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Preventing and Cleaning Toilet Rings

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Photo of a woman cleaning a toilet.

Getting toilets clean can be a challenge. A ring around the bowl is unsightly and is sometimes tough to get rid of. This is a guide about cleaning and preventing toiletbowl rings.


Solutions: Preventing and Cleaning Toilet Rings

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

Tip: Toilet Ring Cleaning Technique

I finally figured it out! It's all about the technique. The 3 things you need are:

  1. a toilet bowl brush
  2. a decent cleaner in a spray bottle (the Works, Kaboom, CLR, or any similar)
  3. a bucket (most important!)

Here goes:

First, pour just enough water from the bucket into bowl to get it to flush (I use an empty 33.9 oz. plastic Folgers container, poured as quickly as possible). The water level in the bowl will now stay in the bottom of the bowl, and this eliminates the need to turn off water supply (which can be a hassle). Spray all around ring with cleaner.

Now go clean the tub, sweep floor, empty trash, get coffee, or whatever. Come back to the toilet ring in 30 minutes or so, and scrub ring with brush. Part of ring will probably be gone...maybe all. A stubborn ring will be lighter. Flush. Repeat as many times as needed. I had a stubborn ring that I'd tried everything on. It took 4 times to get ring completely gone.

Now I keep cleaner, brush, bucket nearby. Once in awhile before bed I'll pour bucket, spray ring, and go to bed. Rings don't stand a chance!

By Rob S. from Fairborn, OH

Tip: Use Sand Paper to Clean Toilet Ring

Buy wet and dry sandpaper; not the fine. The one that is just below the heavy grit. Wet it in toilet, and sand away. It will not hurt toilet as long as water in there. This is wonderful for under the rim also. This is much better than using any toilet bowl cleaner, and better than pumice stone as it's more flexible to rub.

By Cindy from Phoenix, AZ

Tip: Pumice Stone for Cleaning Toilet Rings

Use a pumice stone (similar to the ones women use for feet) they have them made for cleaning purposes. They work great but you have to make sure the toilet surface and stone are wet before you use or you will scratch the bowl.

Tip: The Works for Cleaning Toilet Rings

After trying 3 products and a whole night of white vinegar, my copper colored stains prevailed. I spent $1.59 on THE WORKS toilet bowl cleaner, sprayed it on the stains and literally they disappeared and became as white as my pumice stone which I did not have to use. Wow!

Tip: Preventing Toilet Rings

Try swishing your toilet every day with a toilet brush. As part of your shower routine. reach over and swish the toilet brush around. It is amazing how little time it takes and how well the bowl looks every day from it.

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Here are questions related to Preventing and Cleaning Toilet Rings.

Question: Where Can I Buy a Pumice Stone?

Where in Wal-mart or any other store can you find the cleaning pumice stone for cleaning your toliet ring?

Donna from TX


Most Recent Answer


Walmart: where the Drain-O, etc is shelved.
Some pool supply stores
Stores that carry BBQ/camping equipment
Hardware stores

Question: Cleaning Ring Out of Toilet

I have an emergency. We have relatives coming soon. I need to clean a 19 year old ring out of the toilet now. I have used Comet, but it is doing nothing.

By mysterykid


Most Recent Answer

By chemgrl01/16/2011

FYI - both muriatic acid and spirit of salts are old names for hydrochloric acid. If this works so well, I would assume that the ring is hard water deposits and the vinegar solution would be the thing to try first. I'm going to go try it now!

Question: How to the Remove Calcium Deposits Around Toilet

I have well water and have rings in my toilets that I have tried to remove with numerous cleaning products. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what might work? I even have a water softener, but nothing seems to work.

By Alice from PA

Most Recent Answer

By Julie Closter S.07/11/2013

I have had the worst yellow stained calcium rings for the longest time. I tried "The Works" today from Walmart. I kid you not, after an hour of pouring it into the toilet, the stains were virtually gone! I will never use anything else to clean my toilets ever again!

Question: Removing a Toilet Bowl Ring

How do you get rid of a toilet bowl ring that has been there for years? It was there when we bought the lake house 7 years ago. I don't want to change out the toilet bowl, but I can not stand the ring in the bowl.

By ShirleyBH

Most Recent Answer

By Shirley Harris [3]01/28/2012

Thanks I will try them all until I fine something that works.

