Can't remove toilet bowl stain buildup

Cyd1900September 11, 2002

I have never had this problem before. There is a greenish buildup on the bottom of my toilet bowl that will not come off. I thought it was some sort of mineral buildup (lime, hard water, etc.) I have emptied the bowl of its water and poured in a lime/rust remover liquid and let it sit. But no matter how much I scrubbed, it wouldn't come off. Any suggestions?

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Could it be a copper precipitate from copper pipes? If this is a copper-based stain I'm not sure how to remove the stain. Anybody else have any good ideas?


    Bookmark   September 11, 2002 at 11:19AM
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Bleach is the only thing I can think of besides Lime Away.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2002 at 12:14PM
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If the ususal stuff from the supermarket , bleach and limeaway etc, fails there is a nasty one sold at serious hardware stores called santee or santeen or something to that affect. Expensive and nasty stuff. It ate the metal out of my toilet brush. You will want real gloves and eye protection.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2002 at 1:36PM
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Try to find a thing in the hardware store called a "Pummie." It's a long pumice stone (like the ones you can use on your feet) but has a plastic handle. It was the only thing that cleaned all the stains from the toilets in the home I bought last year. (The entire house was filthy and the toilets were the worst.) My handyman wanted me to replace all the toilets because they were so incredibly dirty and stained. Instead, I found the Pummie and scrubbed with it several times until the toilets were clean. Give it a try. Costs about $6.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2002 at 2:26PM
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Try ZUD you can get it at target I think or some grocery stores..take the water out and then just make a paste and scrub is miracle stuff

    Bookmark   September 12, 2002 at 1:30AM
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There is a product called Barkeepers Helper. It comes in a cardboard cylinder like Comet. You can find it in the car cleaning aisle at the groceery store. It WILL work! It works like magic when nothing else does. Better than Lime-Away (which never worked for me because the stains were so bad when I bought the house.)

    Bookmark   April 9, 2006 at 8:52AM
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Try muratic acid. Find it in the pool chemicals. Use it carefully, don't splash, ventilate the room. Wear rubber gloves, don't get it on anything!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2006 at 12:16PM
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I second the use of a pummice stone, used for removing dry/rough skin from feet. Any pharmacy should have some. I also thought I would have to buy several new toilets for the house we bought. Spent about 1/2 hour scrubbing each toilet, stains came out and they look like new.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2006 at 8:45PM
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I tried one of thgose pumice brushes, I scrubbed and it eneded up scratching the finish off, revealing tan ceramic. Looks terrible!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2006 at 8:52AM
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Try the pumice stone. They are cheap, easy to find and work great. I used them to clean old lime and hard water stains off the bathrooms here. I have a cabinet full of dozens of cleaning products I tried first that were useless.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2006 at 9:11PM
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How about steam cleaning it?

    Bookmark   May 12, 2006 at 12:51PM
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Had a toilet that was really bad all over. Nuffin cleaned it. I tried many different grocery store cleaners.
New once per week housekeeper told me to buy a product called 'The Works' and she would use that to clean it. Said it might take her several times.

I bought some and started using that bathrooms toilet and everytime before using it would swish the brush and scrub a bit,,,, then after flushing would squirt some more 'The Works' in.

Housekeeper returned the following week to find that one was now a spotlessly clean toilet.

I don't know why that particular toilet now gets ring around the bowl within a week. That's the only one out of three here that does that. Must be something dissimilar metals in the line feeding it.

The Works says active ingreadiant is Hydrogen Chloride 16% which with water is Hydroclorid Acid. It works very well here - about $2 for a good sized bent neck squirt bottle.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 3, 2006 at 10:23AM
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Could that quick ring line be from damage to the porcelin from cleaners? I used a pumice stone and ended up with frequent ring lines afterwards. Just wonder if the original surface is breached in any way, will it permit continuous problems down the road?

If worse comes to worse, toilet bowls ARE fairly inexpensive.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2006 at 11:46AM
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I just went at the rings in my toilet wtih the advice of this thread. I tried The Works, didn't do anything. Tried Barkeeper's Friend - that worked but took a LOT of elbow grease -- I think I scrubbed the toilet for over a half hour straight. I've still got two more toilets to do and would like to find an easier way.

I went to home depot to ask about the pumice stone but the guy looked at me like I was from outer space. Does anyone know of a store where I could buy one of these things? Thanks!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2006 at 8:12AM
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Our local Ace Hardware has them...Pumie heavy duty scouring stick. Was in the aisle with the cleaning supplies. Read the can damage the finish and must be used wet.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2006 at 7:19PM
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One of my toilets was stained horribly (it was like that when I purchased the home). It was too disgusting to use, in truth. I tried nearly everything, even letting Coke sit in the bowl (really, Coca Cola is supposed to remove the stains) - I even did the pummice stone, I would tear into the job while my son was taking a bath. Lime Away, CLR, none of it worked.. well, the pummice might've, but it wasn't worth the effort, it was taking forever. I ended up buying a new toilet - what a difference, so I've now fully redone the BR. :)

    Bookmark   July 14, 2006 at 9:30PM
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Pumice stones work very well not just on the toilets but also the BBQ and many other areas around the home. I was having a lot of trouble finding a pumice stone in any stores ( other than the sort sold for foot care and way to costly to consider cleaning with them ) so I started shopping online. The best price I found was at Marko Inc. Just $3.85 each and shipping/handling was 7.00 when I ordered 4. Much better price than Ace had!

