Can I save this farmhouse sink? Please help! (picture)

madteaparty33January 28, 2013

This doublewide sink came with the house. I love it, it is solid and not chipped anywhere. But well-water as well as an aparent leak in a house that has not been lived in with any regularity in about 10 years did this little number. So far, have tried CLR and baking soda/vinegar paste. Nary a dent. Any ideas for me? Many many thanks in advance.

This post was edited by madteaparty33 on Tue, Jan 29, 13 at 0:00

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We find the same rusty-yuckiness when we open our cabin up in the spring after a long winter. Comet works for us, but it isn't 10 years of build-up. Worth a shot!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 12:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Will try. Many thanks. Reading online, people recomend some sort of acid, which I'm told is nasty stuff (and I am someonw who cleans with castille soap and vinegar and baking soda only)and not particularly good for septic tank systems. I am pretty desperate though...

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 1:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Try bartender's friend or whatever-it's called, something like that. Many here swear by it. And also try just stopping up the drain and letting bleach soak on the sink a bit. Bleach dissipates so it's fine in the septic.

I agree that looks like a little elbow grease will dispatch it. I've had worse! ;)

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 1:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I find softscrub with bleach works well on my porcelain sink. Or a good toilet bowl cleaner perhaps.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 1:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks everyone. I was told bleach does nothing for iron stains, but will try anything at this point.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 8:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I had stains like this in my last house in the toilet. I tried almost everything with no success. And then one day while I was furiously Googling how to solve the problem, I came upon a recommendation for a product called The Works. I couldn't find it at first, and then discovered it on the shelves at Wal-Mart. It was one of the cheapest products they sold. It worked and did so really quickly. Other than this one product, I avoid cleaners that aren't natural. I only use this one when I must, but it really did the trick for me. Let it soak on your stains for a bit and see what happens. Cool sink. I have one too.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 8:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

There is also a product out there called Super Iron Out, that worked wonders on our old bathroom toilet where the bolts had rusted into/onto the toilet tank/bowl. It is septic tank safe too BTW. We bought it at a local hardware store about 4 years ago, but have just looked online and it's still available. Probably similar to the CLR products, but what the heck, anything to try and save that beauty of a sink! Magic Eraser? Borax paste? Hope something works! I don't know that I'd go as abrasive as SOS/steel wool, as you may be scouring/scratching the porcelain. Hope you sort it!

Here is a link that might be useful: Save that sink! LOL

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 9:06AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The Works, or Zud are what I've heard.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 9:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Pumice stone
hydrogen peroxide with cream of tartar (let sit)
If neither works, go for the and nasty stuff (commercial rust remover)
followed by bleach
Let us know what happens.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 9:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have heard that people have great luck using a cheap pumice stone on build up in toilets. I would try one.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 10:44AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The web site retro renovations (no space) .com has cleaning tips for these old porcelain bathtubs and sinks. I don't recommend a pumice stone as it's too easy to scratch the porcelain which is what I did to one of our old toilets. Pam at retro renovations (gah sometimes I hate autocorrect ) recommends R. O. G. 1 and 3. Her website has the link that I can't figure out how to put in on my iPod.

LOVE your sink BTW!

Hope that helps!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 11:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We have well water that has iron in it - a water conditioning system takes the iron out for us, but occasionally, if the system is malfunctioning, we get the orange staining in our toilets. Iron Out works wonders for getting the stains out. Around here, where most neighborhoods have well water, Iron Out is found in every hardware store.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 11:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

In a previous home, we had this same problem. I filled the sink with half water and half bleach and let it sit for a long while, then used a magic erasure. It took a few times of repeating the process, but it worked. It is a bit smelly though with all that bleach, open a window or turn on a fan while it soaks.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 12:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Naval Jelly?

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 1:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Don't use chlorine bleach as it may set the rust.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 2:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Growing up we had extremely hard water and everything got rusty even with a water softening system My mother used a product called Santeen which is intended primarily for toilets. We usually find it at the hardware store. Works beautifully and rust comes right off. Definitely use it with good ventilation though! I would give it a try on your sink. It is safe for porcelain and we never had a problem with the septic system after using it...I can tell you, from years of experience...none of that other stuff suggested will work. They aren't strong enough. We've also used The Works and Iron Out with success as well...if all else fails, why not try to have it reglazed?

This post was edited by khinmn92 on Tue, Jan 29, 13 at 23:09

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 11:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I suggest baking soda and peroxide.
I'm also hearing amazing things about the Magic Eraser. More every day I browse.
Love the sink, too!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 11:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Never naval jelly, phosphoric acid is no friend of the glaze.
Oxalic acid is the go-to for rust. Barkeepers Friend contains it, but you can buy it pure and mix the crystals in hot water. It will dissolve the rust in about 30 seconds, without affecting the porcelain.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 8:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Linking a source for oxalic acid.

