How to Clean a Very Stained Toilet Bowl

Cleaning a toilet with pink gloves on - How to clean a very stained toilet bowl

Cleaning a Badly stained Toilet Bowl

Even with regular cleaning, toilets can build up layers of limescale, human-waste and staining. Toilet stains usually happen in areas that are impossible to reach, and therefore clean. 

It can be frustrating and even embarrassing when you know your toilet is clean but the stains just don’t seem to shift no matter what you do. 

These hard-wearing stains can even affect how much of your rental deposit you get back if landlords deem it to be unclean. 

But don’t worry, we’ve collected all the best tried and tested methods to shift those unsightly marks. 

This guide will give you instructions and hacks for how to clean a very stained toilet bowl

In this post, we’ll cover how to remove and prevent toilet stains from limescale and rust.


Brown Toilet Stains from Limescale

What is the brown stain in the bottom of the toilet bowl?

Rust has a more orangey colour than dried on limescale, so a brown stain is likely to be lime buildup. 

Once hardened, it can seem impossible to scrape off and can keep getting worse despite regular cleaning.

To dissolve the lime, a combination of acid and elbow grease works best. 

How to get rid and Clean brown stains in a toilet bowl

Depending on how hardened the limescale mark is, you might need to use a few methods together to get rid of the entire stain. 

Cleaning a toilet with yellow gloves on - How to clean a very stained toilet bowl

The best combination is to use something acidic, with a non-metal scrubbing tool. Metal will erode the porcelain and leave scratch marks in the toilet so its best to avoid using a metal scourer. 

Pumice stone works really well for toilet cleaning.

How to clean a toilet bowl with a pumice stone

The other methods work great too but if we could only recommend one method, a pumice stone would definitely be the top choice. 

Amazon has a great Pumice Toilet Cleaning Tool with tons of recommendations and videos of people’s success.

To use a pumice stick for cleaning toilets you simply scrub away at any marks until they’re no longer visible. 

If the pumice stone is having little effect, try additional products like Bar Keepers Friend or leaving pure white vinegar in the toilet overnight. 

How to clean toilet bowl stains with coke

  1. Empty your toilet bowl by flushing with the water turned off, or using a large sponge to soak and squeeze out all the water. 
  2. Fill the toilet with coke and leave to sit overnight. 
  3. If you can, scrub with the coke still in the toilet bowl, flush and then scrub again until all the stain has lifted. 

The acidity of the coca-cola should soften the hardened limescale and make it easier to scrub off. 

How to clean toilet bowl stains with baking soda

Using baking soda and vinegar at a ratio of 3:1, make a paste and scrub an empty toilet bowl using a pumice stone or non-metal scourer. 

(You can empty a toilet by flushing with the water off, or using a sponge to drain out the water.)

Leaving the paste on for longer will soften the limescale stain and make it easier with a Pumice Toilet Cleaning Tool.

Pumice Toilet Cleaning Tool

How to prevent brown stains in a toilet bowl

  • Regularly cleaning the toilet can help stop lime from building up and causing a difficult problem down the line. 
  • Avoiding pure bleach. Bleach can react with limescale and cause it to harden even more, making removing the stains trickier.
  • If the toilet is constantly running this can also cause limescale build-up under the toilet seat, so watch out for leaky water droplets. 
  • Investing in a water softener to go in the cistern can stop water hardness at its source and therefore prevent lime buildup.
brown staining in loo - How to clean a very stained toilet bowl

Cleaning Brown Toilet Stains from Rust

What causes rust in a toilet bowl?

Orangey rust stains are caused by metals in water, usually iron. When air hits these metal particles in the water they oxidise and turn the reddy-browny colour in toilets. 

Over time these stains can build up and prove tricky to remove. 

How to remove rust stains from a toilet bowl

A key point when removing rust from toilet bowls is to avoid the bleach. Despite its tough cleaning capabilities bleach can actually cause stains to harden. 

Avoid metal scrubbers too as these can scratch the porcelain toilet bowl and cause permanent marks.

Rust can be removed with various cleaning products including:

How to remove rust stains from toilet bowl naturally

If you don’t like the idea of hard-duty chemicals sitting in your bathroom overnight, then try these more natural methods of removing rust from toilets. 

These more natural methods might require a bit more scrubbing effort but skip out on the potential inhalation of nasty chemicals.

How to prevent rust stains in the toilet bowl

  • Look out for metal in and around a toilet before buying. Newer models are less likely to have metal close to the water. 
  • Cleaning regularly will stop some of the rust building up and make it easier to tackle.
  • Look for water softeners and rust-prevention specifically for toilets that will stop the problem at its source. 
  • Upgrade your plumbing system to a newer set of pipes that are less likely to add iron to your water system. 

Cleaning products mentioned in this article:

Key thoughts and ideas on how to clean a very stained toilet bowl

Almost all of the most popular methods for removing hard stains in a toilet bowl include some form of acid and a good scrubbing tool that won’t leave scratches in the porcelain. 

We recommend trying the more natural methods, like the pumice stick, first as these are often cheaper and if they work there’s no need to invest in potentially toxic chemicals.

Sometimes these natural methods won’t have an effect and then it’s worth buying some heavy-duty cleaning products to cut through the lime or rust. 

We hope this article has been helpful and will help shift those brown stains!

Related Cleaning Articles:

How to Clean a Very Dirty Toilet Bowl

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