How To Remove Rust Spots From A Driveway

By Robert Robillard on Home Maintenance


Cleaning Your Driveway, The Right Way

It’s easy to know the right thing to do after you’ve made a mistake. A few months back I was cutting a bunch of metal rods [rebar] and I did NOT anticipate all the microscopic metal dust staying on my driveway and leaving  unsightly rust stains. My first thought was to pressure wash the driveway. However, rust comes from a chemical reaction and pressure washing is typically NOT enough to remove it. My task was to now figure out how to remove rust spots from the driveway and then clean the entire surface.

Spot-Cleaning The Rust Spots

Instead, I spot-treated the rust spots with an acid-based stain remover in order to remove rust spots from the driveway.

I’ve used ZEP’s Calcium, Lime Scale, and Rust remover [called ZEP CLR for short] on a few remodeling projects in the past (like to salvage claw foot tubs with heavy mineral staining) and it worked amazingly well. ZEP is a time-tested, professional grade cleaner that’s been around for 80 years. It works well and saves you time and money!


Pro Tip

To start, use the ZEP Calcium, Lime Scale, and Rust remover cleaner on a small, inconspicuous spot to test it before using on the entire stained area. It needs to be rinsed off quickly, so keep a hose handy.

Mixing the CLR Solution

The ZEP Calcium, Lime Scale, and Rust remover is a fast acting, concentrated cleaner. Here’s the best approach to using in order to remove rust spots from the driveway:

  1. Mix a 50/50 solution usingwarm water
  2. Apply to surfaces with a stiff brush
  3. Rinse after 5–10 minutes
  4. Perform a second application at full strength, if needed
  5. Rinse again
  6. It’s important to always read the manufacturer’s label and follow their instructions.

Pressure Wash Driveway

Once the rust stain was treated, I used Zep All-in-One Pressure Wash Concentrate and my pressure washer to clean the entire driveway surface.

I simply add this cleaner to my pressure washer’s detergent reservoir and I’m good to go. As both a remodeling contractor and a homeowner, I like construction grade, concentrated cleaners like this, because there’s no futzing around, I simply add the cleaner to the pressure washer and get the job done fast.

The Zep All-in-One Pressure Wash Concentrate is designed to remove tough oil stains and grime from asphalt, brick, concrete or other aggregate surfaces. [It is not for painted or wood surfaces that will not be refinished.]

Pressure Washing Steps

  1. Wet all surrounding vegetation and grass. Saturate soil to avoid plants from soaking up chemical overspray. [You can also cover any plants if desired.]
  2. Most driveways have a slope – work on the uphill side of the slope
  3. Apply cleaner to driveway – you may need to clean in workable sections
  4. Keep surface wet, re-apply cleaner as needed
  5. Allow ZEP cleaner to soak in for 5-10 minutes
  6. Pressure wash the surface in sections, working in a down-slope direction

Pro Tip:

The Zep All-in-One Pressure Wash Concentrate requires you to use a pressure washer with a downstream chemical injector. Downstream injection introduces the chemical into the system after the pump, so no chemical will be run through the pressure washer pump.

Where To Buy

Zep products are available at Lowes and Home Depot and also online. I purchase my cleaning supplies on Amazon here:

Zep All in One Pressure Washing Concentrate

Zep Calcium Lime and Rust Remover

Driveway Cleaning – Final Thoughts

Like I said earlier, a little foresight may have prevented the need to do this project, but that’s not life is it. Stuff happens and we have to deal with it. They key is to use the right tools to get the job done safely, efficiently and effectively.

By following these steps, using a pressure washer, and a well-known Pro-grade cleaner like Zep, you’ll be well on your way to a clean driveway, walkway or patio.

Good luck!

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About the author

Robert Robillard

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor / Writer / Video Talent

Robert Robillard is a remodeler, general contractor, and principal of a carpentry and renovation business located in Concord, Massachusetts. He also writes the "Ask the Carpenter" advice column in the Boston Globe, and serves as the Editor of Tool Box Buzz and founding editor of A Concord Carpenter . Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review - Tool and Product Review - Video Channel, , where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the remodeling industry. The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob <a href="https://profiles.google.com/concordcarpenter"

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