How to Remove Rust Stains from Plastic Tub: 3 Easy Ways

The most effective way to remove rust stains from a plastic tub is by applying dish soap to it and letting it rest for a few hours before spraying it again with vinegar. Finally, scrub the tub down, and you are ready to bathe again!

Have you been feeling nauseated by the sight of your bathtub lately? Rust stains can be pretty disgusting to look at. 

In this article, we will take you through 3 different ways to get a stain-free and sparkling plastic tub!

Using Bar Keepers Friend

This is a hands-down lifesaver. If you’re unfamiliar with ‘Bar Keepers Friend’ and what it does to stains and rust, you are about to be amazed! It makes the whole task of bathtub cleaning effortless and saves you energy and precious time. 

It is a cleaning staple and a must-try if you want a sparkling tub

This product has oxalic acid, best known for removing rust from multiple surfaces. When using Bar Keepers Friend, never forget to wear safety gloves because there is a risk of skin rash or irritation.

What You’ll Need

There are only two things required for this: 

  • A plastic scourer

  • A cup of Bar Keepers Friend

Below are a few simple steps to follow while using Bar Keepers Friend:

1. Run some water over the whole tub to get it wet.

2. Sprinkle Bar Keepers Friend over the bathtub. This will help form a soapy paste on the wet surface of the tub. 

Note: Pay special attention to the stained areas and make sure that you get those spots covered well. 

  1. Leave the paste on the tub for 2 to 3 hours.

  2. After the paste has penetrated the rust, you can use the kitchen scourer.

  3. Scrape off the rust stains with the help of the scourer. 

You will notice that all the stains are easy to remove because the Bar Keepers Friend will have lifted the rust stains from the surface. Now all you have to do is wash it all away and enjoy your clean and shiny bathtub!

Dish Soap & Vinegar to the Rescue!

This is another magical cure for the rust stains on your bathtub. All you need is a mixture of liquid soap (used for dishwashing) and white vinegar.

dish soap and vinegar

What You’ll Need

  • 3 cups of white vinegar (use distilled)

  • Half a cup of dishwashing soap (liquid)

  • A spray bottle

  • A scourer (use a plastic scourer instead of a metal one as the metal can cause surface damage)

Here’s the recipe for this quick hack to remove rust stains from the tub: 

  1. Evenly spread the liquid soap all over the tub surface, paying particular attention to the stained spots.

  2. Make sure that you have covered everything with the liquid dishwashing soap well. 

Note: If there’s a need for more liquid soap, use it. Using half a cup is not a strict rule, as the proportion of ingredients is an approximation with this recipe. 

  1. Wait for about 4 to 5 hours. The soap will soften the rust stains, and it will be easy to scrub them off later.

  2. Spray some vinegar over the stained areas on the tub.
  3. Wait for another 2 to 3 hours to let the mixture of vinegar and dishwashing soap do the work.

  4. Scrub it all off! If the stain still remains, repeat steps 4 and 5.

  5. Use the scrubber to brush the tub thoroughly. 

Now is the time to rinse the bathtub with clean water and enjoy a fresh and sparkling tub. 

A Unique Hack with Cream of Tartar

Cream of tartar has many uses outside the kitchen. It is a natural by-product obtained from wine production and is used for baking. You’ll be surprised to know that it’s also a great cleaning agent. 

The acidic nature of cream of tartar makes it an excellent, moderate abrasive substance for getting rid of rust stains.

What You’ll Need

  • A cup of cream of tartar

  • A scourer (or you can also use a sponge)

Follow the steps listed below to complete the cleaning routine:

  1. Wash the bathtub with water and clean its surface from any dust particles.

  2. Apply some cream of tartar to the stained spots, covering completely.

  3. When you apply cream of tartar to the wet surface of the bathtub, it will create a paste.

  4. Wait for up to 4 hours after applying the paste to the tub surface.

  5. After the wait, use the scourer or sponge to clean the surface. Pay special attention to the stained areas. 

That’s all there is to it! After you are done scrubbing, simply wash everything off with clean water. If stains still remain, repeat the process until they are gone.

Prevention Strategy

Certainly, one of the surefire ways to get rid of the stains from the tub surface is to prevent them from occurring altogether. All you need to do is make your cleaning routine a priority. 

To do this, you will need to rinse the tub with clean water daily and as soon as you have used it. Always dry the tub surface after you are done washing it thoroughly. 

In addition to the light cleaning every day, do a deep clean once or twice a week using liquid dishwashing soap and vinegar mixture. 

Following these simple regular cleaning recommendations will keep the rust away from your bathtub, and you will not have to worry about it anymore. Your bathtub will stay free of mold stains, water stains, and rust, and you’ll be able to enjoy a shiny and clean tub always. 

Easiest Way to Get Rid of Rust from Plastic Tubs

One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to deal with this problem is to use naturally acidic materials like cream of tartar, vinegar, lemon juice, Bar Keepers Friend, etc. 

All these substances contain natural acids and are effective in removing stains. However, always stay away from using bleach as it can do more damage than good.

The Myth of Bleach

Using bleach will not help you remove the stains at all, and it will damage the plastic surface of the tub. If you keep using bleach, it will gradually eat at the plastic surface and ruin the overall quality of your bathtub. 

bleach being poured out of bottle

FAQs on How to Remove Rust Stains from Plastic Tub

Why Do Plastic Bathtubs Get Rustic?

Your plastic bathtub gets rusty because of hard water, or you may have been leaving some metal objects on the tub surface, like canned shaving cream. 

Is Vinegar Effective in Cleaning the Rust Stains?

Yes. Even if your bathtub has some stubborn or old stains, using distilled white vinegar can do wonders to clean them. Vinegar is rich in natural acetic acid and is effective in dissolving the rust from different surfaces. 

Can You Use Baking Soda to Remove Rust from Plastic?

You may use baking soda to remove rust from plastic. However, it will be most effective with lighter rust stains only. You can mix baking soda with some water to form a paste and then apply it to the stained surface before scrubbing it clean. 

Scroll to Top