How to Remove Iron Stains From the Bath and Shower

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If you live in an area with hard water, you might need to know how to remove iron stains from the bath or shower. Water that has iron in it can leave stains in the shower, bathtub, and sink. Iron stains are the color of rust, which is an orange-brown. Hard water may also contain manganese, which leaves a black stain. The method you use to remove iron stains in the shower or bathtub may depend on how bad the staining is and the material from which the bathtub or shower is made.


How to Remove Iron Stains From a Tile Bath or Shower

If the stains on your tile bath or shower are fresh, you can use a heavy-duty cleaner, such as trisodium phosphate. Put the cleaner on a damp cloth and rub the stain until it's removed. Rinse the cleaner off the tile. Dry the tile and rub it with a dry cloth to polish it.


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If the stains are heavy and have been there a while, apply a stain remover that includes oxalic acid or trichloro-melamine, such as Bar Keepers Friend. Follow the package directions.

Another option is to create a paste of borax and lemon juice. Rub it into the stain and allow it to dry. Rinse with clean water. You may need to reapply the paste more than once to remove the stain. Rinse the area and use a cloth to dry and polish the tile.


How to Remove Iron Stains From a Fiberglass or Plastic Tub

Bath and shower enclosures made of fiberglass or plastic may scratch easily, so you must be careful about scrubbing these surfaces when trying to remove iron stains. Use a mild abrasive and water to create a thin paste. Moisten the shower surface, apply the paste to the stain, and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Gently wipe off the paste and rinse the shower surface.


You can also use an acid-based bathroom rust remover that is labeled as safe for fiberglass or plastic showers. Follow the usage directions on the label.

Removing Iron From Water

Iron and manganese are not dangerous to your health if they occur in your water supply. However, they can impart a bitter, metallic taste to drinking water. They can also stain bathroom fixtures. Homeowners can install a water softening system to reduce the amount of iron and manganese in the water coming into the home.


Oxalic acid is poisonous. Exercise caution when using it, including wearing rubber gloves and keeping it off your skin.

Open windows to improve ventilation when using heavy-duty cleaning solutions in a confined area, like a bathroom.



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