How To Get Rid Of Toilet Ring

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This article will help you finally get rid of your stubborn toilet ring for good. Household cleaners don't always do the job but we have compiled a list of household techniques that work. Let's look at some of the top products that you may even have laying around right now.

What Causes a Toilet Ring?

Before diving into the best methods to get rid of a toilet ring, it can be helpful to go over what causes them in the first place. A toilet ring is a discoloration that may or may not be permanent. These toilet bowl stains are rarely due to a person's cleaning skills and instead, are usually a result of hard water paired with standing water. This is why you may notice more toilet bowl rings in a bathroom that you don't use as often.

Bacteria Is a Possible Cause of Toilet Rings 

A pink ring in the toilet can indicate a certain type of bacteria, known as Serratia marcescens. A pink ring may require a different method to get rid of the mold and coloring for good. This bacteria type can grow in a variety of environments (i.e. damp, warm areas such as toilet bowls). In addition to causing a pinkish sorta discoloration in the toilet bowl, Serratia marcescens can also release a musty or *lovely* earthy smell.  If you have a pink toilet ring present than it may indicate that the bathroom is not being properly cleaned — or it could mean there's an issue with the water supply. If you notice a pink toilet ring in your bathroom, it's important to first take steps to remove it and prevent future growth of the bacteria because you don't want this to become a reoccurring issue. Below we will speak about the steps you can use to remove all different types of toilet rings including those formed by serratia marcesens. 

A black ring is usually an accumulation of hard water minerals. A black ring may appear to be brown, gray, or black in color. You can usually get rid of a black ring using the same methods listed below.

Hard water and mineral deposits Is Another Possible Cause of Toilet Rings 

Hard water is water that contains a high concentration of minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. Both of these minerals can build up over time and cause a variety of problems in your toilet, including the formation of hard water stains and rings in your toilet bowl. The color of hard water stains are typically white, yellow, or brown and can be quite difficult to remove. Not only are these toilet ring stains pretty unsightly, hard water can also clog pipes, reduce the effectiveness of soap and detergent, and shorten the lifespan of appliances that actually water. If you have hard water in your home, it's important to regularly clean and maintain your toilet — along with other plumbing fixtures to prevent the buildup of mineral deposits. There are a number of products available that can help to soften hard water and prevent the formation of stains, such as water softeners and descalers, which we'll talk about later. 

How to Get Rid of Toilet Ring

There are a number of ways to get rid of a toilet ring. Some of the products you need may already be sitting in your pantry or cleaning closet.

If they aren't, you can usually get these household products from your local store.

Here are a few methods you may use to get rid of stubborn stains and clean toilet bowl rings:

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

A toilet bowl cleaner may be the most obvious solution to removing a toilet bowl ring. However, while it may make your toilet clean, it does not always remove stubborn toilet bowl rings. If you prefer to use a toilet bowl cleaner, you may have to shop around and look for the right products for your toilet bowl ring needs.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

It is likely that you have some baking soda and vinegar in your cabinets already. The good thing about using baking soda and vinegar is that it is generally safe for use. Yet, it also has good results when it comes to getting rid of toilet and hard water stains.

Pour one cup of white vinegar into the toilet and use a toilet brush to easily scrub the ring. Let it sit for a few minutes before then adding in one cup of baking soda.

Baking Soda, Box, White, Powder, Sodium, Bicarbonate

Let the baking soda and vinegar mix sit for 30 minutes – one hour. You might let it sit for even longer for really stubborn stains. Then, flush the toilet and you should notice an improvement.

If you prefer, you can also use white vinegar on its own. Whether or not it works will depend on how long the toilet bowl ring has been there and what type of ring it is. A pink ring may be more difficult to get rid of, for example, and may require stronger products.

You can also use baking soda on its own. Baking soda is a popular choice because it is non-toxic. But, most people prefer vinegar and baking soda mixed for stubborn toilet rings. Vinegar and baking soda are also useful in cleaning other parts of the toilet bowl.

Pumice Stone

A pumice stone is a hard-cleaning product that is made with lava and water. It provides you with an abrasive material that can remove hard water surface stains. Pumice stones are especially effective on really stubborn hard water rings.

Cleaning with a pumice stone is also easy as most come with a handle. Because a pumice stone can damage your toilet, it is important to use them as a toilet brush only occasionally.

Bleach and a Toilet Brush

Bleach is a common household product that can be very effective in removing hard water stains. Keep in mind, however, that bleach is a harsh chemical and some people may be sensitive to it. Pour one cup of liquid chlorine bleach into the toilet bowl and close the lid.

Then, scrub the toilet bowl clean with a toilet brush, taking special care of the tough stains. Flush the toilet and you should be left with a clean toilet.

