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Iron Stained Dishes

by Amy

Work, school, and farming have effectively killed all the time I have to write (which used to be right after the kids left on the bus, peace and quiet with hot coffee by my keyboard…) but I am trying hard to steal the time to sit down and post. It’s only been, what, 3 months? Dang it!

Currently, I’m taking the boys to school, and picking them up, 5 days a week, and working 3, though thankfully in town where the boys are in school. More work hours will be added at some point, and all the rest of life…. whew!

Our biggest on farm work this summer, besides haying, was having all the trees that weren’t in muskeg and weren’t useful for wind break, hauled off by a lumber company. It was a little income, but opened up about 30 acres to give us more land for hay field. The original fencing is coming down and that’ll give us a lot of the posts for the eventual goat/sheep/whatever enclosures. I’m still aiming to be able to get a start on the animals this fall, but it’ll depend on weather and all the rest of the must-do-before-winter list. Better to wait than be unprepared for a bad winter with new animals. Chickens will definitely be next spring.

So that’s the “tl;dr” of life lately, but I do have a lovely little trick I wanted to share. If you have terrible well water, read on!

Scorelle true blue patterno you might know we have Really. Awful. Water. There’s no fancy clean and clear artisan well water here, it looks and smells gross. Unfiltered or poorly filtered, it stains everything in touches and left too long, it actually etches some materials. Our biggest culprits are iron (both soluble and particulate), manganese, and h2s (“sour gas” and eww, is that name ever correct). So we get orange and black staining, a horrid smell, and it affected our skin and hair badly. Faucets clog up and we didn’t wear any white clothing we have so they didn’t need washed in that water. That is with shock treating the well 2x a year.

Thankfully, now the water filtration is up after having significant issues moving from the trailer to house last year, and running and the water is lovely – though I still run our drinking and cooking water through a 6 stage Reverse Osmosis system. Some things are too stained to fix – the shower curtains, only a few months old, got trashed and our new ones have no sign of staining. Our bath faucets will have to be replaced, the staining is impossible to remove without damaging their finish (which also happened).

So, my lovely Corelle dishes were ugly orange and I’d feared they’d need to be replaced.


Stained dish before and after a soak in calcium lime and rust remover

I just poured a bottle of calcium, lime, and rust remover (I use whatever cheap generic I find) into a stainless steel bowl just big enough to fit my bowls and saucers and let them soak*. Years of staining gone, as you can see in the photo. WOW! The plates went into a larger bowl (transferring the cleaner to it) and added enough water to covered a few plates at a time – this takes a longer soak and a little bit of elbow grease (wear gloves!) but absolutely worth it. They look brand spankin’ new!

And, we can wear white again :D


*Some dishes had more staining and I let them soak overnight, some cleaned up in 20 minutes. I did the bowls one at a time (and have to turn them – just carefully use a fork – over to get inside and out, rim to bottom), but was able to do 8 saucers at a time.

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