5 Ways to Remove Rust Stains on Countertops

how to remove rust stains on countertop

Say goodbye to those pesky rust stains on your countertops! This guide will reveal five safe and effective methods suitable for all countertop materials.

Rust stains can be a nuisance, ruining your beautiful kitchen’s aesthetic. But, more importantly, it’s crucial to use solutions that won’t damage your countertops, whether they are made of granite, marble, quartz, or laminate.

We’ve compiled a list that caters to a range of materials, ensuring you can restore your countertops to their former glory without causing any harm.

So, let’s delve into these five methods for removing rust stains from countertops.

Gather Your Supplies

Before we get started, we must ensure we have all the necessary equipment. Here’s my go-to list of everyday items that you’ll need for rust stain removal:

  1. A non-abrasive scrubber. I can’t stress this enough – never use steel wool on your countertops! It can leave behind scratches and damage the surface. I’ve learned this the hard way!
  2. Cleaning agents. Depending on the severity of the stain and the material of your countertop, you could use anything from mild dish soap to specialized rust removers. I keep a bottle of both in my cleaning cabinet.
  3. A soft, clean cloth. This is for wiping down the countertop surface after the cleaning process.
  4. A plastic scraper. This tool is handy for gently removing stubborn rust stains.

Emphasize the Importance of Safety Gear

Before we go any further, let’s take a moment to talk about safety. When dealing with rust stains, we often use cleaning agents that can be harsh.

I remember once having a splash of rust remover in my eye. Trust me, it’s not a pleasant experience.

So, always wear protective gear before starting the process. This includes gloves to protect your hands from the cleaning agents and safety goggles to shield your eyes.

It may seem overkill for cleaning a countertop, but better safe than sorry, right? Besides, who said cleaning can’t be glamorous? With your safety gear on, you’ll look like a pro!

Method 1: Baking Soda and Water Paste

This method is one of my personal favorites! It’s simple, effective, and perfect for any countertop material. Let’s see how it works.

Step-by-step instructions for creating and using the paste

  1. Prepare the paste: Mix 3 parts of baking soda to 1 part water in a bowl. You’re aiming for a consistency similar to toothpaste. I often find it therapeutic to mix it by hand but feel free to use a spoon.
  2. Apply the paste: Once ready, apply it to the rust stain. I use an old toothbrush to rub it in gently. The bristles are soft enough to avoid scratching your countertop but sturdy enough to do an excellent job.
  3. Let it sit: Allow the paste to sit on the stain for 15-20 minutes. This is usually when I take a coffee break.
  4. Scrub it off: After the wait, scrub the area again with the toothbrush, then wipe it off with a damp cloth.
  5. Repeat if necessary: If the rust stain is stubborn, you might have to repeat the process.

Suitable for all countertop materials

The baking soda and water paste method is versatile. I’ve used it on my kitchen granite countertop, the bathroom marble, and even the quartz on my breakfast bar. It’s never let me down!

Benefits and precautions

The most significant benefit of this method is its simplicity and availability. Who doesn’t have some baking soda and water at home? Plus, it’s non-abrasive so it won’t scratch your countertops.

Always test a small, hidden area first to ensure it doesn’t discolor your countertop. And, of course, keep your safety gear on.

You might not be dealing with harsh chemicals here, but splashing baking soda in your eye isn’t fun. Trust me, I’ve been there!

Method 2: Lemon Juice and Salt

A delightful alternative to the baking soda method is using lemon juice and salt.

The acidity of the lemon juice, coupled with the abrasive properties of salt, works marvelously against rust stains.

Here’s my experience with this natural, potent duo.

