Homemade Cleaner for Brown Stains in the Toilet

Updated July 13, 2018

Lime deposits from water cause the brown rings in toilet bowls that are difficult to remove and unsightly. You don't have to use expensive or nauseating commercial products to clean it. Several natural items in your house will do the job and don't take long to prepare. Always wear protective gloves when cleaning a toilet, in this case, not because of chemicals, but to avoid bacteria and viruses that breed in toilets.

Natural Ingredients that Clean

The citric acid in lemons is a great antiseptic and antibacterial deodoriser. Baking soda is a sodium bicarbonate that neutralises odours and works as a mild abrasive. On its own, vinegar can effectively remove as many stains as commercial cleaners. White vinegar has a strong unpleasant smell. You can fix this problem by either using lemon juice to neutralise the smell or using apple vinegar. Borax is an ancient natural alkaline mineral typically used for softening hard water for laundry, but can also be used to scrub the toilet bowl as a scouring powder.

Preparing the Ingredients

Cut a lemon in halves and make a paste from the squeezed juice and baking soda in a plastic bowl or mix equal parts of borax and baking soda with water. An abrasive paste helps to scrub the stain and loosen dirt.

Applying the Ingredients

Flush the toilet to wet the entire inside of the toilet bowl, then apply the paste directly to the brown stains with a sponge or toilet brush and scrub. Allow the solution to sit for at least one hour before scrubbing. You can also pour lemon juice and baking soda directly into the toilet and let it sit, then brush or scrub the stains. When using vinegar, pour 1/2 cup of vinegar into the toilet bowl, let stand for at least an hour, then scrub with a sponge or brush.

Additional Help

Brown stains due to iron and rust can be removed by using a pumice stone, a porous, natural volcanic rock used for removing calluses and rough skin from feet. It is a hard stone but will not damage a porcelain bowl. Just wet the stone, wear gloves, and rub away those nasty stains. Use the stone in conjunction with the natural ingredients baking soda, lemon, borax or vinegar for additional cleaning power.

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About the Author

K.C. Hernandez has covered real estate topics since 2009. She is a licensed real estate salesperson in San Diego since 2004. Her articles have appeared in community newspapers but her work is mostly online. Hernandez has a Bachelor of Arts in English from UCLA and works as the real estate expert for Demand Media Studios.