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What causes grey stains in toilet bowl?

by | Jun 30, 2021 | Plumbing Guides

If you are reading this article, you are probably wondering what causes grey stains in toilet bowl and how to get rid of them.

Grey stains in your toilet bowl can be a bummer to deal with. Most of the time, the stains are caused by minerals in the hard water that adheres to the surface and create a porous layer that can’t be removed with regular cleaning.

In this article, we will explain the main causes of grey stains in your toilet bowl and highlight some of the ways you can remove them.

What causes grey stains in toilet bowl?

This section offers some helpful information to help you identify what could be causing these unsightly marks so you’ll know how to address them accordingly. Some of the major causes include;

  • Minerals from hard water

If you’re noticing a grey or yellowish stain in your toilet bowl, it could be as simple as an accumulation of minerals from hard water on the bowl.

This is because hard water contains minerals like calcium which will stick to surfaces and make them permanently grey or white-ish.

You might try to scrub away the stains, but as long as you keep using hard water, the stains will always form after some time. The best solution is to use a water filter or water softener as discussed below.

  • Harsh or abrasive cleaners

Do you ever wonder why your toilet bowl is getting increasingly stained even when you spend time scrubbing it regularly?

The most likely culprits are harsh chemicals and abrasive cleaners. These may be the cause of grey stains in the toilet bowl that can’t be removed with regular cleaning products.

What causes grey stains in toilet bowl

Harsh chemicals like bleach or any cleaner that contains chlorine should be avoided or used only when it is extremely necessary.

See also: Best toilet seat material

How to remove grey stains from toilet bowl

Removing the grey stains can be a difficult task. But don’t worry! There are some things that might help get rid of these pesky stains as well as prevent them from happening.

1. Use non-chlorine based cleaner

If you notice that the stains on the toilet bowl are due to excessive use of bleach or other disinfectants, you should consider switching to non-chlorine-based products.

Try something that is chlorine-free like Lysol Bleach Free Toilet bowl cleaner. It does not contain any bleach or harsh chemicals and kills 99% percent of bacteria without damaging porcelain surfaces.

When used together with Clorox ToiletWand disposable cleaning kit, it will get the toilet clean and with less effort than if you were scrubbing constantly and still having those pesky grime marks show up again every few days.

2. Diluted vinegar or lemon juice and baking soda

If you have stubborn residue build-up, try this simple solution; white distilled vinegar and baking soda.

These are natural ingredients that are chemical-free but guaranteed to remove the grey unsightly marks without having to scrub for hours on end.

They are also non-abrasive which makes them ideal for porcelain surfaces.

To remove the stains, start by mixing a solution made with vinegar and baking soda together in your toilet tank. This will help dissolve any leftover residue that is causing the staining issue while also leaving behind an odor-neutralizing scent.

You can also boil some vinegar in hot water before letting it cool and pouring it into the back of your toilet tank regularly. This will help dissolve any soap scum buildup at the bottom of your tank where most grey stains form and often ignored during cleaning.

3. Pumice stone for cleaning toilet bowl ring

A pumice stone can be used to scrub away those grey and yellow rings on the toilet bowl and leave your toilet sparkling clean again in no time at all.

It may take some elbow grease if the stains are stubborn but this is one way to remove them without having to use harsh chemicals like bleach.

The best part? You won’t need any special tools or cleaning products because the pumice stones inexpensive and totally eco-friendly too.

For instance, this 2 pack Pumice stone toilet bowl cleaner works great on removing limescale, hard water stains, and water deposits that the conventional cleaners cannot remove.

See also: Why does poop stick to the toilet bowl and how to prevent this

4. Water softener for hard water

One of the causes of stains in the toilet bowl is hard water as discussed earlier. There are several solutions to rid your toilet of hard water stains, but one popular and easy solution is installing a whole house water softener system. These systems do not only soften the tap water, but they also give you control over its hardness level as well.

The iSpring ED2000 Descaler is a whole house water descaler system that is a great solution for hard water stains in the toilet.

It uses a salt-free and chemical-less process to remove hardness in your water without getting rid of healthy minerals in the water. As a result, it prevents deposits of minerals like calcium and magnesium that cause scaling in water pipes.

With soft water, no more toilet staining of the toilet bowl and tank as well as other bathroom fixtures like faucets and bathtubs.

Moreover, it will save you from costly plumbing repairs.

See also: How to use vinegar and baking soda to clean toilet tank


We hope this article has cleared up some of the common questions people have about what causes grey stains in toilet bowl and how to get rid of them.

Grey stains in your toilet bowl are an unpleasant sight, to say the least. You can opt to first try some home remedies like using vinegar and baking soda, using pumice cleaning stone, or a non-bleach cleaner.

However, the best way to deal with these stains is through prevention such as softening your water by installing a water descaler system. This will prevent mineral deposits in the toilet bowl which are the major causes of staining.

To maintain a good cleaning routine, use a cleaner that doesn’t contain harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners.


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