How to Remove Stubborn Brown Stains from Toilet Bowl

A stained toilet bowl is perhaps the most disgusting thing in the world. You certainly don’t want your guests to use a stained toilet, and if you’re concerned about hygiene, you may not feel comfortable using it yourself. Fortunately, there are multiple simple tips on how to remove stubborn brown stains from toilet bowl without breaking your back. After performing your routine cleaning of the toilet bowl and seat, you can use the right products and methods to clear all traces of stains.

What Causes Brown Stains in Toilet Bowl?

First, find out why this problem of brown stains is happening. Those brown toilet bowl stains aren’t caused by some evil deity trying to cause you to suffer. They occur because hard water contains a lot of calcium, magnesium, iron, and manganese.

There are two ways iron and manganese particles can enter your toilet water: through the ground or the pipes in your home:

  • Groundwater naturally collects minerals like iron and manganese as it flows through the earth.
  • Old iron pipes carry minerals passed through the water as it flows from the source to your house.

These minerals harden the water in your home, which easily erodes the shiny layer of porcelain, resulting in brown stains. If people accuse you of having unspeakable stains in your toilet bowl, explain to them that these brown stains are actually rust stains from iron and manganese.

Cleaning these brown stains from your toilet is difficult and time-consuming. However, water softeners can help prevent hard water from causing brown stains in your toilet through a process that changes ions in your water — called ion exchange.

Video Courtesy of Cleaning How To

How to Remove Stubborn Brown Stains from Toilet Bowl Through Regular Cleaning

Before you even think of removing toilet stains, it’s important to identify the type of stain and its source. The most common sources of toilet stains include mold, mildew, and hard water. We will cover these in more detail in the following sections to help you identify the characteristics of these stains.

To begin with, you need to thoroughly clean your toilet to clear regular dirt and any light stains before they develop into permanent eyesores. Cleaning a toilet is one of the jobs in a home that many people find disgusting, but it doesn’t have to be that way. It will only take you 10 minutes or less if you learn a few little tricks.

The main reason to regularly clean your toilet is to clear dirt and germs that often build up quickly in any toilet, however frequent you flash it. Cleaning your bowl is one thing, but cleaning your toilet brush is another. Don’t forget to thoroughly clean and rinse your toilet brush after every toilet cleaning exercise. A dirty scrubbing brush and plunger will only make the condition of your bathroom worse. Spray the brush and plunger with a disinfectant and leave them to sit for about 10 minutes and rinse with hot water. Repeat the process if necessary.

To clean your toilet, you’ll need a toilet brush, toilet plunger (if there’s a blockage), a commercial toilet cleaner or baking soda and vinegar (if you prefer doing it the natural way), and rubber gloves. Here are a few tips on how to clean your toilet:

Step 1 – Prepare the Toilet and Manage Stains

First, you need to remove water from the toilet bowl to achieve excellent results.

To do this, you can simply use a toilet plunger or brush to push the water down and make the bowl empty.

Wear your rubber gloves and flip up the toilet seat. Next, apply your toilet cleaner around the rim and on the sides of the toilet bowl. Generally, a bleach-based cleaner such as Domestos Thick Bleach works great at tackling germs and dirt. However, if your toilet bowl is engulfed in limescale stains, you should choose a cleaning solution with limescale-fighting abilities. Be sure to follow the user instructions on the product label.

After applying the cleaner, scrub the toilet bowl with a toilet brush, making sure the cleaner reaches every nook and cranny of your toilet, including the u-bend. Leave the toilet cleaner to settle and get to work for about 30 minutes. As you wait, you can put your feet up and get a few sips of your favorite beverage or clean other areas of your bathroom, such as vanities, bathtubs, and showerheads.

Step 2 – Give Your Toilet a Final Scrub and Rinse

After allowing the cleaning solution to sit for 30 minutes, you can give your toilet one more scrub to loosen any stubborn stain. Flash the toilet and stand back to admire a sparkling clean toilet.

How to Clean a Badly Stained Toilet using Baking Soda & Vinegar

Baking soda is a popular natural cleaning agent that eliminates a wide range of stains, and when mixed with vinegar, it produces a carbonic acid that works perfectly in wearing away stains from toilet bowls.

To get rid of stains using baking soda and vinegar, follow the following steps:

  • Pour one cup of vinegar (about 240ml) into your toilet bowl. Swish the solution around using a toilet brush and leave it to sit for about a minute.
  • Add approximately one cup of baking soda plus another one to two cups of vinegar. Let the solution fizz and create a bubbly concoction.
  • Next, leave the solution to sit for about five minutes. Scrub the toilet bowl, making sure the solution touches all stains.
  • The final step is to flush the toilet and observe if the stain is gone.

