I'm home sick today. Not because I feel like death-warmed-over, but because I have to interact with a lot of people during the day and don't want to take the blame for getting my co-workers sick. I've got plenty of sick-days left for the year, so I may as well relax at home. Well, there isn't much relaxing since I can't just sit around. I took a drive to Menards to get a spare filter cartridge for the water filter and figured since I'm there, I might as well grab some more cleaners. All the stuff we used to use at our old house is useless here, due to the iron/rust in our water, so when we find something which works we stock up.
My definition of a "successful" cleaner is one which works with minimal scrubbing. Why work harder than we have to?? I've previously posted about my love for Super Iron Out, and since that time we've found a couple of other cleaners which also work wonders with our crappy water. Summit Brands is first on my Christmas list this year. I loved how fast and easy Super Iron Out works, so when I saw Instant Rust Out from the same company I figured it was a safe bet for $2.00. I tried it in the two worst areas for rust - under the toilet rim and in the bathtub. The rust in the tub dissolved quickly and with no scrubbing so I gave it a shot on the toilet. The problem we've had in cleaning the toilets is that the rust is up under the rim where it's hard to get cleaners on it long enough for them to work. The Instant Iron Out spray bottle is small enough to fit into the toilet far enough to spray on the rust. 20 seconds later and the rust is almost completely gone. No scrubbing or other effort other than applying a second spray to finish the job. This stuff is cheap and easy (like me) and works great.
I also tried Lime Out Extra from Summit Brands, but since we didn't have much of a problem with lime it wasn't too successful for us. It did seem to put a big dent in the toilet rim rust, but not without a lot of scrubbing and re-applying. I won't bother buying this one again. I would like to try their White Brite if I find it locally and I assume it works like Super Iron Out on laundry. One of the larger Super Iron Out bottles I bought a month ago came with their toilet tank tablet. I tried it and it seems to slow down the rust, but I still get rust build-up in a few days time. In the interest of saving money and using fewer chemicals, I'll probably not buy these again and just pour a little Super Iron Out in the tank every week or so. If I ever get smart, I'll put one of the tablets in one toilet tank and leave the other empty to see how much of a difference it really makes.
Sloppy kisses are also being sent out to HomeCare Labs, makers of "the Works" cleaners. Our neighbors have told us about the Works spray cleaner, and we agree that it works great for cleaning the bathtub and surround. It does require a light wipe-down with water to finish the cleaning process or you end up with streaks. It has worked well enough for us that we decided to give their toilet bowl cleaner a shot. Just like Instant Rust Out, this stuff made the rust disappear in quick order. It's shaped to allow you to shoot it under the rim, which is handy, plus it's designed for regular cleaning of the toilet so it's a one-chemical solution for the bowl.
Besides working well, all of these products are reasonably priced, something which is important for us since we need to use 'em so often. If you've got rusty water, give these a try.
Since I'm on a roll complaining about my water, I found a test-strip to check my water hardness. I ran a hose for a few minutes (since the hose bibs outside are the only water sources I have which don't go through the water softener). This picture was taken an hour or so after I did the test, and the test strip faded a little in that time. Basically, I don't have hard water. I have Sweet-Jebus-That-Water-is-so-Hard-You're-Off-the-Charts water. I'll have to "borrow" a couple more free pamphlets (which include a test strip in each) from Morton's when I go back to Menards to see how the water rates after it goes through the old softener. I think I've got it set properly for daily use, but it doesn't hurt to check.