this in mind when you purchase cleaners for your floor.

Products to Use

A few household cleaners that will assist in removing a rust stain when combined with the oxalic acid include:

  • Ultra One Rust Remover: Ultra One Rust Remover is a cleaner/degreaser that can sometimes help with rust removal.
  • Bar Keeper's Friend: Bar Keeper's Friend is specially designed to remove tough stains.
  • Zud: Zud, a heavy commercial cleanser, can often lift rust damage from your floor.

Products to Avoid on Vinyl Floors

When removing your rust, try to avoid chlorinated floor cleansers. This will further staining and can cause irreversible damage.

Using regular bleach on vinyl can also cause issues, especially if the floor is colored, as it can create white splotches that cannot be undone. In fact, one of the only types of bleach that can be used is the above-mentioned wood bleach. Chlorine bleach will set rust into your flooring as it contains oxidizers. Using this type of standard bleach will discolor your floor's design or cause yellow staining.

Tips for How to Preventing Rust Stains on Vinyl Floors

You can avoid rust stains altogether by properly caring for and preparing your floor with appropriate finishes and treatments if they are available for your specific flooring choice. Additionally, follow these tips to help prevent rust from forming:

  • Avoid using metal nails to install your flooring, as these easily rust.
  • Try not to splash a lot of water on your floor.
  • Keep the faucet flow low whenever possible to prevent water droplets from hitting the ground.
  • Reroute rain-soaked coats and shoes through a different area of the house when possible.

Remove Rust Stains From Vinyl Flooring

By preventing and cleaning the rust stains from your vinyl floor, you can help keep it looking great for many years. Use the right products to clean up the rust stains as they form and get the longest life possible from your floor. For more tips on cleaning rust away, learn how to remove rust from concrete.

How to Remove Rust Stains From Vinyl Flooring Safely