How To Remove Limescale From Toilet Below Waterline

Before and After Removing Limescale - How to Remove Limescale From Toilet Below Waterline - Clean and Tidy Living

How Do I Get Rid of Limescale in My Toilet Below the Waterline?

Brown limescale stains in the toilet aren’t very nice to look at and can be a source of embarrassment when friends and family are visiting. 

It seems like no matter how often, or vigorously, you clean the toilet, the stains never seem to budge. 

The fact of the matter is, without tackling a scaly toilet once and for all, no quantities of bleach or toilet cleaner will ever shift it. 

In fact, bleach actually reacts with limescale and causes it to solidify, making it even more difficult to remove. 

Now those impossible to remove stains are making more sense, right? 

Luckily, with the right products and copious amounts of elbow grease, you can get a toilet looking brand new and gleaming white once again. 

In this article, we’ll explain our top methods for how to remove limescale from the toilet below the waterline, including how to remove limescale naturally. 

So if you are sick of looking into a limescale encrusted toilet and want to be proud of your throne, then you’re in the right place. 

In this post we’ll cover:

  • How To Remove Limescale From Toilet Below Waterline
  • How to Drain a Toilet Bowl 
  • Getting Rid of Limescale from Hard Water
  • How To Remove Limescale From Toilet Below Waterline with Limescale Remover
  • How To Use Toilet Limescale Remover Tablets
  • Our No.1 Product for Removing Limescale
  • How to Remove Calcium Deposits from Toilet Bowls With White Vinegar

How To Remove Limescale From The Toilet

It’s worth noting that cleaning the toilet bowl without removing the water generally won’t be as effective. 

(One exception to this is if you’re using Toilet Limescale Remover Tablets, which do require water to be left in the bowl.)

Pouring a descaling solution into a full toilet bowl will simply dilute it, and make whatever product you’re using very weak.

To give yourself the best chance at removing limescale from below the waterline, remove as much water as possible before starting. 

How to Drain Toilet Bowl 

We recommend following these instructions by WikiHow for How to Drain a Toilet, but essentially you need to:

  1. Turn the water supply to the toilet off and then flush it to remove the remaining water. 
  1. Once the majority of the water has gone, scoop out any large amounts of water with a small cup, and then soak up the rest with a sponge or an old towel. 

Once your toilet is drained, simply pour in your descaling liquid of choice (more on this later), leave it in the bowl as long as possible and then go to town with a scrubbing tool. 

Empty and Clean Loo - How to Remove Limescale From Toilet Below Waterline - Clean and Tidy Living

That’s the general gist of removing limescale in the toilet basin, but we explain this step-by-step for different products, and in further detail below. 

It’s worth noting that if the stains inside the toilet are more of an orangey colour than brown, they may be rust stains rather than limescale build-up.

For advice on rust stains in the toilet, take a look at our post How To Clean A Very Stained Toilet Bowl.

How to Get Rid of Bad Limescale in Toilet

If nothing seems to be working, try switching up the products you’re using and testing stronger products. 

If they still don’t seem to have much effect on the loo staining, you can try physically removing the scale with a Pumice Cleaning Stone or a Wet and Dry Sanding Sponge.

For best results, we recommend soaking the scale for a few hours or overnight, and then using the pumice or sanding sponges. 

We particularly like buying multi-pack of sanding sponges, because you can get Coarse Medium Fine and Superfine sand grains in one pack to help buff away the calcium deposits. 

These tools will let you scratch and chip away at the limescale, rather than attempting to dissolve it with descaler or white vinegar and flush it away. 

When using these tougher methods, test them out on a hidden part of the toilet first (such as under the rim) to make sure it won’t cause scratching and damage to the porcelain. 

Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer for how to remove thick limescale from inside the toilet.

Hard Water Limescale

Limescale’s composition will vary depending on where you are in the country and the type of water in that area. 

Dirty Toilet - How to Remove Limescale From Toilet Below Waterline - Clean and Tidy Living

We all know that hard water is the main culprit of causing limescale

But it’s lesser-known that the mineral deposits within the hard water vary massively depending on location. 

It usually depends on the minerals present in the rocks nearby! 

So because the composition of hard water varies so much, this can affect the effectiveness of certain descalers, due to the chemical reaction that needs to occur. 

Some limescale removers will react better with certain minerals than others, and others won’t be able to make a dent. 

This means that to remove thick limescale, it’s probably going to be a case of trying numerous different methods until you find one that works for you. 

So if you find a limescale remover that works in your area at getting rid of bad limescale, then stick to it and shout it from the rooftops!

Your neighbours will probably appreciate the tip. 

How To Remove Limescale From Toilet Below Waterline with a Limescale Remover 

To clean limescale from a toilet bowl with a descaling product, remove the water first for best results. 

Once the toilet bowl is empty, start the process below. 

If you don’t want to empty the toilet bowl, we recommend using Harpic Limescale Remover Tablets. (You can find instructions on how to use these tablets further in this post.)

You will need:


  1. Pour your descaler into the empty toilet bowl until all traces of limescale are submerged. 
  1. Optional under-rim descaling: Wearing rubber gloves, soak toilet paper in descaling liquid and press onto areas where limescale is present. 
  1. Follow manufacturers instructions and leave the descaling liquid in the toilet bowl for the maximum amount of time suggested, to avoid having to repeat the process.  
  1. Before flushing, use a stiff-bristled scrubbing brush or toilet brush to scrub away any remaining limescale. If the water becomes difficult to see what you’re doing, scrub thoroughly to ensure as much limescale is removed before flushing away the descaler. 
  1. Once you’ve removed as much scale as possible, flush away the descaling liquid and toilet paper if used. 
  1. Repeat the process until all traces of limescale have been removed. 

