How Do You Remove Rust Stains From A Bathtub?

To walk into a bathroom and see a sparkling white bathtub is truly a magnificent sight. This is probably because the things are so hard to keep clean in a bathroom. Bathtubs just seem to attract all sorts of stains and blemishes. They can fall victim to calcium and lime build-up, soap scum, hard water stains, and the most dreaded of all…rust. Most people at the first sign of rust stains attack it with some form of industrial cleaner and scrub until their fingers fall off. The bad news is that it doesn’t always work. So how do you remove rust stains from a bathtub? There are some easier ways to remove rust and save your fingers at the same time.

Clean The Bathtub First

Before you start scouring or spraying anything, you should clean out your bathtub. Remove all items such as soaps, shampoo bottles, razors, and even those cute rubber duckies. Use appropriate cleaners to remove any soap scum that has built up. By doing all of this, you are making it easier for your cleaning efforts to have the maximum effect on the rust stain. By moving things out of the way you guarantee that you don’t accidentally get any cleaning products on your soaps and other items.

Removing Porcelain Bathtub Stains

The most common type of bathtub to get rust stains is porcelain. Porcelain is a heavy stone-like or metal material that is very durable. Since they are so sturdy, removing porcelain bathtub stains can be as easy as using abbrasives on the rust. You can try some abrasive powders such as Comet or Ajax and a scouring pad. Just sprinkle some powder on the stain, add a little water and scrub. This will work for small rust stains that are just beginning. But for tougher stains you will need to use a pumice stone instead of powder.


A pumice stone is a rough porous stone that is ideal for removing stains, blemishes, and marks. You can find them in just about any supermarket in either the beauty aisle or the household aisle. Add some water and rub the stone on the rusty stain and remove as much of the rusted material as possible. It doesn’t take a lot of pressure so be gentle or you will scratch your tub’s finish. Don’t drop the rust particles down the drain. That is a good way to clog up your drain. Just put them in the waste basket. Keep working with the stone until you get all of the loose rust. Keep the stone wet and occasionally rinse the accumulated rust off so the stone’s pores don’t get clogged with rust.

After you have removed all of the rust that will come loose, you have two options that you can try. The first option is to use toilet bowl cleaner. To do this, make sure that the area is completely dry. If it is still wet, the water will only dilute the cleaner. Pour the toilet bowl cleaner on the rust spot and take the toilet bowl brush to scrub at it. Don’t use your hands because the toilet bowl cleaner is an irritant if it contacts with skin. Scrub at the stain repeatedly, applying more cleaner if needed, until the stain is gone. Then turn on the hot water and thoroughly rinse the area off.

The second method is a bit more unorthodox but it will work if given enough time. After you have used the pumice stone to remove the rust, get some salt and a couple of lemons. Pour the salt on the rust stain, covering all of it. Be generous. Next cut the lemons in half and squeeze the juice onto the rust stains. Allow the salt/lemon mixture to sit for at least twenty-four hours. Afterwards, the rust will have disappeared, having transferred into the salt. You can then rinse out the tub and wash it all down the drain with no fear of clogs.

Other Methods To Use

There are some other methods I have heard of people using to get rust stains out of a bathtub. I have never used any of these myself but I thought they sounded interesting enough to include. As with any unusual methods, you should exercise caution. What works for some may not work for all.

One product that is said to also work to remove rust is hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide can be poured on a rust stain and allowed to sit for about an hour. After that you can scrub it with a scouring pad. For tough stains, you can even create a paste of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide and aply it to the spot.

There is a product somewhere out there in the world called The Barkeeper’s Friend. It is a general cleaner that is said to be great for removing rust stains. Another such product is called The Works which you can find in many supermarkets.

If you go to the automotive store often, you can look up a product called Naval Jelly (I hope that is not where it comes from). This is a cleaning agent used to remove rust from metal parts but will not harm porcelain if left on for a period of time.