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How to remove rust stains from linoleum flooring

Updated February 21, 2017

Rust stains that come from your appliances can cause an unsightly stain on your linoleum flooring. Rust is basically the reaction of metal and water, but it causes a stain that can be difficult to remove. Rust spots are common in kitchens and bathrooms, since those rooms tend to be humid. If you do not remove the stains, they simply get worse-looking and actually swell the flooring. It is best to remove the rust stains and prevent them from recurring.

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  1. Vacuum the linoleum flooring and then mop it with regular water and a mop. Look at the leftover stains to see which stains remain after mopping.

  2. Locate the appliances that are causing the rust stains and cover the exposed metal parts with duct tape to prevent future stains.

  3. Mix together a solution of 1 part chlorine bleach and 10 parts water. Use a large bucket. Dip a plain, uncolored scrub brush (one used for dishes) into the bucket and then scrub the rust stains on the floor.

  4. Dry the floor and see if the stain remains. If so, pour a dash of isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) onto the stain and then scrub it again with the brush. Keep scrubbing for at least 30 seconds. If the stain remains, proceed to Step 4.

  5. Mix together 1 tbsp of cream of tartar with 2 tbsp of water to create a paste. Spread the paste over the rust stain and scrub it off with the brush.

  6. Tip

    Commercial products made for cleaning rust stains are available. Wear rubber gloves for this project.


    Do not use an abrasive stainless-steel pad to scrub your linoleum, since it might cause scratches.

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Things You'll Need

  • Vacuum
  • Mop
  • Bucket
  • Duct tape
  • Rubber gloves
  • Chlorine bleach
  • Water
  • Scrub brush
  • Paper towels
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cream of tartar

About the Author

Susan Reynolds has been a writer since 2008. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of South Florida and is a licensed real estate agent in Florida.

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