November 1, 2020

clean a toilet

Hard water is a problem that affects the majority of households across the world. It is caused by natural minerals found in the water, calcium, and magnesium, which form limescale deposits that stick to surfaces like your plumbing and appliances.

You won’t fall ill from hard water, and it’s perfectly safe to use in your household. However, when water is particularly hard, it may affect the lifespan of your appliances, and will probably make your cleaning routine much more difficult.

Hard water is particularly challenging to manage in a toilet bowl, which holds standing water constantly. Hard water stains may appear dull grey or brown in colour. If you take pride in keeping your home clean, it’ll most likely get on your nerves that the hard water stains return time and time again, especially as they are difficult to remove.

Luckily, you can quite quickly get rid of your hard water stains using one of several tried-and-tested techniques – and there’s no need to resort to harsh cleaning chemicals to get the job done.

1. Baking soda and vinegar

Baking soda can be used to clean a lot of things

One of the most effective hard water stain-removal techniques involves using two beloved household cleaning products, baking soda, and vinegar. These two items can be used to clean many things, and you’ll find they work on hard water stains nicely.


First, pour about 1 cup of vinegar into the toilet bowl and swill it around with a toilet brush. Let it sit for about one minute, before adding about 1 cup of baking soda to the toilet bowl.

Next, add another 1 to 2 cups of vinegar, which will create a fascinating fizzing effect – don’t be alarmed, as this is normal!

Then leave it to sit for another 10 minutes before scrubbing at the stains on the bowl, making sure to reach those particularly pesky stains above the waterline. Repeat this every 10 minutes for another 30 minutes, then flush the toilet to rinse.

2. Borax and vinegar

Hard water stains in toilet and plumbing fixtures can be removed using borax paste

Borax, otherwise known as sodium borate, is a chemical compound that looks and acts very similarly to baking soda. It’s a multi-purpose cleaning product and works well with vinegar to clean hard water stains out of toilets and off plumbing fixtures.

Start by pouring a quarter of a cup of borax directly into your toilet bowl, swilling it around with your toilet brush to make sure it reaches all stains. Add a cup of vinegar, then leave it to sit for 20 minutes.

Once the time is up, scrub the bowl with the toilet brush, and you should find that the stains rub off easily. Repeat once more for stubborn stains, then flush the toilet to rinse.

How to clean hard water stains from a toilet bowl

3. Sandpaper scrub

Sometimes, even the toughest of household cleaners aren’t enough to get out the more stubborn hard water stains from your toilet seat. Here’s where sandpaper, or 0000-grade steel wool, might come in useful for the job.

Just make sure you use 0000-grade to prevent scratching and other damage to your porcelain bowl.

4. Borax paste

Another option for stubborn hard water stains is borax paste. Borax loosens everything up, making scrub time much faster. When you make a paste out of it with vinegar, you’ll create a tough cleaning formula that works just as effectively as commercial household chemicals.

Start by shutting off the water flow to your toilet at the fixture shutoff valve, then flush the toilet to drain the bowl. This will allow you to have access to all the hard water stains, even the ones that are usually covered by water.

Make your borax paste by mixing half a cup of borax and enough vinegar to form a thick paste. Then spread the paste straight away onto the hard water stains in the toilet, making sure they are completely covered by the paste.

Keep in mind that the borax will harden quickly, so don’t add the vinegar until you are ready to apply the paste. Leave the paste to sit for 15 to 20 minutes, then remove the paste and stains by scrubbing with a stiff-bristled nylon brush. Flush the toilet to rinse.


coke can also be used as a stain remover

Nobody likes hard water, but there are ways we can reduce the effects it has on our household appliances. The best way to keep your toilet bowl hard water stain-free is to commit to a regular cleaning schedule. Using the products mentioned in this video to clean your toilet often will prevent you from needing to take more drastic measures.

You can normally always stay away from harsher cleaning chemicals if you’re prepared to practice regular upkeep. Even Coca Cola is said to work well as a stain remover, so there are plenty of eco-friendly options to consider!

While cleaning your toilet isn’t up there with the top-ranked household chores, your efforts will pay off when you get to enjoy the sparkling toilet bowl courtesy of your hard work.

About the author

Rachel Perono

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