Favorite toilet bowl cleaner? How to get rid of that ring?

dog_momFebruary 2, 2005

I loathe cleaning my bathrooms, particularly the toilet. How do I get rid of that stupid ring on the inside of the bowl where the water line reaches?

Can anyone recommend a good cleaner? I've tried them all looking for that miracle product that will make me enjoy the task of toilet cleaning...that must be in my dreams!

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i have a ring in my toilet that no cleaner gets out. it's not filth..it seems to be a ring from the minerals in the water line. the only thing that i have found to remove it is a pumice stone. you just rub the pumice stone on the ring and it scrapes it off without damaging the porcelain. when the ring comes back, i use the pumice again. i believe i purchased my pumice stone in the grocery store, in the cleaning products aisle.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2005 at 10:39AM
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I suspected it was some kind of mineral deposit from the water. I'll try the pumice stone (but I can't promise I'll enjoy it!) Thanks for the tip!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2005 at 11:01AM
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I learned about the pumice stone from The Clean Team and it works like a charm.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2005 at 11:40AM
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That sounds like a great idea - but are we certain it won't damage the porcelain? I don't want to use a comet-like product because it would scratch the porcelain. (Abrasive products not recommended for porcelain.)

    Bookmark   February 7, 2005 at 1:49PM
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I think the pumice stone does scratch the porcelain, because it is abrasive. Softscrub or cleanser might be a better alternative. Flylady recommends keeping your toilet brush in a holder that can safely hold cleaning liquid. That way, you can just swish out your toilet each morning and then it's clean for the entire day. Target makes plastic toilet brush holders where the handle of the brush forms a lid on the container. Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2005 at 1:54PM
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Every time I see this thread....I want to scream "I don't even LIKE to clean my toilet...let alone have a "favorite" cleaner!" LOL!
One of those green plastic scrubbies with barkeepers friend will do a good job on that ring....turn off the water and partially empty the tank so you can gat at it without washing off the clenser.
Linda C

    Bookmark   February 7, 2005 at 6:35PM
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I have used the pumice stone in a have to case scenerio, but I think it probably does scratch the toilet, but better to have that than the ring. Another thing I like better is this black mesh stuff you can buy for cleaning rings on toilets. It's kind of hard to find but it looks very similiar to a window screen type stuff only a little thicker. It works great. I'm also a BarKeeper's Friend lover, so I bet what Lindac suggested would work well, too.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2005 at 11:49AM
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That "black mesh stuff" is called emery cloth. It works pretty well. Pumice will scratch if you are not careful. The emery cloth works sort of like the dentist scraping off tartar from your teeth. It chips it off. The best way is to lower the water level, sprinkle on Barkeepers Friend or Zud, leave it on according to the directions and then use the Emery cloth.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2005 at 3:45PM
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I have used The Works Rust, Lime and Calcium remover and never have a build up, if I use it about once a month. I use reg bowl cleaner the rest of the time.

I also use the same product to clean my coffee pot, directions on label. But after running it thru my coffee pot I pour the hot water into the toilet and let it soak as long as possible.. I have also poured the hot cleaner into a plastic pitcher and soaked either my sink sprayer or my hand held shower massage in the pitcher...works great.


    Bookmark   February 15, 2005 at 9:24PM
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Has anyone tried the Clorox Toilet Wand? These are wonderful for keeping your toilet cleaned, once you get the tough stains off. It is a plastic handle that snaps on to disposable round cleaners that are abrasive and contain strong bowl cleaner. It has allowed us to get rid of the bowl brushes. It's terrific. You use it once, then flip the button on the handle, and it ejects the disposable cleaning disk, right into the waste basket. The disks are sold in packages of 6.

I love this product!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2005 at 4:03PM
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Good discussion here. Don't forget to clean the tank as well as the bowl!

Here is a link that might be useful: another ring cycle

    Bookmark   February 24, 2005 at 10:54AM
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Have you tried plain old green comet? I use it all the time and the bowl sparkles.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2005 at 12:39PM
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I bought some kaboom in the spray bottle at the grocery store and spritzed the ring, water and all still in the bowl and let it set about a half an hour and GONE! I was a happy girl...gotta get a life.....

