How Do You Clean Corroded Water Pipes?

Corrosion can cause clogs and leaks, as well as alter the taste of your water and even leave permanent stains behind.

Regular pipe maintenance will help protect both your home and family’s health from any potential rust formation.

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White Vinegar

White vinegar is one of the most versatile household items you can own. With its acetic acid content, white vinegar’s cleansing and disinfecting powers make it perfect for cleaning many different objects and surfaces, including appliances. Furthermore, its use helps remove rust and corrosion from copper pipes and fittings as well. Vinegar can either be used alone or combined with other ingredients to make an at-home remedy to tackle corrosion-ridden pipes.

If your copper pipes have developed green oxidation, using a metal polish designed specifically for copper may help get rid of it quickly and easily. Such products can typically be found at most hardware stores and following its instructions should yield excellent results.

Vinegar made from white wine is another effective solution for eliminating rust from copper pipes and surfaces, such as floors. Apply a coating of vinegar directly to the surface, and scrub away with soft bristle brushes or scouring pads until all of the rust has been eliminated. After this step has been completed, rinse your pipe out thoroughly with water to flush away any leftover vinegar and allow it to dry fully before placing back into service.

For an in-depth cleaning, combine white vinegar with salt to form a paste and apply to any rusty areas on copper pipes, leaving for approximately 10 minutes before using a stiff-bristled brush or scouring pads to scrub away. When the rust and corrosion have been eliminated, rinse out thoroughly and let dry completely before storing away for future use.

As another alternative to commercial copper pipe cleaners, homemade solutions made of vinegar and baking soda may also be effective at clearing away corrosion on copper pipes. Simply combine both ingredients into a paste-like form before applying it directly onto affected copper areas of pipes for about 10 minutes before using either stiff-bristled or nylon-bristled brushes to scrub. Finally, rinse away with warm water to rinse away.

If your copper pipes have green tarnishing, rubbing off the oxidation with light-grit emery cloth or another type of sandpaper may help. Just be careful not to overdo it as this could damage and render them leaky.

Baking Soda

If you notice rusty water coming from your pipes at home, it is imperative that it is addressed as quickly as possible. Rust particles can clog them and create blockages which restrict waterflow throughout your home and can even lead to leakage of hot water through these same pipes if in contact with them. There are numerous safe and natural cleaners available which will remove these stains quickly while protecting against further corrosion of future.

White vinegar, baking soda, salt, and flour can be an effective combination to eliminate green oxidation from copper pipes. Create a paste using equal parts of these ingredients and apply to affected areas; allow it to sit for about 10 minutes before scrubbing off with a brush or scouring pad – this should remove most if not all oxidation and tarnish from copper surfaces; make sure that after each application, rinse and dry the area to avoid further damaging its surface.

One simple and cost-effective method for eliminating green corrosion is using light-grit emery cloth to scrub away discolorations with. This will quickly rid of oxidization, leaving bright copper beneath. This approach offers quick relief while acting as a preventative measure against further corrosion.

There are also commercial chemical cleaners available that can help restore corrosion-ridden pipes, usually by adding bacteria into them that feed off of rust and sediment deposits, though these chemicals should be avoided as much as possible.

If you want a non-chemical alternative to clearing drains and copper pipes, try using ketchup. Ketchup contains acid that is excellent at dissolving tarnish, rust, and other build-up from copper surfaces, as well as being an effective drain cleaner alternative for shallow clogs. Pour one cup of hot water followed by one cup of ketchup down each drain followed by covering. After 15 minutes rinse out with hot water; repeat if necessary.


Corroded water pipes need to be regularly maintained and cleaned for various reasons, including bacteria, fungus and algae that could prove lethal if consumed; discolored water that stains sinks and outlets; decreased pressure levels throughout the home; weak or leaky pipes, among many others.

Corrosion can lead to costly plumbing repairs and replacements. However, corrosion can be avoided by identifying and treating its source; for instance if acidic water is to blame, an expert plumber might suggest installing a calcite neutralizer filter as this may reduce acidity levels in your house’s water supply.

Rust contamination poses significant health risks; therefore it is essential that drinking water be regularly tested for signs of contamination by performing a “first draw copper test”. You can do this at home using kits available online or from most hardware stores.

Another way to test for rust in your water supply is through visual inspection of pipes in your home. Keep an eye out for red or green oxidation on metal pipes in the walls and attic – these could be signs of serious corrosion issues which require immediate action to address them.

If your iron pipes exhibit excessive green oxidation, you should take swift action to clean it immediately. Oxidation indicates serious corrosion which could damage both the foundation of your home as well as lead to health concerns for its inhabitants.

One method for removing green corrosion from stainless steel pipes is mixing equal parts baking soda and vinegar in a bowl, then spreading this paste over any affected areas on your pipe. Allow this solution to sit for 15 minutes before applying pressure with a brush or scouring pad to scrub off. After cleaning is complete, rinse off with warm soapy water and allow the pipe to air-dry completely before reuse.

Citric acid can help you remove thick green corrosion from your piping system by wetting a rag with it and wiping over any affected pipes or areas with green corrosion. Be aware that citric acid is highly toxic if inhaled directly; be sure to wear a respirator while cleaning with this cleaner!


If your copper pipes have become covered in green rust or oxidation, household ingredients can help remove it quickly and effectively. White vinegar and light abrasives such as salt can both work wonders when used with a brush or sponge to scrub away this buildup of green rust; frequent cleaning sessions will prevent future outbreaks. However, to truly ensure no further copper pipe corrosion, ensure they are grounded properly and do not have unnecessary wiring connected directly to them in order to keep water flowing freely and prevent future issues like these from developing.

One alternative solution for cleaning pipes safely and effectively is using commercial chemical cleaners that are specifically made for this task, such as the widely available and easily accessible WD-40 Multi Use Product from most hardware stores. This nontoxic formula quickly evaporates any acetone residue while being highly effective at eliminating many types of stains and spots from surfaces like metal pipes.

When using this cleaner, always wear rubber gloves and work in a well-ventilated area. Acetone fumes can be toxic if inhaled directly, so be sure to open up windows and doors as much as possible in the room where you are working – or better yet, work outdoors to minimize spreading contamination throughout your home.

Lemon acid can also help clean copper pipes effectively; its mild acid will etch away some oxidation while not being as harmful to drinking water systems as chemicals that contain hydrofluoric acid would be. However, this method should not be used on drinking water pipes as this may contaminate its surface and cause structural damage to them.

Oxidized iron pipes can alter the quality of water in your house. If this is the case for you, replacing your pipes may be necessary; but first it is essential to identify where rust sediment has entered from: to do this run an outside faucet closest to your main source and check for signs of rust sediment; if this appears then chances are it’s coming from your main supply source.