How to Neutralize a Rusty Shower Curtain Rod

Metal shower rods are susceptible to rust.
Metal shower rods are susceptible to rust. (Image: Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Unlike aluminum and hard plastic shower curtain rods, if you have a metal shower curtain rod, odds are the constant exposure to moisture has allowed a bit of rust to develop. You can remove the rust and restore the shower rod to its former glory, but first you need to neutralize the rust. When you begin to neutralize a rusty shower curtain rod, you need to protect your hands, work in an area with decent ventilation, and use a commercial rust dissolver.

Things You'll Need

  • Drop cloth
  • Rubber gloves
  • Facemask
  • Steel wool
  • Damp cloth
  • Dry cloth
  • Acidic rust dissolver
  • Liquid dishwashing soap
  • Water
  • Baking soda
  • Spray metal primer
  • 320-grit sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Metal spray paint with rust protection

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Remove the shower curtain rod from its moorings in the shower. Take it outside or to a well-ventilated place. Place a drop cloth on the work surface.

Don rubber gloves and the protective facemask. These are readily available at home improvement stores.

Scrub the curtain rod with a steel wool pad. Use long even strokes in one direction. Wipe away the residue with a damp cloth.

Wipe the shower curtain rod with a commercial acidic rust dissolver to neutralize the rust and keep it from returning.

Pour a small amount of liquid dishwashing soap and baking soda onto a clean cloth. Wet the cloth and wipe away the rust dissolver. Dry the rod with a clean dry cloth.

Spray one side of the shower rod with metal primer. Let the primer dry for two hours. Turn the rod over and spray the other side. Let the primer dry for at least two hours.

Sand the curtain rod lightly with 320-grit sandpaper to prepare it for the best paint adhesion. Wipe away sandpaper residue with a tack cloth.

Apply a coat of rust resistant metal paint. Use spray paint for the easiest and most even coverage. Hold the can 8 to 10-inches away from the rod and apply the paint to one side. Let it dry for two to four hours and paint the other side.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use paint specifically for metals to counteract future rusting. Use 320-grit sandpaper instead of steel wool.


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