What to Know
In your home, rust is usually caused by iron or manganese in your water supply. The culprit can be a rusty water heater or rusty water lines, so you'll want to have these checked. Obtain a water sample and send it to a water-treatment equipment company or testing laboratory for analysis. To find a local facility, contact your local Cooperative Extension System Office (see a complete list of local offices at www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/index.html).
What to Do
On clothes: Try a commercial rust treatment like RoVer Rust Remover and follow the label instructions. For a less toxic alternative, try a citrus solvent.
On tools: Donning work gloves, rub the affected area with motor oil (which acts as a lubricant) using a steel-wool pad (which acts as an abrasive). You can also try using naval jelly as a rust dissolver.
On the carpet: Apply soapy water and rinse. Repeat this process until improvement stops. If stain persists, you may need to call a professional who will have access to more powerful cleaners.
Another favorite hiding place for rust: the outdoors. Martha shows you how to restore rusty patio furniture to its former (shinier) glory: