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$99 Main Line Drain Clearing Get Offer

How to Remove Rust Stains From Sinks, Tubs, and Toilets


Unsightly rust stains in your sinks, tubs, and toilets look unpleasant and indicate you may have issues with hard water or corrosion. Fortunately, you can restore the aesthetic appeal of your fixtures with a little elbow grease and a few cleaning supplies you probably already have around your home. Most supplies are all-natural and safe to use, providing quick help when you're tired of looking at rust. Let's explore what causes rust stains, look at some handy solutions to iron oxide discoloration, and learn how to prevent rust from occurring in your bathroom or kitchen.


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What Causes Rust Stains?

Understanding the root causes behind rust stains helps you better clean them when they appear — and prevent them from occurring in the future. Rust results from metals like iron and stainless steel oxidizing in the presence of air and water. Also called iron oxide, rust occurs frequently in moist indoor spaces, with sinks, tubs, and toilets being especially prone since their job is holding and handling water. Prolonged exposure without cleaning can lead to hard-to-clean iron oxide buildup that requires special treatment, but there are some simple ways to restore your fixtures.

Baking Soda Paste

Consider a non-abrasive baking soda paste when removing rust stains from your bathtub, shower, toilet, or sink. Made by combining baking soda with a little water to create a thick paste, this rust-removal method is gentle enough to use directly on affected surfaces. Rub it on the discolored area, let it sit for 30 minutes to allow the baking soda to break down the rust, then clean the area with a soft brush or cloth and rinse away the paste.

Pumice Stone

Tougher rust stains require scrubbing with something more abrasive that doesn't damage fixtures. So, if you want to know how to get rust stains out of a toilet, sink, or tub, pumice stone works wonders. Simply wet the stone and rub it gently in a circular motion against the discoloration. Once you finish cleaning the rust stain, rinse the area with water to remove grainy residue and iron oxide.

Lemon and Salt Scrub

Lemons are acidic by nature and act as a natural bleach, while salt offers an abrasive quality that's also good for cleaning. Combining these two all-natural cleaning powerhouses helps when you want to get rust stains out of a sink, toilet or tub. Simply cut a lemon in half, add salt to the cut end, then scrub the discolored areas, using the lemon's outer peel as an easy-to-control handle. Rinse away the citrus and salt after cleaning to reveal a cleaner surface.

White Vinegar Soak

Some rust stains require extra help; one way to provide it is by soaking the area with white vinegar. For instance, if the interior of your sink is stained, close the drain, then fill the sink with white vinegar so it covers the discolorations entirely. Let it sit for a few hours or even overnight. The acidic nature of the vinegar will eat away at the iron oxide, so it breaks down for easier removal. If you fill the surface to soak it, place a rag soaked with white vinegar on top of the stain and keep it wet until the discoloration lifts away.

How to Prevent Rust Stains

Consistently cleaning surfaces keeps rust stains at bay by preventing deposit buildup. Drying off surfaces prone to rusting after exposure to moisture and a good ventilation system also help, as does using rust inhibitors on metal fixtures to prevent them from leaching onto porcelain tubs, sinks, and toilets. Hard water can also lead to rust deposits, so installing a water softener can help prevent rust in your bathroom.


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