    Bookmark   February 27, 2005 at 11:35AM
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Denture tablets are supposed to work. Just pop a couple in and let them fizz. I just dropped 2 in each toilet. Only problem I see is that the water level is just below the "ring".
Kathy G in MI

    Bookmark   February 27, 2005 at 8:00PM
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We sometimes have a slight ring from water deposits, and I have found ZUD works great. It comes in powder or liquid. I actually prefer the powder, and a Scotch brite scrubbie. It is located in the grocery store near the Comet. Another favorite with a fresh smell is Lysol "Cling" for general bowl cleaning.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2005 at 9:15PM
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I just pour a cup of bleach in the bowl and let it sit over night. Cleans like a charm! Just make sure you don't mix the bleach with other cleaners.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2005 at 4:43PM
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Has anyone tried vinegar?

    Bookmark   March 22, 2005 at 2:26PM
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I have a toilet that nothing would clean until I tried THE WORKS toilet cleaner. Everything vanished!!! I need to try to find it again as I am almost out. I think I got it at WalMart.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2005 at 6:38PM
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I apply mineral remover through toilet paper and let it sit for hours or overnight. The toilet paper sticks in place and prevents the chemical from running off the "target spots". *Much* more effective than cleaner by itself.

When done, flush the paper away and finish up by scrubbing a bit with a long-handled soft bristle toilet brush. Sometimes it needs several applications.

Any one of the mineral deposit removers works great - Toilet Duck, etc.

I got the idea from wood-stripping - you lay plastic over the stripping chemicals to keep it in place and not evaporating. I wondered if it would work for mineral removers, and yep, works great!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2005 at 10:55AM
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Someone mentioned ZUD --YES it works--get it at Target. Take some of the toilet water out with a cup (lower than the ring) and take an old cloth and rub the Zud on the ring, hard--they rinse and flush--has worked in our 1959 year house and our 2003 house.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2005 at 2:11AM
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Great idea measure twice! For cleaning mineral deposits you need some kind of acid, such as vinegar, CLR, or one of the other products out there, but I could never figure out how to get them to stay in contact with the target area long enough. Will give your suggestion a try.

For our old toilet, I will use the pumice stone sometimes, but I am sure it does scratch it, which probably means that the stains return faster. We won't use the stone on our new Toto, however.


    Bookmark   May 12, 2005 at 11:52AM
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I used to buy Spic and Span powder in the box, dump about a half a cup in, brush,flush. It worked great,but now I can't find the Spic and Span anywhere I shop! Then I bought Clorox toilet wand,it works well,with a disposable cleaning head so you don't touch anything nasty, it's my new favorite!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2006 at 1:34PM
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I love Spartan NABC. The NABC stands for Non-Acid Bathroom Cleaner. It works great, smells great, and all of that fun stuff!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2006 at 5:21PM
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Here's another vote for the Clorox toilet wand. It works well and I love the fact I don't have to keep a germy toilet brush around anymore. Tried one of the flushables first because it seemed like an even better way but it clogged my toilet after doing only a mediocre job.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2006 at 8:56PM
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How do you partially drain the toilet and where do you turn off the water?

    Bookmark   May 24, 2006 at 4:45PM
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There is a little handle on a pipe under the toilet tank. Just turn it off all the way. You can test if you turned it the right way by flushing, and if the water does not return to the tank, you turned it the right way. Rightie-tightie; leftie-wettie, as my daughter reminds me. Then flush it again to get rid of any water in the toilet bowl. When you are done, turn the handle back again to refill the toilet tank.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2006 at 3:43PM
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"Rightie tightie; leftie-weftie" - best thing I ever learned hahaha. So simple yet so important! I do have a couple of things thare are opposite and it just throws me for a loop everytime.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2006 at 11:15PM
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To lower toilet bowl water level pour a bucket of water in the bowl and water level will go down. No need to turn water off at the water pipe.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2006 at 11:57AM
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try THE WORKS it wors great

    Bookmark   June 17, 2006 at 9:50PM
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The works is the worst stuff i've ever used, it doesn't clean at all. I professionally clean and what you do is first clean the bowel with something like lysol with bleach toilet bowel cleaner really well and then put rubber gloves on and stick your hand down in their with a scrubbie with a little soft scrub on it and it comes right off.

