How to Clean Toilet Stains | Cleaning Hard Water & Mineral Stains

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Hard water, mineral buildup, mold, and other reasons can all result in toilet stains. It's important to learn how to clean toilet stains and keep the bowl clean for hygienic and aesthetic reasons. Before that, we have covered about toilet stained blue as well as brown stains in toilet.

We're going to walk you through how to clean stains on your toilet bowl with a toilet brush, commercial toilet cleaners, as well as baking soda and vinegar.

Ensuring Safety When Cleaning Toilet Stains

Before getting into how to clean toilet stains, you need to remember the following tips to ensure your safety and protect your bathroom too:

  • Always make sure to wear protective gear whether it's gloves, a mask, or goggles. This way, you're safe against germs, bacteria, chemicals, and fumes.
  • Turn off the water supply before toilet seat cleaning. You will reduce the risk of accidentally flushing the toilet and splashing water around.
  • Keep your bathroom well-ventilated when using commercial cleaners or baking soda and white vinegar.
  • Use a toilet brush that's long enough to clean the toilet bowl from a distance.
  • Before using any cleaning products, carefully read labels and follow instructions.
  • Do not mix cleaning products unless recommended by manufacturers.
  • After cleaning the toilet, flush it a few times to get rid of any cleaners and residue.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after cleaning your toilet.
  • Store all cleaning products out of the reach of children and pets at all times.

washing toilet stains

Things to Avoid When Cleaning toilet Stains

As you learn how to clean toilet stains, avoid doing the following:

  • Using abrasive scrubbers: using scrub pads that are too harsh can damage and scratch your toilet bowl's surface.
  • Using bleach on colored toilet bowls: bleach can damage and fade the surface of your colored toilet.
  • Using too much cleaning solution: if you overfill the toilet bowl with a cleaner, it could overflow or damage other parts of your toilet.
  • Leaving cleaning agents in the toilet bowl: always follow product instructions and recommended times to prevent damage.
  • Using hot water in a porcelain bowl: could damage your toilet bowl.

Regular maintenance and following these cleaning tips can protect your toilet bowl and your bathroom.

How to Clean Toilet Stains

Using a Toilet Brush, Baking Soda, and White Vinegar

One of the easiest ways to clean your toilet bowl is with a toilet brush which is used to clean the interior of the bowl and other difficult-to-reach places. Here's how to clean toilet stains with a toilet brush:

  1. Turn off the toilet's water supply.
  2. Combine 1/4 cup of baking soda and water to make a paste.
  3. Apply the paste onto the stains and let the mixture sit for 15 minutes.
  4. Pour 1 cup of white vinegar into the bowl and let it sit for 15 minutes as well which will assist in cleaning the bowl and removing any lingering stains.
  5. Then, grab your toilet brush to scrub the mixture around the bowl, beneath the rim, and all of the other crevices that are stained.
  6. Turn the water supply back on and flush the toilet.
  7. If there are still stains, clean your toilet brush and repeat steps 2 to 6 until the toilet is clean.

remove toilet stains

Tips for Maximizing the Effectiveness of this Method

To make the most out of cleaning your toilet bowl using vinegar and baking soda:

  • Make sure that the baking soda and water paste are thick enough to stick to the stained surface and not drip away.
  • Cover the water line with the baking soda and water paste because it is usually where stains show up.
  • Let the mixture sit on stains for at least 15 minutes.
  • Use your toilet brush thoroughly.
  • Use enough vinegar around your toilet bowl and let it work for 15 minutes.
  • Clean your toilet brush after every use to prevent the spread of germs.
  • Replace your toilet brush as needed! When the bristles get brittle, it's time to get a new one.
  • Repeat as many times as needed. Some stains can get really tough but they can still be removed.

Using a Commercial Toilet Cleaner

Another way to clean your toilet is by using commercial stain removers and your toilet brush. You simply have to apply the commercial toilet stain cleaner as instructed and use your toilet brush to scrub the stubborn stains away. However, there are different types of commercial stain removers on the market like ones for porcelain, tiles, or grout. You can also choose a stain remover in liquid, gel, or tablet form. Carefully read what the stain remover is used for and pick what best suits the type of toilet you have and the stains you need to get rid of. The different types of toilet cleaners available include bowl, water, and soda cleaners:

  • Bowl cleaners: stain removers and cleaners that are usually in liquid form and designed to clean toilet bowls. Popular bowl cleaners include Lysol, Clorox, and Cascade.
  • Water cleaners: cleaners that are formulated and designed to be added to your water tank to keep your toilet bowl clean and prevent stains from forming.
  • Soda cleaners: though not really marketed as toilet cleaners, some homeowners use soda like Coca-Cola to get rid of toilet stains. While the acid in the soda can help break down grime and stains, it can corrode your toilet bowl over time.

Here's how to clean toilet stains with a commercial toilet cleaner:

  1. Cut off the toilet's water supply. This way, you won't accidentally flush the toilet and dilute the stain remover.
  2. Read the instructions on the product packaging.
  3. Following the directions, apply the recommended amount of the commercial stain remover onto the stained areas of your toilet bowl. It's usually 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Let the cleaner sit on the stains for however long the manufacturer recommends.
  5. Then, use your toilet brush to scrub the toilet stain remover away.
  6. Turn on your toilet's water supply and flush away the toilet cleaner.
  7. Repeat as needed.

Before using a specific commercial stain remover, we recommend using a small amount on a stain and following the steps above before tackling the entire toilet.

