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Removing Toilet Bowl Stains

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Toilet bowl stains

Whatever kind of stains you may have in your porcelain toilet bowl, they can be a difficult to remove. This guide is about removing toilet bowl stains.


Solutions: Removing Toilet Bowl Stains

Read and rate the best solutions below by giving them a "thumbs up".

Tip: Getting Rid of Sink and Toilet Bowl Mineral Stains

Trying to get rid of those stubborn sink and toilet mineral deposits? Use a superfine grit sandpaper and gently run a folded corner around the faucet or drain area with the hard water or mineral deposits and voila, they are gone! The same holds true with your toilet bowl waterline mark. Lightly sand as your bowl is filling with water after a flush and the deposits are gone!

By Neelie from Chapel Hill, NC

Tip: Remove Water Stains in Toilet

I am a real nutcase about my bathrooms. Our toilets are still fairly new, so there is no need for them to have brown stains. I had a ring around my bowl and streaks coming down where the water runs into the bowl. Since I use CLR on my faucets I decided to dump some into the toilet bowl to try and get rid of that stubborn stain that wouldn't go away. It worked! Now the bowl is new potty clean.

Sometimes those toilet stains are from bad water and should be dealt with as such. Regular bowl cleaners won't work on mineral deposits. I wrote an email to the CLR people to suggest they make a little disc to put into the flush tank to clean as you flush. I'll let you know what their response is.

By MartyD from Houston, TX

Tip: Removing Stains From Toilet Bowl

To clean stubborn stains from your toilet bowl, first if you have a wet/dry vacuum, suck out all the water so you have a virtually liquid free bowl. Then, pour in hydrogen peroxide. It will get rid of all stains and lime. I would suggest using 1/2 a bottle for each cleaning. You might need more or less.

It is cheaper than buying the cleaners made for a toilet bowl, even if you use a whole bottle of it. Many times you can get it on sale for 2 for $1.00. Don't buy any more than you can use before the date expires, because it will turn to water eventually and be ineffective.

Source: This Old House magazine and Eons group

By Elaine S. from Belle Plaine, IA

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Here are questions related to Removing Toilet Bowl Stains.

Question: Removing Toilet Bowl Stains

How do I remove a brown stain from the toilet?

By Donna from Wallsend, NSW, Australia


Best Answers

By Amanda Carroll [13]02/05/2012

Lime Away Toilet Bowl cleaner! It is fairly new and in a container shaped like all the other toilet bowl cleaners. It is awesome! It also removed hard water buildup from sinks, faucets and tubs. Be careful, it's really strong and can discolor some metals. This is also the only thing that will clean a glass shower door, just the glass. I just love it! I live in Central TX and the hard water buildup here is awful! It is currently only available in our HEB grocery stores.

Best Answers

By Spacecase [11]02/03/2012

Borax will not do it and please do not buy any type of acid to use. Just go to a pool supply store, or a hardware store like Lowes or True Value and ask for a pumice stone. Price is about two dollars. That is a volcanic stone made for the purpose of removing hard water or any other difficult stains from ceramic or porcelain surfaces. People clean tiles around swimming pools with them. They are used in antique restoration. All that is needed to remove stains is to rub it over the stain and stain is gone. No harm, easy, safe,c heap, and fast. You will be happy to have found this product.

Question: Hard Water Stains In Toilet

I would like to get some help cleaning and disinfecting the toilet that the dog drinks from. I have hard water stains which are only getting worse, because I cannot find a product that actually works.

Thanks, all you tippers. I'm waiting for a response.


By Debby from San Diego, CA


Most Recent Answer

By Stryker05/29/2011

Wow!! "The Works" from the dollar store just wiped away all the stains. Seriously good stuff and I only used a bathroom brush with maybe 10 strokes and the stain was gone. Removed stains that nothing could get rid of before. The toilet bowl is super white now and clean. Thanks for the heads up on this product. Highly recommended.

Question: Cleaning Stains in Toilet

We have iron and sulfur in our water. Our toilet has a brown water ring at the water's edge. One time, when I cleaned the the toilet, I forgot to flush. Now it has a blue ring around the brown ring. I have tried different things with no success. Please help.

