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Removing rust stains from bath tubs

Q. My acrylic tub has mysteriously developed yellow spots and lines down the the front near the spout. My husband thinks it is from shampoo or some other product. I have tried everything I know except peroxide. The tub is a very expensive one, and the spots are noticeable. Do I need a professional, and if so how do I find a good one. Thanks.

8229-2b   8229-2a  

Jane Miller
- Aptos California
May 10, 2022

⇩ Related postings, oldest first ⇩

Q. I have stained my heavy old-fashioned bath tub by pouring sulfuric acid down the drain to remove a clog; the fumes have made dark brown stripes on the sides and bottom of the white enamel tub. Is it possible to remove these unsightly stains with ordinary javel water bleach? If not, what should I do short? Can anyone help me, please.

David Alexander Mitchell
- Montreal QC, Canada

A. An oxidation problem has occurred.

Let's de-oxidize ... buy naval jelly [on eBay or Amazon (adv.)] , A RUST REMOVER. Simply, a de-ox, and will remove those drip-rust-stains...... as well as the chemical stain that you incurred. Drawback; the porcelain may have impurities that were reacted upon by the staining acid. Regardless. Proceed by getting rubber gloves [on eBay or Amazon (adv.)] & goggles [on eBay or Amazon (adv.)] on now. Use a 1" paint-brush and brush on the Naval Jelly until it is absurd. Leave room for 4 HOURS, with fan running. Return and DON ON the gear again. Rinse the jelly off completely. If another layer is required (doubtful), then let surface dry, or force-dry with a hair dryer [on eBay or Amazon (adv.)]. Apply coat #2 absurdly, leave again 4 hrs.

Paul T. Knisely
- Kenmore, Washington

A. Hi
I had terrible stains in my tub from a professional drain opener made with sulfuric acid. I used the Works (green bottle and I think that helped little) then I put on Lysol thick blue toilet cleaner and that worked great!
Also, I had the stains in my kitchen sink from the same drain opener product, and the toilet bowl cleaner [affil links] worked on those also. I got most of the stains out! You should try it. It may have scratched my tub a little and hurt the finish.. not sure, but the nasty horrible brown stain is gone and that is great. Good luck.
Try it on a small spot in your stained area and see if it works and if it is safe for your tub or sink

Colleen Mcgraw
- Grand Rapids, Michigan

thumbs up sign  You were absolutely correct about the toilet bowl cleaner. Wow the stains came right off. Thank you all soooo much..

Ryan Olds
General Stamping and Metal Work - South Bend IN
July 29, 2018

A. Hey guys, for natural options, you can soak paper towel to white vinegar [in bulk on eBay or Amazon (adv.)] and let it stay to the stained areas for 2 to 3 hours :)

Cristina Yap
- Chicago, Illinois
July 30, 2010

A. I hope I can save someone 8 hours of torture. To remove those brown stains in the bathtub caused by sulfuric acid fumes, pour some hydrogen peroxide [on eBay or Amazon (adv.)] on the area. The brown stains will disappear faster than they showed up!

Dennis Mostyn
- Lincolnwood, Illinois

thumbs up signSimilar to others above, I used a sulfuric acid drain declogger in my bathtub drain and the fumes stained the entire tub a dirty brown. Normal cleansers didn't touch the stain and I was really worried until I found this site. The hydrogen peroxide (simple drugstore antiseptic) sounded like the least caustic remedy so I tried it first, painting it on with a paintbrush. Presto, the stain disappeared with each brushstroke! Thanks, Dennis!

T Bruce Bridgeman
- Toledo, Ohio
March 23, 2008

thumbs up signLike others, I used a commercial drain cleaner with sulfuric acid on my older bathtub drain. The fumes stained the entire tub - bottom, sides, top rim - dark brown. I scheduled a company to reglaze it (for $350) and then thought to check online. I poured some hydrogen peroxide on the stains and they vanished! Thanks to the person who took the time to post this solution. You saved me a lot of money. This is a great site.