Overnight Borax


If you want to avoid harsh chemicals and don't need immediate results, you can usually get rid of minor stains by pouring Borax into the toilet overnight. Borax is best for the maintenance of toilet bowl rings.

However, the process is easy. All you have to do is drop the Borax in the toilet water and leave it in the bowl overnight. If you let it sit overnight for multiple nights a month, you will notice an improvement in the coloring of your toilet and fewer hard water stains.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen Peroxide's only use is not in treating cuts and scrapes. You can also use it to clean your toilet and to get rid of minor toilet bowl rings. Drop a few teaspoons of Hydrogen Peroxide in the toilet and use the toilet brush to scrub away the toilet bowl ring.

The other great thing about using Peroxide is that it also sanitizes your toilet. You may choose to drop a few teaspoons in the toilet tank.

Lemon Kool-Aid

If you have children, you may have some lemon Kool-Aid in the cupboard and you might be surprised at how well it can help with hard water stains.

Just sprinkle the Kool-Aid in the toilet bowl and scrub with a toilet brush. Then, flush and repeat if necessary. You can also leave the Kool-Aid in the toilet for a few hours.

Dryer Sheet

Another less-known technique to get rid of toilet stains is dryer sheets. Dryer sheets are simple and cost-effective to use. Put on a pair of rubber clothes, lift the toilet lid, and scrub the toilet ring away.

Be sure to wear gloves as you will have to put your hands directly in the toilet. Once you finish cleaning, flush the toilet and go on with your day. Another benefit is that you're likely to always have a dryer sheet lying around. Used, old dryer sheets may even be effective.

Alka Seltzer

Alka Seltzer, a product commonly used for indigestion, is another effective product in getting rid of hard water stains. It is also a non-toxic option that most people have sitting around. Drop a few tablets of the product in the toilet and watch the toilet bowl stains disappear.

For stubborn standing water stains, scrub the product directly onto the pink ring, or on any of the other types of rings you have.

Magic Eraser

Magic erasers consistently stand up to their name. They magically remove dirt and grime from a variety of household products, including removing toilet rings.

Cut a corner off your Magic Eraser and drop it in the toilet. You can also use the Magic Eraser to get rid of other hard water stains in the bathroom, like on the sink or shower.

Citric Acid

Citric acid is another common household item that you can use to get rid of toilet stains. You can use lemon juices to bind to the minerals present in toilet stains. The dissolved minerals lead to a cleaner toilet bowl.

If you prefer, you can also squeeze the acid juices into a spray bottle. This makes it easier to spray the acids directly on the toilet bowl ring. You may also choose to use rubber gloves, but citric acids are free of harsh chemicals.

These are just a few of the cleaning methods. You may try a few of them before finding the one that works best for you.

As a bonus, getting rid of the toilet ring may make your toilet and bathroom smell better.

How to Prevent Toilet Bowl Rings In the First Place

Preventing toilet bowl rings in the first place can help you avoid the frustration of finding the best products to get rid of them. Some toilet bowls are prone to hard water stains which is more dependent on your household water type than your cleaning skills.

Fortunately, there are a few ways you can prevent toilet bowl rings from forming:

Prevent Bacteria From Growing

A toilet bowl ring usually comes from bacteria growth.

This means that if you can prevent the bacteria from growing in the toilet bowl, the ring may also not form. Using antibacterial products is essential in preventing bacteria. Keep a bottle of toilet bowl cleaner next to the toilet to remind you and your family to use it.

Flush Often

It makes sense to flush the toilet after use. However, frequent flushes can also prevent toilet bowl rings from forming from hard water. If hard water sits for too long, it can stain the toilet.

Make sure you used the best flushing toilets so you can avoid this situation and if there are any bathrooms in your home that are rarely used, get in the habit of flushing them regularly. Encourage your family members to do the same.

Keep Alternative Cleaning Products Available

If you run out of toilet bowl cleaners, you will likely skip cleaning the toilets. Fortunately, with these alternative cleaning products, like citric juices and used dryer sheets, you always have some cleaning products around that you can use.

You can keep a box of Magic Eraser products in the bathroom cupboard. During your nightly routine, you are more likely to pull one out and drop it in the toilet.

The Importance of Routine Cleanings

Some toilets in certain households are at an increased risk of hard water stains which leads to heavy stain buildup. Once you notice difficult toilet bowl stains, you are more likely to notice them again.

Developing a routine cleaning schedule where you regularly clean with your method of choice is an important part of preventing these toilet rings.

Additionally, once you get rid of toilet stains and develop a preventative cleaning routine, you may change out your seat for a refreshed look.