What is the Best Limescale Remover 

You can buy purpose-formulated toilet descalers, but we prefer to use a multi-purpose limescale remover that can be used neat or diluted for use all around the home. 

But if you’re looking specifically for the best toilet descaler, we recommend the HG Super Powerful Toilet Cleaner.

If you happen to love reading about limescale removers (like us) then we have a whole post on this which you can find here – What Is The Best Limescale Remover UK

But since we’re here to talk about toilets, we’ll just focus on our number one for descaling the bog. 



This descaler isn’t specially designed for toilets but is still, in our opinion. the best limescale remover for toilets. 

The reason being, it uses a super-duper concentrated formula, as opposed to a watered-down spray, to react with the calcium deposits causing it to dissolve, and easily wipe away. 

One reviewer left a lovely anecdote about their toilet scale removing experience:

“I cleared the water down at the bottom of the toilet completely then poured in quite a lot of this product and then used some on a sponge to clean all other areas within the bowl.

Within 45 minutes all of the scale had gone and the loo was the cleanest we had seen it since we moved in.”

To find out more about the HG Professional Limescale Remover and it’s amazing powers, click here.

For more talk on toilet descaling and powerful cleaning products, head to our Clean and Tidy Living post Which Is The Strongest Toilet Cleaner In The UK? 

How To Use Toilet Limescale Remover Tablets

Our favourite tablets for removing mineral build-up inside toilet bowls are these Harpic Limescale Remover Tablets.

Harpic power plus active tablets to remove limescale

They claim to remove limescale and clean toilets without the need to scrub. 

To use this Harpic limescale remover, simply drop the tablet into the toilet water and leave overnight or for several hours and it really will shift the stains and calcium build-up.

For serious staining, use two tablets and scrub with a brush the next day. 

Since there’s no need to drain the toilet bowl before using them, they’re a much easier method of removing limescale than a descaler liquid or white vinegar. 

We think they can be a great, hassle-free way of deep cleaning a toilet. 

They can also be used to prevent limescale from building up. 

To prevent limescale build-up in the toilet bowl, cut the tablets in half and use them every week or every other week, depending on the severity of the limescale.

If you love these toilet limescale remover tablets as much as us, then you can actually save some money by buying in bulk on Amazon here: Harpic Power Plus Toilet Cleaning Tablets (4 cases of 8)

How to Remove Calcium Deposits from Toilet Bowls With White Vinegar

Removing limescale from the toilet naturally involves slightly more determination and will than with a commercial descaling product. 

It’s not impossible, but it can be much more difficult to cut through thick limescale with natural products than with the branded stuff. 

However, if you’re wondering how to clean calcium buildup in the toilet bowl with white vinegar, then you’re in the right place. 

Click here to find out Where To Buy White Vinegar For Cleaning In The UK

As seen in the video, it can take a couple of applications to fully remove limescale with white vinegar. 

One thing to note is that the guy is using 6% acidity white vinegar, whereas the standard acidity level in the UK for vinegar is about 5%.

So if you can get your hands on the stronger stuff you’ll have even better results. 

To clean a toilet bowl with white vinegar first empty out the bowl using the tips at the beginning of this article. 

You will then need:

Clean Toilet After Removing Limescale - How to Remove Limescale From Toilet Below Waterline - Clean and Tidy Living

How to Clean Limescale in the Loo with Vinegar: 

  1. After the basin bowl is empty and mostly dry, pour in neat white vinegar until all limescale and staining is completely submerged. 

Optional How to Remove Limescale from Toilet Rim:

  1. If there is also limescale underneath the toilet rim, soak paper towels or toilet paper in neat white vinegar and stick underneath the rim in direct contact with the limescale. 
  1. Leave the vinegar (and paper towels if used) overnight.
  1. The next day, use a stiff-bristled scrubbing brush to remove the loosened limescale. The water will quickly become opaque and you won’t be able to see what you’re doing, so it’s worth scrubbing for longer than you think is necessary to ensure you’ve removed as much limescale and staining as possible. 
  1. Flush the toilet and evaluate the situation! If you used toilet paper to soak underneath the rim, then this can be flushed. If you used any paper towel then remove this before flushing to prevent blockages. 
  1. Any leftover limescale may be removable with some extra scrubbing, but if it’s persistent then repeat the process above. 

Since white vinegar is a natural product, it’s not as strong as a descaler. 

We think it works better for preventing limescale build-up or removing less severe cases of limescale. 

How to remove limescale from a toilet

Therefore, we recommend doing a vinegar treatment at the first signs of limescale and staining, to prevent having to resort to chemical cleaners in the long run. 

How To Remove Limescale From Toilet Below Waterline – Key Takeaways

Removing limescale is a strenuous but very satisfying household task. 

Although removing the toilet water can be a tricky job, the actual process of removing limescale is fairly easy. 

Most products simply require pouring liquid into an empty toilet and leaving to soak for a few hours. 

After that, simply scrub away the calcium deposits and the toilet looks good as new. 

We have to say that even though soaking a toilet and scrubbing is hardly any effort at all, we still favour the powerful descaling tablets. 

So we suppose our answer to the question How to Remove Limescale from Toilet Below Waterline is with a powerful descaling tablet, such as Harpic’s Limescale Remover Tablets.

Since these tablets are in powder form, they’re not already diluted like descaling liquids. 

That means that in order for them to work, they actually need water! Hooray!

Simply popping in a tablet and leaving it to do its thing is much less faff and hassle. 

We hope this post has been helpful and that our advice will get your toilet looking brand new once again. 

For more cleaning tips and cleaning product reviews, take a look at some of our similar Clean and Tidy Living posts listed below. 

Related Toilet and Bathroom Cleaning Articles: 

How To Remove Limescale From A Toilet Bowl

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