How could I make the same (cleaning) mistake twice?
March 21, 2007 5:29 PM   Subscribe

How do I get rid of the brown stain that bleach left on my old porcelain tub?

I can't believe I did this again. In my old place one of the first things I did was use bleach on my old (1940's) porcelain tub. And it left an almost impossible nasty brown stain.

Years later, new place, different old porcelain tub... and I got a little aggressive with the spring cleaning, used a bleach based cleaner near it, and have the brown stain again.

Looking for personal experience on what has successfully removed (or significantly diminished) these brown bleach stains for you. Last time I followed the advice of paper towels soaked in CLR which ended up etching the tub. Something I'd like to avoid.
posted by Ookseer to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Perhaps you could try coating your tub with laundry detergent, letting it stand for a few hours, then rinsing. That did a good job of seriously cleaning my tub.
posted by mfitz at 5:34 PM on March 21, 2007

Try regular old white toothpaste. I just used that to remove a rust stain on my tub. Don't know if it will do the same here.
posted by FlamingBore at 5:53 PM on March 21, 2007

Best answer: Baking soda and peroxide paste is supposed to work.
posted by stefanie at 6:09 PM on March 21, 2007

Try Bar Keeper's Friend or some other cleanser that contains oxalic acid. It's amazing - removes odd stains, rust, metal skuffs on dishes & sinks. Give it a go.
posted by ranchgirl7 at 9:32 PM on March 21, 2007

I have used oxalic acid to remove iron stains from quartz so it should work on porcelain with out etching the glaze. Naval jelly might work also.
posted by hortense at 10:03 PM on March 21, 2007

Mr Clean Magic Erasers cleaned my very very old tub.
posted by poxuppit at 8:13 AM on March 22, 2007

I can't see why bleach would turn porcelain brown unless you get down to the iron. We used muriatic acid to get rid of serious iron stains from wellwtater.
posted by theora55 at 10:58 AM on March 22, 2007

Depending on what you want to achieve here I'd suggest you look into re-glazing. I've now seen it done in three different locations and the results are just beautiful. It's certainly more expensive than peroxide and baking soda but it's also possibly going to save you time and effort in the future.
posted by phearlez at 1:22 PM on March 22, 2007

Two months ago Cool Tools profiled a Pumie Toilet Bowl Ring Remover and mentioned that it might work on a tub. It wasn't easy to find--try the plumbing section of your hardware store or order online.

Our tub was so multi-colored when we bought our house that I thought we would have to replace it, but the pumice stone, with a little elbow grease, has brought it back to whiteness. For under $10, what do you have to lose?

There are also chemical stain removers you can use, but I have no experience with those.
posted by earth2marsh at 5:14 PM on March 22, 2007

Response by poster: Hydrogen Peroxide completely cleaned it up. Didn't even need the soda (which is good because I was out...) There's still some damage to the surface, but that was caused by the bleach and is hardly noticeable. (Especially compared to everything else that happened to the tub in the last 60 years...)

theora55: Trust me, old porcelain (circa WWII and before) will stain brown when bleach is applied. Do some Google time if you doubt it.

Re-glazing does look great, but I'm renting and will probably only be in this place for two years or less so doesn't seem a good investment.

Thanks for the help everyone!
posted by Ookseer at 12:41 PM on March 26, 2007

« Older Needed: Antique/Used/Abused lumber or tables   |   Girls are to flowers as Boys are to _______ Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.