How to Remove Rust and Corrosion from Bathroom Fixtures

The white residue and rust on your bathroom fixtures may not be from a lack of cleaning. Minerals in water – like brass and copper – can cause metal bathroom fixtures to corrode. The corrosion may also appear as reddish-brown scale on your faucets. If left untreated, the corrosion could spread, permanently damaging your fixture. When you notice rust or corrosion on the bathroom showerhead or faucet, clean the residue away to restore the fixture’s structure.

What Causes Bathroom Fixture Corrosion?

Hard water is typically the cause of rust and corrosion on bathroom fixtures. The minerals in the water can quickly break down the metal, creating damaging residue. If you live in an area with hard water, your appliances and fixtures are at risk for losing 30 to 50 percent of their normal lifespan. Minerals in hard water, like iron, calcium and magnesium can damage appliances, sinks and tubs. Regularly cleaning the rust and corrosion will help prevent irreparable damage.

Clean Bathroom Rust

Many of the products you find at your local grocery store designed to remove rust or clean bathroom fixtures are filled with dangerous chemicals, and can even accelerate corrosion. Use eco-friendly bathroom cleaners to rid your showerhead and faucets of the white or brown residue.

  • Vinegar: Remove the showerhead or faucet handles and soak in white vinegar for two to three hours. Remove the fixture and rinse with hot water.
  • Vinegar and Baking Soda: For more advanced rust, use baking soda in combination with the white vinegar. Mix one half cup of baking soda with one cup of vinegar to create a cleaning paste. Apply the paste to the fixture and let sit for 30 minutes. For heavily rusted areas, use a nylon dish scrubber to scrub the affected areas.
  • Salt and Lemon Juice: The acidity from lemon juice can help remove the rust stains. Squeeze lemon juice on the rusted fixture and cover the affected areas with a pinch of salt. Add more lemon juice until the mixture forms a paste. Let the mixture sit for two hours, then scrub the rust spots with the lemon rind before rinsing away the mixture with hot water.
  • Coca-Cola: The phosphoric acid found in cola is commonly used to remove rust stains. Pour Coca-Cola on the rusted area and scrub gently with a nylon scrubber or a piece of aluminum foil for tough-to-remove spots. Clear the cola with hot water and repeat as needed.

Prevent Bathroom Rust

If you want to prevent rust from forming in your bathroom in the first place, there are some actions you can take. Clean the bath and fixtures once a week to remove the iron and other minerals that may be building up. When the bathroom fixtures are wet, wipe them with a dry towel. Because rust forms when the water seeps into cracks and crevices, keeping the fixtures dry should drastically prevent corrosion. If you want to invest in the solution, install a water softener. The softener can help minimize or eliminate the source of the problem. Water softeners should be installed by your local professional plumber to ensure it’s done properly.

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