Person cleaning a toilet

How to Get Rid of Toilet Ring

afb6f28a7ffc9f2fe10423a61c276b5b?s=55&d=mm&r=g

Leslie

November 17, 2021

Toilet rings aren’t exactly a topic for a dinner conversation, but they’re something almost everyone has to deal with at some point in their lives. In other words, they’re a fact of life – no matter how gross they may look – and they can be incredibly difficult to remove. No matter how much you scrub, it may seem like your porcelain throne is doomed to be “decorated” with an unsightly ring forever. 

Have no worries! With my detailed guide on how to get rid of a toilet ring and a bit of elbow grease on your part, you should be more than capable of giving the once pearly-white porcelain of your toilet its old look. Let’s take a detailed look at what exactly causes toilet bowl rings and what you can do to get rid of them for good. 

What Causes Toilet Bowl Rings? 

Despite what most people think, an unsightly toilet bowl ring is very rarely caused by someone’s poor cleaning habits. There are a few things that can cause the appearance of these ugly things, and, depending on what exactly caused them, one has to use the appropriate method to get rid of them. 

The easiest way to identify the type of the toilet bowl ring is by looking at its color. In most cases, toilet rings have that specific rust-like brown color. This kind of toilet ring is typically caused by the type of water used in your household. 

Have you ever heard of hard water? This kind of water contains a lot more minerals than your regular water and can easily cause the appearance of hard water stains in your toilet bowl. Make sure to find out whether the area you live in has this kind of water and whether it could cause issues for you. 

In case there is a black ring in your bowl, or if it’s bright orange or green, it was probably caused by mold. If the dreaded ring is of pink color, on the other hand, there’s a good chance it was caused by bacteria such as Serratia marcescens or Pseudomonas aeruginosa – these thrive in damp conditions. 

Black Ring in Toilet Bowl 

As mentioned above, the thing that usually causes black toilet bowl rings is hard water. This is also why these types of stains are called hard water rings. 

Manganese, aluminum, iron, magnesium, and calcium are just some of the elements found in abnormally high concentrations in hard water. These dissolved minerals leave a dry film on the skin, make soap un-latherable, and cause water to have a metallic, dry taste. They are notorious for leaving deposits in coffee pots, on showerheads and faucets, and, of course, in toilet bowls. 

Standard household cleaners are next to useless against hard water stains. This is work for manual labor and harsh chemicals, i.e. old-fashioned scrubbing and using solutions that are capable of breaking the minerals down. 

Pink Ring in Toilet Bowl 

The aforementioned bacteria – Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Serratia marcescens – typically grow in colonies that have a sort of pink-ish color. These colonies appear where the toilet surface and the water inside of it meet, giving the bowl a pink ring. They typically appear in toilets that aren’t used that often. 

Keep in mind that these are water-loving organisms, so it’s only natural that they’re going to try to settle in places with standing water, one of which is the toilet bowl. If you have standing water in your bathtub, you have an even bigger problem on your hands than unsightly toilet rings.

This is not a stubborn toilet ring, like the black ring, and getting rid of it is relatively easy. 

Using hydrogen peroxide, white vinegar, Clorox tablets, or any other kind of automated toilet bowl cleaner, is the best option. Clorox tablets, for example, go into the toilet tank and they keep the mold and bacteria at bay by adding bleach to the water inside the bowl every time you flush the toilet. In addition, they also keep the toilet bowl deodorized and fresh. 

Toilet Bowl Ring Removal Hacks 

In this part of the article, we’ll be taking a closer look at a number of methods you can use to get rid of toilet rings once and for all. 

Pumice Stone

Pumice stones

What You’ll Need: 

  • Rubber Gloves 
  • Pumice stone 

A lot of people use these items to remove the dead skin from their feet. But did you know that this volcanic rock can come in quite handy when you’re having trouble with stubborn toilet rings as well? 

An important thing to mention here is that this kind of rock can be bought in a special version that is much more convenient for when you have to remove hard water stains. It’s a very simple item – a pumice stone on a stick, also known as “pumie”. 

Take a pumice stone and place it in a bowl of water. Let it sit there for about 10 to 15 minutes so that it can soften up a bit. After that, you can move on to scrubbing. Don’t forget to wear rubber gloves! 

When they’re sufficiently soft, pumice stones act just like your regular pencil erasers. Rub the stubborn toilet ring with your pumice stone and make sure to remove all signs of it before you flush the toilet. 

An important thing to mention here is that it’s easy to damage the porcelain if you decide to use a black or gray pumice stone and if you scrub exceptionally hard due to the really stubborn stains. For safe rubbing, your best bet is to use the aforementioned Pumie. 

Abrasive Sponge 

What You’ll Need: 

  • Rubber gloves 
  • Household cleaners 
  • Abrasive sponge 

If the toilet ring you’re dealing with is old and neglected, one of your best options is to buy and use an abrasive sponge. 

Add some of the cleaning product to the sponge and start rubbing the ring in order to make your toilet bowl clean. Make sure to wear gloves, as the abrasive surface of the sponge can easily hurt your skin. 

Once the stubborn stains are gone, flush the toilet. 

Magic Eraser 

What You’ll Need: 

  • Water 
  • Magic Eraser 

The Magic Eraser method is a great option for all those who want to avoid scrubbing altogether. This phenomenal product can be used for a number of issues, with one of them being a toilet ring. Using it for this purpose is as easy as it gets, although you’ll need some time for preparation. 

Take your Magic Eraser, cut off a piece of it, and then let that same piece float in the toilet bowl overnight. Avoid using your toilet until the morning – the slice of Magic Eraser needs to sit overnight “in peace”. And in the morning, you’ll notice that the toilet bowl ring is gone completely. 

The only thing that may stop you from opting for this method is the fact that the toilet cannot be flushed while the Magic Eraser is floating inside the bowl. If you really want to flush it, you’ll have no other choice but to fish the Eraser out before doing the flushing. 

Another great thing about the Magic Eraser is that it can also be put inside the toilet tank. Doing something like this is bound to prevent the appearance of new toilet rings. Every time you flush, you will also be cleaning the bowl. 

Steel Wool

Person using steel wool

What You’ll Need: 

  • Rubber gloves 
  • Steel wool 

Are you dealing with particularly tough stains? If that’s the case, you’ll have to go with a more drastic solution, and one of those is definitely steel wool. 

Use the finest steel wool you can find to easily scrub away the nasty mineral deposits. Make sure that the steel wool you’re using isn’t too coarse, though – you don’t want to scratch the porcelain inside the toilet bowl. 

In most cases, steel wool easily removes even a heavy stain buildup, let alone the regular toilet stains. To make your steel wool even more efficient at removing hard water stains, you can always combine it with a toilet bowl cleaner or some vinegar. And, as always, don’t forget to wear rubber gloves. 

Coca-Cola

What You’ll Need: 

  • A can of Coca-Cola

This method is very simple – as you can see, all you’ll need is a can of Coca-Cola. You don’t have to buy the original Coca-Cola for this, though, as any similar Cola sodas can do the trick as well. 

Simply pour the can into the toilet bowl and let the acid sit in the toilet water for a few hours. After that, just flush the toilet. The biggest benefit of opting for this method is that, in order to get rid of the toilet ring, you won’t have to do any scrubbing whatsoever. 

White Vinegar 

What You’ll Need: 

  • Toilet brush 
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar 

One of the quickest ways to get rid of toilet ring whose appearance you’ve just noticed is by using white vinegar. Add some of this solution to the toilet bowl and flush after about half an hour. Provided you act right after noticing them, this should completely remove the toilet bowl stains. 

In case you’re dealing with particularly stubborn hard water stains, you should simply pour some vinegar in the toilet bowl and let it sit there for an hour or longer. After that, take a toilet brush and finish the whole process by scrubbing the potential ring traces.

