How to Clean the Worst Hard Water Stains From Your Toilet

After a long day of traveling, you finally get home after some time away, and make a beeline for the bathroom, and a familiar toilet. Except instead of the gleaming white toilet bowl you left behind, you find one full of brown lines and a ring. This is (probably) because you live in the 85% of the United States that has hard water.

If you were only away for a short period of time, your usual cleaner and a quick swirl of your toilet brush should take care of any new stains. But stains that have been there for several weeks (or months, or years) will be far more stubborn. Here’s how to rid your toilet bowl of its worst hard water stains. Toilets Modern

How to Clean the Worst Hard Water Stains From Your Toilet

Hard water contains dissolved minerals like calcium, magnesium, and iron. When hard water dries on surfaces like chrome sink faucets, it often leaves behind chalky, white stains (which are technically mineral deposits).

That residue can end up in the dry parts of your toilet bowl, too, but if your toilet is white, you probably don’t notice it. It’s much harder to ignore brown or rust-colored rings or stains, which are typically the result of having iron or manganese compounds in your water.

Start with vinegar and baking soda , then work your way up to the other methods:

This is best to try when you plan to be home all or most of the day:

Do not attempt to use citric acid to clean your toilet if your home has a septic system. Otherwise, here’s what to do:

While using a pumice stone or stick will likely remove the worst of your toilet bowl hard water stains, it should be kept as a last resort, rather than your go-to method. That’s because pumice can scratch porcelain toilets, and permanently damage those made of marble, laminate, plastic, or fiberglass—so don’t even attempt this method if you have any of those.

How to Clean the Worst Hard Water Stains From Your Toilet

Wholesale Composting Toilet If you have a porcelain toilet and are out of other options, make sure that both the pumice stone and the stained surface are completely wet. Then, gently scrub the stains or rings with the wet stone until they are gone. Rinse it all away with a final flush.