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A Guide to Removing Rust from Sinks and Tubs

the waters very hard to drink
source: Flickr: Mountain/Ash

Most homeowners often encounter rust – the result of corroding iron that causes unsightly brownish stains. This nuisance is common in kitchen sinks and bathtub drains, and can also develop as a result of water with a high iron content or from water running through rusty pipes. It’s unsightly, unhygienic, and if left alone, can cause serious long-term damage. In addition, if you rub against a rusty object it can stain your clothing. Rust can also cause structural damage when it affects iron nails. If you have a cupboard or some other structure held together by rusty nails, these could collapse when the nail corrodes and you’ll need to contact a carpenter.

If rust is a constant problem that plagues your home, consider hiring a cleaning service. They can bring specialized chemicals and scrub away your rust. What’s more, a routine clean can also prevent rust from forming in the first place. On the other hand, if you’re a do-it-yourself person and you don’t mind the hassle, there are a number of ways to remove rust on your own.

Anti-Rust Chemicals

There are a variety of anti-rust products on the market. These include Rust-Oleum, ZEP, CLR and RustAid. Most of these products contain harsh chemicals so proper safety precautions should be taken such as wearing gloves and not touching the substance with bare skin. Often the rust should first be chipped away before applying some of the chemicals. Be sure to follow all the directions and safety precautions on the label.

Organic Compounds

There are also a number of organic compounds on the market as well – the most popular being Rusterizer. In addition, there are a number or homemade solutions that don’t involve harsh chemicals either. One of the most popular homemade rust removal compounds is white vinegar. You can apply it undiluted directly on to the rust by spraying or dabbing it on, or you can submerge the rusted object in vinegar. You should let the vinegar sit for 30 minutes before rinsing it off. Lemon juice is another option. Treat the area with lemon juice the same way you would with vinegar. Alternatively, scrubbing with a pumice can remove surface-area stains in easily and quickly.

Rust Prevention

Aside from targeting already-formed rust, the best way to deal with the problem is to prevent it from forming in the first place. Rust-Oleum has a number of protective sprays and coats that can protect your sink or tub from developing rust. In addition, any wrought iron materials you have, like a drain or strainer for instance, should be routinely cleaned with mild detergent and water and left to dry.

Aside from sinks and tubs, outdoor furniture and structures made of iron are in danger of rusting as well. This is especially true if you live in a rainy area like Miami. Be sure to protect your home and property against rust and properly maintain your sinks and tubs. If rust develops, choose the right substance for you or contact an experienced cleaning service.


Mark Stevens is a writer from New Jersey who has written over 100 home improvement articles. Want to ask Mark something? Send him a message.

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