White vinegar is also great for fixing a slow flushing toilet.

White Vinegar and Baking Soda

Vinegar and baking soda

What You’ll Need: 

  • Spray bottle 
  • Toilet brush 
  • 2 or 3 cups of white vinegar 
  • One cup of baking soda 

Another solution is to use a combination of baking soda and vinegar. To do this, take a spray bottle, fill it with white vinegar, and then use the spray to add vinegar to the toilet bowl. After that, take your toilet brush and scrub the toilet’s entire surface with it, particularly the area with the toilet ring.

Later, pour both baking soda and vinegar (another cup of it) into the bowl. This reaction between vinegar and baking soda will cause a fizzing action, so don’t forget to close the toilet lid in order to prevent sprinkling. After 10 to 15 minutes, take the toilet brush once again and spread this vinegar and baking soda solution around the bowl. Pay special attention to the toilet stains above the water surface. 

Let it sit for an hour or two so that the baking soda and vinegar solution has enough time to break the hard water stains. Once that’s done, simply flush your toilet a couple of times – this will prevent vinegar (as well as baking soda) from damaging the toilet’s surface. 

Borax and Vinegar 

What You’ll Need: 

  • Toilet brush 
  • One cup of white vinegar 
  • 1/4 cups borax 

Borax should never be used too often, especially if you’re only dealing with smaller toilet bowl stains. It can, however, be used from time to time in order to effectively get rid of toilet ring. It’s an ideal solution in situations where the toilet ring is exceptionally persistent and hard to get rid of. 

Prepare some borax, pour it into the bowl, and then use the toilet brush to spread the solution all over the bowl’s surface. Add some vinegar and let it sit for at least half an hour. If necessary, scrub the toilet ring and then flush your toilet. 

Borax

Bottle of borax

What You’ll Need: 

  • Toilet brush 
  • One cup of borax 
  • Water 

Those who don’t want to mix borax with vinegar will be pleased to know that they can simply use borax on its own. 

Let it dissolve inside the toilet water for a few hours and then use the brush to scrub off the toilet bowl ring. Once you’re done with scrubbing, flush the toilet. 

Borax Paste 

What You’ll Need: 

  • Stiff-bristle nylon brush 
  • Rubber gloves 
  • White vinegar 
  • 1/2 cups borax 
  • An old cloth 

Sometimes, extremely stubborn rings can develop inside toilet bowls. In such cases, one of the best things you can do is to use the borax paste. However, in order to prevent water from wetting the toilet bowl, you will have to switch off the valve first. 

Once you’ve done that, flush the toilet and then dry its insides with an old cloth. This will prevent liquids from coming into contact with the stains while you’re applying the borax paste. To protect your hands, wear rubber gloves. 

The next thing you’ll have to do is to make a borax paste of the right consistency, which you should be able to do by combining the borax itself with as much vinegar as necessary. Cover the entire toilet ring with it. 

One important thing to keep in mind here is that borax hardens quite quickly. For that matter, avoid adding white vinegar to it if you’re not completely ready to use the paste on your toilet. Let the borax paste sit on the ring for about 15 minutes and then begin scrubbing. 

To remove both the stains and the paste itself, you’ll have to use a stiff-bristle nylon brush. Rinse the remains of the nasty ring by flushing the toilet. 

Lemon Kool-Aid 

What You’ll Need:

  • Toilet brush 
  • Lemon Kool-Aid 

Once you buy a smaller package of Kool-Aid (make sure that it’s sugar-free), simply apply it to your toilet bowl. Do your best to completely cover the ring. 

Leave the lemon Kool-Aid like that for an hour or two and make sure that nobody uses the toilet during that time. Later, take a brush and remove the remains of the pink ring – or whatever other kind of toilet ring you’re dealing with – and flush the toilet once you’re done. 

