How To Remove Hard Water Stains From A Toilet

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If you are house proud and love to share your home with guests, then you are probably pretty devastated about those hard water stains in your toilet. No matter how much toilet cleaner you try and use, there is no getting rid of those unsightly stains! So what CAN you do to erase them? We think we might be able to help you learn how to remove hard water stains from a toilet. 

We have some great hints and tips here on how to remove hard water stains from a toilet and make your bowl glisten. With a variety of natural and chemical options, we will help you clean your bowl and get rid of those hard water stains out of your toilet bowl for good. 

Table of Contents

What Are Those Stains in My Toilet?

OK, so we are all aware of what THOSE stains are in our toilets, but what are the browny grey tide mark style stains that lurk just beneath the waterline? Whether you have tried all the cleaners in your cupboard or have yet to tackle them, it’s a bright idea to understand what they are first. You see, not everyone has great water quality. Point of fact, in many areas of the US, the water is so hard that it needs to be filtered in order for it to be drinkable. 

These stains that you are struggling to get rid of in your toilet are hard water stains. They are where the calcium and limescale cling to the edge of your toilet and creates a hard, scaly stain. The stain can’t be removed by simply bleaching or scrubbing it away; instead, you need to get creative! 

How Do I Get Rid of Hard Water Stains?

Because these stains have built up over the years, the limescale and calcium deposits are not easily removed. It might be tempting to use bleach, but this will only whiten your stains rather than removing them altogether. So, if you want to get rid of these hard water stains, you are going to need a cleaner that will actually dissolve the build-up, rather than simply make it look more attractive. 

There are two different ways you can dissolve this build-up by using a natural stain remover or by using a chemical one. We are going to give you examples of both so that you can take your pick over, which is the most suitable for your toilet. 

Natural Stain Removers

Vinegar and Baking Soda

So this method is going to take some elbow grease, but it will be worth it! You are going to need a cup of baking soda and 2 cups of vinegar. Start by sprinkling your baking soda around the toilet bowl, making sure that you concentrate on the areas where the stains are worse. Then, add your vinegar. You will start to see that the mixture is fizzing; this is where it begins to break down the limescale build-up. Leave this combination for half an hour and then return with a toilet brush and give it a good scrub. The mixture will have broken down the stains, so all you need to do is to scrub it off. Repeat as often as you wish to keep your toilet bowl clean. 


Believe it or not, cola is a great way of getting rid of hard water stains. It works in an analogous way to the vinegar and baking soda in that it will fizz away and break down the limescale build-up. Simply pour a large bottle of cola into your toilet, leave for 15 minutes, and then give it a scrub. 

Chemical Stain Removers

Borax Paste

Borax is a chemical that you find in powder form at most hardware stores. You should be able to turn this powder into a paste by adding a little amount of water. In order to use this paste on your stains, you will need to empty your toilet of any water. To do this, turn it off at the water supply and then flush it a few times. Once the system is empty, apply the borax paste (be sure to wear protective gloves and keep the room well ventilated) and leave it to work its magic for up to an hour. After this, you can use your toilet brush or, if the stains are really bad, you can use some wire wool to erase the build-up. 

Limescale Remover

If you don’t feel like putting in the hard work (let’s face it, who wants to spend the day with their hand down the toilet), then you can buy some great limescale removers from most reputable hardware stores, these will sit in the water in your bowl and will dissolve the limescale at the same time. You must be cautious of the fact that whatever chemicals you are putting into your toilet will ultimately make their way into the water system, so try to use as gentle chemicals as possible. 

When It’s Time to Replace Your Toilet

If you have tried every single thing you can to get rid of those stains and they still won’t budge, then it might be time to replace your toilet. You see, new toilets are glazed internally with a special antibacterial glaze that not only prevents waste from sticking but also stops limescale clinging too. If your toilet is old and your stains won’t budge, then the chances are that your toilet does not have this glaze. 

By replacing your toilet, you should be able to keep the new one cleaner and with less effort, thanks to the newer technology within it. 

Now that you know how to remove hard water stains from a toilet, what are you waiting for?! Get yourself down to the hardware store today for some supplies and get to work on that bowl! Alternatively, if you just can’t face it, why not spend the day browsing through some new toilets instead. Good luck! 

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