If the stain still remains even after trying this natural method, repeat the method, or try an alternative option of artificial bleach-based solutions to achieve a sparkling clean toilet.

Removing toilet stains using baking soda & vinegar

How to Remove Hard Water Stains in Toilets

Hard water stains often appear as rings around the inner toilet bowl. They may be white, brown, pink, or red. For hard water stains, prepare a paste of vinegar and borax. Apply the paste in the dirty bowl and scrub with your toilet brush. Keep the solution for a little while and flash it to have a sparkling clean bowl.

Pumice stones are equally excellent at scrubbing away stains from hard water. Use a pumice stone you may probably already have at home or buy a “pumice toilet bowl stain remover” (a special pumice stone on a stick made for this purpose). Soak the pumice stone in water for about 10-15 minutes and then use it to scrub away the stains.

Another popular method for removing hard water stains is the use of lemon Kool-aid. Just sprinkle a single pack of lemon Kool-aid in your toilet bowl, let it sit for one hour, and scrub away stains using a toilet brush.

Dryer sheets are also great products for eliminating hard water stains. In fact, used dryer sheets often work even better than brand new ones! Simply wear a pair of rubber gloves and then use an ordinary dryer sheet (whether used or unused) to scour away stains.

How to Remove Mold Stains in Toilets

Various types of mold thrive in moist environments, and the bathroom is no exception. Mold stains will be slightly fuzzy and can be yellow, blue, green, gray, white, or black. For mold stains, you have to apply a mold removal solution. You can purchase it from your local store or choose some great products from online stores. One product we often recommend is the RMR-86 Instant Mold & Mildew Stain Remover.

You can also use white vinegar to remove unsightly mold in your toilet. Add half a cup (118 ml) of white vinegar to the toilet bowl or spray the solution directly onto the mold stains. Let it sit for a while and scrub the mold away with a toilet brush.

A less commonly used but still a very effective product for removing mold stains is tea tree essential oil. Just add 10 drops of tea tree essential oil to the toilet bowl or spray a tea tree oil solution (a mixture of about 5-10 drops of oil in a bottle of water) directly onto the moldy spots. Finish off by scrubbing with a toilet brush and flushing the toilet.

How to Remove Mildew Stains in Toilets

Mildew stains can also occur anywhere on your toilet, but they commonly appear near the top of the toilet bowl or around the toilet tank. Mildew stains usually start out white, but may gradually turn yellow or brown over time. For mildew, you can apply mildew stain removers along with distilled white vinegar. After applying the solution and allowing to settle, scrub until all the streaks and waterlines are clear. You can also use a mixture of 1 percent bleach and 10 percent water to eliminate mildew stains.

In order to discourage mildew from growing back, make sure there is adequate air circulation in your bathroom. Keep windows open whenever you can or invest in an efficient bathroom exhaust fan to use during showers.

Can Coke Clean My Toilet?

Yes, you can clean your toilet with coke! It’s always a wise idea to share a glass of Coca-Cola beverage with your toilet bowl occasionally. Believe it or not, it has been proven to be an excellent stain remover! You can either pour cola directly onto the stain or cover the inside of the toilet bowl by putting cola in a spray bottle and spraying a light coat of Coca-Cola on it.

Safety Precautions when cleaning a Toilet

Always wear hand gloves while cleaning a toilet. Many cleaning products are made with harmful chemicals that could easily cause adverse reactions on your hands and skin. If possible, stick with homemade cleaning solutions. Additionally, keep your bathroom floor dry at all times to prevent slips. After you’re done cleaning the toilet, clean your bathroom floor and other accessories and allow it to dry. A neat and clean bathroom not only looks welcoming but also helps you prevent a myriad of diseases emanating from germs.

To protect your toilet from harmful effects of some of these solutions, flush your toilet at least three times after every wash. If left to sit for too long, most cleaning and stain removal solutions can potentially damage the inner workings of your toilet. Be sure to flush out these products from your toilet system as soon as you’re done cleaning.

Wrap Up

Try to clean your toilet at least once every week or daily depending on the number of users. This will help pick up excess water and keep the bowl clean. Once any stains appear, ascertain its cause and apply any of the above methods to remove it as soon as possible. Ultimately, the task of cleaning a toilet may not be one of your favorites, but it is worth the effort. You will enjoy a sparkling toilet and a healthy home!

Smith Edwards

Smith Edwards is a licensed plumber and writer with over a decade of hands-on construction and home improvement experience and has been providing home improvement advice for over 12 years.

Recent Posts