How to Remove Rust Stains from Porcelain Sink or Tub


If you’re here and reading this, you’re probably upset about some rust stains on your beautiful porcelain sink (or tub, or whatever).  Keep reading to find out how to remove rust stains from porcelain sinks or tubs!

As the Husband of the DIY Handy Mom, my role is to continually break and/or ruins things around the house.  How else is my wife going to have projects to constantly work on?  I’m doing her a favor!

Anyway, we had a delicious meal, as we almost always do because we love to cook.  For this recipe, we seared some pork on our cast iron pan, one of the best tools in the kitchen.  This set is similar to the ones that we use at home.  The meal was great, but there was a ton of pork fat welded to the bottom of the pan that would probably take hours to scrub off by hand.  I’m a programmer by trade, so I don’t work harder: I (try to) work smarter!

After dinner, I filled the cast iron pan with soapy water and left it in our porcelain sink to do its work on the cemented pork fat.  You might see where I’m going with this by now.

The next morning, the pork fat came right off!  Woo!  But then I lifted the pan out of the sink, and saw this:

remove porcelain sink rust

Ooh! Sink….you’re, uh, not looking so good there.

I knew that my wife was NOT going to be happy to see this.  So, while she was tending to the baby upstairs, I sprang into action removing this nasty porcelain sink rust.

Let’s Remove Those Rust Stains From Our Porcelain Sink (or Tub)!

Alright, let’s get down to business.  First, some of the tools of the trade:

remove porcelain sink rust

Implements of destruction.

First and foremost is the elixir of the gods:  CLR, the Calcium Lime and Rust remover.  This is the stuff that is going to save my bacon (get it? we made pork. ok I’ll shut up).  Also, you’ll want some sort of container you don’t care about for mixing the CLR, a good sturdy brush, and (optionally) a sponge, and maybe even a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, which is yet another tool we’ve written about that can be used literally anywhere in your house.

So per the instructions, I mixed up the CLR with a little bit of water, as you can see here:

remove porcelain sink rust

No, this is not Ninja Turtle ooze!

Note that if the stain is bad enough, you can use straight CLR with no mixer.  Now we have to let the CLR sit on the stain for a bit.  But how do you do that in a sink with a drain?  Why using my patented Paper Towel Trick©®™ of course!

Like any good sink, everything runs down the drain, so the paper towel trick helped a lot here.

I drenched the paper towel with the CLR mixture, arranged it on the stains, and let that sit for around half an hour.  Every now and then I came back and added a little bit more.  Then came time for the final step:  SCRUBBIN’!

Another ingredient I forgot to mention: elbow grease.

You’ll notice that our stain has faded a bit in color here.  That sponge is in the picture because I tried all of our kitchen implements to see what worked best, and ended up swapping between the magic eraser and the trusty brush pictured up above at the beginning.  The sponge didn’t quite do the job.

Finally, after some more power scrubbing, and dousing the brush with CLR occasionally, here is the end result!

remove porcelain sink rust

Wow, sink….you look great. Did you lose weight?

Not bad, eh?  A porcelain sink will never be perfect because, well, it’s a porcelain sink.  But the porcelain sink rust stains are basically completely gone, and it’s looking way better.  Crisis averted!  Until the next time I break something, that is.  Which probably be soon.

In the meantime, learn how to clean your dryer vent, which probably needs it, or why not try your hand in the kitchen with our quick oats recipe with maple syrup?