One of the oddest things I discovered when we moved into our house upstate was a series of hazy blue stains on just about every porcelain and tile surface. From sinks and toilets to the floor of the shower, there seemed to be a bright blue stain that, to me, looked like toothpaste had been sitting there for 40 years. I’d never dealt with copper pipes before, so I didn’t know they left blue stains, and I tried just about every cure under the sun until I found a simple vinegar trick that got rid of them in a hot (literally) second. So for today’s Home Ec post, I decided to tackle the stubborn sink and tub stains. From rust and lime to copper and calcium, these tricks will have your sink shiny and clean in no-time. Stay tuned for more cleaning tips for non-porcelain next week… xo, grace
*Image above, Alape Bucket Sink at Rejuvenation Home
Your Major Stain-Fighting Weapons:
*WARNING: Bleach can damage colored porcelain surfaces, so use with caution if you choose to use it.
1. Clean your sink/tub with a mild soap and warm water, allow to dry completely.
2. Attack with your least abrasive cleaners possible (a combination of baking soda and ammonia) to cut grease and help with surface stains.
3. Taking it to the next level, any of the combinations below will help you tackle tougher stains.
Rust Stains: I’ve found rust to be the easiest stain to remove so far, as it seems to relent completely when faced with a pumice stick. I ordered the one above and it has obliterated all our remaining rust stains, especially on tough antique bathroom sinks. I used this cleaning set to help me get in between small parts of the sink drain.
Copper Stains: I tried everything under the sun until I found this rather drawn-out video on Youtube. I’ll cut to the chase and say her tip works! Combine one cup of white vinegar with 1 tbsp of salt and boil until the salt dissolves. Then dip a cotton rag or towel in the liquid and place directly on top of the copper stain. I repeated this process twice and got rid of ALL our copper stains.
Soap or Grease Rings and Build-Up: These are gross, but they’re easier to tackle than rust, so I don’t mind them. Combine 1 gallon of water with 1 tbsp of ammonia and douse the affected area with the liquid, scrubbing on the sections most stained. Repeat until the stains are gone.
Hard Water/Lime Stains: When we had our water tested after moving upstate we found out the water hardness was off the charts. Which would explain why my hair was plastered to my head after taking a shower. It weighs everything down and leaves behind a heavy scale from the lime or mineral deposits in water. To remove these stains from your hardware, soak a cotton rag or paper towel in vinegar and wrap it around your faucets (you can hold it in place with a rubber band). Let it sit for an hour before wiping down the hardware with a clean dry cloth. You can also try making a paste from baking soda and water (3 parts baking soda to 1 part water) and applying that paste to the hardware, and then letting it sit for an hour before removing. To remove general hard water stains from your tub or sink, spray them with a mixture of vinegar and lemon to break down the mineral deposits.
Spot Stains: Some spot stains are hard to identify but can be caused by cleansers or other minerals in your water system. For these, try a mixture of baking soda and/or salt on top of a lemon (cut in half). The lemon adds acid to break down the stain, liquid to create a paste with the powder and it gives you a good surface to hold on to while you scour the stain away with the paste.