Are your car carpets starting to look a bit worse for wear? Sometimes the inside of vehicles can pick up dirt and stains that are more difficult to deal with than your regular coffee spills or muddy footprints. For instance, you might need to remove rust stains from car carpet. This problem can occur if you leave car tools for auto maintenance in the trunk or a footwell of the car. For example, a car jack, screwdrivers, chains, oil cans and jumper cables can all easily transfer rust. Or perhaps metal furniture, gardening tools or rusty wheels on children’s bikes and scooters have left behind distinctive reddish brown marks on your car carpets. Whatever the reason, the following 10 steps will help you remove rust stains from car carpet to keep it looking clean and fresh.

Remove Rust Stains from Car Carpet

1. Clear the Carpet Area

Before you get started, identify the source of the rust stain and remove it from your car. If the offending item has to be returned to your car in the future, be sure to protect the carpets to avoid a repeat of this problem. Also, remove the floor mats and vacuum them outside the car. If the rust stains are in the trunk of the car, you can skip this step.

2. Collect Equipment and Cleaning Ingredients

Gather everything you’ll need to remove rust stains from car carpet. Bear in mind, you may need additional cleaning products for more stubborn rust stains. For now, though, these are the main items you will need:

  • Knife
  • Vacuum
  • Small bowl or bucket
  • Dish soap
  • Water
  • Sponge
  • Clean towel

3. Scrape off Rust

Use the blunt edge of your knife to gently and carefully scrape away any excess rust from the stained area of the car carpet. This will loosen the rust stain ingrained in the carpet fibers to help get the worst of it off.

4. Vacuum to Remove Rust Stains from Car Carpet

Vacuum the car carpets to remove the loosened rust and dirt from the carpet fibers. Make sure there are no leftover rust particles, otherwise they will spread once the cleaning solution is applied. A cordless vacuum with a crevice tool makes it easier to get into awkward areas in the footwell. However, a regular household vacuum will suffice if you have an extension cord. If you like to keep the interior of your car spotless, check out our handy guide on how to choose the right car vacuum.

5. Blot Rust Stain with Soap-Based Cleaning Solution

You don’t have to buy a specific car carpet rust remover. You can easily make an effective car carpet stain remover at home. To remove rust stains from car carpet, mix 1 tablespoon dish soap with 2 cups warm water in a small bowl. Dip the sponge into the soapy water and blot the rust stain. Make sure you don’t scrub the area with the sponge or you may spread watered-down rust to other parts of your carpet and make the problem worse.

6. Let the Solution Sit for 15 Minutes

Once you have saturated the stain, let it sit for at least 15 minutes. This will allow time for the soap and water to work into the fibers of the carpet and break up the stain. Don’t forget about it though! If it hardens and dries, it will be much trickier to remove rust stains from car carpet. Note, if your car carpets have other stains such as oil marks, you can make a DIY car carpet cleaner specifically for this problem.

7. Rinse with Warm Water

If the carpet foams up excessively with your soap solution, fill a separate bowl with clean, warm water. Use a clean cloth to rinse away any soap suds and rust residue. No time to make your own cleaning solutions? Shop around for the best car carpet stain remover products. These will help with not just rust stains but also grease, oil and other unsightly stains.

8. Dry Carpet with Towel

Use a clean, dry towel to repeatedly blot the rust stain. This will gradually transfer the rust stain from the car carpet onto the towel. Keep using dry sections of the towel or another clean towel until the carpet is stain-free. It is important to dry the carpets thoroughly otherwise mold can develop. If this happens, knowing how to clean mold out of car carpet will eliminate any musty smells from the interior of your car.

9. Repeat the Process for Stubborn Rust Stains

You might need to have a couple of goes before you successfully remove rust stains from car carpet. If soap and water doesn’t do the trick, a vinegar-based cleaning solution might be necessary. To make this, you will need:

  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Lemon juice (fresh or bottled)
  • Salt

Mix 1 cup vinegar with 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1 tablespoon salt to remove rust stain from car carpet. Soak the stain with the vinegar-based solution for at least 30 minutes to remove the stubborn rust stain. Then rinse thoroughly and blot dry with a towel as in the previous steps. Vinegar can also come in handy if you are wondering how to clean salt from car carpets.

If you don’t like the smell of vinegar in your car, simply use lemon juice directly on the affected area and sprinkle with salt. Leave for 10 minutes or so, then rinse with warm water. Finally, use the towel to blot the carpet dry.

10. Final Vacuum to Freshen up

Once you have successfully removed the rust stain, give the carpet another once over with the vacuum cleaner to leave it in pristine condition. Finally, you can return vacuumed car mats to the car once you are sure the interior car carpet is completely dry. Even though you have managed to remove rust stains from car carpet, the area might need a little extra attention to restore its color and appearance. How to do car carpet recoloring is easier than you think if you have the right tools.


Knowing how to remove rust stains from car carpet allows you to take remedial action as soon as you notice your carpets are marked. Getting to work on the problem as soon as possible will hopefully completely remove all traces of rust.

Although removing car carpet stains is a straightforward procedure, it can be fiddly work. If you don’t have the time (or patience), schedule an appointment with Fresh Car Detailing to have your car professionally detailed. Our trusted steam cleaning technology utilizes the best equipment and techniques. It will not only remove rust stains from car carpet but will also remove other carpet stains during the interior cleaning process. Our steam cleaning methods are environmentally friendly, too.

Fresh Car Detailing – Mobile Car Wash Melbourne – Professional Mobile Car Wash. We Come To You Any Suburb, Any Time. Our service Include Interior Detailing, Exterior Detailing, Car Ceramic Coating and more.

If you are at Knoxfield, below is the best way to visit us.

Fresh Car Detailing – Mobile Car Wash Melbourne

18 Cumberland Chase

Hampton Park VIC 3976

(03) 9999 7553

[email protected]

How to Remove Rust Stains from Car Carpet in 10 Steps