How do I get rid of very, very stubborn stains in an old cast iron tub

Susan Kutzbach
by Susan Kutzbach
This tub is very old, but want to keep. has really bad water stains. This is a cast iron tub, with a porcelain finish.
  10 answers
  • Lyn Therese Lyn Therese on Aug 10, 2015
    You haven't said what the stains are but I am assuming that they are rust stains? Here in Wisconsin we have a product called "The Works". It comes in formulas for tub and shower, toilet cleaner, soap scum. If I had that tub, I would put a pair of rubber gloves on and grab a rag and pour some toilet cleaner on it and try wiping the stain with it. But it has to be flushed with water within a minute. This prevents damage to the finish of the tub. Try a cleaner that removes rust.
  • Darla Darla on Aug 11, 2015
    If you haven't tried it, fill the tub over the stains with water, and add a cup or two of white vinegar or lemon juice. Let it sit for at least a couple of hours, then scrub.
  • Diana Diana on Aug 11, 2015
    For all types of rust stains check the products at and, or try using a pumice stone. If the stains are other than rust, try using chlorine or hydrogen peroxide bleach diluted with water, let stand 2 minutes, then rinse. Good luck.
  • Mary Mary on Aug 11, 2015
    I've had good luck using the product "Bartender's Friend" in my cast iron sink. There is another product you could try also, it's called "My Cleaning Secret" and you can get it at walmart or any other store that sells "as seen on TV" products. It's a tub of white powder and use following directions. A local TV station did a review of it here, gave it great reviews and I bought it the next day. It's fantastic but I have not used it on my cast iron sink yet as I haven't needed to. I hope one or both of them help!
  • Susimunson Susimunson on Aug 11, 2015
    I have used liquid toilet bowl cleaner but you want to squirt on and have plenty of water to squirt it off immediately little bits at a time - after I get it down to the original finish then I keep it that way with barkeepers friend - just know this is like muriatic acid so plenty of water and plenty of protection and plenty of ventilation
    • Susan Kutzbach Susan Kutzbach on Aug 12, 2015
      @Susimunson Thank you for your advice. I did see a few comments using toilet bowl cleaner. Never thought of trying that.
  • Kayo Frazier Kayo Frazier on Aug 11, 2015
    If after all the above suggestions don't work for whatever reason...You can get the inside of the tub refinished by a professional.
    • Susan Kutzbach Susan Kutzbach on Aug 12, 2015
      @Kayo Frazier I wish I could get taken care of by a professional, but funds are getting pretty low for this project and I know that can be quite costly to have done. But, thank you.
  • Mary Mary on Aug 12, 2015
    If you can find snobowl or snowbowl toilet cleaner it's great! It takes hard water stains right off. I used to be able to buy it at any store but it's gotten hard to find now. Some of the dollar stores carry it though so maybe you will have some luck finding it. I'd try my cleaning secret and bartenders friend first though, as the toilet bowl cleaners can damage your hardware on the tub fast.
  • Mary Mary on Aug 12, 2015
    If you can't find it locally, check on amazon as they may have it. They sell everything.
  • Kayo Frazier Kayo Frazier on Aug 12, 2015
    Don't know what your budget is, but I've heard that getting it done by a professional can be as low as $250. It's worth checking into maybe you can find a place for even lower...Worth a shot.
  • Dobi Dobi on Aug 13, 2015
    with old tubs you have to very careful what you use in them! The porcelain is very fragile and you may have to reglaze. using harsh chemicals will do the trick but it could also pit the surface. Using old fashioned methods works for hard water, have you tried white vinegar? straight out of the bottle. put in on some kind of cloth and let it soak in. Put in a spray bottle and just spray around your fixtures and let set, believe it or not it works great! baking soda and just a little water to make a paste works for cleaning most surfaces. The baking soda is just abrasive enough that it will take off most things and it whitens.