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Removing Stains from a Porcelain Sink

Category Bathroom
Sometimes your sink may have stains that are difficult to remove. This is a guide about removing stains from a porcelain sink.


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November 23, 20160 found this helpful

An old and rusty porcelain sink.

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There are a number of ways to remove stubborn rust discoloration from a porcelain fixture. This is a guide about cleaning a rust stain on a porcelain sink.


January 11, 20051 found this helpful

Got stains that won't come out of your sink? Use nail polish remover on a cotton ball and it will come right off, no matter what the stain.

By Anna K.

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By guest (Guest Post)
November 21, 20080 found this helpful

If you have a normal plain white sink like in dorm rooms it works very well I did do the bleach thing and it was the bleach that made the sink act up. Thanks so much I would have been in so much trouble for the nail polish.

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November 6, 20040 found this helpful

Dab dishwasher gel on any stains in your sink, and let it set overnight. In the morning the stains will be gone!

By Linda

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October 26, 20040 found this helpful

Got a stain on your tub or sink? Clean them quick and easy. Add cream of tartar and hydrogen peroxide and make a paste. Spread the paste over the stain and scrub lightly with a brush. Let the paste dry and then wipe or rinse it off. That's it you're done. No back-breaking work here! Hope this helps. Take care of you and those you love.

By Suzanne S.

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December 19, 2016

Editor's Note: There are health concerns about mixing bleach with other cleaners, like vinegar. Please use caution and avoid breathing in the toxic chlorine gas.

I am not at all proud to let you see the mess I let my kitchen sink get into. I am kinda happy to let you in on how I cleaned it up.

My sink is old and pitted, just like me. The deeper the pits and the more the smooth surface has been worn away, the more difficult it is to clean. Not only that, these older sinks with their eroded surfaces, stain more easily and hold onto those stains, tenaciously.

Erosion and pitting cannot be cleaned away. If you are bothered by these two, your only recourse is to have the sink re-glazed or to buy a new sink.

The biggest offenders to a sink's surface is not protecting the bowl bottom with a mat, and believe it or not, cleaning the sink with scouring powders specifically designed for cleaning porcelain sinks. These cleaning agents, including the 'soft scrub' type, will in time etch the sink surface, making it porous and open to real staining. By the time you notice the dulling of the surface, the permanent damage has been done. My sink was not new when it came into my possession. Had it been, its surface would not be in the shape it is.

There is a product called Barkeeper's Friend. My understanding is that it is of a totally different composition than regular scouring powders and therefore much gentler to a sink's surface. I cannot speak to its effectiveness or gentleness. I have not used it. I can speak to its cost. It is not moderately priced.

Seeing what a mess my sink was in, I decided it was time for some serious cleaning. While getting out my cleaning supplies, I happened to remember something.

My home is covered with vinyl siding. The north side develops a heavy green layer of scum. This scum is very difficult to remove. I mentioned this to a sister, who suggested I try something she had heard about. A painter had said that the easiest way to remove this scum was with a mixture of equal amounts of household bleach and white vinegar. Doubtful, I tried the suggestion. It worked better than anything I ever tried. I even took pictures, I was so happy with the results. A tip within a tip. One you might want to remember if you have vinyl siding.

I always use bleach when cleaning my sink. First, I scrub the sink with a paste of dish detergent and baking soda. This will never dull a porcelain surface. After rinsing the sink, I pour in bleach and let it sit for a while. The sink is then much whiter and sanitized.

Well, I wondered if a combination of bleach and vinegar would clean and whiten the sink better than bleach, alone. I can tell you emphatically, it does.

I cleaned the sink as usual with dish detergent and soda and then rinsing. Then, I poured in the bleach-vinegar mixture. I could tell immediately it was whitening better and faster than bleach, alone. It even lifted some of the rust stains.

For the deeper rust stains, I used something I discovered long ago, a pencil eraser. Unless the rust stains are really deep, the eraser will remove 100% of them. Don't go out and buy a big block eraser. It won't work. The older and harder the eraser, the better it will remove the rust. It will not harm the porcelain. Expect to use some elbow grease if the stains are deep. A good use for those old pencil stubs you're meaning to throw away.

A quick rinse and another application of bleach-vinegar if you think it necessary and you finished. You will note that I did not remove 100% of the rust stains. I came close. By next Saturday, I will have found more old pencils and finish the job. I still have the other bowl to do, too!

