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How to Remove Brown Stains from the Toilet Bowl

Cleaning your toilet has to be one of the most repulsive yet crucial house chores. However, it gets even worse when you’ve got a brown stain in the bottom of the toilet bowl greeting you, making the task even more dreadful.

Fortunately, we’ve got a few cleaning tricks up our sleeves that will help remove these rust stains and hard water spots from your toilet bowl.

brown stains in toilet

What Causes Brown Stains In The Toilet Bowl?

The brown stains in your toilet bowl are caused by hard water deposits. Water is ‘hardened’ by the presence of certain minerals, such as calcium. These minerals build up on the faucets, toilet bowls, and sinks due to excessive exposure to moisture.

Over time, water leaves scale stains on the toilet bowl that aren’t only hard to clean but are also quite unsightly.

Read Also: Best Snake to Unclog Your Toilet

Electrolysis might also be responsible for leaving brown stains in the toilet. It refers to the process of contact between dissimilar metals. Other than the toilet bowl, electrolysis-induced staining is also common in the bathroom heather.

If you’ve remodeled your house or bathroom, there might be a mix of metals, such as copper and PEX. Therefore, when water passes through this mixture of metals, it becomes hard and stains the toilet.

Over time, the water pipes in your house undergo breakdown. Thus, when water flows through them, it picks up the metal remains from the coating. Owing to this, the toilet ends up getting stained as metals build up on the surface.

An ideal solution for this is installing a water filtration system that removes metals from the water.

Apart from lime buildup, iron can also cause brownish-orange stains in the toilet bowl. If your water contains iron, the mineral oxidizes on the inside of the bowl, leaving brown stains behind.

While a water softening system can help remove minerals, it’s a costly installation and comes with its own disadvantages. Instead, you can use some chemicals from your pantry to clean rust stains and remove stubborn mineral buildup from your toilet bowl.

Best Ways to Clean Brown Toilet Bowl Stains

Although you can use commercial products to clean brown stains around the toilet base, these chemicals can be harmful and are often expensive. Alternatively, you can use one of the following methods to keep your toilet bowl clean.

Vinegar and Baking Soda

Vinegar and baking soda are among the most useful cleaning products at home since they can be used to clean anything from liquid spills to toilet bowl stains. While vinegar has strong cleaning properties, baking soda acts as a deodorizer, removing foul smells.

Here’s how to use these two ingredients for cleaning brown rings of lime buildup in the toilet bowl:

  • Pour a cup of white vinegar into the toilet bowl. Use a toilet brush to move the liquid around.
  • Let the vinegar sit for about 60 to 90 seconds.
  • Put a cup of baking soda in the toilet bowl.
  • Then, pour another cup of vinegar. You can add two cups if the stains are extra stubborn.
  • You’ll notice fizzing in the toilet bowl, which is a result of the reaction between both cleaning agents. Let this mixture sit for 10 minutes.
  • Now, use a toilet brush to cover the brown rings above the waterline with this solution.
  • Once you’ve thoroughly cleaned the stains, let the mixture sit for another half an hour.
  • During this time, move the brush around one or two times, scrubbing off the stain.
  • Finally, flush the toilet.

Read Also: Best Dual-Flush Toilets That Save Water at Your Home

Vinegar and Borax

Just like vinegar, Borax is also a strong cleaner that can remove hard water stains from the toilet bowl. Here’s how to use it with vinegar:

  • Pour a quarter cup of Borax in the toilet bowl. Use the toilet brush to move it around and cover the hard water stains.
  • Now, add a cup of vinegar to the toilet bowl and let the mixture sit for 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Scrub the stains above the water line to remove them.
  • Lastly, flush the toilet.

Borax Paste

Don’t scratch the porcelain if the stains are too stubborn and won’t come off with vinegar. Instead, you can use Borax paste.

Before you try this method, shut the water supply to the toilet from the valve. Then, flush the toilet to drain it. Doing this is important to ensure that the water does not cover the stains. After that, follow these steps:

  • Mix half a cup of Borax with a sufficient amount of vinegar to make a paste. Keep in mind that Borax starts hardening instantly, so you should only add vinegar when you’re ready to use the paste.
  • Make sure it’s not too runny. Rather, it should be thick enough to stick to the toilet bowl. Apply this paste to the stains in the toilet bowl. Cover them completely by applying a thick layer.
  • Let the paste sit for 20 to 25 minutes. Use a nylon brush with stiff bristles to remove the Borax paste.
  • Flush the toilet.

Grab A Coca Cola

No, you’re not having it with a burger. Instead, you’re going to use this bottle of Coke to remove the brown stain around the toilet base. Since Coke has phosphoric acid – the same ingredient you find in many toilet cleaners – it can quickly remove hard water stains.

  • Pour a 330ml can of Coke into the toilet bowl using a toilet brush to cover the stains.
  • Let the Coke sit for 60 to 90 minutes.
  • During this time, the phosphoric acid will loosen up the stains. Break them up completely using a toilet brush.
  • Flush the toilet.

Use Pumice

Along with softening your calluses, a pumice stone also helps remove brown rings from the toilet bowl. Here’s how to use it:

  • Fill a bowl with warm water and soak the pumice stone in it.
  • Take it out and scrub the hard water stain with it until it’s completely gone.
  • Flush the toilet.

Make sure the pumice is wet so that you don’t end up damaging the toilet bowl material. If this method isn’t working, follow one of the cleaning processes given above and follow with pumice scrubbing.

Safety Precautions For Cleaning

While cleaning the brown stains in the bottom of the toilet bowl, make sure to follow some safety precautions:

  • Wear gloves when using vinegar, Borax, or baking soda for cleaning lime buildup and stains.
  • Open the windows to ensure ventilation since some cleaning chemicals produce fumes that could be hazardous for your respiratory system.
  • If you’re using a commercial cleaner, always follow the instructions on the packaging. Don’t mix two cleaners unless you’re fully sure of the mixture’s safeness.

How To Prevent Brown Stains In Your Toilet?

You surely don’t want to spend every other weekend scrubbing brown stains from your toilet bowl, do you? Here are some ways to prevent brown stain formation in the toilet.

  • Keep Dry: Try to keep the surfaces in your bathroom as dry as possible. While this might not work inside the toilet bowl, it will prevent a brown stain around the toilet base.
  • Scrub Regularly: Even if you don’t scrub the toilet bowl every day, try doing it every two or three days. Since you’ll be cleaning regularly, the stains won’t become stubborn.
  • Water Softener: If brown stains are becoming a frequent concern, invest in a water softening system. It will remove minerals from the water that are responsible for staining. Get professional consultation for this as some softeners can also remove iron to prevent rust stains.
  • Upgrade the Plumbing: It’s likely that rust from your plumbing is causing stains in the toilet bowl. If you have an older home, upgrade the plumbing and replace any old or broken pipes.

Brown Stain In Bottom Of Toilet Bowl: Summary

The bottom of the toilet bowl is constantly subjected to water flow. Therefore, it is affected by the constituents of water, such as minerals and dirt. Over time, these minerals build up, causing hard water stains in the toilet bowl.

Moreover, the presence of iron results in rust stains that get stubborn if not cleaned regularly.

You can use commercial cleaners for removing lime buildup, but they are a costly solution. Besides, some of them might contain allergens or create fumes, which are unhealthy for pets, kids, and asthma patients.

Instead, you can use vinegar, borax, pumice, and baking soda to clean the brown stain in the bottom of the toilet bowl without any hazardous effects. Even better, clean your toilet regularly and upgrade the water pipes to prevent staining in the first place.