How to clean black buildup in a home toilet tank

Updated February 21, 2017

Black build-up in a home toilet tank is most common in areas where water supplies have a large concentration of iron, manganese and calcium. Iron or manganese bacteria flourish in these areas because they feed the iron or manganese in the water, which produces that black-brown slime you see accumulating in your toilet tank. Vinegar kills mould, germs and bacteria as well as removes stains and is effective when it comes to cleaning the black build-up in a home toilet tank.

Pour 2 cups of vinegar right into your toilet tank, and allow it to sit for 10 minutes.

Scrub the black build-up away with a scrub brush. Depending on how long the black build-up has been there, this step may require vigorous scrubbing.

Flush the toilet, and allow the tank to fill up with water.

Assess the amount of black build-up left in the toilet tank. It should be completely gone, but if you notice any remaining, continue to scrub at it.

Repeat steps 1 and 2 if there is still a considerable amount of black build-up noticeable. The longer the black build-up sits in a home toilet tank, the more difficult it is to remove.


Do not allow the vinegar to sit in the toilet tank longer than 10 minutes because the acid can corrode the metal in your tank.

Things You'll Need

  • White distilled vinegar
  • Scrub brush
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