By Cindy I.

Most Recent Answer

By christine [1]06/04/2011

I use this stuff called the works on my toilet. I have hard water also and I just pour it in and let set for about 10 to 15 minutes and it works great. Hope that helps.

Question: Removing Stains from the Toilet Bowl

What is the best way to clean a hard brown stain in a toilet?

By Dee from Covington, KY

Most Recent Answer

By cybergrannie [30]01/12/2011

My son is single and does not like to "clean" all the time so he just keeps a jug of white vinegar in his bathroom and pours a little around the inside before going to bed. Seems to work for him.

Question: Removing Hard Water Stains from Toilet Bowl

How do I remove or keep hard water stains from my toilet?

By Edith

Most Recent Answer

By Grandma J [46]06/01/2011

Lime Away or SLR both found in grocery stores, hardware stores, big box stores.

Question: Stains from Liquid Toilet Bowl Cleaner

I used Lysol toilet bowl cleaner, and some of the liquid got on the toilet seat, leaving a blue stain. The seat is injection molded plastic. Any ideas about how to remove this stain? Thanks.

Susana from Houston, TX

Most Recent Answer

By Susana Velez [1]12/10/2008

Thank you all!! The stains are mostly gone (there's a little one that resists to go)
I tried a combination of two tips: bleach and magic eraser. (BTW, I had tried magic eraser alone and bleach alone, and they didn't work)

Question: Stains in Toilet

I cannot get a brown stain out from right underneath the toilet bowl rim. It goes around a large portion of the bowl. I suspect the porcelain was not finished properly (coated) and is still porous. What can I do?

We'll be putting our house on the market within the next year, and I don't want such an ugly stain to repel potential buyers (and us, in the meantime). Thanks in advance.

By Piove from USA

Most Recent Answer

By Julie10/06/2009

Try using BarKeeper's Friend cleanser on a sponge (the kind with a rough scrubbing side). The stain sounds like a mineral stain to me, and BarKeeper's will remove that kind of stain whereas the bleach cleansers won't. The stain will probably dissolve in less than 5 minutes.

DON'T mix the two kinds of cleansers!

Question: Water Spots in a Black Toilet

Does anyone know how to clean water spots out of a black toilet? I have a beautiful black toilet and it is full of water spots that are ugly! Any advice on how to get rid of them?

Sarak from OR

Most Recent Answer

By kimster12/04/2014

Oh, and forgot to mention that Barkeepers Friend is very inexpensive, usually less than most cleaning products.

Question: Lysol Left a Blue Ring in Toilet

I used Lysol in my toilet bowl and it dyed my bowl. How do I get this out?

By bobbyjus from Perry, FL

Most Recent Answer

By Louise B. [5]05/05/2011

I suspect the lysol is dying some lime deposit that is in the toilet. You may want to try some acid to remove this; or just go with the bleach as Klavier. suggested. But don't combine cleaners.

Question: Removing Stains Under the Toilet Rim

The toilets in our retirement home are six years old and some genius had taped over a couple of the holes under the rim (or just never removed them). We've tried everything including a brass bristle brush used for cleaning handguns. Zoom foam doesn't work, CLR doesn't work and I'm not enthusiastic about using sandpaper on the porcelain glazing. We are on a septic tank so very strong bleach is also out.

By J.F.

Most Recent Answer

By jean99 [6]06/18/2012

Empty the toilet of water or get it very low. Take some light weight cotton cloth or washcloth, and dip it in vinegar and ring it out. Stick it under the rim covering the stain. You will need about six cloths. You can cut washcloths in half. The cloths should stick to the porcelain. This also works for stains around the water line.

Let the cloths stay their for at least six hours. You can check to see if the stain is lessening. If the vinegar does not work, try dipping the cloths in CLR or any mineral remover, instead of the vinegar. Read the label on the product because some are very strong and can etch the coating off the porcelain. You would need to dilute it first.

Basically, the stains under the toilet rim are minerals that have stuck to the porcelain. They make a pretty tight bond so you need to dissolve them with acid to remove them. Rust removers are acidic. Vinegar is acetic acid.

