If you have orange stains from your water supply, it can be a disconcerting experience. Scrubbing the stains will remove them, but they always recur in the sinks, toilets, showers, and tubs. These stains look like rusty streaks, and this is a clue to their origin. In this article, we will look at the causes of orange stains and how you can remove them for good.

What is the Source of Orange Stains?

The usual source of orange stains is an elevated concentration of iron in your water supply. This will affect a number of characteristics of the water, including the appearance, taste, and odor. But, the most identifiable problem is the orange discoloration that seems to linger on every surface that the water comes into contact with.

Why is Iron Causing Orange Staining?

Iron is a common contaminant found in water, and it’s only surpassed by calcium, magnesium, and the chlorine added as a disinfectant. If you looked at water that contains high concentrations of iron in a clear and sealed vessel, it would look clear. Only after being exposed to air will you notice that the water has a rusty orange or reddish-brown color. The cause is oxidation, the presence of oxygen causes the deterioration of iron, and this inevitably leads to rust and corrosion.

How Does Iron Enter the Water Supply?

Iron is a very common metal that exists in the rock and soil, and it’s added to the makeup of water that passes through it. Water is an effective solvent; it can dissolve many materials that come into contact with it, and their properties are added to it. So, after the water falls as rain, it passes through the soil and rock, and the iron concentration rises. This is especially true in areas that have higher levels of iron present, and private well water users are especially prone to receiving water that has a high concentration of iron.

How Do I Clean Orange Water Stains?

The orange water contains rust and mineral deposits that don’t respond well to cleaning with bleach. In fact, the use of bleach and cleaners that contain bleach as an active ingredient can make the stains worse. Making your own cleaning paste with an equal mix of baking soda and white vinegar is an effective way to remove orange stains from sinks, toilets, bathtubs, showers, dishwashers, and washing machines. Another option is a Borax and hydrogen peroxide solution that can remove the stains quickly. Store bought cleaners can be effective, but there is a potential for damage to plumbing pipes, fixtures, and your water softener.

Is There a Permanent Solution?

Yes, scrubbing the orange stains will remove them, but they will always return, and the underlying cause must be fixed to remove them permanently. The first step is laboratory water testing to fully understand the true makeup of your water supply. If you live in an area that receives water with a high concentration of iron, it’s a good idea to install a dedicated iron filter. It may be necessary to install other filtration systems to remove specific contaminants that are present.

If you want to learn more about reducing the iron in your water supply, contact your local water treatment specialist today.

By EcoWater Systems.
EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is the largest water treatment company in the state and is a member of Water Quality Association.