How do I remove rust stains from toilets, sinks or tubs?

Unsightly rust stains in the toilets, sinks or tubs can be rather frustrating. Scrubbing off rust stains can also be an exhausting chore. There are ways to combat these and keep your indoor plumbing facilities in tip-top shape.

What causes rust stains to occur?

THard rust stains form due to corrosion in the pipelines and / or presence of iron in the water supply. These result in the appearance of lime scales and / or greenish- and reddish-brown stains on the porcelain surface of the toilet, sink or tub. If there is a prolonged water leak, this hastens the formation of mineral deposits on these surfaces.

Quick tips for removing rust stains

Here are a few simple, easily-accessible products, which remove tough stains efficiently.

Make sure to wear protective gloves and eye-wear, and read all relevant safety instructions carefully while handling cleaning products.

Good ventilation

Keeping the bathrooms and toilets well-ventilated is one of the most beneficial steps. Letting air flow freely reduces humidity in the environment, thereby bringing down the levels of airborne contaminants. You can consider installing an exhaust fan in the bathroom, to facilitate ventilation.

Pest problems

A sudden increase in pest problems around your property could be indicative of a leakage somewhere, as these are drawn towards moisture accumulating near the affected area(s).

Baking soda / Vinegar

If One of the most popular cleaning concoctions, baking soda/vinegar can be combined as a spray solution to apply on the rusted surface. This homemade remedy further removes mould stains. It is a less toxic and cheap option, and equally environmentally-friendly. You can blend these ingredients readily available in the kitchen.

Lemon / Salt

A mixture of salt and lemon juice (bottled juice works too) can be left for a few hours over the stained area, and scrubbed off to get rid of it. The citric acid (from lemon) and acetic acid (from vinegar) are effective in removing untoward smells as well.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen Peroxide is another potent stain-remover with anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, which acts as a disinfectant while attacking the grime.


A bottle of fizzy Coke can help to reduce the stain build-up. Yes, you read it right – the same cola drink you’d buy at the supermarket…This is due to the presence of acid in the liquid, which breaks down the slime.


A versatile cleaning option, borax can lift the stains off the surface of the toilets, sinks, taps and showerheads.

Scouring pad

If the stains are not too tough, using a simple scouring pad/sponge can do wonders to remove these quickly.

Chemical cleaners

A wide range of industrial-grade chemical cleaners are available in your local hardware store, which can be a defence against those particularly-stubborn rust stains. Be careful while using these products as they usually contain strong acid components, and ensure the products are compatible for use on porcelain surfaces.

Using bleach – side effects

Using bleach to tackle rust stains in toilet bowls or sinks can be hazardous, as its fumes can pose health risks. It can also damage the porcelain enamelled surface and the plastic plumbing items, by eating into the coating.

Preventing rust stains

Besides regular cleaning using the above-mentioned methods, a few small steps can go a long way in reducing the chances of rust build-up in your plumbing fixtures:

  • Upgrading the pipelines to PVC or copper, from old iron connections
  • Installing a water-softener or iron filter, especially in areas where water quality is hard

Where can I get help in Melbourne to remove rust stains?

If a recurring rust stain in your household or workplace is causing you headaches, and you are not able to locate the cause of this, it’s time to call in a plumbing professional.

The team at Doherty Plumbing Solutions are fully trained and licensed to assist you to tackle these plumbing issues. We will work with you to find the best solutions, and provide reliable advice for long-term prevention of rusting in your plumbing fixtures.

If you are unsure where to get help fast, don’t hesitate to contact Doherty Plumbing Solutions:

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    George came; did my work quietly and respectfully. Noted a problem (big gaping crack in the pipe under the bench), and asked if we would like to change it. No pressure applied, and just added it to his list when I gave the go ahead. Would use this company again and again.
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    Kath Edney
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