How to remove iron stains from the toilet

how to remove iron stains from toilet

Iron stains in your toilet are caused by minerals in hard water that build up after some time if the bathroom is not cleaned regularly with stain removal ingredients. But, the good news is iron stains can be removed using either commercial or natural products that will leave your toilet looking as clean as new.

You can effectively get rid of iron stains on your toilet with simple ingredients like Bar Keepers Friend or Borax and lemon juice. You can also remove iron stains by making a paste with simple kitchen ingredients: white vinegar and baking soda. Borax and white vinegar paste also gets the job done. 

Using acids to remove rust

A fact to note is that acids are known to be the best for breaking down rust stains. Some acids, like hydrochloric acid, which is the main ingredient in most commercial toilet cleaners, are very harsh and harmful.

Try to go for commercial cleaners that contain oxalic acid, or for natural ingredients like lemon juice that contains citric acid and vinegar, which is made of acetic acid. They will all work to dissolve iron stains on your toilet.

Read on for a few different effective approaches to remove rust stains from your toilet.

Bar Keepers Friend is no friend to iron stains

The cleaning product Bar Keepers Friend works like a charm for removing iron and rust stains from literally anything, be it bathtubs, sinks or toilets, whether they are made of porcelain, stainless steel, fireclay, ceramic, or glass.

You will find Bar Keepers Friend in powder form. It’s a very fine texture, like that of baking flour. It’s also mildly abrasive, so won’t scratch surfaces. One of the most active ingredients in Bar Keepers Friend is oxalic acid, which is famously known for breaking down rust into the molecular level.

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You’ll need:

  • 1 cup Barkeepers Friend
  • A kitchen scourer

Follow the procedure:

  1. Wet the bowl by flushing the toilet.
  2. Pour in the Bar Keepers Friend, spreading it well in the bowl, ensuring all the stained parts are well covered.
  3. Let it sit for about an hour.
  4. After the one-hour time frame, begin to scrub it gently with a kitchen scourer and you should see the stains come off.
  5. Flush your toilet to rinse and get back that beautiful shine!

It’s important to note that some of the ingredients in BKF could cause skin irritation. For protection, make sure you have your gloves on before handling it.

Borax and Lemon juice: an effective combo

Borax and lemon juice make toilet stain removal so effortless, the two should be every home cleaner’s best friend. There’s been a lot of hype about Borax, but looking at the components it’s made up of, everything is all-natural, harmless, and very effective.

The main component of Borax is sodium chloride, which is basically just salt. When it’s combined with lemon juice, it can clear any form of iron or rust stains. As with all other commercial cleaners, to avoid skin irritations, protect yourself by wearing gloves.

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup Borax
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • A kitchen scourer

Follow these steps:

  1. Wet the bowl by flushing the toilet.
  2. Pour in the borax powder evenly inside the toilet bowl making, sure it sticks well.
  3. Pour the lemon juice over the Borax to form a borax and lemon juice paste.
  4. Let it sit for about an hour or more. Overnight works best.
  5. Next, take a kitchen scourer and begin to scrub gently.
  6. The stains will transfer easily to the scouring pad
  7. Once happy with the results, flush the toilet for the final shiny look
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White vinegar and baking soda: a classic duo

White vinegar and baking soda is another excellent combination for stain removal. Vinegar’s acidic nature helps remove iron stains with ease.

You’ll need:

  • 3 cups of white vinegar
  • 2 cups of baking soda

Follow the procedure:

  1. Flush the toilet to wet the bowl.
  2. Dip cotton ball swabs in the white vinegar and then rub on the stains.
  3. Pour the remaining vinegar inside the toilet bowl before spreading it all over.
  4. Take the baking soda and pour it on the vinegar
  5. Use a scouring pad to scrub the stained area
  6. As you do this, you will notice the iron stains transferring onto the scouring pad.
  7. When all the iron stains are gone, rinse the area thoroughly with a bucket of cold water.
  8. If you see any remaining stain residue, repeat the process.

A Borax and vinegar paste

A paste made of Borax and vinegar also works perfectly on iron stubborn stains

You’ll need:

  • 2 cups of borax
  • 1 cup of distilled white vinegar

Follow these steps:

  1. Mix the two ingredients to form a thick paste.
  2. Flush the toilet to wet the bowl, then apply the paste on the stained parts
  3. Rub gently against the stains with a toilet brush or scourer so they’re covered.
  4. Once done, don’t rinse. Leave the solution to soak for about 30 minutes.
  5. After the 30 minute mark, pour another cup of vinegar as you gently scrub the stains once more
  6. Flush the toilet to rinse, the result will be a shiny stain-free toilet bowl.

Frequently asked questions about iron stains

What causes iron stains in toilet bowls?

Iron stains in toilet bowls are caused by hard water. Hard water contains minerals that overtime buildup. When the water evaporates away, it leaves mineral deposits behind, which can form a brown-orange stain or ring in the toilet bowl.

While the stain might not be harmful in terms of bacterial and fungus, the site can really be gross to look at and can taint the overall appearance of your home, so it’s best when they are dealt with immediately when they form.

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How do you remove iron stains from toilet bowls, bathtubs, and sinks?

For iron stains, the best remedy is acid. Any kind of acid will dissolve the iron or rust, but some acids like hydrochloric acid can be toxic to you and can also damage the toilet material.

The best commercial products to use are Bar Keepers Friend, which contains oxalic acid, or Borax, which is mainly salt. For natural remedies, vinegar and baking soda will work effectively. For extremely tough iron stains, a combination of commercial and natural products will get the job done, for example, Borax and lemon juice or a Bar Keepers Friend and vinegar paste.

Is Borax the best for iron and rust stains?

Borax will loosen iron stains, making them come off easily. When it comes to cleaning, just like vinegar and baking soda, Borax should be a staple in every household. It can do so much in addition to removing rust stains. Plus you can combine it with other cleaning agents without it causing harmful, toxic reactions.

Can you use bleach to remove iron stains in toilet bowls?

Bleach is not suitable for removing toilet bowl stains. It is damaging because bleach eats away at most materials used to make toilet bowls, sinks bathtubs. Also, bleach is highly toxic and should not be mixed with anything like vinegar or lemon juice. A natural remedy is always the best cleaning option.

If your toilet doesn’t just have iron stains, but suffers from blue-green stains, or yellow stains, read here for more information.

Wrapping up

Hard water stains are inevitable. Most of the time we cannot avoid them, but this is no reason to live with a stained toilet. To keep the iron stains at bay, clean your toilet regularly using Borax, vinegar, and baking soda. This will prevent formation and buildup. A clean toilet is a clean home and a clean home is a happy home. Happy cleaning everybody.

how to remove iron stains from toilet

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