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Iron in the Water is Leaving Stains on Bathroom Fixtures

A Done plumber reviewing a maintenance checklist for bathrooms

Depending on the region you’re living in, it is possible for you to notice you have iron in the water because of the reddish or orange stains you find on the bathroom fixtures. The rust-colored stains appear when the air reacts with the iron particles in the water.

Cleaning the toilet if you have iron in the water

In order to clean the stains first you will have to shut off the valve and remove as much water from the toilet as you can. Wait for a while for the bowl to dry up. This way the water won’t dilute the cleaner you use. Instead of buying discount-store cleaners, you should head it to the hardware store and get something with hydrochloric acid. Regardless of what product you use, make sure it doesn’t contain any bleach because it will only set the stain.

Get a toilet brush made of nylon, preferably with stiff nylon bristles. Throw out your owl brush with wire bristles because they would only scratch the bowl.

In case you generally use a cleaner with bleach, you should flush the toilet several times to wash off any bleach residue. If you combine bleach with acid cleaners you will get toxic vapors. When scrubbing, you should use slow movements because the cleaning product could splash and it will damage the objects and rugs around the toilet.

Cleaners to use

As it has been mentioned before, you should be thinking about acid cleaners when being faced with iron stains. Besides hydrochloric acid, you could also make a paste of lemon juice and borax. Apply the paste on the fixtures, let it dry and then wash it off, washing the stains off as well.

You could also make a paste of cream of tartar, scouring powder and peroxide. Again, you have to let the paste set for half an hour and then rinse it off. As another option, try diluting trisodium phosphate or oxalic acid in water. Apply the cleaning product, wait a while and then rinse it off.

In case you are a fan of the more natural cleaning products, consider mixing lemon juice and white vinegar and cleaning the bathroom fixtures with it. If you are faced with heavy stains, you should make a paste of a cup of vinegar or lemon juice and half a cup of baking soda or borax. However, in this case it is best to try the paste on a hidden part of the fixture first to make sure that it doesn’t damage the finish.


Regardless of what cleaning product you choose, it is important to think about your own safety; wear rubber gloves at all times and it is best to have some protection for your face and eyes too.

Having iron in the water isn’t exactly a blessing, but you can be sure that there is nothing that you can’t handle if you have the right cleaning product. It is possible you will have to try several products until you find one that works.

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