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5 of the Easiest Ways to Remove Toilet Bowl Stains

Since you might say that we are in the “toilet business”, we get asked this question a lot.

“What is the best way to remove toilet bowl stains?

housewife hand in green rubber glove hold brush, disinfect and washing toilet bowl in bathroom, cropped shot, housework concept

Stains left in the toilet bowl from hard water and mineral deposits are unsightly and can be difficult to remove with typical toilet bowl cleaner and a brush. So what’s a person to do?

There are products on the market shelves that state they are designed specifically to get rid of stains in your toilet bowl. Some of these may work, but instead of investing in numerous products containing harsh chemicals, there are a few easy, “old fashioned” ways to remove stains in your toilet bowl, likely using inexpensive items you probably already have at home.

**Make sure you wear rubber gloves when you try any of these remedies.

Vinegar & Baking Soda

Vinegar and baking soda are both powerful household cleaners, and useful for many cleaning projects. When used together, they can successfully eliminate mineral stains from your toilet bowl:

  • Pour 1 cup of vinegar into the bowl, then mix it around with a toilet brush.
  • Add 1 cup of baking soda, shaking it over the coated areas.
  • Immediately follow up by adding another cup of vinegar.
  • Wait 10 minutes or so to allow the vinegar and baking soda to interact. A fizzing action will begin.
  • Use a toilet brush to move the baking soda and vinegar solution around the bowl, scrubbing areas with hard stains.
  • Let the solution sit again for a while.
  • If stains still persist, use a stiff brush to scrub away stubborn stains.


Believe it or not, a few liters of cola in your toilet bowl can clean mineral deposits and stubborn stains.

  • Start emptying the bowl of water. Turn off the water off at the shutoff valve behind the toilet, and then flush the toilet.
  • Once the bowl is nearly empty, fill it almost to the top with a few liters of cola. Let the liquid sit so the acidic soda can eat away at the stains. Overnight is recommended.
  • The next day, flush the soda down the toilet and use a stiff brush or pumice stone to scrub away the remaining residue.

Don’t forget to turn on the water to your toilet again once you’re done!

Vinegar and Borax

Borax is another great cleaning product that works on a number of household issues, beyond laundry. When combined with vinegar, it can successfully eliminate hard water stains and mineral deposits. You can use this recipe in your toilet and most other plumbing fixtures, too.

  • Pour ¼ cup of Borax into your toilet bowl.
  • Using a toilet brush, swish it around well, coating the sides and under the rim.
  • Add 1 cup of vinegar.
  • Allow this solution to sit in your toilet bowl for 20 minutes or so.
  • Use a toilet brush to scrub the bowl and any remaining stains.

Borax Paste

If you have extremely stubborn mineral deposit stains, making a Borax paste might do the trick.

  • Shut off the water to your toilet and flush it to drain all the water out of the bowl.

**You need to make sure the hard water stains are completely dry.

  • Using a cup or small bowl, mix ½ cup Borax with enough vinegar to make a paste.
  • While the paste is still freshly prepared, spread it onto the stains in your toilet bowl so they are completely covered.
    Note: the paste will harden quickly, so don’t start this step until you are ready to do it completely.
  • Let the paste sit on the stains for 20 minutes.
  • Once the paste has set for the 20 minutes, use a stiff brush to remove the paste and scrub the stains off.

Don’t forget to turn on the water to your toilet again once you’re done!

Get a Good Scrub Brush

For any of the solutions described above, a good scrub brush will likely work better than a standard toilet brush, especially if you’re dealing with extensive or extremely stubborn staining. The thicker, stronger tines of a scrub brush will get into more cervices, through more of the stain buildup, and be able to create enough friction against the stains to have a good chance of removing them.

Keep It Up

To remove hard water and mineral stains effectively and safely from your toilet, you may have to try more than one of the above solutions, or complete a cycle more than one time. That’s why they’re called stubborn! Be prepared to repeat these cleaning solutions several times to fully remove the stains from your toilet bowl. The stains take time to develop and will usually take a good amount of elbow grease and patience to remove them completely.

Once you have removed the stains, keep up the cleansing routine so stains don’t require as much effort in the future.

Good luck!