Sorry to gross anyone out but it works.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2006 at 5:01PM
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Whink little brown plastic bottle. Wal mart has it for about 4.00. You pour it (well, squeeze it) all around the toilet and voila! Its gone. Most stains are minerals and rust and this is a rust cleaner. Its fabulous.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2006 at 4:02PM
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You can put little bit of Tang in tank. Let sit over night.Yes the drink you drank when you was a kid.And not hard on PC pipes

    Bookmark   June 23, 2006 at 10:59PM
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I like Sno-Bol. Our house had been empty for over a year and had gross loking toliets when we moved in. Sno- Bol did a great job and I have used it every since.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2006 at 3:49PM
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I love this forum. From toilet bowl cleaners to slobby husbands - this is better and cheaper than therapy!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 2:13PM
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We have 2 new Toto toilets and I use the pumice stone on them. It will scratch the toilet if the surface is dry, so I always make sure to keep the surface real wet, and the stone too. I will try some of the recommendations here, and if they work I won't have to take a chance with the pumice stone scratching the new toilets. The stone was recommended to clean pool tile, and they said to just make sure you keep the tile wet.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 11:51PM
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I've used a pumice stone, and it was the only thing that totally got rid of the ring (that was after trying everything here that everyone's suggested!)

I also didn't notice any scratching, but the key is to keep the surface and the stone WET while you use it.

My tip is how to reduce the water level in the toilet below the ring without turning off the water.

I fill up a bucket of water and dump the whole thing QUICKLY into the toilet. The water level goes very low, into the "hole" in the bottom and well below the ring.

I don't know if this would work for a "new" toilet. The ones in this house are 20 years old, and this method works perfectly for temporarily lowering the water level (to restore it, just flush!)

    Bookmark   July 17, 2006 at 2:10PM
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I just learned this tip today from a guy selling "Quick `n` Brite" cleaner at our county fair: Use a plunger to lower the water level in your toilet (no need to turn off water). It works. Now, let's see if the Quick `n` Brite works or if I was scammed...

    Bookmark   August 11, 2007 at 12:51AM
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There are a few different versions of THE WORKS, and the one that emphasizes that it is ONLY for toilet bowls is great. My father had a crusty coating on his toilet that his cleaning lady couldn't get off. I tried a few things including CLR and other toilet cleaners. I poured THE WORKS on it (water drained) and it disappeared like magic right before my eyes. The other great thing about THE WORKS is that it is so reasonably priced. Often available at Dollar Stores.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 8:36AM
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We had the ring around the water line that you are talking about and I tried all kinds of cleaners, bleach etc...finally found out from a neighbor how to get rid of it. I used one of those black emery boards that you use for your nails. It has to be the black one and keep it wet. It really works! Now my toilets look like new again.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 4:55PM
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Lime A Way is the best stuff to get those stubborn rings off. .just shut off the water supply, which is a valve under the tank, flush the toilet, no more water will run into the bowl then. The just squirt the lime a way in and watch it foam. It will dissolve all the water deposits. . .Debbie

    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 10:49PM
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Lefty loosy - righty tighty!
I swear by the pumice stone, but read somewhere that you could pour a can of Coke in the bowl and flush it the next morning. Sure did work!
DH says beware, I drink at least 2 cans a day, what is it doing to my stomach!
Kathy G in MI

    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 11:18PM
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I vote for the Clorox Toilet Wand, plastic discs that snap into a handle and work great on getting and keeping ceramic toilet bowls clean.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2008 at 5:21PM
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What about those streaks running down the sides? Our house is less than 2 years old, the American Standard builder's toilet has streaks down the side and even the one with the "Everclean" coating has a slight ring at the waterline. I really don't want to scratch a new toilet. We must have lots of iron.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2009 at 12:02AM
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Try pouring about a quarter cup of powder dishwashing detergent in, then go at it with a toilet brush. This stuff is very strong, I've used it,yet it wasn't as abrasive as a pumice stone.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2009 at 6:50AM
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Those Clorox toilet wands sound great but will they scratch the surface of a new toto toilet? It sounds like Bar Keepers Friend, black emery cloth and others are abrasive and would scratch the service.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2009 at 11:03AM
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Comet Gel & a toilet bowl brush.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2009 at 7:01AM
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ZEP Acid Toilet Bowl Cleaner from Home Depot works for me everytime. I squirt it in under the rim and allow it to drip down until the bowl is completely coated. I let it site overnight or while I'm at work. Give it a quick swish with the wand and no more stains.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 2:54PM
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I tried a pumice stone and it scratched up the bowl, leaving gray marks in the porcelain. Wish I'd read this thread before I ruined my toilet. And it's not that old-a Toto put in in 2005. Wah!

