How to Clean Rust off a Bathtub Like a Pro

A rusty bathtub with cleaning supplies nearby

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Rust stains in your bathtub can be a real eyesore, detracting from the overall aesthetic of your bathroom. Not only that, but they can also be a sign of underlying issues that need to be addressed. If you’re dealing with stubborn rust stains in your bathtub, you’ve come to the right place. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of removing rust from your bathtub like a pro, using simple, easy-to-follow steps.

Understanding Rust Stains

Rust stains in your bathtub are typically caused by the presence of iron in your water supply. This iron reacts with the oxygen in the air to form iron oxide, commonly known as rust. Over time, this rust can accumulate on the surface of your bathtub, resulting in unsightly stains.

It’s important to note that rust stains are not a sign of poor hygiene. Rather, they are a common problem in areas with hard water, which is high in minerals. However, if left untreated, rust stains can become more difficult to remove and can even cause damage to your bathtub.

The Impact of Rust Stains

Rust stains can have a number of negative impacts. Firstly, they can make your bathtub look dirty and uninviting, even if it’s otherwise clean. This can be particularly problematic if you’re trying to sell your home or if you frequently have guests over.

Secondly, rust stains can be a sign of a larger problem. If rust is forming in your bathtub, it’s likely that it’s also forming in your pipes. Over time, this can lead to serious plumbing issues that can be expensive to fix.

Materials You’ll Need

Before you can start cleaning rust off your bathtub, you’ll need to gather a few essential materials. These include:

  • A non-abrasive scrubbing brush
  • A commercial rust remover or a homemade cleaning solution (more on this later)
  • Protective gloves
  • Eye protection

It’s important to use a non-abrasive scrubbing brush to avoid scratching the surface of your bathtub. Similarly, you should always wear protective gloves and eye protection when working with rust removers, as they can be harmful if they come into contact with your skin or eyes.

How to Clean Rust off a Bathtub

Now that you understand what causes rust stains and have gathered your materials, it’s time to get to work. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to clean rust off a bathtub like a pro:

  1. Put on your protective gloves and eye protection.
  2. Apply your rust remover or cleaning solution to the rust stains. If you’re using a commercial rust remover, follow the instructions on the packaging. If you’re using a homemade solution, apply it liberally to the stains.
  3. Let the rust remover or cleaning solution sit for the recommended amount of time. This will give it a chance to penetrate the rust and break it down.
  4. Using your non-abrasive scrubbing brush, gently scrub the rust stains. Be sure to scrub in a circular motion, as this will help to lift the rust off the surface of the bathtub.
  5. Rinse the bathtub thoroughly with warm water. This will help to remove any remaining rust remover or cleaning solution.
  6. Inspect the bathtub for any remaining rust stains. If necessary, repeat the process until all the rust has been removed.

By following these steps, you should be able to effectively remove rust stains from your bathtub. However, it’s important to remember that prevention is always better than cure. By taking steps to prevent rust from forming in the first place, you can save yourself a lot of time and effort in the long run.

Preventing Rust Stains

There are several steps you can take to prevent rust stains from forming in your bathtub. These include:

  • Regularly cleaning your bathtub. This will help to remove any iron particles before they have a chance to react with the oxygen in the air and form rust.
  • Installing a water softener. This can help to reduce the amount of iron in your water supply, thereby reducing the likelihood of rust forming.
  • Using a rust inhibitor. These products can be added to your water supply and work by forming a protective layer on the surface of your bathtub, preventing rust from forming.

By taking these preventative measures, you can keep your bathtub looking clean and rust-free for years to come.


Cleaning rust off a bathtub may seem like a daunting task, but with the right materials and a little bit of elbow grease, it’s a task that anyone can accomplish. By understanding what causes rust stains, gathering the right materials, and following the steps outlined in this guide, you can clean rust off your bathtub like a pro.

Remember, prevention is always better than cure. By taking steps to prevent rust from forming in the first place, you can keep your bathtub looking its best for years to come. Happy cleaning!

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