Additional Tips on Getting Rid of a Toilet Bowl Ring

Here are a few additional tips that you may find beneficial when getting rid of a toilet bowl ring:

  • Avoid touching bleach directly and always wear rubber gloves
  • Open windows and doors when using products like bleach
  • Never mix bleach with another product, as it can be dangerous.
  • Avoid scrubbing together bleach products with other cleaning materials.
  • Avoid using products that could damage your septic system
  • Flush unused toilets often

One of the first things you may do after noticing a stubborn toilet ring is to search for how to get rid of the toilet ring. Toilet rings make the bathroom look dirty. Fortunately, there are many methods available to make your bathroom look clean again. Whether you use a magic eraser to remove hard water stains or you prefer citrus products, there are a lot of useful methods that work.


FAQs about Removing Your Toilet Rings

Can a toilet ring be caused by mold growth?

Yes, toilet rings can be caused by mold growth in certain cases. Mold is a type of fungi that can grow on a variety of surfaces like your toilet bowl and bathroom tiles, grout and fixtures. Mold can actually thrive in damp, humid environments, making the bathroom a pretty common location for mold growth. In addition to causing unsightly stains, mold can also definitely have negative health effects — especially for people with allergies or respiratory problems. If you suspect that you have mold in your bathroom, it is important to take action to remove it ASAP.

How do I remove toilet rings made from bacteria? 

To remove mold from your toilet or bathroom in general,  you can use a smooth mixture of water and bleach or a commercial mold-removal product. It's important to address the underlying cause of the mold growth though — whether from poor ventilation or excess moisture — to prevent future mold problems from happening again. If you notice a new or current toilet ring accompanied by a musty or earthy smell, it's possible that the cause could be mold growth. In this case, it is important to take steps to remove the mold and prevent its return.

Is a black color toilet ring normal? 

Yes, a black color toilet ring is normal. A black toilet ring is typically caused by the accumulation of hard water minerals in your toilet bowl. Hard water is essentially water that contains a high concentration of minerals (e.g  calcium and magnesium). The formation of hard water stains and rings in your toilet bowl will happen when minerals build up over time.  A black toilet ring may appear to be brown, gray, or black in color and can be difficult to remove. 

What kind of cleaning products and techniques can I use to erase the rings around my toilet? 

There are a number of cleaning products and techniques that can be used to remove the rings around your toilet. For example, one option is to use a commercial toilet bowl cleaner, which can be effective at removing a multiple types of stains —  it is important, however, to read the label and follow the instructions carefully because some of these cleaners can be extremely harsh and not very suitable for your all toilet bowls.  A second option is to use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar; this can be effective at removing hard water stains and eliminating odors. This method can be utilized by pouring 1 cup of vinegar into the toilet and using a toilet brush to scrub the ring; then by adding one cup of baking soda and let the mixture sit for 30 minutes to an hour before you flush the toilet. A pumice stone can also be used to remove hard water stains, although it should be used sparingly as it can be abrasive and may damage the toilet bowl. Bleach can another great option to get rid of hard water stains but it's a harsh chemical and may not be suitable for all toilet bowl types. Alternatively, you can use a toilet brush — scrub the toilet bowl manually — using homemade solutions like lemon juice or borax0.


Are lemon juice and borax good solutions for getting rid of toilet rings? 

Yes lemon juice and borax are good solutions for getting rid of toilet rings. Natural and homemade cleaning solutions can definitely be excellent alternative to commercial cleaning products. Especially if you're looking to save some money and choose a more eco friendly option.  Lemon juice is a natural disinfectant — it's quite effective at removing hard water stains and eliminating odors — which are usually two main issues. To use lemon juice in the removal of your toilet bowl ring, first cut a lemon in half and squeeze the juice all along the inside of the toilet; use a toilet brush to scrub the ring to really work in the lemon juice; let the lemon juice remain in the toilet for a few hours before actually flushing — it needs time to work it's magic.

Borax is a natural mineral. Borax can be used as a cleaning agent and can also be effective at stains in your toilet. To use borax for removing a toilet bowl ring, first you want to mix one cup of borax with one gallon of hot water and mix the solution around a little before pouring the mixture into the toilet bowl. Use a toilet brush to scrub to mix in the borax solution and let the mixture sit for a few hours you decide to flush the toilet. And caution, it's important that when using natural and homemade cleaning solutions, as some may not be as effective as commercial products and may require additional scrubbing or multiple applications — this is normal. 

Ben James

Ben James

Ben is an experienced content writer with a passion for kitchen remodeling. He loves writing about latest kitchen designs & trends so that he can educate our readers make the best decisions possible when it comes to kitchens.

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