September 16, 2022
By Mark Paup

Removing and Preventing Rust in Your Fixtures

Updated January 17, 2024

Due to normal wear and tear, it’s common for your home’s water fixtures to rust slowly over time. When plumbing professionals refer to a fixture, they refer to faucets, sinks, bathtubs, showers, and toilets.

Rust forms on fixtures when hard water makes contact with them. Usually, chrome or nickel-coated plating protects fixtures against rust. But, once scratches and dents form in the fixtures, the exposed metal will start to rust from minerals and iron in the water.

Sometimes rust isn’t visible on a fixture. If you notice a slow-draining sink, it could be due to a rust buildup. Rust-colored water is also an indicator that your water pipes are rusting, which is usual for galvanized steel pipes.

Contact Us for Plumbing Services

Rust can weaken your fixtures or cause skin and hair problems. It’s also unsightly. So, to help you avoid these problems, let’s review:

  • Ways to remove the rust
  • Ways to prevent the Rust

Rather Have a Plumber Restore Your Fixture?

Contact Golden Rule! Iowa has some of the hardest water in the country, which means many homeowners in the area deal with rusty plumbing fixtures. For over 20 years, we’ve helped to restore plumbing fixtures with warranty and guarantee protections that other plumbers in the Des Moines Metro cannot match.

Schedule with us today at 515-393-4526 and see why thousands of Iowa homeowners rate our plumbers 5 stars!

Ways to Remove the Rust

Avoid using aggressive cleaning solutions. Stainless steel, wool pads, chlorine tablets, and pumice stones will scratch and further remove the protective coating from your plumbing fixtures, making them even more susceptible to mineral deposit rings.

The best way to remove stains is to use standard household bleach with a more concentrated cleaning solution and then a soft-bristled brush (e.g., toothbrush or nail brush) to gently scrub at the rusted area. You can also try wetting a sheet of aluminum foil and only rubbing the rust. Whichever method you choose, be careful to rub only the rust and not the finishing—or else it will scratch.

Contact the manufacturer or installer for special care instructions if you have any unique finishes on your fixture.

Ways to Prevent the Rust

For prevention, we’ll go over easy DIY solutions along with some that need professional service.

Easy DIY Solutions

To stop rust from forming, wipe down your bathroom fixtures so that they’re dry after you use them. This keeps the hard water from sitting on the surfaces, leading to corrosion as the mineral makes contact with the fixture.

Another way you can prevent rust? Regularly clean your bathroom with
  • Standard household bleach
  • A more concentrated cleaning solution
  • A toothbrush

Regular cleaning prevents rust buildup and removes any dirt or hard water spots. Make sure to use a light hand and don’t leave any product on your fixture for more than 10 minutes.

Professional Solutions

In some cases, you may need professional help to prevent or remove rust buildup:
  • Replace your corroded water pipes
  • Apply a rust-resistant metal primer
  • Install a water softener

To check if the source of the rust is coming from your water pipes, turn on your bathroom’s cold-water faucet and see if the water is rust-colored. If so, that’s an indicator that your plumbing pipes are corroded and need replacement by a professional. When this happens, be advised that you may need a water heater replacement.

What if both cold and hot water faucets have rust-colored water? There might be a corrosion problem with your local water supply feeding into your main line. Run all the cold-water faucets in your house until the water runs clear. Avoid doing laundry, or else the rust water will stain your clothes. If this occurs, do NOT use bleach on your rust-stained clothes. You may need to contact your local water and sewer department or confer with a plumber to reach out.

You can also contact a professional plumber to seal any fixture leaks and add a rust-resistant metal primer to your bathroom fixtures.

A plumber can also install a water softener to remove iron and other hard minerals from your water. While it can’t remove all the hard minerals, it’ll heavily reduce hard water spots and make your water more pleasant to smell and taste.

Want to Restore Your Plumbing Fixture’s Shine? Contact Golden Rule!

Make one call to Golden Rule at 515-393-4526, and we’ll have a brand-new tank water heater installed in your home as early as the same day you contact us. We stock our vehicles with the most popular tank water heater models to ensure fast same-day installations. For over 20 years, we’ve offered warranty and guarantee protections that other plumbers cannot match in the Des Moines Metro area.

Schedule with us today and see why thousands of Iowa homeowners rate our plumbers 5 stars!

If you found this post helpful, learn about hard water:

How to Extend the Life of Your Water Heater - Tips for Homeowners
  Why Does Your Water Heater Take Forever to Warm Up? Let’s Fix It! Hey there, fellow homeowner! Have you ever noticed that when you turn on... Read More
Why Test Your Home’s Water? A Golden Rule Perspective  Hey there, fellow homeowner! Have you ever wondered about the quality of the water flowing through your pipes?... Read More
Hey there, homeowner! Have you ever been in the middle of a soothing hot shower, only to have the water turn icy cold? It’s a bummer. Well,... Read More