How to Remove Rust From Pavers

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DIYers love pavers for their ease of installation, whether you want a new patio or walkway. So it's disappointing to walk out to your paver patio only to discover rust stains. Tackling rust stains quickly with regular household items or a stronger rust remover can restore your pavers to their original beauty. Here's what causes rust on pavers and how to remove it.

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Causes of Rust on Pavers

Pavers themselves don't rust naturally. Rust on pavers comes from metal and water combining. A common source is metal patio furniture that gets wet from sitting outside and leaves rust marks on your patio. Rusty water can also make its way onto your patio pavers and leave rusty spots. Identifying the source can help you prevent future paver rust issues.

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Squeeze on Lemon Juice

If you have a small, light rust stain on pavers, lemon juice could be enough to lighten or remove the stain. Wait for a sunny day if possible since the sun can help amplify the effects of the lemon juice. Then follow these steps:

  1. Saturate the rust stain with lemon juice; either fresh-squeezed or bottled lemon juice should work.
  2. Wait at least five minutes to give the acidity of the lemon juice time to break up the rust stains.
  3. Tackle the stain with a soft-bristle cleaning brush, working in a circular motion. You might need to repeat the lemon juice treatment a few times.
  4. Rinse between applications to inspect the rust stain.

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Use caution if you have nearby plants, as acidic lemon juice can kill plants. The lemon juice might reach nearby plants when you rinse the pavers.

Use White Vinegar

If lemon juice isn't strong enough to clear away the rust, plain white vinegar can help. Use the following method:

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  1. Pour vinegar over the spot.
  2. Place a vinegar-soaked cloth over it to keep it damp.
  3. Wait for 15 to 20 minutes, keeping it moist the entire time.
  4. Scrub with a cleaning brush and rinse well.

Just like lemon juice, vinegar can damage nearby plants, so use it with caution.

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Try a Rust-Remover Product

Commercial rust removers, like CLR, are often effective at removing rust stains from pavers. They typically use some type of acid, which helps get rid of the rust. Read the label to make sure the product is safe to use on pavers. It's also a good idea to test out the product on a hidden paver to make sure it doesn't discolor or etch the brick.

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Follow the instructions on the rust remover package, as each product is different. You might need to dilute the product with water before applying it and scrubbing it with a brush. Wear gloves, goggles, and other appropriate protection as recommended by the product packaging. The acid in these products can be dangerous, especially if it touches your skin or eyes.

Replace Rusted Pavers

If you've tried all the tricks and the rust stains won't budge, replacing the pavers might be the best option. This option will work if you have leftover pavers or can find an exact match to your original pavers. However, if the paver area is older, it could be weathered and discolored due to outdoor elements. The new pavers will stand out on the patio. Power washing the old bricks can help make the new brick pavers fit in better.

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