Say Goodbye to Bathtub Rust Stains With 3 Removal Methods

Win the war against bathtub rust with these powerful cleaning methods.

Published February 29, 2024
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cleaning old dirty bathtub

It’s hard enough to win a battle against the rust stains in your bathtub, let alone the war in making sure they never return. Have a lingering rust problem? The real issue might be your cleaning routine. Kick that mold to the curb with one of these three solid removal methods, and follow it up with preventative measures to ensure it stays gone for good.

How to Remove Rust From Your Bathtub

Leave shaving cream bottles and old razors for long enough, and you’ll find the tell-tale signs of rust on your bathtub. Beat back the coppery-colored stain with this tried-and-true method.



  1. Pour Bar Keepers Friend powder cleanser directly onto the rust stains.
  2. Let sit for three to five minutes.
  3. Add just enough warm water to each spot to turn the powder into a paste.
  4. Scrub the spots with a scrub brush.
  5. Rinse with warm water.
  6. Repeat the process if the stain hasn’t been fully removed.
  7. Dry with a clean towel.
Quick Tip

Some rust stains are harder to clean than others. We suggest getting a power drill scrub brush attachment since it can work faster and better than your arms can.

Homemade Rust Removal Method for Porcelain Tubs

You might be worried about destroying your beautiful antique porcelain tubs with harsh cleaners. Instead, use this homemade cleaning method to remove those rust stains fully.


  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Gloves
  • Pumice stone
  • Sponge
  • Warm water
  • Clean towel


  1. Create a paste of 3:1 parts baking soda and distilled white vinegar. How much you need will depend on the size of your rust stains.
  2. Apply the paste with your gloved fingers directly to the rust stains.
  3. Let sit for 15-30 minutes.
  4. Scrub the paste into the tub using a pumice stone.
  5. Wipe away any excess paste with a clean sponge.
  6. Rinse with warm water.
  7. Dry areas with a fresh towel.
Need to Know

This method can work on porcelain, enamel, cast iron, and plastic tubs. Skip out on the pumice stone if you’ve got a copper tub, and use a sponge instead.

Related:  8 Bathtub Cleaning Hacks for Quick & Easy Sparkle

Lemon Juice & Salt Will Also Cut Through Rust

You might not realize it, but your pantry can easily double as your under-sink cleaning repository. Simply pull the lemon juice and salt off the shelf, and you’ve got a rust-busting bathtub cleaner.

lemon juice and salt


  • Lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Gloves
  • Scrub brush
  • Sponge
  • Warm water
  • Clean towel


  1. Mix lemon juice and salt to create a paste. The specific amount will depend on how much rusting you need to clean.
  2. Using cleaning gloves, apply the paste to the rust stains with your fingers.
  3. Let sit for 30 minutes to an hour.
  4. Scrub the stains using a scrub brush.
  5. Clean up the paste with a wet sponge.
  6. Rinse with warm water.
  7. Dry the area with a clean towel.

Don’t Get Discouraged if the Rust Doesn’t Lift Right Away

Sometimes, one cleaning treatment isn’t enough to get rid of your bathtub’s rust stains. Don’t throw in the towel just yet! It’s absolutely normal to need a few rounds of treatment before the faint rust stains are finally gone. If it persists after two or three rounds, then you might need to call in a professional cleaner.

5 Ways to Prevent Your Bathtub From Rusting

With a lot of metal fixtures in a moisture-rich environment, it’s no wonder that bathtubs can be a hotbed for rust. But there are preventative measures you can take to stop the rusting before it starts.

  • Dry off your tub after bathing. Standing moisture is the quickest way for rust to set in.
  • Make sure your bathroom is well-ventilated. Less moisture will accumulate while using your tub if the bathroom fan is clean and working properly.
  • Store shower items in a caddy or hanging unit. If you don’t leave metal containers on your tub, they won’t be able to create rust.
  • Replace cheap metal fixtures. Like with cheap jewelry, cheap fixtures can be the cause of your staining.
  • Resurface your bathtub. If your tub is really old, you may need to resurface it. Adding back that layer of protection could be all the prevention you need.

You Don’t Have to Let the Rust Win

Rust, like soap scum and mold, is one of those unsightly bathroom stains that seem impossible to beat. Thankfully, all it takes is the right approach. Return your bathtub to its floor model days with these top-notch rust removal methods.

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Say Goodbye to Bathtub Rust Stains With 3 Removal Methods