The Aluminum Foil Hack That'll Leave Your Rusty Sink Faucets Dazzling

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

In order to make a bathroom feel like a soothing oasis rather than a dingy motel powder room, it has to stay in tip-top shape. That not only means it has to be clean, but that the accessories should look well taken care of. And there is nothing that brings the mood down faster than rusted chrome faucets, handles, or showerheads. Seeing those telltale red and brown marks makes the space seem unkempt. Luckily, there is an easy way to remove those marks, and it involves something you likely already have in your pantry: aluminum foil. You can use a crumpled ball of tin foil to create a chemical reaction that will either lessen the appearance of rust marks or remove them altogether. Cleaning experts swear by this hack, so it's worth a try in your own home.

Not only is this budget-friendly and efficient, but it's also a great way to cut back on chemical-laden cleaning products. Rather than using a rust remover, you can simply use some leftover tin foil to help solve your problem. If you have a rusty faucet that needs some saving, here is how to use aluminum to get it sparkling again.

How to use aluminum foil to remove rust

To remove rust from metal, all you need is a ball of aluminum foil, some water, and some muscle. First, clean your faucet like normal to remove any grime or soap scum. This leaves you with a fresh foundation to then tackle the oxidation. "To clean the rusted surface, I recommend dipping the ball of foil into some water before rubbing the area in a circular motion," Jennifer Rodriguez, chief hygiene officer at Pro Housekeepers, told Homes & Gardens. "If the aluminum becomes dry, re-wet it to ensure a continuous reaction." You will begin to see the reddish color transfer onto your ball of foil, showing you that the hack is working. If one part of the foil gets sufficiently dirty, swap it out for a fresh piece so you don't transfer it back onto the chrome.

If you have a sufficient amount of buildup, you can also use a microfiber cloth to remove any rust flakes that the aluminum begins to chip off. Once done, use the same cloth to buff the chrome to a shine.

Why this works

While it might seem like a mystery as to why this works, it turns out there is some basic science happening behind this hack. Rust is just iron that has oxidized, so you need a chemical reaction to reverse it. "When aluminum is rubbed against the rust, the aluminum loses electrons, while the iron oxide (the rust) gains electrons, turning back into metal. The aluminum acts as a reactive surface that removes the rust, while also creating a layer of oxide that prevents the metal from rusting further," Karina Toner, cleaning expert at Spekless Cleaning, told Homes & Gardens.

While this will save you from having to endure orange-stained faucets, there are some caveats to keep in mind. Specifically, while this may look like magic, it's not. That means if you have corrosion in addition to rust, this aluminum foil hack won't fill in the holes and pockmarks. At that point, the metal has been eaten away. This hack is also best used on light layers of rust. If you have years of buildup, you might need to turn to something more heavy-duty, such as a commercial rust remover like the Rust-Oleum Rust Dissolver Gel, which costs $13 on Amazon.