5 Steps to Completely Remove Rust Stains from Sinks, Tubs, and Toilets

Your sinks, tubs, and toilets always look appealing and easy to use.

That’s until you have a stain on it. This changes the color of your fittings and the next step is to remove these stains. Why?

Because you don’t want to see an eyesore when you use your sink or go to the toilet.

More importantly, a clean environment is a requirement for healthy living and prevents the spread of diseases, according to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP).

There are many types of stains you can have on your fittings. One of the popular types you can have is rust.

bathtub stains

In most cases, it’s inevitable to have stains after a period of usage. Sometimes, this can be caused by leaking water.

But when you see these stains, don’t ignore them. One of the best steps you can take is to remove these stains as soon as you notice them.

Leaving a stain for a long period of time makes it more difficult to remove successfully.

In the next section, I’ll show you the proven steps to remove rust stains from your sinks, tubs, and toilets.

You’ll also learn the essential things to do to make your fittings sparkling white again.

1. Check the type of materials for your sinks, tubs, and toilets

Before removing the stain on your fixtures, you have to consider the type of materials used to make them.

Some cleaners are unsuitable for some types of materials and you have to know this before cleaning your toilet. Popular materials used for making these fixtures are:i). Porcelain (Ceramic): This is the most popular material used to make these fixtures. Porcelain is durable, reliable, and also easy to make when it comes to production. The finishing on the porcelain also affects whether your fixtures will be more vulnerable to rust stains or not.

toilet stains

ii). Stainless steel: This is not as popular as Porcelain but it's used in some houses.

iii). Composite Plastic: This is another type of material that's uncommon in homes. With this type of material, you may not have to worry much about rust stains.

Whatever materials your fixtures are made of will also affect the type of substance you can use for cleaning.

2. Use chemical-based cleaners

There are many types of chemical-based cleaners that help to remove rust stains from your fittings. One consideration to make before using a chemical-based cleaner is whether you have a septic system.

Some chemicals are unsuitable to a septic system and can cause damage to the system. You should avoid these chemicals as much as possible.

Some chemical-based cleaners you can use to remove rust from your fixtures are:

i). Wkink rust stain remover: As the name implies, this liquid solution helps you to remove rust stains in your fixtures. To use this stain remover, sprinkle the liquid at the spot that contains rust. When you do this, you begin to see the effects on the stains almost immediately.

Before scrubbing, it's important to put on a glove as you don't want these chemicals to react on your skin. After putting on the glove, pick a clean cloth and scrub the area where you have the rust.

Wkink rust stain remover

When you're through with that, you can pour water on the fixture surface to remove the chemical and the stain.

In some cases, you have to note that if there's an underlying cause for the rust stains, the stains might resurface over time after cleaning.

ii). Bar Keepers Friend: This is a powder cleaner that's used to remove rust stains from stainless steel. Nevertheless, you can also use it to remove stains from your sinks, tubs, and toilets.

To use the bar keepers friend, sprinkle the powder at the regions where you have the rust stains.

Bar Keepers Friend

After a while, pick a clean cloth and scrub the surface repeatedly for a few minutes. You can then apply water to remove the stain and the lather.

Another way to go about it is to apply the powder to the cloth and then use the cloth to scrub the rusted surface. You can use whatever method suits you best.

3. Use natural cleaners

These are the types of cleaners that pose little or no risk to your fixture, septic system, or your skin.

However, some of these cleaners require more effort and time before they can remove your stain. Some natural cleaners you can use to remove rust stains in your fixtures are:

i). Combination of lemon and table salt: These 2 substances can be combined to remove stains from your kitchen and bathroom sinks. The first step is to pour the lemon at the spots where you have the rust stains.

Then leave it to react with the stain for about 10 minutes. After this, use a washcloth to scrub the stain.

lemon and table salt

In some cases, this will be enough to remove the stain. However, if you still have stains after cleaning, add more lemon juice to the stain.

To make its effects more powerful, add salt to it and let the 2 substances react with the stain. After about 15 minutes, you can use an old toothbrush to scrub the stain until it's removed.

ii). A combination of tartar and hydrogen peroxide: This can be used to remove stains from a porcelain bathtub. To use this, combine 3 tablespoons of cream of tartar and 3 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide until they form a paste.

Apply this paste on the stain. After about 10 minutes, use a brush or pumice stone to scrub the stain until it's removed.

hydrogen peroxide

iii). A combination of baking soda and acetone: You can use this to remove stains from a bathtub that has a fiberglass coat. To remove stains from fiberglass, you need to be careful to be gentle while cleaning.

Applying too much force can scratch the fiberglass surface and even make your stain worse.

baking soda and acetone

The first step to clean your bathtub using these substances is to apply water to the rust stain. After this, add a layer of baking soda to the stain.

Leave this on the surface of the stain for an hour before removing it from with a moist sponge.

If you have a light stain, this should be enough to remove it. If it's a stubborn stain, soak a white cloth in acetone.

Use this cloth to rub the surface of the stain. This should remove any remaining stain on the bathtub surface. You can then rinse the surface with a wet sponge.

iv). A combination of vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice: You can use these substances to remove stains from your toilet bowl.

The toilet bowl is one of the most susceptible fixtures to rust stains especially if water containing a high level of iron runs through your home.

This is because the water runs on the surface of your toilet bowl and is always present there whether you're using the toilet or not.


Before removing the stain in your toilet bowl, you should shut the water valve to the toilet.

You should also take water out of the toilet bowl to allow you to clean the stain. After doing this, add vinegar and a small amount of baking soda to the toilet bowl. Use a toilet brush to scrub and spread the mixture around in the toilet bowl.

Leave the surface for 15 minutes and then scrub with the brush again to remove the stains. If the stains fail to remove completely, you can add lemon juice to the surface to dissolve the remaining stain.

After this, turn on the water valve and then flush to remove the stains and cleaning substances.

4. Treat water containing iron

To your own taste, it may be difficult to detect water containing a high level of iron. But over time, you'll notice that there are rust stains in your fixtures.

As little as 0.3 parts per million (ppm) of iron in water can cause staining of fixtures.

It can also affect the tastes of foods and beverages negatively and lead to blockage of pipes. When you discover a high level of iron content in your water supply, you can use a water softener or filter.

water containing iron

A water softener helps to reduce or eliminate the hardness of water and also removes iron. In some cases, little amounts of iron may still pass through but there's a high level of improvement.

Another way to remove iron from water is through ion exchange but this is most effective when the iron concentration in the water is low.

With the removal of iron from the water, you have reduced the causes of rust stains in your fixtures.

5. Change rust pipes

When you have rust pipes supplying water to your home, this can contaminate the water supply to your home. Added to that, it can cause rust stains in your fixtures.

Rust pipes can pose a health problem to your home as taking a high amount of contaminated water can lead to poisoning.

To change your pipes, you'll have to contact a plumber to do that for you. A plumber will be able to recommend the right types of materials to you.


Rust stains are ugly to the eyes. Furthermore, you don't want dirt or its appearance in your sinks, tubs, or toilet.

This is why removing rust stains is one of the most important maintenance activities to carry out in your toilet and bathroom.

With the steps outlined in this guide, you can remove those stubborn stains and have good looking fixtures again.












Written by Anta

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