Final tip: Never use anything harder than baking soda on porcelain sinks. That includes those newer, flat nylon scrubbing sheets. They will etch the sink surface.

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December 26, 20160 found this helpful
Top Comment

There are concerns with mixing vinegar and bleach together, just as there are for ammonia. Here is a warning I found in a PDF from the Health Department

"Mixing hazards: USE ONLY IN WELL-VENTILATED AREAS. Adverse effects of inappropriate mixtures of household cleaners usually are caused by prolonged exposure to an irritant gas in a poorly ventilated area. The most common inappropriate mixtures of cleaning agents are bleach with acids (like vinegar) or ammonia (Windex ®). Potential irritants released from such mixtures are chlorine gas, chloramines, and ammonia gas. "

Definitely be sure to have the space well ventilated and it would probably be best to wear a mask as well.

Here is a link I found with more complete information:

http://chemistr  -And-Vinegar.htm

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 1 found this helpful
October 2, 2016

I have a friend that has two yellow stains in his sink (each about three inches in diameter) that will not come off. We do not know the source of the stains as they were there when he moved in. He has tried bleach, baking soda, lemon paste, and Soft Scrub all to no avail. Any suggestions?

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November 5, 20160 found this helpful

I have brown stain on hand basin like rust

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December 18, 20160 found this helpful

Removing yellow stains from older porcelain kitchen sink

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December 8, 20141 found this helpful

My wife likes to use Windex to clean everything! Well, she was cleaning the guest bathroom sink and there was an area where the porcelain enamel had rubbed off unbeknownst to her. Once the spray hit that spot, it absorbed the blue spray and now there is a big discolored blue spot where the enamel had rubbed off. Does anyone have any suggestions how I can remove the stain? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

By Morgan F.

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December 9, 20140 found this helpful

Try putting hot water in the sink with a bit of bleach. Maybe that will help. It helps with stains in my kitchen sink, anyway.

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December 15, 20140 found this helpful

You can try getting a small container, sold in hardware stores, of white enamel touch up paint for just for this purpose for chips.

Syd's 2 cents

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June 30, 20160 found this helpful

Got a big stain off my sink. I ordered Barkeepers Friend online. My sink is shiny, looks like new again. It's three years old.

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May 7, 2007

How do you get the gray mark out of your kitchen sink. My sink is just a year old and the marks are getting worse. I use cleanser but it doesn't budge them. Please help.

Jean from Banning, CA

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By guest (Guest Post)
December 27, 20080 found this helpful

Toothpaste! OMG it worked great and my new-ish sink is new again. Try it.

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February 6, 20100 found this helpful

Use some smooth cook top cleaner on a paper towel, rub & within seconds, the scratches will disappear, guaranteed! This also works great on bath/jetted tubs also.

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January 9, 20160 found this helpful

I just actually removed lots of coffee stains from my porcelain kitchen sink with Crest whitening toothpaste! A tip from above, nail polish remover, didn't work. I remembered I had removed a stain from my favorite white shirt with the whitening toothpaste, so why not my white sink??!! I had to scrub really hard though, but it's all I had on hand at the moment, but it worked!

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By 0 found this helpful
August 30, 2016

How do I get white stains out of a brown porcelain sink?

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February 28, 20170 found this helpful

Most likely this is mineral build up.

The only way I could get these out was with a pumice stone. I would rub the stain out.

Also some recoomend using a mixture of vinegar and baking soda, making a paste, and leaving it on to break down the sediment: http://homeguid  -sink-27471.html

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February 28, 20170 found this helpful

Try a Mr Clean Magic eraser

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February 27, 20150 found this helpful

I have a hair removal cream stain on my white sink. It has been there for 3 weeks. Now the stain is dark grey. What can I do? Please help me!

By Jolanta

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February 28, 20150 found this helpful

Have you tried Magic Eraser? It removed some of the stains in my bathroom that products had left behind. Some of the stains had been there for over 10 years, and it took them right off. May be worth a try for you.

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June 8, 20160 found this helpful

Use Barkeepeer's Friend and a scouring pad. Took out iodine stains.

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May 10, 20140 found this helpful

It appears that some eye medicine my mom used has made stains on my bathroom sink. I tried several things, but nothing works. Any suggestions?

