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The One Thing Your Toilet Needs If You Have Hard Water

toilet cleaning hack

Mineral buildup, calcium deposits, mineral deposits, or hard water stains; no matter what you call them, you don’t want to see them in your toilet bowl! These stubborn marks can be tricky to scrub off, and can make your toilet look dirty even when you just cleaned it.

DIY Toilet Cleaner Tabs

What Causes Those Mineral Deposits In Your Toilet Bowl?

When dealing with mineral deposits in your toilet, it’s important to address the problem at its source. Often, the root of the problem is hard water that creates mineral buildup in and around your toilet’s siphon jets.

Not too long ago I shared an effective method for cleaning out your toilet’s siphon jets. While that method is very useful and helps prevent future mineral staining, it only addresses the siphon jets (the hidden source) and not the toilet bowl itself (the visible problem.)

toilet cleaning hack

A More Complete Solution For Toilet Mineral Deposits

The inspiration to find a more complete solution to the mineral deposit problem came from an OGT reader named Cheryl! She shared her own experience with removing hard water stains from her toilet bowl caused by their mineral-rich well water.

Cheryl’s story inspired me to find my own solution for toilet bowl stains, one that could be used in tandem with the siphon jet cleaning method I had shared previously. And that’s exactly what I did!

So without further ado, here’s a step-by-step explanation of a simple method you can use to remove mineral buildup from your toilet bowl. Combine this method with the siphon jet cleaning method for a total toilet deep cleaning treatment! :-)

toilet cleaning hack

Tools & Supplies

Here’s what you’ll need to clean mineral deposits or calcium stains off your toilet bowl:

How To Clean Mineral Deposits Off A Toilet Bowl

toilet cleaning hack

Step 1 – Prepare To Clean

Start by placing a few thin towels or rags in a big bowl. Pour enough white vinegar over the towels to saturate them completely. For a little extra disinfecting kick and a wonderfully clean scent, add a few drops of lemon essential oil or our own cleaning blend, Simple Clean.

You’ll also want to remove all the water from your toilet bowl. You can turn off the water and flush the toilet, or just dump a bucket of water straight down the center of your toilet. (It forces most of the water in the toilet down the drain without any extra effort!)

Related: These 9 Problem-Solving Toilet Hacks Are Weird, But They Work

toilet cleaning hack

Step 2 – Line The Toilet Bowl

Next, pull on a pair of gloves. Take the vinegar-soaked towels and position them around the inside of the toilet bowl.

Try to cover as much of the surface as possible, especially the areas that are the most stained or discolored.

toilet cleaning hack

Step 3 – Let It Sit

Leave the rags in the toilet for several hours, or up to overnight if possible! The longer you can leave the rags in place, the better for dissolving those tough mineral deposits.

If the towels start to dry out after a while, no worries! Just use a spray bottle to apply more vinegar to the towels.

Related: How to Unclog A Toilet The Easy Way

toilet cleaning hack

Step 4 – Scrub

After you’ve let the vinegar works its magic, remove the towels and scrub the bowl thoroughly with a toilet brush. (And if there are any lingering bits of mineral gunk, a wet pumice stone should take care of them!)

And just like that, you’ve triumphed over those unsightly mineral deposits! Repeat this process once a month or so (depending on how hard your water is) to maintain a stain-free toilet!

Do you deal with mineral deposit stains in your toilet bowl(s)?

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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Homekeeping Tips

  • Thank you for sharing that helpful hint about removing burnt residue from stainless steel pots.
    Adding hydrogen peroxide & simmering for ten minutes was the ONLY thing that worked!! I tried
    all the rest with NO results!

  • This a toilet bowl suggestion but more for Rust stains than hard water. I’ve found that Whink Rust Remover (it’s in a brown bottle…I’ve gotten at Meijer, spartan stores & Menards) removes rust like magic!! I kid you not!! It can tarnish so use caution!

    • For years – no, decades – I have hung Jet Dry baskets (a solid form of jet dry for dishwashers that can’t use liquid) in toilet tanks to help prevent hard water scale buildup. One basket lasts more than a year as cold water dissolves them very slowly. They really work. A quick brushing with a little squirt of Dawn dish liquid every week is all that is needed to keep the waterline and rim jets clean and free of scale.

      Unfortunately the Jet Dry baskets have been discontinued by the manufacturer :-( PLINK brand also makes a solid rinse agent. As soon as the last of my Jet Dry baskets need to be thrown away, I will switch to the PLINK version.

  • I tried everything. Vinegar helped but with our dry dry climate, I had to refresh it more than once. Someplace I saw a suggestion for Bar Keepers Friend and dry wall screening (to sand dry wall patches). I cut a small sq and tried it with the Bar Keepers Friend. VOILA! It also took the rust stains from under the rim. Now I just to a quick swipe once a month…no more ring around the toilet! BKF is very inexpensive and the dry wall screening was found at Home Depot or Lowes in the paining dept. Look for dry wall patch compound…screening was nearby. My only suggestion is not to leave it to ‘soak’. It needs to be rinsed off. It will discolor some metals if left to sit. LOVE that stuff! (I used it to clean out my Instant Pot too…can you say SHINY??)

    • The open grid is to let the fine dust through when sanding drywall but this tough mesh is still SANDPAPER. This paper will score the porcelain which, will ultimately lead to a stain that is even harder to remove. Use the 3M Scotchbrite pads on plumbing fixtures if needed.

      P.S. Spice Jungle has all sorts of powdered vinegars, peppers and whatever for your dining and scrubbing pleasure.

    • Wall sand is great on regular, plain jane toilets – I’ve never had it scratch. BUT don’t use it on colored toilets or on those made with the special glossy non-stick surface without testing a spot first, as it might scratch those.

  • I think the method described here could be used for clearing up long-term buildup – I can’t imagine doing this on a regular basis (especially draining the water from the toilet). We have problems with iron in our water. I keep up with the stains in the toilets with this method:
    1- put 1 cup baking soda in, followed by 2 cups white vinegar
    2- wait for the fizzing to die down, then scrub with toilet brush
    3- let it sit an hour or two, then flush

    This works if I keep it up once a week. If more buildup than usual occurs, I use Iron Out.

    • Try using the baking soda by itself, it’s excellent for removing rust stains. And vinegar by itself is a good acid for hard water scale. High school chemistry: Mixing acid with base (vinegar and baking soda) creates a satisfying fizz upon reaction but leaves behind only water with a few harmless salts left over. No different than cleaning with plain water.

  • Someone gave me a much easier way to get rid of those deposits. You just have to put boiling vinegar (about 2 litres) in the empty toilet, let sit for an hour and then scrub a bit (in fact you don’t really need to scrub, all the mineral deposits are gone). Et voilà!

  • Actually I found a much easier trick to eliminate visible deposits. At first I found that I could scrape them off quite easily with a spoon. Like flakes. But the metal left dark streaks on the bowl. So I now use a white melanine or sturdy plastic kitchen spoon or a white dishwashing brush (40 eurocents @ IKEA haha) with a square scraping end. Of course to avoid confusion I wrote “WC!!! ” On them……

  • Very good, We have a filter that is out at the street and a filter that is under our sink. Yes, 2 filters and what this does is: 1. hair is softer. 2. skin is softer. 3. water taste is wonderful 4. shower water is wonderful 5. toilet water is 6. sink cleaning is easier too.

    As always Jillee is a 5-star lady and our family thanks her!


    About Creativity ( on line name )

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