rust and iron stain on drain in bathtub

Suppose your home’s water comes from a private well. In that case, you may have noticed that certain appliances, including your dishwasher and washing machine, require more detergent and additional cycles before dishes and clothing appear clean.

For many homeowners, unsightly stains on appliances and bathroom fixtures from excessive mineral amounts in the water supply are an even bigger nuisance. But how do you get rid of them? Keep reading to find out!

What Causes Mineral and Rust Stains?

Iron and Rust Stains

Stains on toilet bowls are most commonly found in homes that get their water from private wells.

If you have iron or mineral buildup in your water supply, you may notice you still accumulate reddish or brownish rings around your drain or toilet bowl no matter how much you scrub. Unfortunately, minerals such as lime, iron, calcium, and magnesium attach to nearly every surface they encounter.

If you have a deep well where oxygen content is low, water containing dissolved iron and manganese appears clear and colorless at the tap. Once it is exposed to air, the iron becomes oxidized, which leaves a solid reddish-brown stain on laundry, plumbing fixtures, and porcelain toilet bowls. When iron is exposed to oxygen longer, the color becomes darker.

Rust can even form in the drum of your washing machine, staining your clothes, making some white fabrics appear slightly yellow or orange after wash cycles.

rust and iron stain on drain in bathtub

Mineral and Limescale Buildup

Large amounts of calcium can also cause limescale to build up on bathroom appliances. It is most commonly found on faucets, showerheads, and even parts of your washing machine. Limescale occurs any time hard water touches a surface.

Over time, limescale can clog hot water pipes and minimize the heating efficiency of a water heater.

Solutions for Iron and Other Mineral Stains

Perhaps the biggest frustration homeowners with hard water face is the frequent cleaning that must be done to keep iron and other mineral stains to a minimum. Many commercial products, such as lime descalers and rust removing sprays, are available to help homeowners eliminate the appearance of stubborn stains.

Iron and Rust Stain Removers

Iron and rust removal products come in many different forms. From liquids to powders, there’s a cleaner for almost any stain or appliance. Manufacturers design liquid rust stain removers to dissolve rust and iron stains on white porcelain sinks and toilet bowls. The rust stain removers are also safe for pipes and septic systems. Powder versions, as well as bowl cleaners, are available for removing stains from household appliances.

Lime Descalers

Lime descalers work by dissolving troublesome deposits. Most descalers are strong enough to target calcium buildups, but gentle enough not to negatively affect chrome, glaze, and grout.

Combat Stubborn Stains with Vinegar and Lemon Juice

Are you looking for a natural stain removal solution? Lemon juice or cleaning vinegar can temporarily dissolve limescale deposits with very little effort and even less money. For washing machines, substitute a cup of detergent with either liquid and then run an empty washing cycle.

Dishwashers benefit from this remedy as well. All you need to do is pour one of the two substances into the base of the machine instead of the detergent dispenser. Another tip to prevent iron and rust stains from building up in your toilet bowl is to replace the flush valve. Do this if you notice your tank is having problems filling up or water is running continuously.

Beware of Bleach

While you may be tempted to use bleach to remove stains, don’t! Since bleach is a combination of chlorine and water, this can actually make stains worse as it will oxidize the iron upon contact. While the chlorine compound works great to remove stains from clothing and effectively kills germs, it accelerates the rusting process when mixed with iron.

Contact Atlantic Blue Water Services

Save yourself time and money with the help of a water filtration system. Learn more about our various products below that help treat your water and remove minerals for good. Call the water treatment experts at Atlantic Blue Water Services today at 410-840-2583.