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Rust around a sink drain.

Removing Rust from Bathtubs, Toilets, & Sinks

The Root Causes of Rust

Have you noticed brown patches appearing on your bathroom toilet, sink, and tub? If so, it is most likely rust. Rust can result from:

  • Water carried through old, rusty galvanized pipes
  • The corrosive effect of hard water residue (iron and minerals) on surface
  • Excessive moisture on metal
  • And much more!

Regardless of why your appliances are getting rusty, you’ll want to find a way to clean them up. Let Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Southeast Georgia walk you through some surefire strategies that can help you remove rust stains from your bathroom today!

Always Consider the Material First

Before removing rust stains, it is critical to check the materials you are removing rust from. Each cleaner has specific ingredients that are only suitable for certain materials. The last thing you want to do is damage your fixtures further.

Common materials include:

  • Porcelain/Ceramic: This is a popular material for bathroom fixtures due to its durability and cheap manufacturing costs. The type of finish on porcelain significantly affects its vulnerability to rust stains. Porcelain enamel sinks often rust around drains, leaving a red, orange, yellow, or brown residue.
  • Stainless steel: Stainless steel is corrosion-resistant, but it can still rust when exposed to saline, grease, moisture, damaging chemicals, or heat for prolonged periods. The rust protection stainless steel enjoys results from its chromium surface. If there is deficient chromium or a thin oxide layer at the surface, the fixture will be vulnerable to corrosion when the top layer is scratched off.
  • Composite Plastic: If you are working with plastic fixtures, you are likely not dealing with rust stains. The discoloration is probably the sign of another issue. We recommend calling a professional to inspect the situation.

7 Effective Rust Removal Strategies

  1. Use a rust remover – Numerous chemical-based cleaners can oxidize rust almost instantaneously – even without scrubbing. Just rinse the chemical solution, and your sink or tub looks sparkling clean. However, homeowners should do their research and be mindful of the side effects of using harsh chemicals to remove rust. Chemical-based cleaners can release toxic fumes, cause skin burns, degrade the environment, and damage septic tanks/systems.
  2. Use Shaw’s Pads – If you can handle a littleelbow grease, Shaw’s Pads are anon-toxic cleaning product that works wonders at removing rust, scale, and hard water deposits from porcelain and ceramic. They are affordable, eco-friendly, scratch-free, and easy to use. Just dip in water and rub rusty surfaces until a clean and shiny surface reappears.
  3. Use pumice – Pumice stones are another excellent option. They can remove rust from porcelain without scratching the surface. Simply wet the stone, rinse the rusty surface, and rub lightly until the rust and hard water deposits disappear.
  4. Use baking soda and vinegar – For stubborn rust stains, a paste consisting of baking soda and vinegar will likely do the trick. Apply the paste to the rusty surface, let it sit for 45-60 minutes, and brush it off with a scrub sponge. You may need to rinse and repeat the process a few times if the fixture is severely stained.
  5. Use lemon juice and salt – These two pantry staples are cost-effective and will leave a pleasant aroma in your bathroom. Just make a thick paste with salt and lemon juice, apply the paste to the rust, let it sit for 20 minutes, and rub it off with a scrubber sponge.
  6. Treat water containing iron – It can be hard to detect high iron levels in your water without specialized instruments. But over time, iron-heavy water will leave rust stains on most fixtures. If your water supply is high in iron content, we recommend installing a water softener or filter. These solutions will significantly reduce hard minerals, like iron, in your water. Another option is ion exchange, but this is most effective when the iron concentrations are low.
  7. Replace rusty pipes – This is an expensive and labor-intensive solution that requires heavy-duty equipment. At the same time, there are multiple benefits to replacing rusty pipes. Just consider the fact that they are not only rusting fixtures, but also contaminating the water supply you shower in, wash dishes with, and perhaps drink.

Let Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Southeast Georgia Take Care of Rust Issues For You

Rust stains are aesthetically unattractive. They are also detrimental to fixtures, appliances, and the value of your property. Fortunately, removing rust is a cheap and effective plumbing project that can quickly transform the appearance of your property.

If you're dealing with severe rust stains around plumbing fixtures, call one of our professional technicians today! We will provide you with advanced diagnostics testing to find what is causing the rust stains, recommend water softeners, clean your fixtures and pipes, and much more!

Upon request, our technician will also be happy to provide an upfront quote on any maintenance, repair, or installation services. Whatever you choose, you can expect:

  • 24/7 customer service
  • Licensed, bonded, & insured plumbing specialists
  • Courteous, uniformed plumbers
  • No overtime charges
  • Emergency service

If you are ready to say goodbye to rusted pipes and water, call (912) 623-4240 or contact us online to schedule our plumbing services today!

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