Removing Rust Stains from Toilets

Written by Plumbers of Perth

on 4 April 2023

While your toilets aren’t necessarily somewhere that you think of as being particularly aesthetically pleasing, rust stains can still make them look unhygienic and unwelcoming. If you are currently experiencing rust stains on your toilets, you aren’t alone with this issue. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to remove rust stains from toilets, so you can avoid this issue again in the future.

Can You Use Bathroom Cleaners to Remove Rust Stains?

Rust stains appear on toilet bowls, bathtubs, and sinks all of the time. You may be wondering if you can just use your typical bathroom cleaning products to remove these stains, but sadly that’s not the case at all. An all-purpose bathroom or toilet cleaner won’t be able to remove the stains. In fact, any type of chlorine bleach might actually make the rust stains worse. Instead, you need to focus on using acid-based products, which can help to remove rust stains from the surface of your toilet bowl.

What Causes Rust Stains on Toilets?

Rust appears when the reaction between iron and oxygen takes place on an uncoated metal surface. However, in the case of most toilet bowls, the rust occurs as a result of the high iron content levels in the water that runs past the surface of the bowl all the time. Rusty water heaters and untreated metal within the toilet tank can also exasperate this issue, which is why it’s such a common problem for property and business owners around the world.

In homes, we notice a higher number of rust stains within areas that have hard water. The iron bacteria and mineral levels force the rust particles to attach to the porcelain and enamel of your toilet fixtures, which will leave you with unsightly marks over time. Most of these stains will come back again and again in the future, so you need to find a way to deal with them efficiently. When the water is treated with a water-softening system, this can be the final solution to this issue and will help to minimize the chance of stains reoccurring in the future.

Should You Clean Your Rust Stains Each Week?

As part of your weekly bathroom cleaning session, you might be wondering if you should keep attacking your rust stains. Make sure you pay attention to the areas of your toilet that are a particular problem when cleaning so that you stop any build-up before it’s too late. The more water that sits on the surface of your toilet bowl, the more likely it will be to rust. If you have toilets that are out of use for a while, do what you can to keep them clean and tidy while you don’t need them.

Acid-Based Stain Removers

There are many different acid-based products that you could use to help remove rust stains from toilets. These range from milder acids to very strong commercial products, which are perfect for the toughest stains. Here are a few examples of acid-based products you could use to remove rust stains:

  • Lemon juice
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Cream of tartar
  • Hydrochloric and sulfuric acid-based products

When the acid is applied to the rust stain, it will help to loosen the bond with other surfaces. Upon looking at the products on the market today, many of these rust removers contain sodium hydrosulphite. You could also try scrubbing your toilet with baking soda and a pumice stone, which can work to generally loosen the rust from any surface.

Tools for Removing Rust Stains from Toilets

In order to effectively remove rust stains from your toilets, you need to have the following equipment:

  • A scrubber brush
  • A toothbrush
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Toilet bowl brush

You are then going to start by applying citric acid to the toilet, which can be in the form of fruits such as lemons and limes. In order to make the fruit abrasive, dip it in a pile of baking soda or salt so that you can rub it across the stained area. If you have some very stubborn stains, we recommend making a paste of baking soda and lemon juice. Apply this for up to an hour on your toilet bowl, and then scrub it away after. This should help to break down any rust particles on the toilet bowl, which you can then continue to attack with your toilet bowl brush.

Distilled White Vinegar to Treat Rust Stains

Another great way to attack rust stains on your toilet bowl is to use distilled white vinegar. You can safely use this each week without any issues, and it will help to stop stains from forming permanently on your toilet bowl. Spray the vinegar directly onto your rust stains, and then use a scrubbing brush to clean the area off. You can also add a cup or two of the distilled white vinegar to your toilet bowl and then scrub it during your weekly clean. If you have older stains that won’t budge, let the mixture sit for a couple of hours in an empty toilet bowl before rinsing it with water.

How to Avoid Rust Stains in the Future

While treating the rust stains in your toilet bowl is especially important, you also need to think about how you’ll avoid these issues again in the future. Bathroom rust is usually caused by the water that hits your appliances, so think about investing in a filtration system in the future. Leaks are another cause for concern in your bathroom, so make sure you stop any leaking toilets before it’s too late. Also, look into the interiors of your toilet, which may be old and need parts replacing. Work with a plumber if you aren’t sure how to fix the issue yourself so that you can stop having to deal with constant rust stains in the future.

Rust stains in toilets are something that many of us experience in our homes. With the techniques we’ve shared above, you can put these issues behind you and start tackling them quickly in the future before it’s too late.