How to Remove Rust Stains from Terrazzo Floors?

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Rust stains on your floor may make the beautiful terrazzo flooring lose its visual allure. Terrazzo floors- just like marble floors- are beautiful to look at due to their shiny appearance. Wondering how to get rid of rust stain and rejuvenate an all-shiny, stain-free floor surface?

To effectively get rid of rust stains depends on the severity. For mild or light stains-hydrogen peroxide and ammonia treatment will restore your terrazzo. Hard-old stubborn rust stains require stripping, sealing, and waxing your entire floor, which is expensive, time-consuming, and last resort. Stripping-rust-stained area will leave uneven-discolored patches on your floor.

How to Remove Rust Stains from Terrazzo Floors? causes, and preventive measures

In this article, you’ll learn the causes of rust stains on terrazzo floors and how you can effectively get rid of the rust stains, restore and make terrazzo shine to its former glory.

Causes of Rust Stains on Terrazzo Floors?

Rust stains on terrazzo floor surfaces usually occurs as a result of metallic objects coming into constant contact with the floor. These could include furniture with metallic legs, or even appliances with metallic bases.

While you can always remove such rust stains from your terrazzo floor using the methods that we shall discuss in the succeeding sections; the most economical thing to do would be to take preventive measures against rust stains, as stain removal is both costly and time-consuming.

For instance, you can install rubber fittings beneath the feet of your metallic furniture to prevent rust.

How do you get rust stains out of terrazzo?

To effectively eliminate rust stains from your terrazzo surface, you should, first of all, clean the floor area and consider the severity of the stains. For mild or light stains, a quick hydrogen peroxide and ammonia treatment will get the job done.

Hydrogen peroxide is a popular cleaning agent and stain remover that you can buy at your local pharmacy/chemist. Ammonia- meanwhile- is a highly abrasive cleaning agent, which is why it has to be used in combination with hydrogen peroxide. You can purchase ammonia at your local convenience store or supermarket or even just hire a professional if you don’t DIY kind of person.

Method 1: Using Hydrogen Peroxide and Ammonia

To effectively remove mild-light rust stains off your terrazzo floors using hydrogen peroxide and ammonia, use the procedure below;

  1. First off, ensure that all windows in the room are opened for ample ventilation; as the above-mentioned chemicals contain toxic fumes that may cause serious health problems if this precaution is not observed. Alternatively, you can wear a face-mask.
  2. Also, ensure to wear a pair of protective hand gloves as ammonia can cause skin burns.
  3. Next, drench a piece of lint-free clothing in the hydrogen peroxide, then press the cloth over the rust-stained section of your terrazzo floor.
  4. Now, drench another piece of clothing in the ammonia solution and press it over the first cloth.
  5. You should leave the pieces of clothing pressed on top of each other and above the stain for about an hour to ensure that the chemicals fully work out the rust stains.
  6. After one hour, remove the pieces of clothing and wipe the terrazzo surface with a dry piece of cloth. You can repeat steps 1-6 above if there are multiple rust stains on your terrazzo floor.

Here a video on how to use Hydrogen peroxide to get rid of rust stain on terrazzo floors

Stained Terrazzo Tiles Cleaned at a Wigan Fish and Chip Shop

See More on How to Clean Terrazzo Floors?

Method 2: Using Sodium Citrate, Water, Glycerin, and Calcium Carbonate

Now, if you’ve got light rust stains but they’re in different spots all over your floor surface, using the above method would be cumbersome and tiring. It would definitely take lots of effort to cover all the spots with chemical-drenched pieces of clothing.

A more practicable alternative would be to make a poultice and apply it to the affected floor areas, as per the procedure below;

  1. Mix sodium citrate with water, glycerin, and calcium carbonate in a ratio of 1:6:6:2 to create a cleansing paste that’s thick enough to attach to the terrazzo floor surface.
  2. Cover the affected floor areas with ample amounts of the paste and leave it in place for 48-72 hours, allowing enough time for the paste to work out all the rust stains.
  3. Once the waiting time elapses, remove the paste off your floor using a degreasing floor cleaner. Repeat applications are also an option if you still have some stains left after the initial treatment.

Method 3: Stripping, Sealing, and Waxing of the terrazzo floor

The final method is for the removal of old severe stubborn rust stains on terrazzo floors. The method is expensive and time consuming and should be the last resort where other two methods have failed. It involves the stripping, sealing, and waxing of the terrazzo floor surface.

This method is labor-intensive and costly- which is why you should only consider it if you’re dealing with heavy stains on your terrazzo surface.

Also, remember that this method has to be applied to the entire terrazzo floor, as stripping and resealing only the affected sections will most likely result in unsightly, contrasting shades on your floor. To properly strip, reseal, and wax your rust-stained terrazzo floor, follow the steps outlined below;

  1. Use any commercial floor stripper to strip your floor surface.
  2. Next, soak a piece of clothing in chlorine bleach and a Q-tip in hydrogen peroxide and use them to remove any traces of rust stains still remaining. Use the Q-tip on corners and edges where using a piece of cloth would be difficult/impractical.
  3. Finish off by resealing and waxing your terrazzo floor. To effectively do this, apply four layers of an acrylic sealer on your terrazzo floor, each after every three hours.

Here a video on how to strip, seal and wax terrazzo flooring.

How to Strip and Wax A Floor

Can you use Vinegar to Remove Stains on Terrazzo Floors?

No, if anything, you should avoid using vinegar on your terrazzo floors. Vinegar is acidic and will- most likely- etch the surface of your terrazzo. The last thing you want to do is to create a bigger, costlier problem by solving a current one. If you use vinegar and it leads to etching, the only options you’ll have for restoring your terrazzo floor to its former glorious look would be to rebuff and refinish it- both of which are quite costly and time-consuming.

Can you use Bleach to Clean Rust on Terrazzo Floors?

Once again- no. Bleach is an abrasive cleansing agent- just like vinegar- and will, therefore, leave your terrazzo floor looking dull. Avoid using chlorine bleach on terrazzo surfaces, as this abrasive cleaner eats away at the wax layer that coats the terrazzo. It’s this layer of wax that gives terrazzo floors their beautiful, shiny appearance. Therefore- if you use bleach on such a surface- it’ll lose its visual allure.

Read Also: How to Make Your Floor Shine, Is Terrazzo Good for Bathroom Floors and Shower Base? How to Restore Terrazzo Floors Yourself.

Sources & References

International Specialised Skills Institute: Construction and restoration of Terrazo

Photo of author


Joe McGuinty
I’ve been working with floors for over 12 years. I started as a flooring contractor, primarily in materials selection. Then, I switched careers into accounting, so my wife and I began buying, renovating, and re-selling homes on the side. You’d be surprised how much value you can add to a home simply by adding new floors.

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