How to Remove Rust From Toilet Bowl

Cleaning toilets isn’t something most people enjoy. Whether it’s dealing with clogged drains or scrubbing away grime, it’s a task that requires effort. One of the worst things that can happen during bathroom cleaning is discovering a rusty toilet bowl. Rust is stubborn and challenging to remove, especially from a toilet bowl that constantly faces water exposure.

Luckily, there are easy ways to tackle this issue and make your bathroom spotless. In today’s article, we’ll explore some effective methods.

Causes of Rust

Rust stains in toilets happen when moisture or soap residue sticks to metal surfaces, blocking the oxygen needed for a chemical reaction. Regular cleaning helps, but specific methods are required for permanent removal.

Here’s why rust stains occur in toilet tanks and how to naturally remove them:

Stains from Copper

Corroded copper pipes or high copper content in water can cause these stains. Prevent them by installing water filters to strain impurities. If pipes are corroded, seek professional help to fix the issue.

Stains from Minerals

Minerals like calcium and limescale in water lead to brown and yellow stains that resist scrubbing. Only water filtration systems can effectively remove these stains for the long term.

Stains from Mold

Mold spores, tiny organisms thriving in damp, dark, warm areas, often cause rust stains. They settle on surfaces like toilet bowls, growing and creating these stains.

Mold can also develop in grout lines between tiles. If you spot rust-colored patches, it may signal mold growth. Calling a professional to address plumbing leaks causing excess moisture is the best solution.

Best Ways to Remove Rust from Toilet Bowl

Salt and Lemon Juice

Create a homemade rust remover using common pantry items like lemon juice and table salt. The abrasiveness of salt helps remove rust without damaging the toilet’s ceramic surface. The acidity in lemon juice enhances the cleaning process. Mix them with a bit of water or a light cleaner for better results.

White Vinegar and Water

White vinegar, like lemon juice, is acidic and effective in removing stubborn rust. Use food-grade vinegar from your pantry, though you may need a bit more due to its lower acidity. Dilute the vinegar with water, especially if it has 6% or higher acetic acid. Pour it into the bowl, scrub newer stains with a toilet brush, and soak older stains in undiluted vinegar before scrubbing.

Baking Soda and Citric Acid

Baking soda, with its alkaline pH, neutralizes and removes acidic rust. Mix it with citric acid in a 2:1 ratio to create a paste for rusted spots. The combination of baking soda and citric acid proves effective in cleaning toilets.

Pumice Sticks and Stones

Pumice sticks and stones are often overlooked but effective for rusty toilet bowls. These abrasive volcanic creations require a bit of water and elbow grease. Wet the stone or stick, rub it over the rusted spot, and notice a paste forming. This paste aids in cleaning and polishing the surface.

Commercial Rust Removers

For a guaranteed and effective solution, commercial rust removers contain corrosive chemicals. The specific formulation varies between brands, so carefully follow the instructions on the label to prevent damage to your toilet and plumbing.


Dealing with rust is a common part of home maintenance. Whether on old metal or in plumbing fixtures, it can be challenging. These cleaning tips make it easier to remove rust from your toilet. Once cleaned, maintaining a clean and dry toilet and plumbing system reduces the likelihood of rust formation, keeping your bathroom pristine.

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