How to Remove Iron and Rust Stains in Sinks, Bathtubs, and on Other Surfaces

If you’re seeing rust stains in your sink, in your shower or toilet, or even on your clothes, you probably have a few questions. Namely, why is rust forming on surfaces that aren’t made of iron, and how do I prevent it?

Rust stains are the result of a chemical reaction between water, iron, and oxygen. The reason rust forms on surfaces that don’t contain iron is that the rust is present in your water instead. Well water is known for having higher levels of iron, but the iron could also come from galvanized pipes that are beginning to rust. What happens is the rust-containing water settles around the drains in your sinks or showers, reacts with the air, and leaves behind that red-orange, brownish coloration we all know to be rust.

Rust stains in sinkIt’s a similar situation with your clothes, dishwasher, kitchen sinks, and any other surfaces where water might accumulate.

Remove Rust Stains from Sinks, Showers, and Other Household Surfaces

You’ve probably noticed that your typical chlorine-bleach cleaning products don’t work. Instead, pick up a product called Bar Keepers Friend. It’s a non-abrasive, non-chlorine product specifically formulated for stainless steal surfaces, but it can also be used on a lot of other surfaces: non-stone countertops, glass, ceramic, copper, brass, china. (It’s also good for removing soap scum and lime scale.)

If you’re looking for a more natural, homemade remedy, try these two:

White Vinegar and Baking Soda

Be careful. SLOWLY add drops of white vinegar to baking soda to prevent it from exploding in your face. Combine the two until you have a paste. Let this sit on the rust stains for up to 25 minutes (or until the rust looks like it’s ready to come off). You might have to repeat the process.

Lemon Juice and Salt

Poor some lemon juice on the rusted area and sprinkle some salt over it. Let it sit for about 15 minutes. Repeat if need. You might see some slight discoloration where there was a stain.

How to Remove Rust Stains from Clothes

The methods for removing rust stains from clothes are similar to those above.

If you want to use lemon juice and salt, follow these instructions to make the mixture: poor some lemon juice in a jar and add salt until it forms a slurry. You want the mixture to be as close as you can to being saturated so that the lemon juice “holds” the salt without it beginning to get crumbly.

Whether you’re using the lemon juice-salt mixture or white vinegar, follow these steps:

  1. Lay your garment out on a flat surface
  2. Use a sponge or white cloth to spread whichever cleanser you choose over the stain
  3. Set your garment in sunlight, which will help fade the stain
  4. Blot up as much of the rust as possible, and repeat the process if you think it could use a second round.
  5. Wash your garment like you normally would.
  6. Repeat the process if necessary.

How to Prevent Rust Stains

You can potentially slow down the buildup of rust around your home by doing things like ventilating your bathroom and wiping down the shower walls when you’re done. You can also remove things like metal shaving cream cans that leave behind rust rings.

However, if you want a more effective and permanent solution, you need to look into whole-house water treatment systems, such as water softeners. A whole-house water filter such as this will remove iron from your water as it enters your house. This will eliminate any need to stay on top of cleaning rust stains as they build up around your home.

If you’re considering remodeling your bathroom or kitchen to remove sinks and showers that are severely rust-stained, a system like this would make your remodel worth the money. Otherwise, your water will slowly begin to rust your new fixtures and shower.

When You Buy a Water Softener to Prevent Rust Stains, You Get These Benefits To!

In addition to eliminating the need to deal with unsightly rust stains, water softeners will also save you money over the long term. This is because soft water mixes better with soaps and detergents, requiring less water to clean your laundry and dishes. Soft water also won’t dry out your skin and hair as much, saving you money on lotion, expensive moisturizers, and costly deep-conditioning treatments, among others. Thirdly, you’ll save approximately 25% on hot water on your utility bill because soft water has a lower boiling point than hard water; the higher boiling point of hard water means your water heater has to work harder to heat the water, thus costs you more money.

Kinetico Water SoftenerA water softener will help you keep household surfaces looking cleaner and clearer because you won’t be cleaning up dirt with water that will leave behind hard water stains. You also won’t have to use as many chemicals around your home, which is better for you, your kids and pets, and the environment.

If you buy a softener like a Kinetico non-electric water softener, you won’t have the limitations of a single-tank electric softener. The Kinetico water softener will provide you with soft water 24/7, and you’ll never have staining again. Read this article for more information about why Kinetico water treatment solutions out-perform traditional water treatment systems.

Clearwater Systems installs whole house water treatment systems from Kinetico, an award-winning, trusted name in water filtration solutions. Contact us about any questions you have regarding rust in your water. You can also schedule a free water analysis.