You can also try lemon juice which is citric acid. For stains at the bottom of the bowl, empty all the water out of the toilet and pour in straight vinegar high enough to cover the stain. Then just let it sit until gone. Use a stronger acid as above if needed.

If you have hard crusted stains, the acid will loosen them but you may need to chip them away with a plastic spoon. You can also remove stains from under a faucet with the same cloth and acid technique.

Question: Blue Stains in My Toilet

Over a 10-14 day period, blue/purple stains develop in the bottom of our toilet bowl. The tank is crystal clear. They do not form in our other toilet. We have soft water. Where are the stains coming from and how can we prevent them from forming?

Michimac from Michigan

Most Recent Answer

By john01/15/2009

Here is a possiblity, my mother takes medicine for urinary infection and so forth, the pills, leave blue residue, so if other folks are using your toilet, then maybe. If not cleaned normally, there will be lot of blue.

Question: Cleaning a Stained Toilet

I have a toilet in a vacant rental house that was used many times (by someone who broke in) after the water was turned off, so basically it was never flushed and full of nasty. I have cleaned it numerous times.

It was a new toilet, a $400 low water energy efficient one. I cannot afford to replace it. The stains (brown) are not from hard water, as there was no water in it. The "solid" material is out, but how do I get it white again? I have used every cleaner, bleach, and vinegar I have and no luck.

By mom-from-missouri

Question: Cleaning a Toilet Bowl

On my toilet around the top circle part is what looks to be some brownish material. I don't know what it is or how to get rid of it. Any ideas?

By Eric

Question: Recurring Black Toilet Bowl Stain

My toilet bowl has a black stain in it that is easily removed, but it returns almost daily. If someone urinates in the toilet and does not flush the toilet the black residue is even greater. We have city water which appears to be quite clear. The tank for the toilet is clean as well. Could a drug or some form of bacteria cause the toilet bowl to change color? Any ideas?

By Dan D

Question: Jonny Fresh Toilet Bowl Cleaner Left Blue Stains

I have used "Jonny Fresh" on my toilets and it left blue stains in the bowl. Is there a way to remove them?

By Ali D.


Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.

Archive: Hard Water Stains In Toilet

Hello frugal family! We live in a community that has some REALLY hard water. I use a pumice stone to clean the hard water stains. I was told those commercial tablets you put in the tank are bad for the toilet so what's a tightwad... er I mean frugal hubby to do? Any suggestions appreciated (SMILE) Jim in FL

RE: Hard Water Stains In Toilet

I just discovered that a paint scraper tool works :) (05/05/2005)

By Bygraceandmercy

RE: Hard Water Stains In Toilet

Hi, We got some ChemFree Mineral Magnets for the toilet tanks. These attract the minerals that make the hard water stains. You first need to clean the toilet and the tank, then put it in. They seem to work very well and cost about 5-6 dollars. You can easily spend that much on cleaners in the 5 years that they last. They are also safe for septic tanks, pets and kids. We got ours through Myles Kimball but there are other places on line that carry them. Google "Impex ChemFree" and you will find some sources. Susan from ThriftyFun (05/05/2005)

By ThriftyFun

RE: Hard Water Stains In Toilet

The ChemFree Mineral Magnets are now sold in Home Depot. I saw them there just this weekend. I have used them for over 15 years now and they work great! (05/05/2005)

By gardencraft

RE: Hard Water Stains In Toilet

I had this same problem.. the toilet upstairs was AWFUL!! It hadn't been used in years. I drained all the water out and put CLR in it.. came right off and looks like new. Believe me.. it's worth the $5 the CLR costs. I get mine at Wal Greens. Hope this helps! (05/06/2005)

By Cindy

RE: Hard Water Stains In Toilet

Try Denture Tablets (05/06/2005)

By MrsMoted2

RE: Hard Water Stains In Toilet

We have extremely hard water here to and the product that works like magic is called "The Works" toilet bowl cleaner. Be sure and get all the water out of the tank, make sure the surface is dry and put The Works on it, let it sit for couple minutes and poof the rust and hard water stains are gone. (05/06/2005)

