Ways to Effectively Remove Rust Stains in the Toilet Bowl

Toilet Rust in Scottsdale, AZ

Everyone has favorites when it comes to keeping the house clean, but the one task people collectively hate is cleaning the toilet. From struggling to move around in such a small room to breathing in toxic fumes from the cleaning chemicals, cleaning a bathroom can be a miserable experience. Nevertheless, nothing is more embarrassing than having guests over and allowing them to use a toilet that looks like it has not been cleaned for years or has a filthy odor. Especially if you recently remodeled your bathroom, you want to maintain and keep it in peak condition.

The cleaning experience can worsen if you notice stubborn rust stains that seem not to go away no matter how hard you try. But don’t be too hard on yourself — your cleaning skills have nothing to do with it. Rust stains are not necessarily due to rust issues in your plumbing system or the main water pipelines. Any water with a considerably high iron content can cause these stains over time even if the water looks clear or tastes normal.

It usually takes an extended period for rust stains to appear, so you’ll probably notice this in areas where there are always pools of water, such as toilet bowls. If you see a brownish ring around the water line or brownish streaks heading down from the outlets where water runs into the bowl, these might be rust stains that you cannot get rid of using the usual toilet cleaner and scrub brush.

Here are a few tips to help you clean the toughest toilet stains so that your toilet bowl will look clean and presentable within a short time.

Shaw’s Pads

A Shaw’s pad is a toilet ring remover considered the easiest yet most effective product for eliminating toilet stains. With it, you don’t need chemical cleaners, and it’s safe for septic systems. These pads have a short handle, where you soak the pads in water, use short, vigorous strokes and watch the stains and scale release from your toilet.

Pumice Stone

A pumice stone functions like sandpaper that you can rub against the rust stains in your toilet. Unlike bristled brushes that bend easily and don’t have adequate strength to remove stains, pumice is tough on stains yet gentle on the porcelain, enabling it to clean effectively without damaging the toilet bowl. It’s a natural, affordable, and eco-friendly solution that works to remove rust stains effectively and efficiently.

Wet your pumice stone, and then use it to get rid of the rust stains. You’ll not have to use a lot of force; scrub gently and apply force as required. The stone will grind down a bit during use, mainly if you apply a lot of pressure, but it can get flushed down the toilet without damaging your septic or sewer system.

Scouring Cleansers

Rather than using regular food stain cleaners with chlorine bleach, you should choose a scouring cleanser because the former cannot eliminate rust stains. Scouring cleansers have everything needed to get rid of mineral deposits and rust. In addition, they’re eco-friendly. Thanks to its composition, this product uses oxalic acid and a powerful blend of abrasives that consists of fine-ground quartz and pumice. However, the acid is toxic, so this product may not be a good choice if you have a septic tank as it can kill bacteria in your septic system.

To use this cleanser, sprinkle it on the affected area of the toilet bowl, and then, scrub it away with a toilet cleaning brush or a plastic pad. Then, pour more water into the toilet bowl to cover the affected areas with the solution. Allow it to rest for at least an hour, and then use a brush to clean the bowl and flush the toilet.

Chemical Cleaners

Chemical cleaners have existed for decades and work well to remove even the toughest stains. All you must do is spray them on the affected area, allow them to sit for some minutes, and then flush the toilet to rinse away the stain. However, these products contain hydrochloric acid, so use them sparingly. Avoid using them if you have a septic system.


White vinegar can effectively remove mild rust stains. For better results, spray some white vinegar on the affected area, use a scrub brush to scrub the area, and rinse well. Besides being a safe and affordable cleaner, it’s readily available in the market and works as a natural deodorizer and disinfectant. In addition, you can use it weekly to help prevent rust stains from occurring in the first place or becoming permanent.

Borax Powder

Borax is an ideal cleaning powder that successfully removes rust stains and mineral deposits. To use the product, pour 1/4 cup into the toilet bowl, and then, use a toilet cleaning brush to swish it around. Allow it to rest on the affected areas for about 20 minutes, and then, use the toilet brush to scrub the bowl and remove any remaining stains.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is another safe and affordable product you can use to get rid of rust stains on your toilet bowl. Most homeowners choose to use baking soda in combination with vinegar to clean toilets and bathtubs. Thanks to its wide range of cleaning properties that can soften hard water and remove stains from oil, grease, and alcohol, this alkaline, crystalline powder successfully removes rust and hard water stains and restores the white color of the toilet bowl.


Cola can do wonders for getting rid of stubborn stains. Begin by flushing the toilet to empty the bowl, and then, shut off the water to prevent it from filling again. When the bowl is almost empty, fill it with a few liters of soda. Allow the liquid to sit in the bowl for several hours so that the acid in the soda can eat away at the stains. Then, flush the soda down the toilet and use a pumice stone or hard-bristled brush to scrub off the remaining residue.

Lemon Juice and Essential Oils

Lemon juice helps brighten surfaces, and thanks to its acidic properties, it can help get rid of any rust stains and mineral deposits. Put one cup of lemon juice mixed with a few drops of essential oils in a spray bottle. Spray the solution on the entire bowl, paying attention to the stains. Allow it to sit for about 15 minutes, and then, use a brush to scrub it thoroughly.

We Can Help

If you’re dealing with stubborn rust stains in your toilet bowl, sinks, and tubs, you may be surprised to realize that there’s an underlying plumbing problem. For peace of mind, call Zest Plumbing & Drain today. Our plumbers are highly experienced and fully equipped to handle any task and will come to your home and inspect your plumbing. If you also need other plumbing services, we’re the right team for the job. We provide drain cleaning, slab leak repairs, gas leak detection, and water heater services in Phoenix and the surrounding areas. Contact Zest Plumbing & Drain today to get a free cost estimate or request a service!

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