How to remove Rust Stains from Toilets

How to remove Rust Stains from Toilets

For today’s D.I.Y. I will show you how to remove rust stains from toilets. It is quite common to notice rust stains in areas that are prone to moisture like toilets, tubs, sinks and the like. These rust stains can irritate you to a large extent, as they spoil the entire look of the place. Rust stains on toilets can be a huge embarrassment for you, especially when you have guests over. When you have hard water in your area, or water that has a high iron content, it can cause rust stains on toilets and tubs easily.

While it may not be possible to get rid of rust stains completely until you treat the water in your area, it is definitely possible to keep your toilets and tubs clean by cleaning them regularly (once a week is recommended). We have listed some easy and effective methods below to get rid of rust stains from toilets thoroughly. Try the one that works best for you.

Citric Acid Method

What do you need?

  • Any source of citric acid (you can directly buy citric acid from the stores or extract it from citrus fruits like lemon, orange, grapefruit and the like)
  • Baking Soda or Salt (if using fresh citrus fruits)
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Water
  • Scrubbing Brush
  • Elbow Grease


  • Scrub the rust-stained area with citric acid thoroughly. If using fresh fruits, dip the fruit in a bowl containing baking soda or salt, before you use it for scrubbing the rusty toilets.
  • If the stains are deep, you can make a paste of lemon juice and baking soda. Apply this on the rusty areas. If you are using citric acid powder bought from stores, mix a little water to it to form a paste. Apply this paste over the rusty areas directly.
  • Cover the rusty areas with plastic wrap. This will ensure that the cleaning agents will set in nicely on the stains, and break down the rust particles.
  • Open the plastic wrap after an hour.
  • Use a scrubbing brush, or an old toothbrush to scrub your toilets gently, and you will notice that the rust stains have gone. You can also use elbow grease to scrub away stubborn stains.

Distilled White Vinegar Method

What do you need?

  • Distilled White Vinegar – 1 or 2 cups
  • Toilet Brush
  • Fresh Water


  • Add one or 2 cups of distilled white vinegar to the toilet bowls, and use a scrubbing brush, or a toilet brush to clean the rust stains. If the stains are not very deep, they would start to come off now.
  • For stubborn stains, switch off the water connection to the toilet bowl first. Add 2 cups of undiluted vinegar to the toilet bowl.
  • Let the solution remain on the toilet for at least 3 hours (leave it on overnight for heavy stains).
  • After a few hours, scrub well using a toilet brush, and rinse using fresh water to remove all traces of vinegar from it.
  • Always use vinegar with a high acidity content for cleaning toilets, sinks, tubs and the like.

Cream of Tartar Method

What do you need?

  • Cream of tartar
  • Nylon-bristled toothbrush
  • Water
  • Plastic Wrap


  • Make a paste by mixing a few drops of water with cream of tartar (potassium bitrate).
  • Apply this paste liberally over the toilets, sinks and other places where you find rust stains.
  • Cover with a plastic wrap, so that the paste remains damp and easy to clean.
  • After a few hours, remove the wrap. Use a nylon-bristled toothbrush to scrub away the stains. You will notice that the stains have started to lift gradually.

Pumice Stone Method

  • Pumice Stone, powder, or sticks
  • Acid Cleaner (optional)
  • Water


Wet the stained areas with a little water.

Use pumice stones, powder, or sticks to scrub over the rust stains. For light stains, this method would work effectively.

For deep stains, use an acid cleaner to rinse the toilets after you scrubbed them with pumice stones. The stains will start to vanish from the toilet bowl.

Coca Cola Method

What do you need?

  • A bottle of Coca Cola
  • Toilet Brush


  • Turn off the water supply to the rusty toilets.
  • Pour an entire bottle of Coca-Cola directly into the toilet bowl.
  • Let it sit there for a few hours. You can also leave it on overnight.
  • Use a toilet brush to scrub the stains thoroughly in the morning.
  • Turn on the power supply and rinse the toilet bowl with water to see that the stains have disappeared.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • When you buy commercial toilet cleaners, please check the product labels properly. Never buy products that contain harsh or abrasive agents, as they may end up causing a lot of damage to your toilets.
  • It is a good idea to treat the root cause of rust formation in the toilets – hard water. If you live in a place that has hard water, you cannot avoid rusty stains completely. A good preventive technique to avoid this is to invest in a good filtration or water-softening system. When the water’s quality is corrected, you can automatically prevent rust formation in bathrooms, sinks, tubs and other places.
  • Check the plumbing lines in your toilets regularly for leakage, breakage and other issues. A small leak, if left unnoticed, can lead to rust formation in the toilets and wastage of water, eventually.
  • When you notice rust stains on the toilets, check the interiors of the toilet tanks. Corroded metal parts inside the tanks can also lead to rusty stains on the toilets. Replace these with non-corrosive materials to prevent further stains.
  • Ensure your toilets are clean & dry after every use. Moisture is one of the important reasons for the formation of rusty stains. So, you can wipe your toilets clean after every use.
  • If you have an old system of water pipes (usually made from cast iron or galvanized steel), you should consider replacing them with modern and non-corrosive materials like copper.
  • If you don’t have any of the supplies that we suggested in the above methods, you can still get rid of the rust stains from your toilets by using WD40. Spray some WD40 on your toilet bowls, and leave it for some time, before you wipe them away.



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