By Dawn

RE: Hard Water Stains In Toilet

Hi Jim; Family Dollar Store has a product called Sno Bol. I paid 1.50 for a 24 oz. bottle, and it saved me the cost of a new toilet. Follow the simple directions, and in minutes you'll have a wonderful surprise~! I usually try to avoid harsh chemicals, but I was desperate (05/07/2005)

By Dolly

RE: Hard Water Stains In Toilet

Try Bring-It-ON water spot remover. It's a paste that you wipe on, leave on for a few minutes to dissolve the minerals, and wipe off. Invented by a gal that got tired of trying things that didn't work! (09/04/2007)

By donrowlett

RE: Hard Water Stains In Toilet

Just so everyone knows, The Works does not work. I drained the bowl and put the super thin blue just in the bowl and waited 45 minutes. Nothing. The only thing it did was turn water stain blue, so now it's worse than it was before. At least Easy-Off BAM will bleach the mineral stain so you don't see it as much! NEXT. (10/28/2007)

By ThisDoesn'twork

Archive: Stains in Toilet

How do you get rid of the stain down the front of the toilet (men did this I'm sure)? After being gone for two weeks, I came home to this. I don't need to clean inside of toilet, it's down the front outside, down the whole stem. The products, that clean the inside, don't seem to have any effect on this problem. I have tried almost everything and nothing budges it. Hope someone can help.

Staza from Granite Falls

RE: Stains in Toilet

Try bleach. I put a little bleach in my toilets once a week, let is still for several hours (tell everyone in the house not to use that toilet) and then scrub if necessary. (08/02/2007)


RE: Stains in Toilet

I love using the black very fine mesh used for sanding sheetrock. It helps remove stains,etc. around sinks, faucets, toilet stains, and any other tough buildup or stain on hard non-porous surfaces. Good Luck. (08/02/2007)

By Ronda

RE: Stains in Toilet

Submitted via e-mail: Have you tried Never Scrub, I started using it in October of 2006. I have not had to replace the cartridge yet. It starts cleaning and makes your toilet bowl cleaner. If you have a mineral buildup in the bottom, it will eventually be removed without scrubbing, but if you can scrub it, it will speed up the process. I just occasionally wipe out the toilet bowl. I no longer have to scrub it, it holds true to its name. I have no ring or any type of build up anywhere the water touches. By Babbie (08/02/2007)

By Stew_Admin

RE: Stains in Toilet

A pumice stone works great! I have used the ones that you can get at dollar stores for one dollar. Just dump a bucket of water into your toilet so that the water level goes WAY down, then rub the stone on the stain. I worried about this ruining the toilet or making it worse, but it actually acts as an eraser and cleans it great. Also, they sell them on sticks for in-ground pools, so any pool supply place should have them although they will be more costly. Hope this helps! Joy (08/03/2007)

By cjcsr

RE: Stains in Toilet

Try Iron Out, its good for toilets, tubs, or dishwashers. You can also use it for laundry. Read the instructions carefully. It can be found in hardware stores, such as Ace Hardware, or in grocery stores near the laundry products. It's really the best. (08/04/2007)


RE: Stains in Toilet

Beware of pumice stone! Here is the information I got from an expert: "Pumice stone does clean, but it also removes some of the enamel and leaves a rougher surface. You can't see it or even feel it, but it happens. Then stains can collect even faster and they have to be rubbed a little harder to get them off. With just normal cleaning the enamel can become thin where it is rubbed the most, leaving dark streaks." I learned this too late. After using a pumice stone for just a few years my two toilets were ruined. (08/27/2007)

By D. R.

RE: Stains in Toilet

I had a serious problem with rust stains, and tried several products and a lot of elbow grease. Some things worked to some extent, but nothing renewed the toilet. I stumbled on something in Walmart called simply "Rust Remover' by a company called Whink. It's one of the rare products that actually did what the label claimed. I poured it in and let it sit a minute, and by the time I tried to go after it with the toilet brush, the stains were already gone. I'd spent hours on that toilet with other products, and couldn't get them out. (08/06/2008)

By Dave