How to Remove Rust From Ceramic Sinks

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A bright white, shiny ceramic sink looks wonderful in a kitchen, but get one stain on it and all the brilliance is gone. Rust stains happen easily, especially if you have hard water or leave metal kitchenware in your sink for too long. Be careful what you use to remove the rust with; many products and methods may indeed remove the rust, but damage your sink by deglossing or scratching it. There are, however, a few methods that will work to remove the rust. Most are affordable and use products you already have at home.

Things You'll Need

  • Salt
  • Lemon/lime juice
  • Vinegar
  • Pumice stone
  • Chemical rust removers made for ceramic sinks (such as The Barkeeper's Friend, The Works and CLR)

Home Remedies

  • Wipe down your sink with water, then dry thoroughly and plug the drain.

  • Sprinkle a generous layer of salt over affected area, and add lemon or lime juice on top. Let this mixture stand for several hours.

  • Rub out the salt and lemon or lime juice until the stain is gone. Rinse thoroughly.

  • If stain remains, you can either repeat the above steps (allowing the solution to sit in the sink longer) or try using vinegar. Soak a disposable kitchen towel in vinegar.

  • Lay the vinegar towel over the rust stain, and let sit over night.

  • Rub the stain with the vinegar towel and rinse the sink thoroughly.

  • If the vinegar does not work, a wet pumice stone can help to scrub out stains, including rust, and will not scratch the ceramic. Be sure to follow the instructions on the stone.

Chemical Removal

  • Several products available in stores claim to remove rust stains. Be sure to avoid any that contain fluoride, as they can cause stains if left for a long period of time. Find a rust remover that is specifically made for ceramic to decrease the chance of deglossing or scratching. Products that have been known to work well are The Barkeeper's Friend, CLR and The Works.

  • Apply your chosen chemical to the rust stain following the instructions on the package.

  • If the stain is not removed, consider using a different chemical and try again.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not use harsh chemicals or rough sponges. For example, steel wool will remove rust from a ceramic sink, but it will also seriously scratch and stain the sink. This damage is irreparable. Harsh chemicals, such as full-strength bleach, will take the shine out of the sink and make the sink more susceptible to all stains.
  • To avoid rust stains in ceramic sinks, do not put any metal kitchenware in the sink. If you have hard water that leaves rust stains in your sink, do your best to keep your sink dry between uses, and consider adding a water softener.

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