How To Remove Rust Stains From Vinyl Siding

Gideon Zielinski
by Gideon Zielinski
Vinyl siding is resilient, but it is still susceptible to pesky rust stains that make it look bad. Luckily, you can remove rust stains from vinyl siding in several ways, such as scrubbing it or using a vinegar solution. Whether you use a commercial cleaner or a DIY solution, follow along as we explore how to remove rust stains from vinyl siding.

Streaks of rust coating your vinyl siding will harm your home’s curb appeal. In addition to being an eyesore, rust stains present a challenge when trying to clean the exterior of your home. Thankfully, there are several solutions to this problem. Below you will learn how rust stains happen, what you can do to remove them, and how to keep them away for good.

To remove rust stains from vinyl siding, use a vinegar and water solution with a scrub brush and rag. Additionally, you can try commercial cleaners such as Goofoff, and The Works. Make sure that you pressure wash the siding. The best approach will depend on your particular preference and situation.

We will give you in-depth and nuanced information on how to clean rust stains off your vinyl siding.

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The Best Way to Clean Rust Stains From Vinyl Siding

Rust stains can be a pesky scar on the siding of your home. There are several well-known methods to remove them. We will expound on each of them below.

See this chart highlighting the pros and cons of each cleaning process:

Vinyl Siding CleanerProsCons
White Vinegar Natural InexpensiveSafeLess effectiveDifficult to cover a large area
Chemical cleaners like RustAid by GoofOffVery effectiveNo scrubbing Relatively inexpensiveHarmful to plantsEtches glassMust wear protective gear
Pressure Washer Can cover a large areaNo chemicals Cleans everythingWater seeping under the sidingMust rent or purchase equipment

Here is a closer look at each method.

Removing Rust Stains From Vinyl Siding with Vinegar

Many people have reported successful removal of rust stains with a vinegar solution. Some suggest mixing vinegar and lemon juice. Others just use vinegar. Most people have some white vinegar sitting around in their pantry making this the easiest method to try. Also, vinegar is less harmful than commercial cleaners.

Here’s How You Do It:

Mix 70 percent water with 30 percent white vinegar (you don’t want vinegar with any color). Place the mix in a spray bottle and saturate the rusty area with the solution. After letting the solution sit for several minutes, wipe off with a soft bristle sponge (you want to avoid super abrasive material, like steel) and rinse with dish soap and water. You may need to do this several times for the best results.

There are reports of various levels of efficiency with this method. How well this works will depend on the severity of the stain.

Pros: A cheap and natural cleaning option. Won’t be damaging to surrounding people or objects. Easy to make and apply.

Cons: May not be as effective as some commercial options. It could be challenging to clean a large area.

Commercial Cleaners to Remove Rust Stains from Vinyl Siding

There are several products on the market which remove rust stains well. We will highlight Rust Aid below.

Rust Aid by GoofOff for Removing Rust Stains

This product does a great job of removing rust stains. All you do is apply it to the area and wait several minutes. It eats the rust off without any scrubbing. It’s a versatile solution; however, it has several drawbacks.

First, the manufacturer recommends you water down nearby plants or grass to protect them from the potent chemicals. Second, if this solution contacts windows, it will quickly etch the glass. Therefore, if you choose this product, you will need to take precautions.

Here’s how you use it: First, don rubber gloves and eye protection. Then test the solution on an inconspicuous area of your vinyl siding. You want to make sure the chemical doesn’t have any adverse effects before using it on a larger site.

After you’ve made sure it won’t etch or corrode your siding, apply it to the rust-stained areas with a sponge, hose sprayer, or spritzer bottle. After several minutes, you should see the rust begin to dissolve. Rinse the area with water. Repeat if needed on severe rust stains.

Pros: Easy application and effective removal of rust stains. It also removes calcium deposits and other grime.

Cons: Will etch glass, and can harm plants. It can be dangerous if in contact with human skin.

Pressure Washer to Remove Rust Stains From Vinyl Siding

The pressure washer can be a great tool to remove rust stains from vinyl siding. Not only is it easy to clear a large area, but it doesn’t use any harsh chemicals. There are downsides. Some people report some pressure washers will have a hard time removing severe rust stains. Also, if you aren’t careful, you can spray water up between your vinyl and cause water damage.

In addition to this, you need to either rent or buy a pressure washer. This can get pricey depending on how long you need it. We recommend getting expert assistance if you need to pressure wash a large area of your home. However, here are some general guidelines:

Keep the water jet level with the vinyl siding. This means don’t spray up and underneath your siding. Also, be very careful around windows and doors. Pressure washers can harm seals causing water to leak into your home.

Pros: Easy to clear a large area. Cleans more than just rust. No harsh chemicals.

Cons: Can be expensive. Harmful to vinyl siding if used at improper angles or pressures.

If you’ve had a lot of problems with your current siding and are thinking about getting something new or different, see our article on 20 different types of siding for your home.

How to Prevent Rust Stains on Vinyl Siding

The ideas above are simply a band-aid on a larger wound. After cleaning, it can be only a few months before more rust stains appear. If you have repeated rust stains, it’s critical to find and fix the cause. You must prevent any source of hard water from contacting your home’s siding.

Here are a few things that commonly cause rust stains on vinyl siding:

  • Sprinkler systems 
  • Leaks around hose spigots 
  • Leaky air conditioning units 

Sprinkler System Causing Rust Stains

If you take care of your yard, then you probably water it with a sprinkler reasonably often. The side effect of this is staining your siding if the water is inadvertently spraying the house. To prevent this, try to reposition your sprinkler. Also, take a moment to clean off any moisture that struck the home after watering the lawn.

Leaks Around Water Spigots

This is a super common site for rust staining. If you have a poor connection with your hose, water will spray the house. Try to tighten your hose connection. If this doesn’t work, get a new gasket for the coupling. Or, possibly replace the entire hose.

Ignoring rust on vinyl siding will cause permanent damage to your vinyl siding and lower the value of your home.

Leaking Air Conditioner Unit

HVAC units commonly have a drainage port for water runoff. If this is too close to the house, it could contact the vinyl siding and cause rust. This is especially true of window AC units located directly above the siding. Install a drain that carries the water away from your house. If you’re unsure what to do, consult a professional to assess your situation.

If you’re wondering whether your vinyl siding is near the end of its life, see our article here.

Do You Need Vinyl Siding Repair or Replacement?

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Related Questions

How to Remove Rust Stains From Aluminum Siding 

Aluminum presents differently than vinyl siding. To remove rust stains from aluminum siding, first,  simply try a bucket of dish soap and water. Many people also recommend using a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Be careful with harsher chemicals and cleaners. Aluminum siding has a coating of paint that can be destroyed. 

Will CLR Remove Rust From Vinyl Siding? 

CLR (Calcium Lime and Rust) will remove rust from vinyl siding. However, we recommend that you heavily dilute it with water, as CLR  is a potent chemical cleaner.

How Do You Remove Rust Stains From Vinyl Fence?

You can remove rust stains from a vinyl fence with a commercial rust remover like RustAid, or a power washer. If your fence borders a neighbors property, be mindful of any chemical that could seep into their yard. It’s best to test a method on a small portion of the fence before committing to the whole area. 

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Gideon Zielinski
Gideon Zielinski

Gideon is a writer and hobby woodworker. He enjoys working on projects small and large-everything from crafting boxes and benches, to replacing carpet and landscaping a yard.

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