What Causes Rust Stains and How to Get Rid of Them?

Rust Stains

Rust is not a good sight, especially on your pipes, sink, shower, and toilet. Have you seen one in your bathroom or kitchen? You should not turn a blind eye to it and call a professional plumber to help you fix your pipe and drain problems. 

While rust stains are only temporary and easily removed, they could lead to more irreversible consequences and spend more on fixes. But first, we need to understand what causes rust stains, how to get rid of them without necessarily using harsh chemicals, and how to prevent them in the future. 

Common causes of rust stains 

Rust is an orangish-brown streak that appears on old galvanized pipes and fixtures and is caused by mineral residue left behind on the pipe and fixtures’ surface. Rust forms from oxygen and iron with moisture and then develops into iron oxide. 

Rust often forms in bathrooms, kitchens, and other areas with moisture. Iron pipes, metal components in water tanks, and rusty water heaters as rust formation. Rust formation is also common in homes with a hard water supply. Water hardness is determined in grains per gallon or GPG, and rust could start to form with a hard water level of 7 GPG. 

Stains will keep on appearing even if you clean them every day. It will only disappear for good if you use a water filter that has a water-softening feature and prevents rust formation. Otherwise, you can use rust removers and other rust removal alternatives available on the market. 

How to remove rust stains naturally 

Commercial rust stain removers are available and work effectively because that’s what they’re made for, after all. Rust removers oxidize rust that can be easily wiped away afterward. However, not everyone is a fan of commercial rust cleaners due to their harsh chemical content. Most of them are not eco-friendly, which could affect water quality and even cause health problems when accidentally ingested. 

Thankfully, there are natural ways to get rid of rust stains instead of harsh chemicals. When cleaning the toilet rust stains, make sure to flush it first and turn off the water supply so it won’t fill up while cleaning your bowl. Here are eco-friendly ways to get rid of rust stains in your bathroom and kitchen fixtures. 

Baking soda/vinegar 

Mix one part vinegar and three parts baking soda to create a paste, apply to the rusted area using a scrub sponge, and let it sit for about an hour. You should expect the rust to be gone after rinsing it off. Otherwise, you can re-apply the paste until the rust is completely gone). 

Citric acid 

To remove stains naturally, you can use fresh citrus fruits such as lemons, lime, grapefruits, or powdered citric acid. For better results, you can dip the cut edge of the citrus fruit with baking soda or salt for a deeper scrubbing effect. 


Pumice stones are volcanic rocks that can also be used to remove rust. It is better used in toilet bowls and sinks made with porcelain as it won’t damage the surface. Wet the stone and the rusted area first before rubbing the stone gently to get rid of the rust. 

Other ways to keep rust at bay include the following: 


      • Inspect toilet tanks and pipes regularly for any signs of leaks.

      • Remove metal items away from moisture (ex., Air fresheners, shaving creams, etc.) 

      • Invest in a water filtration system. 


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