Here is a link that might be useful: Marko Inc. Pumice Stone

    Bookmark   January 2, 2009 at 1:20PM
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2 other products you may want to try....let the water drain below the stain. Use hydrogen perocside on the stain. It may turn a bit yellow on the first application. The more applications, the more the stain should subside. Something we used to use in the lemon juice. Pour it slowly on the stain. Then let the water build up to cover the stain and pour a generous amount of lemon juice in and let it soak.....oh yeah, here's another one...there are teeth cleaners that contain pumice...that's what the Hygenist uses during your dental cleaning and polishing....maybe that would be less punishing than the stone? I guess I'd better hide my toothbrush in case my wife reads this!!!

    Bookmark   January 2, 2009 at 6:21PM
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I got the toilet stain out of the bowl and here's how. I used the same stuff I've used on the Glasstop stove we have. I used Cerama Bryte glass-ceramic cooktop cleaner with a Scott Brite no scratch pad. I first turned off the water to the toilet and used a small cup to get as much water out of the bowl as I could. Then I poured the cleaner on the stain and started scrubbing with the pad. It took about 20 or so and it was done. At first it might not seem to work but it is. Keep scrabbing and add more cleaner if you need it. My bowl looks brand new again with no scratches.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2009 at 6:40PM
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I have tried many different things to try to get the stains out of my toilet bowls, but the ONE thing that actually worked was using Cerama-Bryte.

I removed most of the water from the bowl and used a scratchless scrubbing pad to apply the Cerama-Bryte to the stain and scrubbed like mad. This was fairly effective at removing a lot of the stain. I wanted to take a break from the scrubbing, so I decided to try dabbing on globs of Cerama-Bryte directly to the stain all around the bowl and left it sit for about 1/2 hour. When I came back and resumed scrubbing, the stain came off a lot easier.

Depending on how bad your stains are, you may need to do this 2 or 3 times and it does require elbow grease, but it does work!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 2:34PM
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I was able to clean a very soiled toilet with white vinegar. No harsh chemicals, no fumes, etc. The bowl seemed to be very corroded with years of mineral build up, and vinegar was the only thing that actually worked, along with the elbow grease using a 3M sanding screen. For the really tough spots, I picked at the deposits with a screwdriver, and for a finish, to amend any scratches I created with the screwdriver, I cleaned the bowl with BarKeeper's Friend (the best cleanser there is). I am amazed that the two toilets I thought I was going to have to replace look brand new! Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2009 at 1:15AM
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Super iron out will work but wear a mask, open all the windows and run a fan. This will clean it but may knock you out.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 3:49PM
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get a green toilet

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 1:48AM
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There was a nasty looking toilet with a resume that hit about 10 years. Let's just say that toilet needed therapy not cleaning!

In any case, I started off simple; tried Lysol toilet cleaner: nothing.
Then White vinegar for 4 hours: nothing. Just a bad stink.
Cola overnight: Nothing. Stains were accentuated instead of extenuated which made me want to exenterate the thing!

Hydrogen peroxide, Scrubbing Bubbles, elbow grease, etc...
None of these made even a slight dent!
Then I read here and went with some advice...
And let me say 'The Works' works!

I gloved up, drained out most of the bowl water with a cup and emptied the whole Works container in there. I kept it the suggested 10 minutes. At first, I could not see if the stains were coming off since the it's a thick blue color. I started scrubbing with the toilet brush and noticed what was inital dirt on the brush. I then realised it was the actual stains peeling off! I kept it on for about 20 minutes longer, scrubbed more and most of it was gone! I wanted to make sure and so flushed. I only wish I kept it longer since most but not all of it was gone. I had to finish the job light scrubbing with a pumice stone and Comet with Bleach.

But trust me, 'The Works' was what had the most affect!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2009 at 7:16AM
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Use oven cleaner. Turn on the vent and close the door until ventilated.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2010 at 1:54AM
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Ammonia is the best thing for copper stains.

It will remove them.

Ordinary household ammonia may take a long time, so stop by a gun store and get some Sweets7.62 copper solvent.

It is stronger ammonia in a semi-gel designed to remove copper from gun barrels.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2010 at 9:15AM
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I used a black plunger in the toilet only to find out that it left the bowl looking dark in cooler . Cant remove the discoloration. What should I do to remove the darkness?