    Bookmark   January 12, 2011 at 8:24PM
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Drywall sandpaper. I use it all the time in my toilets. We have VERY hard water here in the Phx. area. No cleaners ever remove the ring. Drywall paper takes it off effortlessly.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2011 at 10:58PM
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I also am 100% for the pumice stone.It really does work well, and there are no chemicals involved.I was afraid to try this as I thought the porcelain would scratch, but there was no damage.The important thing is to make sure the stone is wet when you rub it against the bowl.Denture tablet thrown in the bowl and allowed to set 5 minutes, and then brushed and flushed.It works wonders.Best of luck, you'll be amazed at how easy it is!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 4:36AM
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I think pumice is difficult to use because the curvature of the stone, does not conform to the bowl. This is why I like the drywall paper. I cut it into 3X3ish squares.

Ace Hardware has the little pads (sponge) that you put a piece of drywall paper over. They have a small handle that makes it easy to access the bowl.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 10:14PM
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When my toilet needs cleaning, I pour a cup of bleach in the bowl and the same in the tank.(Just lift the tank cver off) Let sit overnight, flush in the morning. Works for me. And it smells good the next day. And stay away from pumice-it scratches!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2011 at 11:03AM
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I went to Walmart looking for a pumice stone.They didn't have a stone. They had a cleaner called The WORKS for $1.23. I went home and drained the water out of the bowl,put toilet paper around the mineral deposit ring I haven't been able to get rid of for three years, wet the paper with the WORKS. I waited 15 minutes flushed the toilet, and scrubbed the ring with comet for about ten minutes and it is completely gone!!!!!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 2:44AM
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I have been reading the posts, especially regarding pumice stones, and I thought of a product that I use for my feet, called Feet First Spa Buffing Pad. It is for buffing calluses and dry skin. I tried it on my three toilets and it did not leave any marks. It is non-abrasive. Cost a bit much, but, it will last a long time.
You can feel it scrubbing the calcium away. My house is about 7 years old and we are gone for the winter and the calcium really builds up. Can't wait to try it on the 12 year old winter home toilet rings.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 9:55PM
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Toilet bowl cleaners kill all the nasty germs left behind in your toilet bowl. They make it easier to remove the entire stuck on gunk. Disinfecting and cleaning your toilet bowl will help prevent illness in your family. Personally, I have had great experiences with "The Works" toilet bowl cleaner. I�m not sure how many of you have heard of it, but it works great. Even when more popular brands do not work, it does. It removes the entire gunk and kills the germs. It may not smell great, but it does its job

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 2:55AM
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Used all suggestions here and nothing worked with the exception of one thing....400 grit Piece of sandpaper kept very wet to avoid scratching. It worked within seconds!!! Came right off!!! Pumice stone wouldn't conform in shape therefore couldn't get into all spot and was scratching even when kept wet, and didn't remove the ring! The sandpaper kept wet removed it right away and didn't scratch.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 11:06AM
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WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a

The Works works wonderfully well for me. We have hard water. Due to an illness in the family, I was not on hand to clean the toilets. When I returned hard sediment had built up in the bottom of the toilets and would not budge. I went to Dollar General store, purchased The Works for toilets, squirted some in each toilet, let it sit overnight. The next morning swished the toilets with the brush and did not even have to fight to get the sediment gone. It flushed down the drain. I am now a very firm believer in The Works.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 11:50AM
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another vote for the Works. Most of the time, if I let it sit awhile, I don't even have to scrub.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 1:58PM
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Magic erasers and Barkeeper' Friend.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2011 at 10:44PM
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We have hard water and nothing works like The Works. I get it for about a dollar a bottle at Dollar General store.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2011 at 10:59PM
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The BEST BEST stuff I have ever used for my toilet is Iron Out. Our softener stopped working for about a week and the orange rust buildup was horrible in my tub/sinks and toilet. I used it in my dishwasher my washing machine everything for the whole week. I thought no point in cleaning the toilet so it was really bad. Once it was fixed I turned the water off to the toilet drained what I could and shop Vac'd the rest of the water out and sprinked Iron out in the bowl and the tank let it sit overnight and in the morning turned the water back on flushed and VOILA a beautiful clean white toilet. I get it at walmart in the hardware section for about 9 bucks the stuff works wonders! I use it regularly when the ring comes back and let it sit for about an hr. I LOVE THIS STUFF!!