Janet Fisher
- Newton, Massachusetts
July 21, 2008

thumbs up signI too put sulfuric acid down a tub drain. I did this hours before guests arrived for the weekend. My tub stained horribly brown almost immediately from fumes even though no sulfuric acid had touched the porcelain tub. I saw this online hydrogen peroxide tip - I was skeptical, but I thought I couldn't possibly make it worse. I bought a bottle of hydrogen peroxide and wet paper towels with peroxide. I lined the tub with the paper towels. I left the paper towels there for an hour. While some stains came up immediately, the deeper stains needed the full hour. BUT IT WORKED! Long live Google!

S Hollinlike
- New Orleans, Louisiana
February 11, 2010

thumbs up signTHANKS A MILLION DENNIS! Hydrogen Peroxide worked like a charm!

Ken Virani
- Los Angeles, California
February 24, 2010

thumbs up signI just found this post and I was blown away with how well the Hydrogen Peroxide worked on the sulfuric acid stains. I just sprinkled it in the tub and like magic, the stains disappeared.

I checked it out about 5 minutes ago, and they are still gone. I will return with a better dose and a cleansing of the Peroxide, just to make sure. Thanks for a great solution.

Holly Free
- Hollywood, California, US
April 10, 2011

Brown bleach stains on tub

Q. Hi
I put neat bleach on my old enamel bath to clean it, but when I came back there was a horrible brown stain I can't get off. Can anyone help?

Mrs Jennines
- U.K.

A. I just sprayed basically, straight bleach on the mildewed tile grout in my tub surround and cane back a few minutes later to major rusty colored drips all over the sides of my tub. I tried the hydrogen peroxide idea (put some in a bowl and brushed it on with a paint brush) and the stains disappeared instantly! Thank goodness! My husband would've gone through the roof if he saw that! Thanks Dennis!

Erin Boone
- Houston, Texas
May 22, 2008

A. I had used bleach on the tub for stains also and ended up with brown stains - I used C-L-R [on eBay or Amazon (adv.)] and they were gone in minutes.

Thanks for the help

Don Taylor
- Arl, Texas
June 21, 2008

thumbs up signWOW, this was so great and helpful.

Chris O
- Birmingham, Alabama
February 16, 2009

thumbs up signFreaky but it does work! Saved us $275 on re-glazing!

Carol Wolaver
- Msqt, Texas
March 26, 2009

thumbs up signThank you for the advice on how to remove tub stain . I'm very happy that the Hydrogen Peroxide work's very well and also very quick. Thank you very much
Jose from Chicago

Jose Lopez
- Chicago, Illinois
May 27, 2009

thumbs up signThe hydrogen peroxide was amazing. I bought a bottle for $1 and filled up a spray bottle. The stains came off as quick as I sprayed. Thank you so much.

Cindy Wilkerson
- Longview, Texas
August 22, 2009

A. Oxidization from Bleach on your tub?

I did the peroxide remedy to my bleached tub. It worked like a CHARM!

I rubbed with a disposable handi-wipe. For the more stubborn part which was at the end closest to the drain, I just soaked the wipe and laid the peroxide on it for about ten minutes. Came back, and it was GONE! I mean before my tub was like brown and bronze from the oxidation. Now it's whiter than it was before. THANKS!


Yoy King
- Columbus, Georgia
May 4, 2010

thumbs up signDennis you are a life saver! I just moved into my new apartment and the tub had some stains from the previous owner. I tried to clean it by spraying down the whole tub with bleach, per my mothers instructions. It immediately made these ungodly brownish-red rust stains. I was mortified at the thought that this would stay, as I have a guest coming over shortly, furthermore I didn't want this to come out of my security deposit. I filled a spray bottle with hydrogen peroxide and let it sit. The stains started to whiten within a few minutes! The tougher stains may need a second coat but THIS DEFINITELY WORKS. I was reading about some other solutions on other websites like CLR but I had a bottle of hydrogen peroxide on hand so I thought I would try this first and I'm glad I did.

