Removing Rust Stains

Removing Rust Stains from Toilets, Tubs and Sinks:

rust1Rust and other stains can occur from hard water mineral deposits found especially with the use of well water having high iron content. Staining can also occur from rusty galvanized pipes leaking into a sink, rusty toilet components leaking into the back of a toilet bowl or something metal left on the sink. These stains can be difficult to remove. 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.

There are several options. Some involve mechanical cleaning and some use strong chemicals (so please try and avoid them especially if you have a septic system).

Let’s take a look at what options you have for removing rust stains from your porcelain.

Mechanical Removal: Shaw’s Pads (Environmentally Friendly)

Shaw’s Pads® Toilet Ring Remover

rust2A very simple and effective product for removing Iron stains on porcelain is called the

Shaw’s Pads® Toilet Ring Remover.

These pads use no chemicals, are safe for septic systems. The pads have a short handle and a special pad. You wet the pad, use short vigorous strokes and the scale and staining comes free from the porcelain. It’s then flushed away.

You can buy them direct from the manufacturer or use their EBay Store.

For under $10 bucks you’ll be on your way to a stain free porcelain existence.

Mechanical Removal: Pumice Stick (Environmentally Friendly)

rust3Pumice Scouring Stick

A pumice scouring stick works well for removing stains from porcelain. With a pumice scouring stick like the Pumie® brand made by United States Pumice Company, you simply wet the bar and rub it back and forth on the stain. You’ll develop a pumice paste which will assist in cleaning and polishing the surface, then simply rinse clean.

Not recommend it for fiberglass surfaces.


Chemical Cleaner: The Works® (Environmentally Un-Friendly)

rust4The Works® Contains Hydrochloric Acid

One product that has been around for 50 years and will do a good job of getting rid of rust stains without a lot of elbow grease is called The Works.

You basically just spray it on, let it set and then rinse away. However the product is about 20% Hydrochloric Acid, which requires special protection and cautious use.

Do not use the product if you have a septic system. 


Scouring Cleanser: ZUD (Environmentally Un-Friendly)

rust5ZUD® Cleanser Uses Quartz and Pumice

Don’t even think of using regular household food stain cleansers (containing chlorine bleach) since they will not work at all on rust stains (e.g., Ajax®).

Here are three letters you need to know to get rid of rust and

mineral deposits: Z-U-D.

ZUD®, (by Reckitt Benckiser, makers of Spray-n-Wash and Brasso) is the 800 pound gorilla of powdered cleansers and is environmentally unfriendly (also comes in a liquid form). Why does it work so well? Because of its composition. It uses oxalic acid and a very effective combination of abrasives made up of very fine ground quartz and pumice. The combination is potent.

Although oxalic acid is a naturally occurring organic acid, it is considered a poison. I do not recommend using this product if you have a septic system. Killing the bacteria in your septic is not a good idea (please note the understatement…).

To use ZUD you just squirt or sprinkle it in the bowl on the stains and brush using a toilet cleaning brush or plastic pad. Now add more water to the bowl or sink to allow the stained areas to be covered by the ZUD solution. Add more ZUD where you can’t cover with the solution (like high on the bowl). After the solution has set for about 60-90 minutes clean the area with the brush and either flush the toilet clean or rinse away the solution.