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Does Bleach Remove Rust?

Rust stains are tough to remove. Find out if bleach will get rid of rust and how to remove rust from clothes, fabrics, household items, and surfaces.

More from Clorox experts

Question

How do I remove rust?

Answer

Rust stains are particularly limited in what will effectively take them out.  Most importantly, it’s critical to note that rust stains can NOT be removed with Clorox® Regular Bleach2 (or any chlorine bleach for that matter).  You need to use a rust remover product instead, which can be found at hardware stores.  These products are very strong acids—that’s why they are effective—just be sure to read and follow the package directions, including wearing gloves.  The biggest issue with treating machine washable fabrics with a rust remover is whether or not they are colorfast.  You can always test a spot on a hidden part of the stained items if you want to be sure the rust remover is safe to use.  After you have treated the items, be sure to rinse them thoroughly and let them air dry.

I hope this is helpful—please let me know if you have any other questions, and thanks for writing.

–Dr. Laundry