Tub Toilet and Sink Rust Stains


Most rust remover liquids will work about equally well.  I have found no-name brands at dollar stores that performed as well as most brand-names.  How you use the stuff makes a BIG difference in its performance.  Remember, virtually all of these product are acid based.  Do not spill on carpet or clothes unless you didn’t care about them much.  Always wear gloves and safety glasses, have good ventilation, and follow mfgr’s instructions.  And be sure to rinse the area thoroughly after the stains are removed.


First, determine the material of your fixture as this will help you know what to expect and how to address the stains.  Most fixtures are made of one of three materials (with the exception of stainless steel which usually doesn’t stain anyway).


Vitreous Porcelain (and Glazed Iron for Tubs and Sinks):


This is the stuff virtually all toilets are made of, also many tubs and sinks and some tile.  This surface is very hard, it’s basically glass.  As a result, it resists abrasion and deep stains quite well.  For rust in this surface, use a rust remover liquid and a green scrub pad.  Don’t be afraid to apply firm pressure as you scrub.  It helps to concentrate on small areas at a time.  Rinse periodically to check your progress and move along when satisfied.  When removing rust from toilets, drain the bowl first by shutting off the water supply valve then flushing.




These materials are the current mainstay in sink, tub, and shower pan manufacture.  If you are unsure whether you’re dealing with porcelain or a composite, just tap it with your knuckle.  You notice that a toilet makes a distinct chime-like sound; an iron sink or tub sounds about the same.  A composite makes a dull thud.  These materials are flexible and light, but not as resistant to scratches and stains.  As a result, older stains can sink deep into the material.  Also, it is possible to polish out any texture while removing the rust, be patient and don’t use excessive pressure.  For stubborn stains in textured surfaces it may be necessary to work the area a few minutes, and then let it rest a few minutes, repeating until you are satisfied or tired of messing with it.  An old toothbrush can come in handy here, but watch out for spatters!