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How To Clean A Badly Stained Toilet

Sep 15, 2021 | Blog, Plumbing Guides

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Cleaning toilets is most people’s idea of a nightmare. It is an unpleasant task that always seems to need doing. As an area of the home with frequent use, the bowl can quickly become dirty and never truly feels clean.

There are many reasons why your toilet may become stained, such as excrement and mineral buildups. We go into more detail about these below. It is important to regularly clean your toilet from both an aesthetic and a hygienic point of view.

What Are The Causes Of Stains?

Calcium buildup, in the form of limescale, is often a leading cause of toilet bowl stains. These tend to be yellow in color and come from the microscopic calcium deposits within your water supply.

Over time, these can also create blockages in your water pipes. It is advised to deal with limescale as soon as you notice it.

Rust will often create a red or dark brown stain on your toilet bowl. This is because of iron deposits in the water. Once these come into contact with oxygen, they will react and create iron oxide.

Mold will be easily recognizable,  as the stains are often green or black spots. This will be accompanied by the classic musky smell. Mold is a problem that will only get worse with time, and so you should treat it as early as possible.

Copper will often create blue stains within your toilet bowl. This is common in acidic water supplies. There is no real solution to this and the only way to prevent these stains is to clean your toilet more frequently.

How To Prepare To Clean Your Toilet

The first thing that you should do when deep cleaning your toilet is to switch off the main water valve. This is often found behind the toilet on the wall. You should turn this valve clockwise until it will no longer move.

Once the water source has been switched off, you can begin to remove the water from the toilet. Use an old cup to scoop the water out of the bowl until it is empty.

We strongly recommend purchasing a pair of rubber gloves to use to clean the toilet. Do not use these for any other purpose to prevent cross-contamination.

What Should You Use To Clean Your Toilet?

We advise using a toilet brush with nylon bristles to scrub the interior of the bowl. There are many available on the market with wire bristles too.

You would be forgiven for thinking that this is a more effective implementation to use, but in actuality, the wire will scratch the surface of the porcelain.

Another good implement to use is a pumice stone. This has a mildly abrasive surface, making it easier to scrub stains off of the porcelain.

It is important to keep a little water in your toilet if you are using a pumice stone. This creates a barrier to protect the porcelain from becoming scratched.

What Should You Never Do?

You should never use bleach or any drain cleaner like Liquid-Plumbr in your toilet bowl, despite what you may think. It can cause serious damage to your septic systems and can result in some very costly repairs.

If you have used bleach, never add ammonia too. This creates noxious gases that can irritate your respiratory system. In cases of extreme inhalation, these gases can even be fatal.

You should never use something overly abrasive or metal to scrub at your toilet bowl. Porcelain is a delicate material and can easily become damaged by this harshness.

Vinegar And Baking Soda 

To use this method you will need some distilled white vinegar. Pour a couple of cups into the toilet bowl and sprinkle over a few tablespoons of baking soda. Use your brush to wipe the vinegar and baking soda paste all around the interior of the bowl.

Allow this paste to sit on the toilet for at least 15 minutes. After this time has passed, scrub at the stained areas with your nylon brush.

If the stain does not appear to be lifting, then you can add in some lemon juice too. The acidic pH of this can assist in lifting stains. Switch the water supply back on and then flush your toilet. If the stains have not lifted, you can keep repeating this process as necessary.

You may also try heating them the vinegar in the microwave for 2 minutes before adding it to your toilet. This can help the stains to lift further.

Lemon Juice And Essential Oils

This is an effective and environmentally friendly way to clean your toilet bowl. Grab a spray bottle and pour in a cup of lemon juice alongside 10 to 15 drops of essential oil. Tea tree and lavender essential oils are very effective when dealing with a mold issue.

Spray your lemon juice solution all over the toilet bowl, paying close attention to the most heavily stained areas. Scrub well and then allow the solution to sit there for 15 minutes.

Once this time has passed, flush the toilet and then inspect the interior. Repeat this process as necessary.

Denture Cleaning Tablets

If someone in your home wears dentures then this is a very easy and effective way to clean your toilet bowl. Add 6 of the tablets into the toilet and allow them to dissolve.

Leave them sitting in the toilet overnight, and scrub the bowl the next day. Flush the toilet to rinse away the denture cleaner and marvel at how clean the interior is.


We have all seen the amazing cleaning powers of Coca-Cola. A rusted coin can become sparkling overnight with no real effort necessary. The drink will also clean your toilet bowl exceptionally well.

This is due to the acids found within the drink. They will eat away at the stains as you allow them to sit overnight. The next morning, flush your toilet and you will notice the stains have loosened. Scrub at them until they lift completely from the surface.

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