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How to remove rust from ceramic sinks

Updated April 17, 2017

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 -- many products and methods may 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.

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Natural remedy

  1. Wipe down your sink with water, then dry thoroughly and insert the plug.

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

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

  4. If the stain remains, you can either repeat this process allowing the solution to sit in the sink longer or try using vinegar. Soak a disposable kitchen towel in vinegar.

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

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

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

Chemical cleaner

  1. Several commercial products claim to remove rust stains. 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 the sink.

  2. Apply your chosen chemical to the rust stain following the instructions on the packet.

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

  4. Tip

    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 off the sink and make it 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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Things You'll Need

  • Salt
  • Lemon or lime juice
  • Vinegar
  • Pumice stone
  • Ceramic rust remover

About the Author

Based in Salt Lake City, UT, Adriann Walker has been writing since she attended Brigham Young University, where she received her Bachelor of Sciences degree in psychology. Her articles have been published on the Internet on sites including ehow.com. Her expertise is in home and garden, business and hobbies.

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