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 1:01PM
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there is one solution to this problem. it is called old fashned elbow grease. Cheap as well. All one needs is one of those cheap sponge sanding blocks and a little bit of VIM cleaner. Just push as much water as possible out of the bowl, next roll up your slevves and rub away. use the natural feel of your fingers to find the rough spots and concentrate on these areas. Max time 5 minutes. flush toilet and check for missed spots.
PS: your hands will come out spotless clean as well. This will not hurt your toilet finish. the industry has built their product well.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 6:15PM
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Try "Lysol toilet bowl cleaner" -. First throw a bucket of water into toilet bowl so water level is low. Squirt Lysol ( it has a DUCK neck) all around. Let sit for 15 minutes. Scrub with toilet brush and flush.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 2:20PM
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Get yourself a $2 Pummie pumice stone and start scrubbing the proceline. It will come off.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 6:27PM
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etting ready to move and can not remove the brown colored stain in the bottom of my toilet bowl. Please HELP

    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 12:54PM
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After buying our current home and spending years scrubbing our Master baths toilet with a pumice stone to get the brown stains out I finally came upon a product called "The Works". It has been 2 months and I have yet to do anything other then the occasional swish with the toilet brush.

I let The Works soak for a few hours, cleaned with the brush then reapplied and let it soak again for a few more hours.

Wish I knew about this stuff years ago!!!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 10:09PM
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The Works is the best thing I've ever seen! I've used it for years. Don't buy at large discount stores though, their stuff is watered down. I only buy at Dollar General or some other small store.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 1:04AM
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The stain eraser can be purchased at pool supply stores $15. It seems softer than a pumice stone, more like a rubbery substance and takes off the dark ring in toilets with a little effort. The Works and Iron Out work great for rust/iron stains.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2011 at 10:16AM
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Ladies and Gentlemen, I just want to caution on ever putting all sorts of things in the toilet at once such as bleach/ammonia/other cleaning products. You can get a burn, a bad one and not just on your hands it can get in your eyes. It sort of fizzes up like a science experiment so please only use one product at a time and the advice to use extra strong gloves and eye covering was a good one when going in for a scrub like this one! Good luck and I am going to try some of these good suggestions for cleaning products! P.S. I have been able to get Bar Keepers Friend at Willams Sonoma.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 2:21PM
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Hydrogen peroxide. Plain ordinary type purchased at drug store for about $1. Leave it in overnight. Then use any ordinary toilet cleaner and brush to clean. Repeat if necessary. (One time use will also make a BBQ grill surface like new. Like new. Works on my porcelain kitchen sink too. )

    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 11:18AM
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I had this same problem when I moved into my house. The previous owner (my mother in law) loved her some pumice stone! I think this is what brought on the majority of the problem and gave the buildup and stains something to stick to. Anyhow in addition to the damage from harsh scrbbing and lots o pumice it is a low water toilet and is a nightmare!!! I found this stuff at walmart called Liquid Lightening - Toilet bowl and hard surface cleaner not drain opener. I drained most of the water from the toilet and sprayed this stuff in let it sit for a few minutes (about 20) then used a peice of old nylon screen to scrub. Took very little elbow greese and it came off in scaly chunks. It is the best cleaner ever. It is very harsh but worked wonders. I went to buy some a couple of weeks ago and they no longer carry it. I was able to find it on ebay for twenty dollars but use to pay only six for hte same bottle :( hoping walmart starts carrying it again because it is frustrating to find something that works only to lose the ability to find it!

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 12:30AM
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I've tried everything including bleach, Bar Keeper's powder, CLR, Kaboom Toilet Bowl cleaner and many others. Nothing would get the "ring" out. My husband suggested Cascade w/Dawn gel cleaner. I just laughed and said what could it hurt. I left the gel on for several hours and low and behold it took it off. I've been trying to deal with the toilet bowl rings for almost 2 years. We have well water with a water softner. Needless to say, he got a huge kiss!

    Bookmark   October 6, 2011 at 6:29PM
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Use a Pumie stone. Did this and within a few minutes of elbow grease it was clean as could be. Cheap, too

    Bookmark   October 26, 2011 at 2:45PM
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After reading all your great suggestions I learned that the 2 most reliable forms of removing stains from the toilet are the Pumie Stone and "The Works." We went to buy them both and the store only carried "The Works" so that's what we bought.
We emptied out some of the water, coated the bowl, and left it over night. This morning we grabbed the toilet brush and to our amazement chunks of hard water and lime scale came right off with very little effort!
Thank you so much! I have been fighting this losing battle for years and with your help I have won!!

    Bookmark   January 22, 2012 at 9:49AM
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Hard water scale usually succumbs to distilled white vinegar pretty quickly.

All you have to do is pour a gallon into the bowl and let it sit overnight.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2012 at 11:52AM
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