Hard Water Stains in Toilet? – Everything You Wanted to Know

If your toilet does not look as shiny and new as it was when you bought it, it is time to get rid of hard water stains in the toilet. Some stains are so awful you might feel embarrassed to let your guests use the bathroom. They are yellow and rusty and look like you have never even tried to clean them, no matter whether you clean the toilet twice a day.

How do I get rid of hard water stains in my toilet?
The best way to remove hard water stains from your toilet is to pour acidic cleaners down the toilet bowl. The most reliable and affordable product to use is white vinegar. Each month, pour a cup of white vinegar into the toilet tank. Leave it for 30 minutes before flushing it.

You have to learn how to remove hard water stains from the toilet before it is too late, and you need to buy a new one. Don’t worry, with these tips, you will get rid of them without spending a fortune.

Cleaning Your Toilet from Hard Water Stains: Detailed Guide

I have recently noticed that not many people know what these stains are and how they appear in a toilet. This is why I believe it is important to start from the very beginning. After you understand their nature, it will be easier to learn how to clean hard water stains in a toilet.

What is a hard water stain?

This stain has nothing to do with your cleaning abilities, so don’t feel guilty when you see it. Keep in mind that a hard water ring in a toilet is the product of mineral buildup and deposits.

If the water in your pipes contains a high level of minerals, you may quickly notice the buildup of white and chalky residue not only around the bowl but in the water nozzles and faucets as well. The more you use the flush, the quicker these stains appear.

If you want to find out whether you have hard water, check out the level of magnesium and calcium in the water. Usually, the former house owners and realtors warn about water hardness in advance.

In such areas, many stores offer toilet cleaners with chemicals that help you to get rid of hard water stains. If you decide to ignore the buildup which can be hardly seen at first, prepare to see the rust and huge stains in the future.

Home remedies for cleaning toilet stains

There are numerous home remedies for cleaning toilets you can use without overpaying for them. Some of these products actually work; others not so much. I put on the list only those that I’ve tried myself. Check them out.

Vinegar and baking soda

Vinegar and baking soda

These components are easy to find in almost every grocery store. You may already have them in your kitchen. You will not spend much making this remedy:

  • 1 cup of vinegar must be poured into the bowl. Use the toilet brush to apply the vinegar evenly. Leave it there for 1 minute;
  • 1 cup of baking soda must be applied to the bowl. Add 2 more cups of vinegar to receive the fizzing. Leave it there for at least 10 minutes;
  • Clean the bowl with a toilet brush. Don’t flush the toilet yet;
  • Vinegar and soda mix must stay there for at least 30 more minutes. You may use the brush a couple more times until the stain is gone. After that, flush the toilet.

Vinegar and Borax

Vinegar and Borax

Borax is a cheap and helpful cleaning product. Some people may find it old-school. Yet, it helps you to remove a hard water scale from the toilet. Follow the next steps:

  • Pour the ¼ cup of Borax around the toilet bowl. Use the brush to spread the remedy evenly;
  • 1 cup of vinegar. Add it to the bowl. Leave for 20 minutes there;
  • Use the toilet brush. Scrub the bowl until the stain is removed. Flush the toilet.

Borax paste

If you have a stain that can’t be so easily removed, you may need a Borax paste. Before you do anything, make sure to wear gloves. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use it:

  • Shut off the water from the toilet. After that, flush it and drain the bowl. Stains must not be covered with water;
  • Mix ½ cup of Borax and vinegar to make a thick paste;
  • Spread this paste on the stain. Make sure it is completely covered. Don’t add vinegar to the paste in advance, since Borax hardens quickly;
  • Wait for 20 minutes;
  • Remove this paste by using the nylon toilet brush with stiff bristles. Now you can flush the toilet.


If you believe that you can act carefully enough and not scratch the surface of the bowl, you can try to scrub hard water stains with 0000-grade steel wool. You don’t need any other remedies. Steel wool is easy to clean with water, and you may use it for your other household needs.

How to prevent hard water stains in toilet

No matter which option you choose, you have to clean the toilet at least every week. If you know that you have harsh water that contains chemicals, you have to use specific cleaning tools. Many of them simply soften the water inside the toilet.

Regular cleaning sessions with vinegar and Borax get rid of the hard water stains. Add ¼ cup of Borax to prevent hard water stains in the toilet. To wash the remedy, use warm water.

If nothing helps, and you have already changed several toilet bowls, think about the water filtration system, which may soften the water as well.

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Popular Questions About Hard Water Stains in Toilet

Cleaning the toilet bowl with powder

If you did not find the information you were looking for, checking this section might be helpful. I have gathered the most frequently asked questions on the Internet here. Perhaps, my answers will help you to remove limescale from the toilet and forget about the problem.

What causes hard water stains in the toilet?

Almost all water types contain minerals and sediments inside, like magnesium and calcium. However, water in some regions contains a bigger amount of them. These minerals build up on the surface of the bowl each time you are flushing or the water is leaking.

After some time, you will see the white stains, like a belt. Later, the white color will be changed to yellow and rusty. The more minerals the water contains, the harder the stain removal is.

Is limescale in my toilet because of hard water?

Usually, it is. Limescale can be seen in areas with hard water. It is calcium that is flushed into the bowl and gets attached to the surface. You may also see it on kettles, faucets, and showerheads.

This problem occurs not because of the lack of cleaning, but sometimes on the contrary, since every time you use the water, the limescale is getting bigger.

Can I remove brown stains from the toilet bowl with home remedies?

The first thing you can do is try to deal with this problem using home remedies. There are a lot of ways to clean hard water stains. I have mentioned a couple of them too. I have tried these recipes myself, and I believe they may help you.

Perfect Remedy Against Hard Water Stains

I hope you will find your own perfect option to remove these nasty stains. Use my guide and the recipes I’ve shared to get a working solution. Before you start doing anything, make sure that the stains are from the hard water.

They need to have specific colors and can be cleaned with vinegar and borax. If you have more recipes to add to my list, please share them in the comments below.

You can also tell me whether you find my guide helpful or not. Which remedy have you already tried? Was it helpful? Which one do you recommend to others?

Gerald Carpenter

My name is Gerald Carpenter and I am a professional plumber in the third generation. My father was a plumber, my grandfather was a plumber. I wish I had records on my other ancestors.

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