How to Clean a Toilet Bowl Ring

Photo Courtesy: Natali_Mis/iStock

Keeping a bathroom clean can be a difficult job, especially if you have multiple people using it regularly. One trouble area in the bathroom is cleaning the toilet. Rings and stains can form over time around the toilet bowl, making things look dirty and unkempt. Unfortunately, if you let the stains sit too long, they can be even harder to remove. 

Rings and stains can build up in your toilet bowl for several reasons. However, there are some cleaning tips to get rid of them. Let’s take a look at why toilet bowl rings can form, how to clean them and how you can prevent stains in the first place.

What Can Cause Rings or Stains Around Your Toilet? 

There are many reasons why stubborn toilet stains occur. When you see yellow stains in your toilet, this is likely a buildup of a mineral like calcium and iron caused by hard water. Over time, as the stains accumulate, they can become visible as a ring around the toilet. Mineral buildup can also happen in your pipes, which can cause your toilet to back up. Stains from a mineral buildup can be hard to get rid of if left for a while.

Fungus and bacteria can easily reproduce in moist areas like bathrooms. Standing water in the toilet bowl is a paradise for them to grow. That’s another potential cause of stains around your toilet. Rust can also cause stains in your toilet from pipe corrosion. This can cause the stain to appear dark brown or red. However, rust stains can also form due to iron in the water. 

Natural Options to Remove a Toilet Bowl Ring

If you prefer a more natural way of removing a ring around the toilet bowl, there are ways that you can go about it. You can clean toilet bowl stains with products you may already have in your house. One powerful way is to combine two household cleaners, vinegar, and baking soda, to get rid of stubborn stains. All you have to do is pour a cup of vinegar into your toilet bowl, followed up by a cup of baking soda and another cup of vinegar immediately afterward. Wait 10 minutes to allow the mixture to bubble, and then use a toilet brush to work the solution into the bowl, focusing on areas with tough stains. 

Another interesting way to get rid of stains in your toilet bowl is to use a pumice stone. Stones can be used like sandpaper you rub against the stains in your toilet. Pumice is still softer than the porcelain toilet and can remove stains without damaging the toilet. All you have to do is wet a pumice stone and lightly scrub away at the stains. The stone itself will likely grind down a bit, but segments of the pumice stone can easily flush away without damaging the sewer or septic system. 

Borax is another multipurpose household cleaning product that can fight hard water stains in the toilet. All you have to do is sprinkle a quarter-cup of the natural product into the toilet bowl and swish it around with a toilet brush. Add one cup of vinegar and let it sit in the bowl for about 20 minutes. You can then scrub the bowl with a toilet brush to remove stains. 

Can You Prevent Toilet Stains?

Though these tips can help you clean stains in your toilet, it’s better to try to prevent them from happening in the first place. It just takes some routine care. While experts suggest applying a small amount of cleaning product whenever you use the bathroom, that can be too much to remember. Using a cleaning agent or bleach at least once a week can kill organisms before they build up. Bleach can stay in the toilet for several hours as well, even after repeat flushes. 

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Another method of prevention is using an automatic toilet bowl cleaner. These typically come in tablets or cartridges that you can set inside your toilet. This type of product automatically cleans your toilet with every flush and helps prevent stains in the first place. Another way to prevent stains is by pouring a cup of white vinegar into your toilet once a month. This can help hard water stains from forming, though it will not work against iron in well water or against rust. 

One tip that can also help prevent stains is cleaning the toilet tank twice a year. If your toilet tank is dirty, that can cause stains in the bowl. To clean the tank, shut off the water valve and flush the tank to empty it completely. From there, fill the tank with vinegar and let it sit for 12 hours. Then flush the vinegar and scrub away the dirt and grime with a toilet brush.