If you can find it, try 'Sno-Bol' toilet cleaner. I remember a friend commenting about it being very good at cleaning rust.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dap Oxalic Acid

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 10:54AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Wink rust remover found in the cleaning isle at the grocery store will get rid of that rust in 20 seconds. Gentle enough to wash clothes. Love your sink.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 1:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If your rust removal efforts don't work satisfactorily, consider re-glazing. We had an old pedestal sink re-glazed and it turned out beautifully. It was original to our Arts and Crafts house that was built in 1916. We used the re-glazed sink for 12 years before we sold the house, and the re-glazed surface was still perfect. We used a company called Perma Glaze.


    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 2:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Caminnc is right, it is called Whink rust stain remover. Not all stores carry it though. Recently the store we usually get it at stopped and I started getting it on Amazon. When my husband couldn't find it at the store, he bought 4 other rust removers, scrubbed half the day and my tub was still bright orange. (our water treatment was flooded out in the hurricane and 4 days out left my tub and all my beautiful new white sinks and tubs very orange we have more rust than anyone I have ever seen). 30 seconds with Whink and it is GONE! The stuff is amazing.

By the way, beautiful sink!

Here is a link that might be useful: whink rust remover

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 2:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

WHOA! I was curious about Whink, so I just googled for their MSDS (which must tell you the ingredients). The active ingredient is hydrofluoric acid. That is a serious and dangerous acid. It dissolves glass (so it may not be good for your sink). More serious, it is harmful to YOU. It does not "burn" your skin, like hydrochloric or nitric acid. Rather, it is more pernicious. It penetrates your skin and does nasty things to your innards.


Hydrofluoric acid (HF) differs from other acids because the fluoride ion readily penetrates the skin, causing destruction of deep tissue layers, including bone. Pain associated with exposure to solutions of HF (1-50%) may be delayed for 1-24 hours. If HF is not rapidly neutralized and the fluoride ion bound, tissue destruction may continue for days and result in limb loss or death.

Full disclosure: I may be overly strident about this warning because I have a minor, but permanent, disfigurement on my hand, and lingering pain in my thumb, due to unrecognized exposure to HF about 30 years ago.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 3:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would say that if you were to use some of the suggested cleaners they will be effective enough that you most likely wouldn't have to do any hand scrubbing-the rust will just disappear- that is how effective they any rate I wouldn't use any of these chemicals without wearing gloves or other skin protection! If you have softened water and will be using the sink regularly it will probably be a one time treatment as you will be able to keep up with it in the future!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 5:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You can't re-glaze a kitchen sink. So-called reglazing is just epoxy paint, which does not hold up to kitchen use. Even the manufacturers and distributors post that on their websites.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 6:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

re: Whink -- Ack! Thanks for the alert, Angie! Scary stuff!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 7:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What a helpful thread!

I always wonder -- really wonder -- about these "miracle" products.

There is one called "Dip It" that is marketed as a coffee pot cleaner and I think is available on east coast stores only (and few at that), though I think it's available through Amazon. It works great for taking away tea stains (oxalic acid, ya think?). So great I just have to wonder what on earth this is. I always presumed it was just oxalic acid but I don't really know how to find out ... Angie, are "MSDS" sheets available for all such products and does this tell you the proprietary ingredients? I called the company once and got laughed at. I figured I could go deeper but lost interest.

And I was just going to ask how you buy oxalic acid when the link was posted here. You guys are great!

So ... thanks, Angie, for that scary-product information; sorry about your accident that informs the rest of us and thanks for any hints as to what is in the "dip-it". It's expensive and I'm guessing the active chemical is worth $0.05....

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 9:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

OK, so googling 'dip it msds' gives me all the info just like that. I guess it's been since the internet that I've wondered too seriously about this.

Apparently it's "DISODIUM TRIOXOSILICATE" -- is that oxalic acid? probably....

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 9:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

No, oxalic acid is H2C2O4. (I had to look it up.) Disodium trioxosilicate is Na2SiO3 (and it has 5 H2O molecules hydrating it). I am not smart enough to know how disodium trioxosilicate works!

Thanks for the well wishes!

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 12:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The Works. It's cheap and amazingly effective!

good luck


    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 12:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi! Before you use some horrible, toxic, shiny-finish-eliminating thing . . . .I hope you're still reading these posts, because I have a totally GREEN and non-toxic thing for you to try: oak leaves!

My best friend chucked city life and moved out to the country for about 3 years, and raised sheep for a while. One day, she was rinsing out the sheep's water bucket and had forgotten her rag, so she grabbed some oak leaves to provide some abrasion. SWISH -- out came the rust stains she thought were etched into the plastic. It worked so well, she tried it on her ancient, rust-stained bathtub. It worked better than ANY cleaner she had tried thus far.

If it's not too late, let me know how it works for you, if you try it.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 7:27PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Please recommend pulls for DW and trash pullout
I'm looking for long handled pulls for both the trash...
Finishing the edges of a backsplash
Hi all! Thanks in advance for any advice... We are...
Sexist or Fun?
Trouble from young feminists over this billboard.
Joseph Corlett, LLC
"Ledge" sinks and accessories -- do you use them?
I'm considering an undermount stainless sink that has...
Need help on storing root vegetables
Can anyone help me with ideas to store my root veges...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™