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 2:21PM
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Never scrub! It's the best. You can order it online from CVS. Very easy to install. http://uniquebrandsusa.com/

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 6:56PM
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I'm embarrassed to say that we moved into our home 11 years ago and the first thing I wanted to replace was a toilet in what must have been a rarely used bathroom because of the ring was extremely bad. The toilet always looked dirty even after cleaning. Well. . . 11 years later I still have that SAME toilet with the same ring! Gross, I know. I had tried CLR, tried Bleach, and many other products but nothing phased it. Tonight I bought a pumice stone and 180 grit regular sandpaper (not the wet dry kind). Then I came home and found this thread. It was after midnight but I couldn't wait to try it. I remembered we just bought a gallon of vinegar so I started out by pouring the whole gallon into the bowl. I did NOT turn off the water but I made sure it was lower than the ring. Even after adding the Vinegar my water line was still about 1 inch under the ring. I started out by scrubbing with the 180 grit sandpaper. Lo and behold, it worked! It took some elbow grease and about 20 minutes but 11 years worth or ring came off and my bowl is NOT scratched. I did try the pumice too and that was a joke. The shape of the pumice made it almost impossible to lay flat against the ring and it just felt too abrasive. The 180 grit sandpaper was gentle but effective. I also want to say that I would NOT recommend doing this with a dry bowl. As i scrubbed I was moving in a circular motion and dipping the sandpaper down into the vinegar/water to keep things wet. I don't think it would have come off as easily without the vinegar, and I think a dry bowl would be harder to scrub and would have a greater potential for damage. I can't believe I lived with that gross toilet all this time when vinegar and sandpaper works!

    Bookmark   October 27, 2011 at 1:25AM
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Our bathroom in our apt. gets that ring. I tried CLR, I tried scouring it with a scour pad, I tried diet coke, seltzer water, vinegar, you name it. Then, one day I bought this toilet bowl cleaner called "The works" at the dollar store (they also sell it at WalMart, but it costs a little more there) I put some in the toilet, cleaned, and went to bed.

The next day I could have sworn the ring was lighter. So, I put the entire bottle in, along with about half of another bottle. Let it sit for hours, came back, scrubbed it.

The ring came off!

I was a little worried that the stuff might be too harsh if it works that well, so I normally use the Clorox brush, but I keep a bottle of it and about once a month, I scrub the toilet with it. Haven't had a ring since.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2011 at 2:35PM
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So many harsh chemicals being flushed into our environment. I just try to ensure a reasonable level of cleaness with the least harsh thing I can find and not worry about it too much.

The sandpaper block sponges sound like a cool idea.

Can't believe someone is taking pumice to a Toto. I thought the whole purpose of a Toto was its ultra smoothness helped it keep itself clean.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 10:27AM
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To get the water level in the bowl below the stain line, simply push the water down and into the drain with your toilet brush. It works...unless you've thrown it out in favor of the Clorox Wand

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 11:35PM
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Ok, I think that these solutions probably don't work. I have found cutting strips of paper towels in 1" strips soaked in swimming pool muriatic acid (hydrochloric acid) placed around the bowl for a few hours will loosen and remove some of the lime. To really remove the rest use a sgl blade razor blade and scrap the remainder. This will not scratch the porcelain. And the residual acid will remove any left over steel residue. Oh by the way acid does not burn the skin as you have been lead to believe. If you don't believe, just put your finger in a bowl of acid. Only sodium hydroxide or other strong hydroxides such as drain cleaners can burn the flesh. The movies have it all wrong.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 6:59PM
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Hey I have Toto! Maybe that is why I don't have rings. That and maybe because I clean the bowls twice a week with dish washing liquid. The key to having a clean toilet bowl is cleaning it often. Once a day if you have a large family, it doesn't take more than 60 seconds with a brush the above mentioned liquid.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 9:16AM
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There are obviously different types of rings, which is why different solution s may or may not work. We have soft water, but when we return from a 2 week vacation and some has evaporated, we get a stubborn ring. It isn't that we are slobs who don't know how to clean a toilet when we are home, as some posters have suggested!

My DH used pumice on one of our toilets to get at a ring and now that one builds up much faster than the other one, so I do think there are some micro-scratches from the pumice. Will try some of these other option this time.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 2:46PM
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The most common stains are removed with acid cleaners. In the 1940's it was Sani-Flush. That was sodium acid sulphate. More recently the products all were hydrochloric acid based and those are my favorites. I usually use Lysol toilet bowl cleaner I get at Costco. Products like Clorox toilet bowl cleaner are caustic and rely on oxidation of chlorine bleach to discolor stains and the detergent action of caustic to wash the surface.
I would suggest that those of you using pumice, Zud, sandpaper, or other abrasive cleaners try rubbing it on the outide of a window or drinking glass and try looking through it. You will see that there is fine haze there. I tried a magic eraser and ruined the glass on a sliding back door that way.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 9:59AM
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Zep Acidic Toilet Bowl cleaner or the Works---both available at the Home Depot

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 1:35PM
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