Step-by-step instructions for this natural alternative

  1. Prepare your natural cleaner: Squeeze half a lemon into a bowl and add enough salt to make a paste. I had too much juice the first time I tried this, but it’s all part of the learning process, right?
  2. Apply the mixture: Spread the lemon-salt paste on the rust stain and let it do its magic. I typically use a soft cloth or sponge to cover the entire stain.
  3. Wait and scrub: Give the paste 20-30 minutes to penetrate the stain. Then, with the same cloth or sponge, gently scrub the area. This method requires more elbow grease, but I promise it’s worth it.
  4. Rinse and dry: Finally, rinse the area with water and dry it thoroughly. If the rust stain persists, don’t worry! Recreate the paste, reapply, and repeat the process.

Safe for various countertop surfaces

This method is as versatile as the baking soda and can be used on all countertop types.

I’ve used it on my kitchen’s stainless steel counter, and the results were impeccable!

Highlight the natural cleaning power

The natural cleaning power of lemon and salt is genuinely unique. Both are readily available and safe to use.

I particularly love this method because it leaves my kitchen smelling fresh and clean.

And there is a certain satisfaction in knowing you’re using eco-friendly methods to maintain your home.

So, if you’re up for a bit of scrubbing and the fresh scent of lemon, try this method!

Method 3: White Vinegar and Baking Soda

Mixing Ratios and Application Process

One day, as I was cleaning out my pantry, I found a gallon of white vinegar and a box of baking soda lying dormant in a corner, and an idea struck me.

Combining these two ingredients creates a powerful natural cleaner.

To create this mixture, combine one part white vinegar with two parts baking soda.

It forms a fizzy paste, and trust me, it’s as fun to make as it sounds!

Next, spread this paste over the rust stain using a soft cloth or sponge.

I usually let it sit for about 15-20 minutes. The smell of vinegar might be strong, but hang in there because the results are worth it!

After the wait, gently scrub the rusted area, rinse it off with water, and dry it thoroughly.

Compatibility with Different Countertop Materials

The beauty of this concoction lies in its adaptability. I’ve used it successfully on various countertop surfaces, from my marble kitchen island to the steel countertops in my outdoor kitchen.

It’s worked wonders every time, serving as a testament to its versatility.

Precautions for Sensitive Surfaces

This mixture might be slightly harsh on some delicate surfaces despite its effectiveness.

For instance, I tried it on my antique wooden table, but it didn’t end well.

So, before applying it on any surface, I’d recommend doing a little patch test on an inconspicuous area, especially if it’s a delicate or antique piece.

It’s always better to be safe than sorry in these circumstances!

Method 4: Commercial Rust Removers

While I’m a big fan of the baking soda and vinegar combo, sometimes, you might run into rust stains that are a bit more stubborn, demanding more than a homemade solution.

For these instances, I rely on commercial rust removers. One product that I’ve found especially compelling is the ‘CLR Pro Calcium, Lime, and Rust Remover’.

This little miracle worker has turned the severest of stains into a distant memory.

Another one that has a special place on my cleaning shelf is the ‘Evapo-Rust The Original Super Safe Rust Remover’.

It’s non-toxic, biodegradable, and very easy to use.

Ideal for Stubborn Rust Stains on All Countertop Types

I’ve tested these commercial removers on various surfaces, and they’ve consistently delivered excellent results.

Remember the stubborn rust mark on my granite countertop that resisted the baking soda-vinegar paste and my elbow grease?

The Evapo-Rust took care of it in a flash. It even works well on sensitive surfaces like wood without causing any damage.

Proper Application Guidelines and Precautions

While these products are mostly safe, reading and adhering to the instructions is always advisable.

Most rust removers require you to apply them directly to the stain, let them sit for a few minutes (or hours, depending on the severity of the stain), and then wipe away or rinse.

Gloves are recommended while handling these products to avoid any skin irritation. Also, remember to store these away from children and pets, as they can be harmful if ingested.

Just like with my DIY method, it’s wise to do a patch test on an inconspicuous area before applying the product to ensure that it does not discolor or damage the surface.

Method 5: Hydrogen Peroxide & Cream of Tartar

Step-by-step guide for making and using the solution

One of my secret weapons in the war against stubborn rust stains is a simple DIY solution made from hydrogen peroxide and cream of tartar.