Dryer Sheets

Dryers sheets

What You’ll Need: 

  • Rubber gloves 
  • Used dryer sheets 

No article on how to get rid of toilet ring is complete without at least one mention of dryer sheets. Used, old dryer sheets can be very helpful when it comes to keeping the toilet clean. And, believe it or not, old ones work better than the new, unused ones. 

Before you use a dryer sheet in order to tackle the ring inside the bowl, make sure to put on your gloves – you’ll want to prevent your hands from coming into contact with the bowl water. Dry the bowl and use the sheet to rub the dreadful ring until it’s completely gone. 

Don’t flush the sheet you’ve just used to clean the bowl – the last thing you need is a clogging issue! 

Alka Seltzer

Alka Seltzer

What You’ll Need: 

  • Alka Seltzer tablets 

One of the easiest ways to keep the toilet bowl cleaner and get rid of toilet rings is by using Alka Seltzer tablets. They contain three active ingredients – anhydrous citric acid, sodium bicarbonate, and aspirin. Not only are these tablets great when you want to get rid of nasty stains inside the bowl, but also when you want to prevent the occurrence of new dirt spots. 

To get rid of the toilet ring that’s already there, the only thing you’ll need to do is to let two Alka Seltzer tablets dissolve inside the toilet bowl. The aforementioned citric acid will make quick work of the ring – even if it was a hard water ring – and make your bowl look as clean as it once was. 

In case you’re looking to prevent the occurrence of new hard water rings, on the other hand, simply put the same tablets into the tank of your toilet. In that way, you’ll be keeping your toilet clean and fresh for a long time without having to resort to harsh chemicals. 

Denture Cleaning Tablets

Denture cleaning tablets

What You’ll Need:

  • A box of denture cleaning tablets 

These are just as useful and practical for dealing with hard water rings as Alka Seltzer tablets are. What is more, opting for this non-toxic method is yet another great way to save money. 

Simply put one of these tablets into the bowl and the acid that’s inside the tablet should remove the stains. It should also be mentioned that these tablets aren’t as harsh as the Alka Seltzer ones are. 

Bleach

Person cleaning a toilet with bleach

What You’ll Need: 

  • Bleach 
  • Rubber gloves 
  • Protective goggles 

Bleach is highly effective in removing ugly stains from toilets. It works especially well with old ring stains that are typically found in older toilets. However, keep in mind that this is a pretty harsh chemical and that you should never use it without appropriate protective gear. 

Once you’ve cleaned the bowl as you usually would, mix bleach (at least two tablespoons of it) with a gallon of water. Pour one half of this solution directly into the standing water that’s inside the bowl and the other half onto the bowl’s interior. You can also do the same thing with one cup of liquid chlorine bleach. 

Close the lid and let the bowl soak in bleach for a while. Later, use a brush to lightly scrub the porcelain and flush the toilet. 

CLR 

What You’ll Need: 

  • A bottle of CLR 

The name of this popular product stands for Calcium, Lime, and Rust Remover and it’s easy to find in most stores. One particularly good thing about it is that it can be used by folks with septic systems, as it’s not toxic. 

Use this heavy-duty, septic system-safe product by pouring some of it into the bowl and letting it sit there for about half an hour. After that, simply scrub, rinse, and flush the toilet. 

Keeping a Cleaning Routine = No Toilet Rings 

Let’s face it – nobody likes cleaning toilets. However, in order to combat issues such as stubborn toilet stains, hair-in-the-drain, toothpaste splatter, and the overall clutter and messiness, one simply has to regularly clean the bathroom. And this, unfortunately, includes regularly cleaning your porcelain throne as well. 

But, as you can see from above, there are dozens of ways in which one can successfully fight even the nastiest toilet stains, such as persistent hard water toilet rings. Some of the products listed above can even be used preemptively, i.e. to stop the toilet rings from appearing in the first place. 

But keeping your bathroom – which includes the toilet – clean at all times is the key. A quick wipe, swish, and spritz from time to time can keep a bathroom and everything in it fresh and sparkly between the not-so-frequent deep cleaning sessions. 

Scroll to Top