Why Faucet Rust Happens and What You Can Do About It

by Jessica Sawyer | Plumbing and Drainage

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A rusty faucet is more than just an eyesore. It can compromise water quality and even damage fixtures, resulting in expensive repairs or replacements. But there’s some good news here: preventing and cleaning faucet rust or even rust stains on toilet bowls isn’t an impossible task. In fact, you may already have everything you need at home!

In this post, we’ll explore the causes of faucet rust, offer step-by-step instructions for removing it, and provide tips on preventing it in the first place.

What Causes Faucet Rust?

So, where is all this brown-orange rust coming from, anyway? Well, there are a few potential sources.

Water Exposure

If your faucet is in a high-traffic area like a kitchen or bathroom, then it’s constantly being exposed to water. This makes it a prime candidate for rust formation. 

See, when water sits on metal surfaces for extended periods, it reacts with iron content in the metal, causing oxidation. This process leads to rust, which can spread and weaken the entire faucet over time.

High Humidity Levels

Another thing about bathrooms and kitchens is that they often have high humidity levels, especially if they lack proper ventilation. This excess moisture in the air can settle on the surface of your faucet and accelerate the rusting process. 

And that’s not all it can do. Humidity also encourages the growth of mold and mildew which can further damage your fixtures, not to mention your health.

Quality of Materials

Not all faucets are created equal. They may save you a few bucks initially, but cheaper materials are more prone to rusting because they often lack protective coatings or contain higher iron content. On the other hand, high-quality faucets made from stainless steel or brass can help reduce the risk of rust.

How to Remove Faucet Rust

Ready to return your faucet to its former rust-free glory? Don’t worry – you won’t need to book a weekend off to do it! Check out our step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1: Gather Supplies

Before you start, you’ll want to have a few things on hand. Be sure to grab:

  • White vinegar or lemon juice
  • Baking soda
  • A soft brush or toothbrush
  • A clean cloth
  • Plastic bag (optional)
  • Commercial rust remover (optional)
  • Gloves (optional, but always a good idea to protect your hands when dealing with acidic solutions)

Step 2: Apply Vinegar or Lemon Juice

Since the rust contains a lot of hardened calcium, your best bet is to apply an acidic solution to your faucet. So, open up your bottle of white vinegar or lemon juice, and apply it to the rusty areas of your faucet. 

If you just need to remove a little rust, then you may be able to get away with just spraying the solution on and wiping it away after about 10 minutes. But if it’s more than that, then fill the plastic bag with vinegar or lemon juice, and use the rubber band to secure it onto the faucet. This you’ll want to leave for a few hours for best results.

Step 3: Scrub the Affected Area

After you’ve let the faucet sit with the solution, combine baking soda and a little water to make a paste. Then, apply it to a soft brush or toothbrush, and scrub away at the rust. 

If the rust is stubborn, you may need to try reapplying the paste and scrubbing again.

Step 4: Rinse and Dry

Once you’ve removed the rust, rinse the faucet thoroughly with water to remove any remaining paste. But don’t leave it soaking wet – that may have been how the rust developed in the first place! Dry the faucet completely with a clean cloth to prevent further water exposure.

Step 5: (Optional) Consider a Commercial Rust Remover

If all else fails, or you have severe rust, you might need to use a commercial rust remover. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, and always wear gloves to protect your skin.

How to Prevent Faucet Rust

As much fun as it is to clean a rusty faucet, you probably don’t want to do it again in the near future. So, be sure to keep the following rust prevention tips in mind.

Regular Cleaning

Regular cleaning is key to preventing rust. It may take awhile to get into the habit, but try to wipe your faucets dry after each use to remove water droplets that can cause oxidation. You can also use a mild cleaner to remove any soap scum or mineral deposits.

Ensure Proper Ventilation

If you think the humidity levels in your bathroom and/or kitchen is the problem, then take steps to ensure proper ventilation. You can use exhaust fans or open windows to reduce moisture levels, but you may need to consider using a dehumidifier if your home is particularly humid.

Choose High-Quality Faucets

Investing in high-quality faucets made from materials like stainless steel or brass can significantly reduce the risk of rust. These materials are less likely to corrode and often come with protective coatings that add an extra layer of defense.

Address Leaks Promptly

A leaky faucet won’t only increase your water bill, but it can also accelerate rust formation by constantly exposing metal to water. So, address any leaks promptly by tightening loose fixtures or replacing worn-out parts. But if you’re unsure how to fix a leak or just don’t have the time for it, it’s best to call a professional plumber.

Soft Water Systems

Hard water contains high levels of minerals, including iron, which can contribute to rust. To deal with this issue, you should consider installing a water softener system. This can help reduce these minerals, preventing rust and extending the life of your faucets.

Need Help Addressing a Rusty Faucet? Contact Water Pros Plumbing Today!

Faucet rust is a common issue that can affect both homeowners and business owners. But thankfully, it isn’t the end of the world. By understanding the causes of rust and following our step-by-step guide to remove it, you can keep your faucets looking and functioning like new.

If you encounter severe rust or other plumbing issues, though, don’t hesitate to call the team at Water Pros Plumbing. Our experts are here to help you maintain a rust-free and efficient plumbing system. Click here to schedule a Water Pros Plumber online, or call (480) 459-4424 today.

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