How to Get Rid of Toilet Bowl Rust Stains

Written by murray anderson

One of the toughest cleaning jobs you can run into is getting rid of that ugly, rusty looking stain in the bottom of the toilet bowl. Although more common in areas that have hard water, these stains can happen anywhere, since they're caused simply by water sitting in the bowl. Once a stain is in your toilet bowl, no matter how often you clean it with a toilet brush and bowl cleaner, it's virtually impossible to remove. Fortunately, with some unpleasant work, you can get rid of toilet bowl stains without needing to replace your old toilet. Here's how.


  1. 1

    Start by getting the water out of your toilet bowl. Turn off the water supply to the toilet (usually a small valve on a thin pipe leading to the bottom of the toilet tank), then flush the toilet to drain the water in the bowl. Turn carefully; the valve may be stiff since they don't get turned off and on very often,

  2. 2

    Put some warm water into your pail, pull on your rubber gloves and scrub the rust stains using your sponge and the scrubbing cleanser. This will remove some of the rust stains that won't come off with a toilet brush.

  3. 3

    Now it's time to do the heavy duty work and use the pumice stone. Wet the stone before using it to scrub the stains. A pumice stone is very abrasive and harder than the rusty water stains, but fortunately, it's not harder than the porcelain toilet bowl, so the pumice stone won't scratch the bowl.

  4. 4

    Continue dampening the pumice stone and scrubbing--hard. You will slowly be able to get rid of the rust stains, but it will require some time and hard work.

  5. 5

    Once the stains are gone, don't forget to turn the water supply to the toilet back on.

Tips and Warnings

  • Pumice stones are available at drug, hardware, grocery and home improvement stores.
  • If you have more than one toilet in your home or can arrange to not use one toilet for a few hours you can make your scrubbing job easier by draining the bowl, then wetting paper towels with vinegar and laying them on top of the stains for a few hours. The acid in the vinegar will help loosen the rust stains, making them a little easier to scrub off with the pumice stone.
  • If you want to use a more natural scrubbing cleanser you can substitute baking soda for the chemical scrubbing cleanser product.
  • Scrubbing your toilet bowl by hand is obviously not the most enjoyable experience, but trying to clean the bowl with a toilet brush while it has water in it dilutes the cleaning solution and doesn't enable you to apply enough force to remove the stubborn stains.

Things you need

  • Sponge
  • Rubber gloves
  • Pail
  • Scrubbing cleanser (e.g. Comet, Ajax)
  • Paper towels
  • Vinegar
  • Pumice stone

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