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I need advice or additional hints on how to handle rust in a shower drain.

Our landlord installed a shower with a shallow drain. The drain is fixed with 3 screws and a big seal that fits the rim of the drain whole above and beneath, consider it U-shaped. I discovered a missing part in the seal, at least on the upper side, and opened dismounted the drain founding rust on the enamel upper side of the shower.

rust on enamel drain

Now I got a new seal and will change the broken one. How should I handle the rust part? I would go with a bit of sandpaper and clean the rust off, but then? Should I use some sort of coating before remounting it with the new seal?

  • Hello, and welcome to Stack Exchange. This is a cast iron tub, or is this a metal flange in a fiberglass tub? Either way, it's probably going to be tough to prevent it from rusting more. – Daniel Griscom May 21 '16 at 13:39
  • It is a cast iron tub. I know its gonna be hard, but at least I should try. – Oliver Friedrich May 21 '16 at 13:41
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Remove as much of the rust as you can using any of various mechanical methods, then treat it with a chemical rust converter. The rust converter will treat the iron oxides to help prevent future corrosion and will also leave a protective water resistant coating. Try to spread the converter to overlap onto sound areas, and maybe try to use a cotton swab to treat the underside of the lip.

It won't completely stop future rust but it's better than nothing. It dries black so make sure you don't apply it beyond the area covered by the upper flange or it will be ugly.

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If you wish to actually de-rust the tub, you have a few options, most of which are slightly destructive, to remove the rust.

  • Wire wheels or other powered grinding/sanding devices will be quickest, but remove the most material.
  • Hand sanding/abrading will remove less material and may allow you to shape your result more easily.
  • Using an abrasive cleaning product will remove the least material of these manual processes, but may take considerable effort.
  • Electrolysis would remove only the rust, but likely involve some serious disassembly, not to mention voltages high enough to minimally cause pain (or worse).

I recommend Bar Keepers Friend. Not affiliated in any way, we found it recently when trying to do some deep cleaning on a steel kitchen skillet, and have since tried it on more things than I care to remember. The latest is an electrical stove with three years of hard use and no interim cleanings. Within 5 minutes everything was off that should have been and the finish was unharmed.

If you were doing a more involved and personal restoration, I'd suggest electrolysis, but not for a rental unit.

Lastly, you may want to consider requesting a fix from the landlord, as the problem may manifest again, given the installation of that recessed drain.

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