Removing Rust Stains from Carpet
LESLIE: Thomas in New Jersey needs some help removing a rust stain. What can we do for you?
THOMAS: I have a problem. I have a recurring problem. I’ve been getting water coming in, in the carpet. And I checked the walls; it’s not from the walls. It’s got to be coming from underneath the foundation.
TOM: Is this a slab foundation? Do you have a concrete slab?
THOMAS: (overlapping voices) Yeah, concrete slab.
TOM: OK. And is it getting wet near the exterior wall or middle of the house? Where?
THOMAS: An exterior wall; right …
THOMAS: Right on the exterior wall.
TOM: Alright, the source of that water is going to be a drainage issue outside the house. You want to look at your gutter system and your grading. Because what happens, Tom, is the water will pile up around the outside. It may not be so obvious to you in the sense that a puddle forms, but it gets very saturated and then it gets into the slab and solid concrete is very hydroscopic; it’s very absorbent to water. And so what happens is it’ll start drawing that water from the outside straight through to the inside and dampen the carpet at the same time.
LESLIE: Now as for that rust stain, if you’ve got any sort of residue of rust on the carpet fibers itself, take a dull utility knife blade and try to scrape off as much of that rust that you can. And then once you’ve done that, you want to saturate the entire stain with lemon juice. Now you can use the fresh kind or you can use the bottled kind of lemon juice but you want to …
THOMAS: Like ReaLemon?
LESLIE: Right, real lemons or even the – you know the store bought lemon in the jar; whatever you’ve got.
TOM: I like the ReaLemon. I think it works a lot better for stain removal.
THOMAS: Oh, fine. Do I mix it water or anything or I just …?
LESLIE: Nope, straight up lemon juice and you want to saturate the stain area and you want to let the juice sit right there for at least five minutes but no more than ten because if you go more than ten you could bleach the rug. So no more than ten …
THOMAS: (overlapping voices) OK, no more than ten minutes.
LESLIE: Right. Then you want to blot the stain with a white paper towel – don’t rub; blot – and that should do the trick. And if that doesn’t do the trick, then you want to work with about a 1/4 teaspoon of like a liquid dishwashing detergent and a quart of water and you want to apply the detergent to a clean, damp, white towel and then blot the stained area until the stain is removed. And once you’ve got the stain out, you want to spray the area with water and then blot until all of the detergent is gone. But the lemon really should do the trick and, once it’s dry, vacuum the area and you’ll never know it was there.
THOMAS: OK. Well, thank you for what you’ve told me.
TOM: You’re very welcome, Tom. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.