Tips for Choosing the Best Commercial Stain Remover for the Job

As you learn how to clean toilet stains, here's how to look for the best commercial stain remover for the job:

  • Always read the label: look for products specially formulated to remove hard water stains, minerals, or other toilet bowl stains.
  • Buy the best product for your toilet: think about what material your toilet is made out of and look for a commercial stain remover for that surface.
  • Look for specific substances: citric acid, phosphoric acid, and hydrochloric acid work well to remove mineral stains.
  • Read reviews: if it's your first time using a product, read reviews and customer testimonials.
  • Always wear safety gear: no matter what you're using, wear goggles, a mask, and gloves!

Tips for Maximizing the Effectiveness of Toilet Cleaners 

Whichever commercial toilet cleaner you choose after learning how to clean toilet stains, keep these best practices in mind:

  • Use the right toilet bowl cleaner for the type of toilet you have and the stains that you have.
  • Clean the entire toilet bowl after getting rid of stains.
  • Keep your bathroom well-ventilated at all times.
  • Let the cleaner sit in the toilet bowl for the recommended time as instructed on the product's package.
  • Use a clean toilet brush and make sure that the bristles are not brittle.
  • Flush the toilet after cleaning it. The water will get rid of any lingering residue from the cleaner.
  • Use a water softener in your home. Hard water can make it more difficult to clean your toilet even if you're using a commercial cleaner.

Bottom Line: How to Clean Toilet Stains

You can use different methods as you learn how to clean toilet stains and follow our tips. Whether it's using a commercial stain remover or the DIY vinegar, baking soda, and water method, always make sure that you're well-protected and the area's well-ventilated. Before choosing either method, also take into account the type of stains you're trying to clean and the type of toilet bowl you have. Not all cleaners are suitable for all toilets and stains so do your research and make sure you have the right solution for the job.

FAQs on Cleaning Toilet Stains

What are some typical reasons for bathroom stains?

Toilet stains can be caused by mineral buildup, hard water, debris, and mold.

What is an effective way to clean and get toilet stains out?

How to clean toilet stains effectively? Use water and baking soda, vinegar, or a commercial stain remover.

What safety measures should you follow when removing toilet stains?

The safety measures you need to follow as you learn how to clean toilet stains include:

  • Following product labels and instructions.
  • Wearing protective gear like goggles, a mask, and gloves.
  • Keeping the area well-ventilated at all times by using a fan or opening a window.
  • Staying close enough to the toilet bowl to clean it but not too close that you're in contact with the chemicals or harmful bacteria.
  • Keeping cleaning products out of the reach of children and pets
  • Thoroughly wash your hands after removing toilet bowl stains.

What should be avoided removing toilet stains?

When you're cleaning toilet stains, do not use abrasive scrub pads, bleach on colored toilets, use too much cleaning solution, leave cleaners in for too long, and use hot water in a porcelain toilet bowl.

How crucial is it to clean and remove stains from the toilet bowl with a toilet brush?

One of the most important parts of removing stains from your toilet bowl with chemical or natural cleaners is using the toilet brush. The toilet brush helps deep clean stained surfaces and allows you to get into hard-to-reach places.

How should a toilet brush be maintained and cleaned?

Your toilet brush should be cleaned after you have used it in your toilet bowl. You can clean it with a store-bought cleaner that won't damage the bristles.

How should the toilet tank, seat, lid, flush handle, flapper, and other mechanical pieces be cleaned and maintained?

First, you need to learn about the different types of toilet seats, tanks, flush handles, flappers, and other mechanical parts and how they work. Then, you can read or watch about the different ways to clean individual parts as well as specific cleaners formulated for the parts that make up your toilet.

Are there any other all-natural options than baking soda and vinegar for cleaning toilet stains?

Yes, other natural remedies that can be used to clean toilet stains include lemon juice, borax, and hydrogen peroxide.

How do I get mineral buildup and hard water stains off of other bathroom surfaces?

If you're trying to figure out how to remove hard water stains from a toilet or other surfaces, use the baking soda and water paste, and vinegar method to get rid of mineral buildup and hard water stains. Then, use a microfiber cloth or scrub brush to clean the surface and flush the toilet.

What other forms of specialty toilet bowl cleaners use abrasives like pumice stone?

The Works, Soft Scrub with Bleach, and Bar Keepers Friend are a few examples of specialty toilet bowl cleaners that contain pumice stone or other abrasives.

How can I avoid getting toilet stains in the first place?

Yes, you can learn how to clean toilet stains but actually prevent them too. You can learn how to fix a running toilet or a clogged one so that the water doesn't encourage hard water stains to form. The best thing you can do to avoid toilet stains is to regularly clean it.

How do I identify and resolve other toilet problems, such as clogs and leaks?

You can learn how to unclog a toilet with a plunger after checking for leaks in the tank and bowl. Carefully examine if any pieces like the fill valve or flapper are broken. Otherwise, call a professional plumber to diagnose and address your toilet issues.

How do I change a wax ring on a toilet?

To change the wax ring on a toilet:

  1. Flush the toilet to empty the water tank.
  2. Turn off the water supply connected to the toilet.
  3. As you learned how to remove a toilet, remove the bolts holding it to the floor.
  4. Remove the old wax ring.
  5. Clean the area around the drain.
  6. Replace the wax ring, reinstall your toilet, and connect it to the water supply.


Abigail Clemente

Abigail is an experienced content creator who has worked with several big names in the home decor and interior design industry. She comes to our team with almost 6 years of experience of working as a full time content writer.

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