How to Clean a Badly Stained Toilet?

How to Clean a Badly Stained Toilet?

A stained toilet is not only nasty to look at but also unsanitary.  It is not something you want guests to see if they use your guest bathroom.  Staining does not mean you do not clean but it is generally a build-up of mineral deposits and hard water.

So, how do you clean a badly stained toilet besides replacing it?  A number of methods can be used to clean heavily stained toilets, including vinegar, bleach, pumice stones, and other methods.  The effectiveness depends on the cause of staining.  For more in-depth tips, read on.

Three Types of Common Stains Found in Your Toilet

MoldThese can occur anywhere on your toilet, not just in the bowl.  They will be slightly fuzzy and blue, white, green, black, yellow, or gray.

Hard waterThese stains will generally appear as rings around your inner toilet bowl.  They can be white, pink, brown, or red.

MildewAlthough they are commonly found on the toilet tank or near the top of the toilet bowl, they can occur anywhere.  These stains will usually start out white in color but can turn brown or yellow in time.

How to Clean a Badly Stained Toilet

When cleaning your toilet and removing stains, you should wear disposable gloves to protect your hands.

Pumice rock:  If the stains are caused by hard water, this is good for scratching off the stains.  Before using the pumice rock, you need to soak it in plain water for 10-15 minutes.

Anti-static dryer sheet: This is can be a new or used dryer sheet but some have found that a used one will scrub the toilet better.  Using a dry sheet, it will get rid of the most stubborn hard water stains.

White vinegar:  For stains like mildew and mold, the best stain remover is white vinegar.  You can either put it in a spray bottle and spray it on the stains directly or pour it inside the bowl.  If you are pouring it in the bowl, use a half cup of white vinegar.

Brush the stains with the white vinegar and flush it a total of three times.  This will help to avoid any damage to your pipes.

Bleach:  If you do not have white vinegar, you can use bleach.  With bleach, you only need a fourth of a cup.  You can spray it or pour it into the toilet, scrub it with a brush, and flush it three times.

Tea tree oil:  This might seem like an odd toilet cleaner, it is a great cleaner to use on mildew and mold stains along with soil and urine stains.  You can make a solution of adding to a spray bottle of water, five to ten drops of tea tree oil and spread it directly on the stains.

You can also just put ten drops into the toilet bowl.  Use a brush to scrub the toilet bowl and flush it.  If you need to do so, you can repeat the process until it is completely clean.

White vinegar and baking sodaThis is a great mixture to get rid of hard water and limestone stains.  It will even work if the stains have become brown and red.  This is a process that will last longer but you need to make sure that you do not use the toilet between the cleaning steps.

The first thing to do is add a cup of white vinegar to the toilet and spread it around with a brush.  After one minute, add two more cups of white vinegar and a cup of baking soda; a foam will be created.  Leave it for ten minutes before you spread it around the toilet bowl.  Make sure you cover the stains.

Leave it alone for thirty minutes to give it time to break down and remove the stains.  Do not flush the toilet.  After the time has elapsed, flush the toilet.  Your toilet will look as good as new.

Borax and white vinegar:  If you do not have a lot of time to work on the stains, this method is faster but will be just as effective as the one with white vinegar and baking soda.  

Put in a quarter of Borax and spread it around with a brush.  Next, add a cup of vinegar and leave it for twenty minutes.  Scrub the toilet after twenty minutes and flush the toilet.

Coca-Cola:  Because of the acidity in the cola, it will break down and dissolve any stain in your toilet bowl in a matter of minutes.  Depending on the number of stains, pour a bottle or can of cola inside the toilet and spread it around.

Let it soak for twenty minutes and scrub away the stains.

Denture cleaning tablets:  Toss six denture cleaning tablets into the toilet. Let them dissolve and sit overnight if possible.  Scrub the toilet the next day and stains should be gone.

Lemon Kool-Aid:  This is good to use on hard water stains.  All you need to do is sprinkle the packet around the toilet bowl.  Let it sit for one hour and then scrub away the stains.

Cleaning Mildew Stains From Your Toilet

With mildew stains, they can be tricky to remove but they need to be removed.  Not because they are ugly looking but also because they can cause trouble with your breathing.  Although you use the same products as with other stains, the process is a bit different.

Step 1: Pour whichever mixture you are using from the above stain removers into a spray bottle. 

Step 2: Mildew likes water so before you spray the mixture on, you will need to flush the toilet to get rid of some of the water.  When the toilet is almost empty or empty, spray the mixture on the mildew along with the rest of the toilet bowl.

Step 3: You will need to brush it quickly before the toilet fills up with water again.  You can use a regular toilet brush to scrub the bowl.  If there is a large amount of mildew, you may need to repeat the process.

Cleaning Black Stains From Your Toilet

Although there are not many people who use well-water, there are some that do.  At times, they may notice black stains in their toilet bowls.  This is because of certain elements that are dissolved in the underwater aquifers that supply the water to the well.

They are not a threat to your health but can make your toilet look bad.  The primary culprits behind these stains are manganese and iron, with iron being the worse of the two.  When the water sits in the bowl, these dissolved elements combine with the oxygen to form the black stains.

To get rid of the stains, you need to turn off the water and flush the toilet. Plunge as much water as you can out of the toilet.  Use a liquid toilet bowl cleaner that contains hydrogen chloride or muriatic acid.

The cleaner will react to loosen the stains so you can scrub it off with a nylon-bristle toilet brush.  Do it slowly so you do not splatter the cleaner out of the bowl.  Once done, turn the water back on and flush it.  

Do not mix bleach-based chemicals with acid-based cleaners as they will chemically react.  When this happens, they will release deadly chlorine gas.

Cleaning Rust Stains From Your Toilet

Those reddish rust stains are hard to remove, no matter how much you scrub them.  The reason for these stains is the iron in the water that has attached itself to your toilet bowl over time.  Mix one-fourth cup of vinegar with three-fourths cup of baking soda to make a paste.

Scrub the bowl with the paste and let it sit for a few minutes.  Flush and the stains should be gone.  To effectively scrub the stains, you may need to get the water out of the bowl first.

Why you Need to Flush the Toilet Three Times After Cleaning

The reason that you need to flush it three times after cleaning is to make sure that you rinse the cleaning products out of the toilet and out of the pipes.  If they stay in the pipes, it can damage them. When you flush it three times, it will make sure that any residue of the product is gone.


It has been found that with some chemical stains, where the toilet has purple and bluish marks because of a cleaning that has gone wrong, you can use a combination of a dryer sheet and pumice rock.

If you make sure that you are cleaning your toilet regularly, you can help to prevent any of these stains from occurring and save yourself some extra work scrubbing the toilet.  If you do have any stubborn stains forming or a build-up of limestone, hard water, mildew, or mold, as soon as you notice them, use one of the above methods to get rid of them.

These are just a few of the many different reasons why you have a badly stained toilet.  When using any of these cleaning methods remember to have adequate ventilation in your bathroom and to always wear gloves.

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