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How Can I Get Rid of This Stubborn Toilet Ring?

dirty toilet with bidet and visible sign of a toilet ring in the bowl

You’ve probably noticed that in spite of regular cleaning, the toilet bowl still develops a discolored ring over time. In most cases, toilet rings are a result of hard water and/or water standing in a bowl that doesn’t see a lot of use. Of course, lack of cleaning is the most common cause of discolored rings inside a toilet bowl, and if enough time has passed, the toilet ring becomes extremely stubborn to remove with just a regular clean. 

Nevertheless, if you have hard water, the minerals in the stagnant water will create a film on the surface of your toilet bowl interior, thus attracting more stains and discoloration. This leaves you with no other option than to take the right cleaning measures to get rid of the toilet ring!

The good news is that while there are lots of commercial products out there that promise to remove hard water stains in the toilet, ordinary, readily available household pantry items have proved to be just as effective in getting the job done. Not to mention that they are considerably cheaper, too! 

So, to remove that unsightly toilet ring without harsh chemicals, follow the methods below.

Here’s What You’ll Need

assorted cleaning tools and equipment on the floor including a mop, dustpan, bucket and various coloured spray bottles

Before you begin, gather up the cleaning tools and products below to complete Maid For You’s tried and tested methods for removing stubborn toilet rings:

  • Bleach
  • Baking soda
  • White distilled vinegar
  • Borax
  • Toilet brush
  • Spray bottle

Method 1: How to Remove a Toilet Ring with Bleach

white bottle of bleach being poured out

Bleach is highly effective in breaking down grime and removing discoloration in toilets. This cleaning method is recommended for old toilet ring stains that require heavy-duty cleaning.

WARNING: Bleach must not be used in closed rooms, or without protective gear. Be sure to increase ventilation by opening the bathroom door and windows, and wear rubber gloves, full-length clothing, and protective goggles when cleaning with bleach. 

Step One

Start by cleaning your toilet bowl as you typically would. Use a regular toilet bowl cleaner to get rid of grime and, perhaps, lighten the toilet ring in the process. After you have scrubbed the inside of the bowl with a toilet brush, rinse it thoroughly with water. 

Pay attention to the rim (which can easily accumulate tough-to-remove buildup) as bacteria from here can spread all around the bowl, including to the base of your toilet where stains/rings tend to build up.

Step Two

In a gallon of water, mix in 1-2 tablespoons of bleach and give it a good stir. Pour half of the solution around the top half of the toilet bowl interior, and then add the rest directly to the water in the bowl. Bear in mind that bleach cleaning solutions are not only used to remove toilet stains but to sterilize the toilet bowl as well.

Step Three

After you've scrubbed your toilet (in step 1), let it soak in this diluted bleach solution for about 10-15 minutes. Bear in mind that the longer you allow the bleach solution to soak the toilet ring, the more effective it will be in breaking down those hardened stains. 

NOTE: You should not leave bleach in the toilet bowl for too long as prolonged exposure to the product can eat away at your toilet's finish.

Step Four

Scrub the bowl lightly with a toilet brush, and then rinse off the bleach with copious amounts of water (or else it will leave a stain).

To keep the inside of your porcelain toilet looking shiny and new for as long as possible, be sure to rinse the toilet with 2-3 buckets of water before you flush (in order to minimize chlorine residue on the surface).

Do you want to get rid of those nasty rings for good? Well, to prevent toilet rings in the near future, use the method above to keep your toilet clean on a regular basis. As an added perk, disinfecting your toilet with bleach will not only keep it looking clean and pristine, but your bathroom will smell nice and fresh, too! 

Method 2: How to Remove a Toilet Ring with Baking Soda and Vinegar

bottle of vinegar and a full jar of baking soda on a wooden bench

Have you ever wondered how to remove a toilet ring with minimal scrubbing? Well, if you’ve just spotted a toilet ring, you can use baking soda and vinegar to remove the ring in an almost effortless manner. 

Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is a great cleaning agent for many household surfaces, and when combined with vinegar, the duo’s cleansing power is doubled! 

Here is a quick step-by-step guide to remove toilet rings using baking soda and vinegar:

Step One

Add 1 cup of white vinegar to the toilet water. Allow it to soak for a few minutes. 

Step Two

Next, pour in a cup of baking soda, and follow this up (immediately) with another 2 cups of white vinegar. Pull down the toilet lid and allow the ingredient to fizz and soak for 10 minutes.

Step Three

Dip the toilet brush in the water, and lightly scrub the area where the toilet ring exists. Then leave for 30 minutes.

Step Four

Finish off by flushing the toilet 2-3 times. If the toilet ring is only partially removed, repeat the process or scrub the stain with a toilet brush and flush again.

Method 3: Use a Degreaser to Remove Toilet Rings

an inside look into a hard water stained white porcelain toilet bowl

This method is effective on most types of toilet rings, especially if you clean the area regularly. To make your cleaning easier and more efficient, purchase brushes made specifically for this purpose. There are brushes with long handles or short scrubbing ends that can help you reach every area in your toilet bowl.

With that in mind, here are the steps to remove a toilet ring with the help of a degreaser.

Step One

Before cleaning your toilet, spray the ring inside of the bowl with a general-purpose household degreaser. This will help break down the stain before scrubbing it away later on. Allow the degreaser to sit for 15 minutes before moving on to the rest of the cleaning method.

Step Two

Apply regular dish soap or baking soda to the wet bristles of your toilet brush, and begin scrubbing at the toilet ring. Stubborn stains might require a bit more elbow grease so don’t be afraid to apply some pressure.

Step Three

Rinse the bowl interior, and give it one last scrub down before flushing the toilet 2-3 times to remove traces of the degreaser and cleaning agents. 

Method 4: Removing Toilet Rings with Borax

person with blue gloves scrubbing water stained white porcelain toilet

Borax is readily available in most supermarkets, and it's cheap, too! All you need to do is make a cleaning spray with the product, and use it as and when you need to get rid of toilet rings.

To do that, follow these super-simple steps:

Step One

 In 1 cup of water, combine 1 tablespoon of borax and 2 tablespoons of white distilled vinegar. Give it a good stir to dissolve the borax; your mixture should be slightly cloudy if you've done it correctly!

Step Two

Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and shake well (before each use). Spray the toilet ring directly with your DIY borax cleaner, and allow it to sit. In order for this method to be effective, the cleaning solution needs to remain wet on the surface for as long as it can, therefore, you might need to spray the toilet ring 2-3 times every 5 minutes.

Step Three

Make a thick paste of borax by combining the ingredient with a minimal amount of water. Coat the toilet brush with the paste to create a mildly abrasive scrub, and use it to clean around the toilet bowl (paying close attention to the areas where the toilet ring is present).

Step Four

Pour a bucket of clean water around the interior to wash off the residue before flushing 1-2 times to rinse the bowl thoroughly.

To prevent toilet rings from forming, use this DIY disinfectant and stain remover to clean your toilet once a week by following the steps above. 

Get Rid Of The Ring

woman in brown uniform wearing blue gloves scrubbing a white toilet with fluffy seat covers

At some point in time, you will likely be tasked with removing toilet rings due to lack of cleaning, or stagnant hard water that has left mineral deposits and discolouration inside your toilet. Fortunately, there are a few simple and effective ways to remove toilet rings, as well as prevent them from forming so often.

Along with regular toilet bowl cleaning using either of the methods above, ensure that you brush and rinse the inside of your bowl after every use. This will only take you a minute or less to do, and yet, save you plenty of time in the long run by keeping toilet rings away!

Adriana Aziz is the operations manager at MaidForYou. With over 6 years of experience managing cleaning operations, she knows all the best hacks when it comes to cleaning residential and commercial buildings. With expert experience in managing house cleaning operations, interior design and logistics. She spends her free time with her family and as a freelance food critic.

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