Removing Rust/Iron Stains on Bathroom Fixtures:
Rust stains come from iron in the water supply, which
can only be permanently remove through installation of an
iron filter. Occasionally iron is dissolved from rusting
water pipes or mains by corrosive water. Iron stains can
be removed by a weak acid solution, usually oxalic acid
which is highly toxic and must be handled with care.
Never use chlorine bleach as this sets the iron stain.
Fresh iron stains on plumbing fixtures such as sinks,
bathtubs and chrome will generally yield to treatment
with heavy duty cleaning compounds containing large
proportions of trisodium phosphate. Apply cleaner with
damp cloth, pad or sponge. Rub discolored surface until
stain is removed. Rinse. Wipe dry and polish.
Heavy, stubborn rust stains can often be removed by
oxalic acid stain remover compounds such as Zud or a tri-
chloro-melanine compound such as Barkeepers Friend.
Follow directions carefully.
For rust stains already set on bathroom or kitchen
plumbing fixtures, dissolve oxalic acid crystals in hot
water and add enough whiting or talc to make a soft
paste. Apply this poultice to stain and let dry before
removing. Rinse and polish. Use with care-it is
This article was written by Anne Field, Extension
Specialist, Emeritus, with references from Purdue
Extension bulletin Iron Control for the Home.
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