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?

17 questions
  • Shannivia
    on Nov 14, 2015

    So if the stain doesn't come off what to do next. Can I paint over it

  • Bre3049407
    on Nov 20, 2015

    How to remove rust from tub

  • AG
    on Jan 6, 2016

    How to remove rust from a tub

  • Jessica minnick
    on Jan 8, 2016

    How do you get stain rust out of your bathtub??🤔🤔

    • Lyn
      on Feb 16, 2016

      Soak a rag in vinegar and place in a dry tub for a few hours or overnight. It will wipe clean when the vinegar has soaked long enough.

  • Jessica minnick
    on Jan 8, 2016

    Why is there rust in the bottom of my bathtub and how do I get rid of it??

  • Cat4442593
    on Feb 8, 2016

    Where is your solution to removing g rust from bathtub ? Nothing is shown here at all.

    • Libby Jones
      on Feb 11, 2016

      Click the little blue dots to expand the article.

    • Elizabeth Zizo
      on Apr 3, 2016

      I have rich and hard water. My shower was nasty and I wish I had taken a pic. I found lime-a-way toilet cleaner at the dollar store and though I had to use it several times(my shower was bad) it took the rust stains and calcium build up right off the shower pan and walls.

    • K
      on Apr 9, 2016

      It said: ...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.

    • Rondi
      on Apr 9, 2016

      Murinatic acid takes it off instantly, but wear a mask and rinse it off well with cold water. Open a window if you can.

  • BethMiller
    on Feb 12, 2016

    Rust on the tub, how to remove ?

  • Kathy
    on Apr 10, 2016

    Do you know how to get rust off white brick?

    • Cre5605900
      on Jun 8, 2016

      Try Rid-O-Rust look online to find a dealer near you.

    • Kar385293
      on Aug 3, 2016

      Cream of tartar and peroxide mixed to a paste. Apply to stain and let sit for at least 15 mins. Use an old toothbrush to scrub and rinse. Repeat till stain is gone

  • Patricia Lucas
    on Jul 26, 2016

    Please share the tip for removing rust stains caused by mineral-rich water in sinks and tubs.

    • Reb6867270
      on Jul 26, 2016

      The ONLY thing that works for me is "The Works" Toilet bowl cleaner, I have well water and the stains are fierce, cuts them immediately.

    • Lia Liz Noland Rohrbach
      on Jul 26, 2016

      They said clorox 2 or peroxide are the only things that worked. Clorox2 worked the best

    • Dana
      on Jan 4, 2017

      I use to live in Florida and we had nasty rust stains in the wet areas. Nothing would remove it like the sno bowl, or other commode cleaners. NOTHING. Not unless you scrubbed your fingers to the bone. I used all kinds of other cleaners. I doubt the effect of peroxide. You can pick up cheap cleaners at your local cheap markets. Little goes a long way. Sorry to be a doubting Thomas but I know from experience on rust stains.

    • Cac10897772
      on Jan 4, 2017

      If you have to scrub, use a pumice stone. It makes the scrubbing easier and doesn't scratch the porcelain.

    • Marsha Shannon
      on Jan 4, 2017

      We have iron water for over 50 years and we've tried multiple products and scribbing, I discovered Works is the best pour or spray it on, rinse off for tub, I let it sit in the toilet and it actually sparkles when I flluss later

    • Astrid Turner
      on Jan 12, 2017

      You can also use 600 grit sandpaper for brownish stains in your tub as well as your toilet. Of course be sure to check on a non visible are first as this trick might scratch some ceramic surfaces

  • Judy H.
    on Aug 11, 2016

    Does Clorox 2 also remove the yellow hard water stains?

    • Joan Luginbuhl-Philp
      on Jan 4, 2017

      Use Sno bowl or The Works toilet bowl. Get the thin kind. Works on showers when nothing else did.

    • Judy H.
      on Jan 5, 2017

      Wow! Thanks! I used to use Sno-bowl years ago, but haven't seen it around for a long time! I'm on the hunrt!

  • Bobbiejean
    on Oct 13, 2016

    How do you remove old glass tiles from the walls

    , It is a ugly pink tile n it is glass I want to remove it how do I do this
  • Lindaree O
    on Jan 5, 2017

    I have water stains where the water faucet drips. Brownish stains not rust. Will this work?

    • Shawna Bailey
      on Jan 8, 2017


    • Pas17491360
      on Mar 18, 2017

      Try vinegar.

    • Andi Risley
      on Mar 18, 2017

      Take a paper towel and soak in vinegar. Let it sit for an hour or so...not too long if you like the finish on any fixtures that are close by. It should remove those stains that aren't rust. I can't remember if it worked on rust or not. You may have to do it a couple of times or for a bit longer. 😊

    • Pat6901438
      on Apr 3, 2017

      My favorite natural cleaner is 2 cups of vinegar, 4 cups of water and 2 T of dawn. I have a spray bottle with this mixture in each bathroom, by my washer and in the garage. Also, mix this up (double or triple the receipe) and put the liquid in a very large ziplock bag and put in 18 clean white wash cloths. Walmart has the clothes 18 for 3.00. Put the cloths on a swiffer broom. I scrub my floors and baseboards. The best cleaner......