Question: Preventing and Cleaning Toilet Rings

How do I clean hard water toilet rings?

By pmancebo

Most Recent Answer

By Susan08/22/2009

Try a pumice-type stone called BathStone by Earthstone; I purchased it at Wal-Mart. I also bought Whink rust remover. After two minutes, my bowl was sparkling white, something I haven't seen in forever!

Question: Cleaning a Toilet Bowl Ring

We have two toilets in the house. The first one on the line is a standard toilet made by Kohler (very recently installed). The second is an American Standard and is several years old. The Kohler has a ring at the water line that we have yet to get it clean, but the second one, there is no ring. What gives?

By Burney M.

Most Recent Answer

By Joyce [6]05/27/2012

I can only imagine that what's going on with your two toilets is the same thing people complain daily about: The quality of products produced are sub-standard to those manufactured several years ago.

About that ring: The only thing that has ever helped me is to pour a can of Coke or Pepsi down into the toilet. Wait about 20 minutes and hit it with the toilet brush and mild detergent. Mine come clean every time. Good Luck!

Question: Buying a Pumice Stone

Where in Tennessee can I find a pumice stone? I need it to clean toilets where I work.

By Lori D from Manchester, TN

Most Recent Answer

By Jill [2]11/18/2014

Pumice stones are available at hardware stores. My favorite are oval shaped that fit well in your hand. The black wet sand paper works even better, that's what pros use to clean the nastiest bowls when they flip houses. I use it on my rings here in the country as well water is harder on toilets. Love black sand paper, use it wet. :>)Jill

Question: Removing a Hard Water Ring in Toilet

My neighbor has always had soft water, whilst I did not. She and I used a pumice stone to remove a build-up of hard scale inside the toilet bowl, even though she had a water softener installed in her house. The pumice stone left black streaks in the porcelain. I eventually replaced both toilets, then installed soft water, yet there is now a ring of hard scale.

The new toilets were not cheap at $560 each. They are not even a year old, so even with soft water this build up of scale cannot be budged even with bleach, Lysol, Lime-away, and vinegar. My neighbour and I will not contemplate using a pumice stone after the damage to the porcelain in the other toilet bowls in our houses. What is a solution?

By Maisie

Question: Removing a Toilet Ring

I have a toilet ring and can't get rid of it. We have soft water. The toilet is only a couple years old.

By Linda from NE


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: Preventing and Cleaning Toilet Rings

I have a gray toilet, also a white one that have the bad rings in them that I cannot get out. I need any suggestions with things I might have in my home to use. I've tried lime cleaner but that doesn't work.


Archive: Preventing and Cleaning Toilet Rings

I have a black ring around my toilet. Any suggestions to get rid of it. Bleach does not seem to work. I have even tried the blue tablets and other toilet bowl cleaners.

Rose Smith from Malvern, PA

RE: Preventing and Cleaning Toilet Rings

Pour two cups of Spirit of Salts into the toilet, close the lid and let it sit for two hours. Flush and clean as usual. Repeat if necessary. Be sure to ventilate very well, SoS is very corrosive. I have said this a million times and will keep on saying so, because I know from experience this WILL work!

Spirit of Salts is known as hydrochloric acid in the states. (07/30/2007)

By gurth

RE: Preventing and Cleaning Toilet Rings

If all else fails, try this. Turn off the incoming water to your toilet. Flush toilet until all water is removed. Manually, fill toilet bowl with about 1 gallon of white vinegar. Vinegar must cover the stain line. If necessary, add enough water to raise the level of vinegar/water solution above the stain. Allow the vinegar to remain in the toilet for 24-hours. Now, use your toilet brush to scrub the stain. This will work on severe lime buildup, hopefully, it will work for you. (07/31/2007)


RE: Preventing and Cleaning Toilet Rings

I found a wonderful product last week, we had awful rust stains in the bowl and black ugly stuff in the tank. I purchased this product called "The Works" it came in a green bottle. I got it at Wal-mart for about $5.00. I then found it at Dollar General for $1.00, the same stuff. Empty the tank, squirt it on the sides of the tank/bowl, let sit for a few minutes, but don't inhale the fumes!, scrub with a brush, turn the water back on and flush 3-4 times. I bought 5 bottles at the Dollar General this week! (07/31/2007)

