How to Remove Rust Stains From Tub

Although this is not our area of expertise, we thought we'd pass on this information that was tested by our employees. They are always talking about their own home repairs and we thought this was an interesting topic and solution.
Rust in the bathroom is usually the result of two related situations. Either iron-containing metals in your bathroom fixtures have begun to rust OR your mineral-rich water supply contains iron particles and has begun to stain areas where water runs. This happens even with a porcelain tub as two of our employees found out.
Bleach and Tilex made the rust stains worse and they sparked another chemical reaction, creating more rust stains on the non-skid surface on the tub floor. Other products that either made things worse or didn't work at all: Lysol, toilet bowl cleansers, Soft Scrub, Goof Off, Awesome, Comet, Simple Green, Mean Green, Magic Eraser and CLR,
However, we found 2 things that really worked: Clorox2 and Hydrogen Peroxide. The Clorox2 worked best and required less scrubbing. Just pour either product on the stain and let it sit. Then scour gently with a damp sponge and rinse. If the stains are really bad you may have to repeat the process twice.
If this is a recurring problem and the staining is chronic, there may be no way to remove the stain as it may have etched itself into the porcelain.
Most staining is not that bad and can be successfully removed if you know how but regular toilet bowl cleaners or powdered chlorine based cleansers will not solve this problem.

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 17 questions
  • Amanda Elizabeth
    on Jun 21, 2017

    How do you let it sit underneath the water tap? It just goes to the bottom
    • Angie
      on Jan 23, 2019

      I usually use a soaked useless rag that can be thrown away after. I just tie it around the spout. It drips down the tub.

  • Judy H.
    on Jul 18, 2017

    How can I put a liquid product on a vertical or downward sloping surface and "let it sit"? It runs right down the drain.
    • Sk
      on Dec 11, 2019

      Can cover soaked paper towels with plastic wrap, to lessen evaporation if you wish.

  • Rose Garrison
    on May 21, 2018

    If you are on a well, will the hydrogen peroxide negatively affect your septic tank?

Join the conversation

2 of 301 comments
  • Sue
    on Nov 5, 2018

    I love Barkeepers Friend...found at Lowes

  • Kim D Holmes
    on Nov 7, 2018

    Hydrogen Peroxide does work but I added some Baking Soda to a very wet Hydrogen Peroxide rag and rust on plastic came of with a little elbo Grease.

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