We’ve all seen them — rust stains crowning the toilet bowl, streaking the bathtub, lining the sink. Their color and pattern can only be described as gross, and even if a surface was recently cleaned, rust stains just make it look dirty. If your bathroom is plagued by rust stains that can’t be scrubbed away, it’s time to get to the root of the problem by consulting the best plumber Grand Prairie has to offer.
What Causes Rust Stains?
When it comes to bathrooms, appearances matter. It’s uncomfortable to worry if guests are judging your hygiene based on a glimpse of the shower. However, as you may have already figured out, rust stains do not necessarily indicate an unclean surface; they indicate high levels of iron in your water.
Even though your tap water runs clear, prolonged exposure to air (such as in a toilet bowl or in the bottom of a tub) results in oxidation. Oxidation changes the iron from being dissolved in water to being a solid, leaving behind a reddish-brown residue that can be hard to clean.
Are Rust Stains Dangerous?
Iron does not usually present a health risk, but it is a nuisance. Even if you’re not particularly concerned with the aesthetics of a rust-laden bowl or tub, there are many reasons to be concerned about the iron content of your water.
- Bacteria: Some bacteria feed on iron, creating a slime that can clog water systems and often smells like sulfur.
- Taste: Iron can affect the flavor and color of food and water and may produce an unpleasant taste when combined with certain compounds, such as tannins.
- Constricted pipes: Iron deposits can build up in pipelines, water softeners and pressure tanks, causing pipe constriction, poor water pressure and higher energy bills.
For these reasons, it’s important to not only clean the rust stains, but to address the root of the problem by consulting the best plumber Grand Prairie can provide. Dial One Johnson Plumbing, Cooling & Heating can assess your situation and advise you on the best path forward.
How to Get Rid of Rust Stains
While your old standbys may not do the trick, there are a number of products and methods that are effective at cleaning rust stains from bathtubs, sinks and toilets.
Three Chemical-Based Rust Removers
If you’re feeling grossed out and want to go straight for the big guns, here are some of the most effective chemical-based rust removers:
- WD-40 Specialist Rust Remover
- Iron Out Spray
- Evapo-Rust: the Original Super Safe Rust Remover
You should NEVER use chlorine bleach to remove rust stains, as it acts as an oxidizing agent and will actually make the rust worse. And no matter which cleaner you choose, it’s important to wear gloves, safety glasses and other applicable types of personal protective equipment.
Three Non-Chemical Ways to Remove Rust
Don’t like messing with strong chemicals? Luckily, you don’t have to, at least for the tub and sink. Here are some easy ways to clean rust from surfaces that are not submerged in water:
- Pumice sticks are made entirely from pumice, a soft volcanic stone. Simply wet the pumice stick and scour away the rust. It’s easy, safe and cost-effective.
- Baking soda and vinegar are staples in nearly every kitchen. Make a paste with three parts baking soda and one part vinegar, apply it to the rusted surface and let it sit for an hour. When you return and clean the paste, the rust should come off as well.
- Shaw’s pads are non-toxic and consist of a handle and scouring cloth. The concept with these is pretty simple — wet the pad and start scrubbing. Unlike pumice, these pads won’t scratch any surface.
How to Prevent Rust Stains
As you can see, there are many effective methods of cleaning and controlling rust stains in your bathtub, sink and toilet. But if you’re tired of the constant cleaning and vigilance needed to ward off those unattractive rings and streaks, there are things you can do to prevent rust stains altogether.
- Cation exchange water filters (water softeners) work by exchanging iron for sodium, then removing the iron from the softener resin bed. Although they can remove iron from your water, their effectiveness depends on the iron concentration and water hardness.
- Reverse osmosis filtration is the cream of the crop in the water filtration world. It works by pushing your water through a semipermeable membrane and repeating the process five or six times before the water ever enters your house. You will have to keep an eye out for the filter getting plugged up if your water is heavy in contaminants.
- Activated carbon systems are the least expensive filtration option and are easy to install. The downside is that they require more attention, and you’ll have to keep up with changing the filter.
Change the Pipes
If you’ve tried water filtration and other water treatments with no success, it may be time to reach out to a trusted Grand Prairie plumbing company about upgrading your plumbing. At the end of the day, you can clean constantly, treat the water and install filters, but nothing will keep the rust away if your iron pipes are breaking down. Rust deposits will continue to form on your pipes until they are upgraded.
Reach Out to a Plumber in Grand Prairie
Rust stains are unpleasant all on their own, but they’re often only one symptom of a larger issue. If you’re seeing rust stains in your bathtub, sink and toilet, you’re probably also experiencing foul odors and unpleasant tasting water. Don’t wait until it’s intolerable — contact the best plumber Grand Prairie has to offer, a plumber at Dial One.