By Gloria

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August 31, 20150 found this helpful

We have a white kitchen sink, yes strange, but it is white. We rinsed a bowl and a plate then left them in the sink before we went overseas for 3 weeks. When we returned we found circular yellow stains where the blowl and plate had been. Tried scrubbing with Jiff, Ajax Professional Mould Remover and OzKleen Mould power, all to no avail. I then wiped the sink as dry as I could and sprayed on 30 Seconds Indoor Mould Remover, thinking this won't work either. But about 3 minutes later, I couldnt believe my eyes. THE YELLOW WAS COMPLETELY GONE. You can buy this product at Bunnings.

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April 14, 20170 found this helpful

Paychex comment vinegar all are toxic harsh chemicals never to be used on porcelain or fiberglass as a scratch and ruin your surface The yellow and maybe go on temporarily but magical racer has acid in it fantastic has acid in at 4:09 has acid lemons her ass at citrus is acid vinegar is acid you're ruining the surface call the manufacturer that tight with use I called kohler and they said to use the ROG3 not Harming in any waynow and abrasive no acid chemically free green product

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August 2, 20040 found this helpful

Please help! My boyfriend is a mechanic and there are motor oil stains in our bathroom sink! Does anyone know how I can get these pesky stains off the porcelain?


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By guest (Guest Post)
September 17, 20040 found this helpful

Well, we are deisel freaks here and teh only thing I use on grease any where any time gets it ever time from carpet to refridgerator door handle to teh knobs on the tub and the faucet in the sink and everything in between..... DAWN (the old blue kind not with any lotions or oils or scents) dishsoap and a little sponge and water..... I am often ask by others in our trucking field how we keep teh clothes and carpet and driveway and tools and selves clean from the grease.. I jsut smile and say DAWN. I leave a bottle in the bathroom at all times so he and I can wash with that instead of bar or liquid soap. the grease just lingeres with everything else!

Dollar general store still carries teh old blue kind I have come to know and love for still only a dollar a bottle. wallmart I think has it for 97 cents. and if that doesn't work let sink dry completely rub a genours amount of WD40 on all effected areas rub it in to the stains..... this will loosen teh stains , Now use the DAWN and it will come out. Good luck.

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By guest (Guest Post)
November 19, 20040 found this helpful

My boyfriend always has motor oil on his tighty whiteys! They wont come out! If you think that is bad then try getting out the gasoline stains! holy cow! ! !

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By guest (Guest Post)
October 3, 20050 found this helpful

Lacey I sell a cleaner that's made for cleaning oil stains E-mail me and i can send you a sample to try.

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By 0 found this helpful
June 7, 2009

I have used hand soap dispensers on my porcelain bathroom sinks. Unfortunately, they have left yellow circles/rings on the sinks now. I have tried many things, but I just can't find a solution to remove these stains. Please help. My bathrooms are only 3 years old. Thanks.

By lhanson from Georgetown, KY

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June 8, 20090 found this helpful

If the stains are on the sink itself like my stains from soap dispensers are try using dishwasher gel. Put some on the area, with a rag rub it in, let it sit a bit and then rub and rinse off. This is all I ever use to clean my sinks and tub after wondering one day why the side of the sink the dishwasher drained on was always so clean. Sadly, I no longer have the dishwasher, but I do have my gel to clean with. I use a store brand, but any kind should work.

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June 10, 20090 found this helpful

This is a common problem for me under my RubberMaid mat. I just use bleach!

Jim in Jax

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June 11, 20090 found this helpful

I have the same problem and I use baking soda with water vinegar made into a paste. Mix it, let it set for 10 min, and rub with a cloth. Works for me. Good Luck.

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April 7, 20150 found this helpful

In a porcelain kitchen sink with stains, do the stains stay off once removed with peroxide? If the kitchen sink is used often, do the ugly stains stay off?

By Joycealaina

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November 8, 20140 found this helpful

My hot water heater makes my hot water yellow which has in turn yellowed my white kitchen sink that's only 3 years old. Bleach, vinegar, and baking soda did nothing. Help!

By Mick from LHC, AZ

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February 22, 2010

I have a blue stain around my new sink in the bathroom upstairs, but I don't have it in my main floor bath. Any suggestions? I would be grateful. Please help. Thanks in advance.

By Brenda from Lac Baker, NB

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