Dean L
- Boston, Massachusetts, USA
September 16, 2010

thumbs up signJust like to say, Dennis, you are a star! Top Bloke! You have saved me a lot of money and I thank you! Wot goes around comes around, my friend.....x

Deb Oily
- Lancaster, U.K.
January 22, 2011

thumbs up signThank you from the bottom of my heart for the Hydrogen Peroxide tip! It worked in seconds, as soon as I applied it with a sponge. AMAZING! My husband would have lectured me for the rest of my life about staining our bathtub. I am happy I know this and I will share it with my friends!

Raluca Topor
- Chicago, Illinois
October 30, 2011

thumbs up signI used the Hydrogen Peroxide and it knocked the bottom out of the rust stains in my tub! Thanks!

Brett "Old Sport" Svatek
- Los Angeles, California
March 31, 2012

! Open house to try to sell in less than 12 hours and I left bleach on my clawfoot tub, came back to find a nightmare of orange stains. Found a 24-hour pharmacy, loaded up on hydrogen peroxide; the stains were gone so quickly and easily that I wish I'd known it was that simple because then I wouldn't have tried scrubbing until my fingers throbbed before getting in the car. Thanks all!

Ann Smith
- Wichita, Kansas, USA
April 15, 2012

Acid roughened tub and turned it white

Q. Hi, used sulfuric acid industrial strength to unblock my drain unfortunately it has stained my off white bath tub white. Will hydrogen peroxide work? Help please.

Aisha S
- london england
July 29, 2010

A. Hi Alisha.

Sorry, but if the coloration was bleached out by the acid, I don't think you can restore it with peroxide.


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
February 17, 2013

Q. A friend left a virgin sulfuric acid drain cleaner [on eBay or Amazon (adv.)] in my old claw foot tub overnight. I cleaned the discolorations, but I'm left with a very rough surface. I can't tell if it's a deposit on the enamel surface or if the sulfuric acid ate away the enamel. I've been able to kind of scrape some off with a knife (I think) but haven't found any way to make it smooth again. Has anyone else had this problem? Or know if I can fix it?

stephanie craig
- newton Massachusetts US
August 9, 2012

A. Hi Stephanie. It's possible that it can't be fixed -- that the sulfuric acid selectively etched the porcelain too severely. But you won't fix it chemically.

Assuming you don't have a buffing machine, get a buffing pad for your battery operated drill, put some polishing compound like Mothers Mag & Aluminum Polish [on eBay or Amazon (adv.)], or even Barkeepers Friend [on eBay or Amazon (adv.)] on it, and see if you can smooth out the "tooth". Good luck.


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
August 10, 2012

thumbs up signThank you! I will try that.

Stephanie Craig
- Newton Massachusetts US
August 20, 2012

Aluminum or steel scratch marks in tub

Q. Hello
I cleaned the steel oven rack in the porcelain bath tub. It left numerous "aluminum-looking" scrape marks on the tub, though obviously not aluminum. Tried Vim cleanser and Mr Clean to no avail. Help, please?

Robert Barr
hobbyist - Winnipeg, Manitoba
March 14, 2008

A. Some other readers reported scrape marks like that in their sinks caused by titanium rings, Robert. Some suggestions were made and some success reported on letters 18828 "Titanium scratch marks on porcelain" and 20906 "Titanium stain on porcelain sink". You might see if those ideas work for you. Good luck.

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
March 14, 2008

thumbs up signThanks for leading me to query . Glass Stove-top cleaner had the metal scrapes removed from the porcelain bath tub in two minutes flat. No damage.

Robert Barr
- Winnipeg, Manitoba
March 19, 2008

Bathmat-like pattern in tub

Q. I just had my dream house completed from the ground up. My guest bathtub is stained from the original installer of the tub. It has a stain as though there is bath mat down to keep you from slipping and falling when taking a shower or bath. I want to say I want to scream but afraid the neighbor would think I am a nut. This will not go away and I hate it.
Anyone out there with some advise before I have the entire tub replaced?

Betty Williams
- Fort Lauderdale Florida
April 15, 2012

A. Hi Betty; sorry for your problem. But it's hard to figure out what, if anything, will remove a stain of unknown origin and type.

Some tubs, however, including my new one, have a faint bathmat pattern built in, which is reasonably visible in some light; you might double check with the supplier if this might be the case because it sounds like it to me.


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
April 15, 2012

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