How to Clean a Badly Rusted Drinking Fountain

By Prev Info - January 21, 2023

Maintaining the hygiene of a drinking water foundation is important for health.

A rusted drinking fountain is an eyesore and unsafe to drink from. Both outdoor and indoor drinking fountains are usually made of porcelain or stainless steel. These materials can rust or develop rust stains from exposure to the elements or a buildup of calcium and lime. If the rust hasn't corroded or penetrated the porcelain or stainless steel, it can be cleaned with a commercial rust remover. It's important to maintain drinking water fountains and keep them clean to prevent unsanitary conditions that can spread germs.

Things You'll Need

  •     Commercial descaler or rust remover
  •     Rubber gloves
  •     Face mask
  •     Eye goggles
  •     Cleaning brush
  •     Cloth rags


  1. Turn off the water in the fountain while you're cleaning it. Unplug any of the fountain's electrical components. 
  2. Read the directions on the descaler or rust remover. Spray it directly on the rusted area of the drinking fountain. Leave the rust remover on for the time indicated on the product's directions.    
  3. Use a soft brush to loosen the rust from the surface of the drinking fountain. Wipe away the descaler/rust remover and loosened rust particles with a soft damp cloth.    
  4. Apply a disinfectant kitchen cleaner to the fountain's bowl, bubbler and drain. Use a brush to thoroughly remove any grime or remaining loose rust. Wash away the cleanser with warm water and wipe the entire fountain with a clean, dry cloth rag.
  5. Turn the fountain back on, and run water through the bubbler or drinking portion of the fountain for two minutes to make sure that there's no cleaning-product residue inside it.

Tips & Warnings

  1. Check that the rust has not corroded the finish of the drinking water fountain, and look for chips or dents that may have caused the rusting. If there is any corrosion or damage to the finish of the water fountain, it must be repaired to prevent the rust from returning and spreading.
  2. Commercial rust removers and descalers often contain harsh acids that can irritate the skin. Wear rubber gloves, a face mask and protective eye goggles when handling these products.





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