  • Judy H.
    on Jan 10, 2017

    Do hardwater (yellow stains) react to the Clorox 2 as well as the rust stains do?

    • Shawna Bailey
      on Jan 12, 2017

      Couldn't hurt to try

    • Cynthia H
      on Jun 4, 2017

      We have very hard water. When I have stains in my sink, I add oxy to hot water and let it soak. By the time the water cools off,it rarely needs more than a quick going over with a sponge and rinsing. If you use a mat in your sink, soak it too.
    • Judy H.
      on Jun 5, 2017

      Which oxy product do you use Cynthia?
    • Judy H.
      on Jul 18, 2017

      I have checked around with some professional plumbers, builders and bathtub manufacturers. If you have porcelain or enamel tubs, sinks, whatever. Yellow stains due to hard water cannot be removed. Trying any kind of powdered cleanser or bleacher will damage the surface attracting more of the yellow staining than is already there. The only way to get yellow stains "gone" is to have your tub or sink reglazed and then get a water softener to prevent stains from building up again. I understand the reglazing is a rather expensive process and the additional cost of a water softener makes this a rather $$$ fix.
  • Kit7831953
    on Mar 18, 2017

    I have rust around the bottom of the toilet bowl how do I remove it?

    • Emi25115737
      on Jul 17, 2017

      Use gloves, 🎵poor boiling hot water in until the pressure of the water makes most of it go completely out. You will need to dip. The remaining water out leaving bowl empty. Pour the product called "The Works" on the rusty area. Let soak for about 30 minutes then brush with toilet brush and flush the loose rust doun the drain. Repeat if needed. Guarantee it will work ❤🎸❤
    • Joyce
      on Sep 15, 2017

      The Works doesn't work anymore. They changed the chemical make up of their product. I have horrible rust stains from hard well water. I clean my toilet everyday with product found at hardware store only, near plumbers septic cleaning stuff. Called Restore. Can't find it at Home Depot or Menards. Gilroys got it, Ace Hdw...
    • Terri
      on Sep 15, 2017

      I found this too! The best cleaner was Sno-Bol...thin! Until I couldnt find that any my toilet is rusty again!

    • Deb Seeley Witzke
      on Sep 15, 2017

      Your right about the Works. Only the stuff in Green bottle works, IF you can find it.
    • Bex11607283
      on Sep 16, 2017

      ?? I use "The Works" in the white bottle and it works just fine. No hard scrubbing needed. I purchase it at Dollar Tree or Walmart. Dollar Tree is the only Dollar Store where everything is really a dollar !! ( I have never seen it in a green bottle.)

    • Don5413559
      on Sep 16, 2017

      Pumice stone and cleanser
    • Janice White
      on Sep 19, 2017

      Use CLR/Baking Soda/Peroxide scrub with steel wool scrubber

    • Richard Lane
      on Dec 1, 2017

      Use Rust Off sold at Walmart in spray or powder.
    • Patti Nicholas
      on May 10, 2018

      I deal issue with this everyday and inside your toilet bowl the BEST and EASIEST solution is to clean the bowl with Borax. Put 1/4 cup in the bowl, swish, let sit 30 min to overnight, swish again and flush. Any remaining stains, like rust and hard water lines, can easily be removed with a WET pumis stone, just gently rub across the stain and flush. Use the borax a few times a week overnight and you’ll never have the staining issue again.

  • Amanda Elizabeth
    on Jun 21, 2017

    How do you let it sit underneath the water tap? It just goes to the bottom
    • Jane Otzenberger
      on Jul 16, 2017

      Whink is a great rust remover. You can use it on alot of stuff. Carpet. clothes, toilets. Can be bought almost anywhere.
    • Mary Lynn Brennion
      on Nov 5, 2018

      A cloth soaked in it and lay on side of tub. Will stick while wet.

    • 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.
    • Jaki Field
      on Sep 14, 2017

      soak cotton lightly wool in your product then lay it across the area - it should then stick to it. Works great on bath edges and curves
    • Judy H.
      on Sep 15, 2017

      Thanks Jaki, I'm not sure I understand what type of fabric you are referring to here. Help?

    • Joyce
      on Sep 15, 2017

      Dampen a paper towel with mixture, place soaked paper towel anywhere, wrap it, it will stick. Leave on for 15-20 minutes, depends how bad stain is. Reapply if necessary. You can thank me in advance, learned this trick at Loves Green Cleaning Co. I worked for 8 years😁
    • Judy H.
      on Sep 15, 2017

      Thanks Joyce!
    • Crumly
      on Nov 5, 2018

      I also use soaked paper towels. Works well.

    • 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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