How to Remove Hard Water Stains From a Toilet

Published August 6, 2018
Person cleaning a toilet bowl

Does it feel like you are always cleaning your toilet? Not only do your children somehow miss, but your water is staining the porcelain. However, several natural and chemical cleaners can take your porcelain god from rust rings to beautiful gleaming white.

Vinegar and Baking Soda

Vinegar and baking soda are two of the most versatile natural cleaners in your pantry. Not only can these clean anything from your stove to your floors, they are great for removing hard water stains in your toilet too.


  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Toilet brush
  • Measuring cup


  1. Measure a cup of vinegar. Pour it into the toilet trying to coat the entirety of the bowl, especially where the water stains are.
  2. Let the vinegar sit in the toilet for 10 minutes.
  3. Add a cup of baking soda to the toilet.
  4. Add another cup of vinegar right after the baking soda.
  5. Allow the two to fizzle in the toilet for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Use a toilet brush to scrub at the water stains.
  7. Allow the solution to sit for longer if stains remain and repeat step 6.
  8. Flush the toilet.


Another miracle cure for your toilet bowl water stains is borax. This powerful cleaner can remove mineral stains and grime with little effort.


  • Borax
  • Toilet brush
  • Vinegar (optional)


  1. If you choose to use vinegar, add 1/2 to 2/3 cup to the toilet bowl.
  2. Allow the vinegar to sit for 10 to 15 minutes. For extra hard water, you can let this sit for an hour or more.
  3. Scrub the toilet lightly with the toilet brush trying to scrub off as much loose minerals as possible.
  4. Flush the toilet.
  5. Pour a 1/2 cup of borax into the toilet. You want to sprinkle this around the toilet bowl gently, allowing it to hit all the stains. (Start here if you are not using vinegar.)
  6. Use the toilet brush to do some scrubbing.
  7. Allow the borax to sit in the toilet as long as possible. Overnight is best.
  8. Give the toilet another good scrub, making sure all the stains are gone.
  9. Flush.

Commercial Cleaners

If you want to use a commercial cleaner to get rid of the stains in your toilet, there are several options available.

Using a commercial cleaner typically takes squirting the cleaner around the bowl and allowing it to sit for the recommended time before scrubbing. Since some of these cleaners are harmful to skin, caution should be used.

Stubborn Stains

If natural solutions and commercial cleaners aren't effective enough, don't throw in the towel yet. A pumice stone or fine grit sandpaper can work well to remove those stubborn water stains that cleaners just aren't breaking up. If you are using sandpaper, however, ensure it is fine or extra fine grit so you don't scratch the porcelain on your toilet.

Pumice Stone Instructions

After using one of the cleaning methods above, a pumice stone or sandpaper and a toilet brush can scrub away any stubborn stains.

  1. Take the pumice stone, preferably one on a stick and scrub the stain.
  2. Move around the bowl scrubbing the water stains.
  3. Flushing at various intervals can help to remove any debris.
  4. Use a toilet brush to swish the water around and give it a final flush.

Getting It Back to White

Cleaning your bathroom is a dirty job but someone has to do it. Hard water can make cleaning everything, especially your toilet, even harder. Thankfully, there are several commercial and natural cleaners to restore your toilet bowl to its previous sheen.

How to Remove Hard Water Stains From a Toilet