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What Causes Rust Stains in Bathtubs?
Rust stains are caused by dissolved iron within the water. Once the iron oxidizes and collects on the surface of bathtubs, that repulsive-looking brown-orange rust will begin to appear and we need to know how to remove rust Stains from a bathtub. The use of cleansers that contain bleach only worsens this problem, as the bleach chemically reacts with the iron in the water to create more rust in your sink or bathtub. Well water, natural water supplies on the Pacific coast and municipal water supplies can have a high iron content that causes rust stains to form on bathtubs.
What You Need to Know About Removing Rust Stains from Bathtubs
Bathtubs are made from a variety of materials, including acrylic, enamel and porcelain. That means that each tub will react differently to cleaners. For example, enamel tubs can be damaged by acids like vinegar, while acrylic tubs are prone to bleaching. Because of this, you should understand how to clean your bathtub based on the material it is made of. Additionally, you should always do a spot test of both products and cleaning tools on a small inconspicuous area of your tub before trying to remove rust stains.
How to Prevent Rust Stains in Bathtubs
- Prevent rust stains by regularly cleaning your tub with a towel after each use, to remove iron residue.
- Remove any metals from your sink and bathtub, like cans of shaving cream, aerosol sprays, and hair products. When moisture is present within the bathroom, the metals can have a metal ring on the bottom that will rust and stain the bathtub.
- Ventilate the bathroom. Ventilation will reduce the amount of moisture present, decreasing the likelihood that water will pool in the tub or sink.
- Install a water softener in your home to avoid rust and Hard water stains. Hard water contains dissolved calcium, magnesium, lime and iron. Use water softener salts specially formulated to remove iron from water and prevent rust stains in bathtubs, sinks, toilet bowls and laundry. Not only will your bathroom look cleaner, but your plumbing will avoid any extra wear and tear. These water softener salts often go by the names of Rust Out, Red Out or Iron Fighter Pellets.
How to Remove Rust Stains From A Bathtub
There are several different methods you can use to clean rust stains from a bathtub, from common kitchen items to commercial cleaners. Some of them include;
METHOD 1 – LEMON AND SALT
- Squeeze the lemon juice over any affected spots. You want the stains to be damp so that the salt will stick to them.
- Sprinkle salt over the rust-stained areas that you just dampened with the lemon juice. Let this sit for three to four hours.
- Use a microfiber cloth to gently scrub the mixture away.
- Rinse the walls of the tub to remove any remaining rust, salt or lemon.
METHOD 2 – Baking Soda
You probably already know that baking soda works great as a natural means of countering rude odors. Well, it can also help clean rust stains from your bathtub.
- Make a paste using baking soda and a little water. The amount of paste you’ll need will depend on how much of your tub is affected with rust. Start small and make more if it’s necessary.
- Spread the paste on the areas of your tub that have rust stains. Let this sit overnight.
- Gently scrub the paste away with the microfiber cloth.
- Rinse any remaining baking soda from the tub. Repeat as needed.
METHOD 3 – Elbow Grease
- While it may not be the easiest method, a little force combined with a cleaning screen can sometimes be the most effective means of getting the job done. You can buy a cleaning screen — which is similar to lightweight sandpaper — at most hardware stores.
- Dampen your cleaning screen. Let this sit for a minute or two.
- Gently rub the stained areas with the screen. They should start to disappear. Repeat as needed until there are no more stains.
METHOD 4 – Fiberglass Tub Using BAKING soda and acetone
Fibreglass is used to coat tubs, showers, and other surfaces that are exposed to water regularly. The regular contact with water can result in unattractive rust stains on your bathtub. Removing rust stains from fibreglass tubs takes nothing more than some essential household items and a light touch. If you use too much force or an abrasive cleaner, you can scratch the surface and make the rust stains more visible.
- First, dampen the rust stain with water.
- Spread a layer of baking soda over the area.
- Wet the brush with water and gently scrub the baking soda into the stain, forming a paste.
- Leave the paste on the area for an hour.
- Dampen the sponge and wipe the baking soda paste off, making sure to remove it completely.
If the stain is still visible, soak the white cloth with the acetone. Rub the stain gently to remove any lingering traces of rust. Once the stain has disappeared, rinse the area with the wet sponge.
- Clean your bathtub and sink once a week to prevent rust stains from forming.
- Purchase a pumice stone, wet the pumice stone and rub it on the tub or sink. Some of the pumice will dissolve in the water to form a paste as you rub it. A paste made with three parts baking soda and one part white vinegar can also be used as a rust stain remover. Use it like you would a powder cleanser. Scrub the rust stains with the paste to remove them.
- Spray a mixture of one part white vinegar or lemon juice and one part water with a spray bottle on your sink and scrubbing off the rust with a hard-bristled brush, if the pumice stone doesn’t work.
- Spray a mixture of one part oxalic acid( Handle oxalic acid with care, as it is an irritant) and 10 parts warm water with a spray bottle and scrub the rusted stained area with a hard-bristled brush, if the white vinegar or lemon juice mixture does not work. Remove very dark stubborn rust stains by spraying the oxalic acid mixture on the bathtub or sink with a spray bottle and let it sit for 1 to 3 minutes.
- Scrub the rust-stained area with a hard-bristled brush and thoroughly rinse off the bathtub or sink to remove any residue left by the oxalic acid mixture.
- Cut a lemon in half using a sharp kitchen knife. Rub the rust stains lightly with half of the lemon, removing as much rust as possible. For very light stains, the lemon may remove most or all of the rust.
- Pour hydrogen peroxide liberally over the rust stains. Sprinkle with cream of tartar, creating a thin layer over the peroxide. Allow the mixture to sit for at least 30 minutes, and then scrub clean with a nylon scouring pad. Very stubborn rust stains may require several applications before the bathtub is completely clean.
- Combine two parts borax powder with one part lemon juice to make a thick paste. Rub onto the rust stains and scrub clean with a nylon scouring pad after about 30 minutes. Repeat, as necessary, to remove all the rust.
- Soak a few layers of paper towels in white vinegar. Cover the rust stains with the towels, and allow them to sit for at least three hours. If the stain is gone after this time, remove the paper towels and rinse with cold water. If the stain is still there, replace the soaked towels and allow them to sit overnight.
- Soak a commercial rust stain remover as a last resort. Use it according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and make sure to check the label for safety precautions.