Vintage Sink

The bathroom on the main floor of the house has all of the original fixtures in it, which I really love. The tub is an amazing (super deep) pedestal tub! The sink has some rust though, and I’m wondering if there’s a way to get rid of it.

bathroom sink

See the rust around the drain and the area where the plug rests? I tried CLR (“Calcium, Lime, Rust”), but it didn’t do much. Can I seal it and paint over it with some sort of enamel? Brandon thought we should just touch it up with some white paint, but I think the rust would just come right back.

Any suggestions?

Sources & Paint ColorsNeed design help? Let's work together.

You Might Also Like...

  • Anonymous
    April 19, 2007 at 11:12 am

    I used oxy clean powder with a hot rag to get rid of the rust on my metal corner caddy in my tub. It came right off

  • Carrie S.
    April 19, 2007 at 12:37 pm

    I think there are bathroom restoration people that might be able to point you in the right direction. It needs to be filled and waterproofed/sealed before you would paint it, or it might chip off.

  • Chrissy
    April 19, 2007 at 12:42 pm

    You might have to soak the area in CLR overnight. That’s we had to do for our kitchen sink.

  • Chaz
    April 19, 2007 at 9:17 pm

    Cover the drain hardware with thick tape or heavy coat of bee’s wax.

    Mix some hydrogen peroxide and powdered alum (1 thimble of alum to each pint of peroxide) and pour into the sink till the stains are covered.

    Let sit an hour, scrub with a non-metallic brush, and repeat if needed.

    When the stains are gone scrub with hot water and baking soda.

    Good Luck!

  • jane
    April 20, 2007 at 4:20 am

    This sounds crazy, but the Queen of Clean recommends using Tang or Lemon Kool-Aid; the acid is supposed to oxidize the rust. Just wet the surface, sprinkle it on, let sit for an hour, scrub and rinse. It might need several tries since it looks like quite a bit of rust.

    She does suggest using the Tang every month or so to just make sure it doesn’t come back.

    Good luck – how great that it’s an original fixture!

  • Stacy
    April 20, 2007 at 2:34 pm

    If none of the above suggestions work, you can also pick up a chip repair kit at Lowe’s or Home Depot to paint over the rust. It’s offered in a white enamel that you can try to match to your sink. I think it’s a two step process. It comes in little bottles that paint on like nail polish…

  • Anonymous
    April 20, 2007 at 8:58 pm

    I would definitely re-enamel the sink because the exposed areas (even if you remove the rust with one of the above products) will be an easy target for bacteria. There are lots of companies who re-enamel bathtubs, and I am sure they do sinks, too.

  • Kitty Von Bang
    April 21, 2007 at 8:05 am

    Like the sink but love the shower curtain! :)

  • Mandy
    April 21, 2007 at 6:07 pm

    What a cute sink! I wish I had some advice about the rust…oh the joys of owning an older home. :)

  • Anonymous
    April 23, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    Get the area wet and put Comet on it so that it creates a kind of paste. Let sit for an hour or so and then scrub scrub scrub. Good luck!

  • Anonymous
    May 15, 2007 at 1:03 pm

    My mother-in-law had her tub, also an original to their older home, re-enameled / restored. It didn’t seem to cost much, but i don’t remember asking either. We’re in georgia, so i have no idea how the cost translates to your state.

  • Rosa
    February 24, 2008 at 1:08 am

    I have actually used just regular white out before on my sink, you will need to re-apply, but it will cover it up, and its very in expensive.

  • chemlady
    February 13, 2009 at 11:32 am

    “This sounds crazy, but the Queen of Clean recommends using Tang or Lemon Kool-Aid; the acid is supposed to oxidize the rust. Just wet the surface, sprinkle it on, let sit for an hour, scrub and rinse. It might need several tries since it looks like quite a bit of rust.”

    ~This is 100% not true, rust occurs when iron is converted into iron oxide, a process called oxidation. You defenetly don’t want to pour tang in your sink.

  • Shelley
    April 9, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    Apparently it is the citric acid in the tang that dissolves the rust.

  • Val
    September 12, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    You can put a ring of white caulk around it and then smooth it down. There’s a post on YoungHouseLove where they did that to cover up where the re-glazed tub was starting to peel around the sink.

  • Renee
    September 20, 2009 at 9:53 pm

    Did any of this end up working?

  • Basement Bathroom: The Main Pieces | Making it Lovely
    January 24, 2011 at 10:43 am

    […] Then I found a pedestal sink from the same period as the one on the main floor. As charming as our vintage sink is though, I didn’t want separate taps for hot and cold water. I did however stick with […]

  • Jojo
    April 14, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    If you have a strong steam cleaner try that. Non toxic and it will kick that rust out. If not, you could paint it there is a special ceramic paint in the hardware store for chips and things like that don’t see why it wouldn’t work for this.

  • | Making it Lovely
    May 10, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    […] up a shower curtain” kind of way. (I’ve never even showed it properly, other than this shot.) So I’ve been looking at affordable updates, and I put a whole roundup together of bathroom […]

  • Laura
    August 13, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    Hello! I think i’m a little late to this game, but there is! My husband and I had the same issue in the new home we bought (you can see more of it on my blog) and we bought an enamel kit from our local Home Depot. It’s super smelly and kinda scary stuff when you are using it, so just be sure to follow the directions, but it works amazingly and fixed our issue in stopping more rust while covering and matching the colour perfectly!

  • Jeune
    October 10, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    Anonymous suggested refinishing. I had my 1920 clawfoot bathtub “refinished”. I believe the finish is epoxy. It was cheaper than buying a new clawfoot but don’t think that it made it like new, because it didn’t. It looked GREAT for a couple of years. Then the problems began to show up. A damp towel draped over the side took off a 5″ strip of the paint in 2 different locations. And soaking ANYthing in the tub allows water to get under the finish so that it begins to rust underneath and the finish comes up. Now, 12 yrs. later, not only are there various chips out of the bottom but a strip about 6″ x 24″ is mostly gone revealing the well-worn original porcelain. As I said, it was a cheap solution but NOT a great answer for a kitchen sink or bathtub unless you never expect to have water on the surface for longer, say, than 15 minutes.