How to Remove Rust Stains From a Toilet Bowl Naturally

Last Updated on January 11, 2022 by toilethaven

What Causes Rust Stains in Toilet?

A toilet is quite a sensitive fixture hygienically speaking. Everybody want to keep theirs as white as cotton. But that does not always; especially if you live in an area with hard water. Brown stains will start to form in the toilet bowl especially around the rim and at the bottom.

Brown stains in a toilet bowl are as a result of iron present in the water. The iron elements react with oxygen to form iron oxide which is commonly known as rust. The rust is more concentrated around the waterline where it forms what’s called a toilet ring.

To remove rust stains from your toilet, scrub it using vinegar and baking soda, a pumice stone, Shaw’s pads or citric acid. Alternatively you can use commercial chemical cleaners like CLR and Iron Out but be careful with chemicals since they are bad for your plumbing, health and septic system.

If you have WD-40 in the house, spray it around the iron stains then wait for about 15 or 30 minutes to break down the stains. Use a toilet brush to scrub away the stains then rinse the bowl. Repeat the process if a few stains didn’t come out.

toilet ring

If someone who has never seen rust stains visits your house they might actually think you are quite lousy at housekeeping. The truth of the matter is rust stains are tough to remove and are in no way an indictment to your hygiene standards.

You must be very careful while seeking to remove rust stains from a toilet bowl. If you use a method that scratches your bowl, you will be creating a better surface for the stains to embed making it very hard to remove them in the future.

How to Remove Rust stains From a Toilet Bowl

It is always advisable to try and remove the toilet toilet bowl rust stains naturally before attempting using the chemical cleaners. Let us now look at how you can remove the rust stains from a toilet bowl naturally. Remember to always wear rubber gloves while cleaning a toilet

1. Using Vinegar and Baking Soda

  • Remove the water at the bottom of the bowl. We want the vinegar to occupy that space instead and act on the stains directly. Use a plunger or toilet brush to push down as much of the water as possible. A little amount of water will still be left. Use a sponge or towel to soak it up.
  • Slowly pour out vinegar in the bowl until it reaches the waterline mark. Cleaning or distilled vinegar are OK. The cleaning vinegar is normally stronger than the distilled vinegar but both will work just fine.
  • Slowly add a cup of baking soda in the bowl. The baking soda being alkaline and vinegar acidic will create a fizzing reaction hence the need to pour it out slowly. If you dump the baking soda all of a sudden in the bowl the 2 will react violently, fill the bowl and overflow.
  • Swish the solution around the bowl using a toilet brush without forgetting the bowl rim. You want to make sure that the stains in the entire bowl are always in contact with solution. Swish the solution around the bowl every so often for the next 2 hours. If the stains are severe you can leave the solution to sit overnight.
  • Use a firm-bristled toilet brush to scrub the toilet bowl focusing more on the stains. Flush the toilet and see how it is coming out.
  • This method is quite effective with removing the rust stains. Sometimes you will not manage to remove all the stains at once and you will need to repeat the process again.

2. Using Pumie Scouring Stick

A pumice stone is very effective in removing dry and dead skin and you will most certainly find it in a beauty salon. It is a light-weight, porous and abrasive piece of rock.

If the rust stains in your toilet have formed a brown ring around the waterline then the pumie scouring stick will be your best friend. Unlike vinegar and baking soda, the pumice stone will give you fast/immediate results.

  • Dip the pumice stick in water and let it sit there for 15 minutes. Due to its porosity, the pumice stick will absorb so much water which will soften it and therefore prevent it from scratching the bowl.
  • After the 15 minutes, pick up the pumice stick and start scrubbing away the rust stains. Pick one point to start with and work your way round the toilet bowl.
  • When starting, you need to be really gentle because you don’t want to have scratches on your bowl. A good trick is to start with the front side of the bowl which is less conspicuous. If you notice the pumice stone scratching the toilet porcelain stop right away and seek alternative methods. All toilet bowls are not created equal!

3. Using Shaw’s Pads


Shaw’s pads were developed a plumber from Arizona to provide a chemical-free way of remove rust and other hard water stains from toilets and other fixtures. It is safe, environment-friendly and inexpensive.

To use The Shaw’s pad, simply wear your gloves, wet the pads with water and start scrubbing the stains off. A detachable handle is sold separately. The handle enables you to push the pad through tight space like the toilet bowl rim.

How to Remove Rust Stains From a Toilet Tank.


Most people concentrate more on cleaning the toilet bowl and completely forget about the toilet tank. Those who remember the tank just want to drop some tablets in there and forget about it.

The terrible thing about the toilet tank tablets is that most contain chemical substances that eat and wear out the rubber parts of toilet tank like the flapper. With time you start having a leaking/running toilet tank.

It is important that you clean your toilet tank because if you don’t most of the minerals deposited there will start to flow down to the bowl. This is not just iron minerals but others like manganese and calcium which form scales on the bowl.

Calcium deposits can also block the toilet siphon and rim jets. The flow of water from the tank to the bowl will therefore be inhibited resulting in a slow/weak flushing toilet. The need to clean a toilet tank can therefore not be overemphasized.

This is a detailed post on how to get rid of stains from a toilet tank.

How to Prevent Rust Stains From a Toilet Bowl

Here is the thing. There are very many products that are advertised as being able to remove toilet rust stains and rings permanently. That’s just a white lie. No product will remove toilet stains permanently.

Hard water toilet stains and especially toilet bowl rings are known to recur. This is because the problem is not your cleaning prowess or lack of it or your toilet, but the water flowing in the toilet. As long as hard water keeps flowing in your toilet rust stains as well as other hard water stains are bound to form again.

What you can do is to put measures in place to ensure that the stains do form in the first place. This is therefore a continuous process and not a one-off thing.

Regularly cleaning your toilet bowl with vinegar and baking soda is a sure way of preventing the brown rust stains from forming. Preventing is the stains from forming in the first place is easier, safer and cheaper than removing them.