By booklady2228

RE: Preventing and Cleaning Toilet Rings

If it's a porcelain toilet, go and buy the cheapest denture cleanser tablets you can find. Add 5-6 to your toilet, and let sit over-night. It might be a bit unconventional, but it does work. It will also kill 99% of the germs in your toilet. (07/31/2007)

By Cheri

RE: Preventing and Cleaning Toilet Rings

Simple, TRR. You can find it at Lowe's or Home Depot. It'll work like magic! (08/19/2007)

By Ryan

RE: Preventing and Cleaning Toilet Rings

Pumice (and some elbow grease) works well, and you should be able to find pumice stone in any good hardware store; you can even find it in some drugstores. The chemicals recommended on this website probably all work in one way or another, but just randomly throwing harsh chemicals into your toilet is kind of ridiculous. Where do you think all that poison is going when you flush it? It's a high price to pay to remove a few stains. (09/12/2007)

By Sandra

RE: Preventing and Cleaning Toilet Rings

I tried almost every recommendation made on this site. The ONLY product that removed built up water stains from our ceramic toilets is pumice. I found a bar at True Value Hardware. Turn off the water supply, then flush the toilet. It will some serious scraping, but that's just the pumice sloughing off. After 5 years of looking at nasty rings and stains, they're gone! (12/03/2007)

By John

RE: Preventing and Cleaning Toilet Rings

I've had hard water/mineral deposit build up for years, just waiting to find the right solution, I guess. Today, I found it. The pumice stone idea has worked effectively! I have tried some chemicals to no avail, and hate spending money on things that don't work (I tried the Magic Eraser which did not work.).

I was reading ideas at this site, and remembered I had a pumice stone I use only infrequently on heel callouses and had picked up at Bed Bath and Beyond some time ago. Decided to give it up to the "cause" this morning, and yep it was worth it. Rings are gone in two toilets with 20 minutes work! You've got to drain the toilet, but that's almost the hardest part! Give it a try! (04/05/2008)

By Cathy, Arizona

RE: Preventing and Cleaning Toilet Rings

Someone mentioned that Mr. Clean erasers are totally safe which they might be on any surface other than your skin. A child was helping mom clean with one then noticed something on himself and cleaned it with the eraser. He ended up with horrible chemical burns all over his body. Please be cautious around children. It's not to be used on skin. (05/09/2008)

By Michelle.

Archive: Cleaning Ring Out of Toilet

How can a ring in the toilet bowl be removed?


Archive: Cleaning Ring Out of Toilet

How do I remove the ring in the toilet? We have well water so our water is hard plus we have lime in our water.

By Linda from Dayton, OH

RE: Cleaning Ring Out of Toilet

I used a scouring pad and Bon Ami, which did a decent job of removing the water ring in my toilet, but still had a light brown ring. I followed Kathy's suggestion and got a pumice stone. It's called "pumie stick". I gently rubbed it on the area and poof it was gone. I found it in Lowe's and it was less than 3 dollars. (01/04/2010)

By edNY

RE: Cleaning Ring Out of Toilet

I was going to suggest a pumice stone, too. It seems like it would scratch the bowl, but apparently the bowl is harder than the stone. I had a ring develop in one of our toilets, and no amount of regular scrubbing removed it. But with a pumice stone, the ring was gone in no time at all. Without chemicals! I found out about it watching that BBC show. I believe it's called "How Clean is Your House?" (01/04/2010)

By mrs.story

RE: Cleaning Ring Out of Toilet

I removed the ring from our toilets by scrubbing it lightly with black fine grain sand paper and Comet. Now and then, I put an Efferdent denture tablet in the toilet and let it soak. (01/05/2010)

By Hate Litter

RE: Cleaning Ring Out of Toilet

Be sure to pour a bucket of water in the toilet, to lower the water level, before scrubbing, too. Then, when you're done, flush! My d/h taught me this trick years ago and now my boys do it too. We've used Comet and a scrubber and the cleanser can stick to the sides with the water out of the way. (01/09/2010)

By mom of towers

Archive: Cleaning Ring Out of Toilet

How do I get rid of the stains in my toilet bowl? When I clean the bowl, there is a ring left behind that just doesn't want to go away.