9 Ways on How to Remove Rust From a Shower Rod And Prevent Rust From Returning

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Shower rods can be made of different metals including copper, steel, and chrome, and this can be the perfect recipe to get rusty in a damp and moist environment such as your bathroom.

It may seem like the fix could be difficult or complicated, like sanding or painting them, but as long as there aren’t any rust holes in the shower rod the fix is surprisingly quite simple and you most likely have the required equipment to complete the task at hand in your kitchen.

In this blog post, we will look at different ways to clean rust spots off a shower rod easily without using harsh chemicals that are not only bad for the shower rod but also damage the environment. Additionally, we will look at why you get rust and ways to prevent the rust from returning.

The Science Bit

How does this simple solution work?

The unsightly rust marks on your shower rod are a compound called iron oxide. This happens when the iron in the steel reacts with oxygen in the air. When you use aluminum foil to rub the rust, this creates heat.

The oxygen atoms leave the iron and are attracted to the aluminum foil, which they have a higher affinity for and thereby creating aluminum oxide instead. Aluminum is more prone to reduction potential than chrome, meaning that it is more likely to lose oxygen and form rust.

This means that the rust will migrate from the chrome shower rod to the aluminum. Below we will be discussing the various ways of removing rust from a shower rod depending on how stubborn the rust spots are proving to be.

How to Remove Rust From a Shower Rod Using Aluminum Foil

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It is not necessary to take down your shower rod. However, to really get into the joint area or the ends, you may decide you want to take it off the wall.

1. Clean the shower rod

Start by cleaning the shower rod using a cloth that is wet with water, removing any surface grim or dried soap scum.

2. Aluminum foil into small pieces

Take a sheet of aluminum foil and cut it into small pieces approximately 3×3 inches.

3. Using aluminum pieces soaked in white vinegar

Place the cut pieces of aluminum foil into a cup of white vinegar. The vinegar will help to dissolve the rust as you use the aluminum to rub the rust off the rod.

4. Scrubbing the shower rod

Using gentle pressure, rub the aluminum foil that has been sitting in the vinegar over the rusted area of the shower rod. This will create a noticeable effect quite rapidly, but as you continue to rub the area and generate some heat, the difference will be more dramatic.

The chrome will become much smoother, and the rust will disappear. This is a result of the formation of aluminum oxide, which is a natural lubricant.

5 . Clean the shower rod clean

After you remove the rust, wipe off the rod with a clean rag. Apply a thin coat of automobile wax and let it dry. Then buff it to a shiny finish. The wax prevents any water from seeping in and causing any more rust by covering any pits left behind after the cleaning process.

How to Remove Rust From a Shower Rod Using Cola and Tin Foil

In order to remove rust from particularly stubborn spots, dip the foil in cola. Cola contains rust-cutting carbonic acid, which makes the process much easier.

  • Pour a glass of cola.
  • Soak the tinfoil square in the cola, then use it to wipe down the shower rod.
  • Using gentle pressure, clean the area of stubborn rust.
  • Use clean water to rinse the rod, then wipe it dry with a soft, non-abrasive cloth

How to Remove Rust From a Shower Rod Using Mild Acids

Vaxxen Labs Food Grade 3% Hydrogen Peroxide (2 Liter / 68 Fl Oz)

Hydrogen peroxide

McCormick Cream Of Tartar, 1.5 oz (Pack of 6)

Cream of tartar

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Mild cleaning powder

For areas of the shower rod which are badly corroded by rust, you may need a more powerful solution. Here we will explain how to use mild cleaning powder, cream of tartar, and hydrogen peroxide to clean off the rust.

  1. Mix the following to create a thick paste. 1/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide, 1/2 cup of mild cleaning powder, and 1/4 cup of cream of tartar. Using a brush or cloth, apply the paste to the rust on the shower rod.
  1. Leave the paste on the shower rod for at least 30 minutes. This will allow the paste to work away at the rust. You can then clean away the paste using paper towels.
  1. Using a damp clean cloth, wipe away any residue. 

Sandpaper or metal wool for extreme areas of rust

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Sometimes no amount of cleaning will remove the rust on certain areas of the shower rod. If this is unacceptable, there is a solution. Simply put, you need to grind away the rust with sandpaper.

This may require you to spray paint the sanded area with a spray of chrome paint to coat the scratches caused by sanding it.

  1. Remove and secure the shower rod so that it does not move or rotate as you start to work on it.
  1. Use 320-grit wet/dry sandpaper or metal wool.
  1. Use either metal wool or sandpaper. Start by using minimum force and work away at the rust. Use a twisting action to work away at the cylindrical shape of the rod. Apply more force as required to remove the rust.
  1. Wipe away the rust with a wet cloth.
  1. Coat the area that was sanded with chrome paint from a spray can. This will improve the appearance and protect the area from further rust.

Alternative ways to remove rust from a shower rod

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If you do not have mild acids or sandpaper to remove the rust, there are other alternative methods you can use to remove rust from a shower rod, and here are some listed below.

Lemon and Baking Soda

Lemon juice is a great choice for cleaning chrome because of its acidic nature. You can wipe surfaces with it or mix it with baking soda to make a cleaning paste. Be sure to let the mixture work and then rinse it off.

Nail Polish Remover

If you are out of other cleaning supplies, nail polish remover can be used to clean chrome. It is not the best option, as it is expensive, but it will work in a pinch.

Baby Wipes

Baby wipes are pre-soaked in a cleaning solution, which makes them convenient to use. They are gentle on the skin, so they are perfect for anyone. Plus, they can be used to clean any grubby metals in your bathroom. This is not the best way to clean your chrome, but it can be useful in case of an emergency.


Mixed with water, salt can make a good cleaning agent. It can also help other cleaners work better. For example, if you sprinkle some vinegar onto a damp cloth, it will be more powerful when you use it to clean chrome.

Cleaning Agent such as Bar keepers friend

Mix a cleaning agent such as Bar Keeper’s Friend with water to make a paste. Use the paste to scrub the rusty shower rod. Rinse it afterward.

Use toothpaste to clean the shower rod

Apply a small spot of non-gel toothpaste to a soft wet cloth and rub it onto the rusted area of the shower rod and work in. Wipe away for a clean finish afterward.

How to prevent rust in shower rods and hooks

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Now that you’ve cleaned your chrome shower rod and it looks great! You need to familiarize yourself on how to maintain that shine and stop the rust from returning between deep cleanings. 

Commercial cleaning agents such as household bleaches, powder-based cleaners, and most cleaners that remove mold or mildew are all generally harsh chemicals that can strip away the chrome over time, so it’s best to avoid using them whenever possible. 

To prevent rust on your chrome curtain rod, use car wax. Put car wax on every few months to seal any cracks and protect the chrome. It’s easy to do – rub it on and buff it off!


Chrome is a great material that can be used to create a beautiful finish on metallic features. However, it is important to clean it regularly and properly in order to maintain its shine. Chrome bathroom fittings are not usually made entirely of chrome.

They are usually made of brass, which is a strong metal, and then chrome is applied as a layer to give them a beautiful finish. The beautiful look of a chrome finish tends to be its biggest downside; as it is so reflective, any build-up of dirt is very noticeable.

Cleaning chrome in your bathroom is a straightforward process, but it requires more care than cleaning other metals like steel and brass. Fortunately, you can easily clean your chrome using household cleaning products or a couple of other items.

Use the above steps to return your chrome back to its former glory.