Just take two teaspoons of cream of tartar and slowly mix in hydrogen peroxide until it forms a thick paste.

Apply this paste directly onto the rust stain and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Then, using a soft cloth or sponge, wipe away the paste.

You’ll find that the rust is also wiped away with the paste, leaving your countertop looking as good as new!

Compatibility with different countertop surfaces

Like commercial rust removers, always test this solution on an inconspicuous area before applying it all over the countertop.

I have used this method on granite, quartz, and marble surfaces, which has worked wonderfully.

However, it is always better to be safe than sorry, and a patch test will ensure compatibility with your specific countertop material.

Advantages of this DIY option

I love this method for several reasons. Firstly, the ingredients are readily available in almost every kitchen and are inexpensive.

Secondly, it’s non-toxic and biodegradable, making it a safe and eco-friendly option. Finally, it’s remarkably effective!

I remember having a nasty rust stain on my white quartz countertop that wouldn’t budge.

I whipped up this paste, let it sit for about an hour, and lo and behold, the stain was completely gone! The proof is in the pudding (or, in this case, the paste)!

Post-Treatment Cleanup

How to safely remove residues from the countertop

The cleanup process after using the rust removal paste is as straightforward as the stain removal process itself.

First, gently scrape off the dried paste with a soft cloth or sponge, ensuring you don’t scratch your countertop.

Once, hurrying to clean up, I used a hard-bristle brush – a big mistake. It left tiny scratches on my countertop.

So I advise you to always opt for a soft cloth or sponge. Once you’ve removed most of the dried paste, wipe the area with a damp cloth to pick up the remaining residue.

The importance of thorough rinsing

Thorough rinsing is a crucial step that should never be overlooked.

Despite being a natural, harmless solution for us, leaving traces of the paste might affect the shine and finish of your countertop over time.

I always rinse the treated area with a generous amount of warm water and then dry it thoroughly.

Remember when I told you about the tough rust stain on my white quartz countertop?

Well, after using the paste and seeing the fantastic results, I skipped the thorough rinse because I was too excited.

A few days later, I noticed a slight dullness on that spot. I quickly realized my mistake and rinsed the area properly, which restored the shine. So never skip this step, trust me on this!

Preventing Future Rust Stains

Tips on maintaining a rust-free countertop

Preventing rust is always easier than removing it. The key to a rust-free countertop is regular cleaning and maintenance.

I prefer to clean my countertops at the end of each day to ensure no moisture or spills sit overnight, which could lead to rusting.

I gently clean the surface using a mild detergent and a soft cloth. It’s a routine that has significantly reduced the occurrence of rust stains in my kitchen.

Suggest protective measures

Since I realized the damage caused by leaving wet pots and pans on the countertop, I’ve started using trivets and pot holders.

They keep the moisture at bay and protect the countertop from heat damage. Additionally, I ensure that all metal cans, containers, and utensils are dried completely before storing them.

This slight change is a protective measure that goes a long way in keeping your countertop rust-free.


In this guide, we’ve covered five proven methods for rust stain removal from countertops.

From the humble baking soda and water paste to the professional-grade rust removers, we’ve seen that rust stains, however stubborn, can be dealt with effectively.

Remember how the paste saved my white quartz countertop? That was a revelation for me!

Choosing methods that are safe for your specific countertop material is crucial. Always remember, safety first, just like how I avoid hard-bristle brushes on my delicate surfaces!

I’d love to hear from you. Do share any unique or tried-and-true methods you’ve used for rust stain removal on countertops.

After all, we learn the most through sharing experiences and tips, just as I did when I learned the importance of thorough rinsing the hard way! Let’s help each other maintain beautiful, rust-free countertops.


Hi! I’m Kobby, one of the co-owners of favoredstoneguides.com and the newest house owner in town. I’m a huge fan of most things natural. Over here on this site, I'm happy to share all the exciting hacks, tricks, and tips I have learned and continue to learn each day about taking care of natural stones.

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