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F.H. Furr's Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electrical Insider Blog

How to Remove Rust from Toilets, Tubs, Showers, and Sinks

You like to keep your home's bathroom spic and span, so why are you noticing rust building up in areas where you'd think water would wash it all away? Homeowners are asking, "What's the cause, and how do I remove this rust?"

The Common Cause: Stubborn rust stains aren’t necessarily the result of rust problems in your plumbing system. Any water with a high iron content can leave these stains behind over time, even if the water tastes normal and appears to be clear. So, if you live in an area with a lot of iron deposits underground, that iron is probably leaching into the groundwater and could potentially lead to troublesome porcelain stains.  

You may need a plumber’s help in identifying your home's underlying rust issue, but if it’s rusty pipes or a rusty hot water heater, you might need to replace those items to stop the flow of rusty water. If it’s coming from naturally occurring iron-rich water, installing a water softening system can help get the problem under control.

How To Clean It: It typically takes a while for rust to develop, you will often see rust in standing pools of water, such as in tubs or toilets. If there’s a rusty ring around the water line or streaks leading down where the water flows, these are developed rust stains that will not come clean with standard toilet or bath cleaner. In sinks and tubs, rust commonly forms around the drain. If you have a leaky faucet, there may be rust stains right where the water drips. Most rust staining is not very serious and can be successfully removed with the right strategy. If you’re up to the challenge, try these DIY remedies:

> Scouring Pads: The rough side of a standard kitchen sponge may be all you need to lift away light rust stains, but there are also versions of this product that are designed for tough stains on toilets and tubs. This is a good first choice because there are no chemicals involved (which is eco-friendly) and high-quality scouring pads can usually be cleaned and reused several times.

> Pumice: These don’t just work for your feet! Pumice sticks work well on porcelain without leaving damaging marks or scratches. Take your pumice stick and gently scour away rust stains, along with other stains in your tubs, toilets, or sinks.

> Baking Soda: Rinse the tub or sink and let it dry. Dust with baking soda, making sure to cover all rusty areas. Leave the baking soda to soak for an hour or so, then scour with the rough side of a sponge, removing the rust.

> Lemon Juice and Salt: If you don’t have any of these products on hand, you can still clean those troublesome rust stains with this DIY method! A wet paste of lemon juice and salt is a combination that can effectively clear rust stains if given time. Let the mixture soak for at least 30 minutes or up to several hours, then scrub away with a cleaning brush.

No sink toilet, or tub is built to last forever, and serious rust stains may have you thinking of replacement. The renovation experts at F.H. Furr can not only replace your shower, tub, or sink, but can help you get the source of your rust issue.

Topics: bathroom facts Bathroom Remodeling Home Maintenance