Skip to Content

Does Stainless Steel Rust in Shower?

If you're concerned that your aging shower fixture might rust, despite it being stainless steel, you aren't alone. We are also curious whether stainless steel shower fixtures and accessories can rust. So, we've researched this topic to learn more. 

Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Stainless steel does rust in a shower. Over time, fixtures and accessories exposed to moist, warm environments will corrode - even though these materials are rust-resistant. 

There is still much to learn about the types of stainless and how to reduce the occurrence of rust in your shower. We'll even share some tips for removing tough rust stains from the tub or toilet. Read on to see what we've discovered! 

close up photo of a shower stainless faucet with rust on the hose old faucet not new, Does Stainless Steel Rust In Shower?

Does Stainless Steel Rust in Bathrooms?

Yes, stainless steel rust in bathrooms, especially since it is surrounded by environmental factors, like oxygen and water. For carbon steels, the first signs of rust may appear in about five days. 

This is brought about by corrosion, wherein there is a general removal of material. However, corrosion resistance may transpire, if there is a protective layer on the surface. This special protective layer is "oxide," specifically the black oxide, which produces a coating or a thin layer composed of copper selenium.  

This compound prevents rust, although it does not mean stainless steel does not rust. After some time, rust could form when an oxidation reaction takes place, in which iron and oxygen are mixed together. Items made up of stainless steel can have rust, when iron oxide mixes with oxygen. Thus, red rust can form in the shower fixtures of the bathroom. 

Does All Stainless Steel Rust?

photo of a shower stainless facet modern type stainless faucet shiny

Yes, all stainless steel rusts. However, some stainless steels take a longer time for rust to form. Stainless steel contains 10.5% chromium, responsible for forming a protective layer by reacting with oxygen. This makes the item highly resistant to rust. The higher the chromium content in stainless steel, the longer it takes for rust to form. 

There are about 150 types of stainless steel on the market, and many are used in manufacturing shower fixtures used in the bathroom. However, no matter how high the stainless steels' chromium contents, rust may form over time, especially if not properly cleaned or maintained.   

There are different factors that affect corrosion. Moisture, for instance, can influence the forming of rust in metals, even in stainless steel. There is a higher incidence of corrosion in objects exposed to wet or moist environments.

up close photo of a stainless shower head water running from shower shiny chrome

Temperature is also another factor that can influence the forming of rust in metals. Objects exposed to higher temperatures have a greater tendency to form rust as compared to areas with lower temperatures.

In using shower fixtures in the bathroom, the stainless steel is less likely to form rust. However, there can also be a higher temperature in the bathroom whenever you switch on the hot water, which increases the likelihood of stainless steel forming rust.

Another factor is the type of metal, wherein pure metals are more likely to form rust and corrosion than metal alloys. Stainless steel is believed to be one of the most corrosion-resilient metal alloys found on the market nowadays.

How Do You Remove Rust from Stainless Steel in a Shower?

close up photo of a glass shower door with stainless steel shower door handle

There are many ways of removing rust from stainless steel in a shower. Some people use kitchen scouring pads, especially those designed to remove tough stains. Others use the pumice which is also designed for removing tough stains and rust in toilets and tubs. You can also use a scrubber or pumice stick, which is more cost-effective.

See these pumice toilet scrubbers on Amazon.

To remove tougher rust and stains, you can apply a mixture of lemon juice and salt, which will penetrate the rust if given enough time. You should allow the mixture to penetrate for at least 15 minutes; the longer, the better, before scrubbing away the rust.

There are also chemical cleaning products in stores designed for cleaning tough rusts and stains in the bathroom. There are many options you can choose from.

Try IronOUT for tough rust stains. See it on Amazon.

Soap and bleach will not be effective. Instead, buy a cleaning product designed for removing tough rusts and stains. Usually, these products contain ">hydrochloric acid. It is important to read the instructions carefully, as this chemical can be hazardous to your health, if not handled or used properly.

Is Rust on Stainless Steel Harmful?

photo of a shower stainless steel faucet inside a marble tiled bathroom

Rust on stainless steel can only be harmful if the object is left outside the house for a long period of time. Tetanus is caused by the bacterium Clostridium tetani, and this is usually formed outside, in areas where there is soil, dust, and used metal.

The bacterium can get into your body through wounds, burns, or crush injuries. Thus, it can be harmful, when it comes to kitchenware or cooking items, like knives or sharp objects with rust left outside for a long time.  

However, for stainless steel in shower fixtures, rust is not harmful, especially if it is inside the bathroom or the house. It can only be harmful if the rust on stainless steel makes it sharp enough to inflict a wound containing the bacterium.  

There is a study that shows how iron oxide is directly associated with respiratory diseases since it affects the way people breathe. Iron oxide fumes can be harmful to one’s health, as it causes fever and chills, cough, and chest tightness. However, this can only take place during the welding of iron, which produces iron oxide fumes.  

Final Thoughts

close up photo of a shower stainless faucet with rust on the hose. Old faucet

If you are using shower fixtures with rust in the bathroom, then you are perfectly safe and sound as long as nothing sharp will cause you to have a wound in the rustic metal. Still, it is best to ensure that the items inside the bathroom are clean and without rust. You can enjoy your shower every day without worrying about the effects of rust on shower fixtures.  

For more great tips on shower fixtures, please check out our related posts: 

How High Should Rain Shower Head Be?

How Much Space Between Vanity And Shower?