How to clean toilet bowl stains

How to remove toilet bowl stains

For most of us the toilet is the last place in the house we want to clean but the longer it gets put off the dirtier it will get. We will reveal the different types of toilet bowl stains, what causes them and on how to clean them with baking soda, bio clean hard stain remover and even coke.

Topics covered
  • Types of stains
  • Mold
  • Serratia marcescens
  • Hard water stains
  • Toilet bowl stain cleaning tools
  • Best toilet bowl cleaners

Types of stains in the toilet bowl

In the next section we will cover three types of stains – those caused by mold, the serratia marcescens bacteria and hard mineral deposit water.


The mold found in toilets is in the majority of cases non-toxic and can be recognized by a black ring around the bowl along the water line. There are a number of causal factors involved ranging from not cleaning the toilet regularly enough to the presence of too many mineral deposits in the water supply which serves as a food source for mold.

Mold stains in the toilet bowl is easily cleanable with a combination of baking soda, vinegar and bleach. Visit here if mold has been a recurring problem with your toilet.

Serratia marcescens

Serratia marcescens is often described by many people as a slimy looking ‘pink mold in the toilet’. However, it’s not mold. It’s an opportunistic pathogen that can cause urinary tract and lung infections in people with compromised immune systems. The bacteria doesn’t always appear as pink as it can oftentimes be orange or even red in color.

The pathogen thrives in damp environments which is why the toilet is so susceptible. To make matters worse, it’s not confined to toilets but can easily appear throughout other parts of your bathroom, most notably the shower where it feeds off soap residue.

The good news is that Removing serratia marcescens in the toilet bowl doesn’t require much effort. However, once you have it it’s almost guaranteed to return.

Hard mineral deposit water

Hard water is water which seeped through layers of chalk and limestone before being extracted from the ground and reaching your tap. Because of this it is rich in mineral deposits such as calcium and magnesium.

According to the World Health Organization drinking hard water has no adverse effects on humans. On the other hand, it’s not good for the home plumbing system, is a good food source for mold and can leave some very hard to remove stains in your toilet bowl over time.

Learn more about hard water at wikipedia and check out the safe and environmentally friendly Bio Clean to remove hard water stains from your toilet bowl.

Toilet bowl stain cleaning tools

Cleaning toilets is no fun task so why not make the job easier? The standard toilet brush is fine for easy to remove stains but when it comes to tougher stains you will need some help. Here we have listed some tools that will make the process quick and easy.

Power drill and brush set

Toilet bowl stain brush drill

Power drill

Power drills aren’t just for construction work and DIY home projects because if you attach the right brush you have the worlds best toilet brusher.

That doesn’t mean you can use any old power drill. The ideal tool for this job will have to be lightweight and small enough to move around inside a toilet bowl. Also, water and electricity do not go well together so the tool will most definitely have to be cordless.

The CACOOP Cordless Drill Driver is the ideal tool for this job. It weights a mere 3.5 pounds, is small enough to comfortably work with inside of a toilet and takes a rechargeable lithium ion battery that lasts for up to 2 hours (which is included).

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Toilet bowl brushes

Power drill brush attachments

Choosing the right brushes for the power drill is important because the last thing you want is to create scratch marks on the porcelain bowl.

The Ultimate Drillbrush Attachment Kit comes with 6 different brushes, each one suited for a different task and specifically made for being attached to a power drill. Scrubbing toilets, showers, walls and even ovens and stoves becomes so much easier.

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Best toilet bowl cleaners

Removing toilet bowl stains is undoubtedly an undesirable yet necessary task. On the plus side, using the right cleaning solutions for type of stain you are dealing with can make the job quick and easy.

Best toilet bowl cleaners

Just remember that you are dealing with potential airborne pathogens and spores so safety measures are of the utmost importance. Always wear a pair of rubber gloves whenever scrubbing toilets and working with bleach. Get some fresh air circulation by opening the bathroom window and wear an N-95 breathing respirator.

How to clean toilet bowl stains with baking soda, vinegar and bleach

Vinegar and baking soda pairs up great because when combined it creates a super corrosive and bubbly carbonic acid which does a great job at removing toilet bowl stains. The bleach which will be added last is an extra precautionary step to kill and disinfect spores and bacteria left behind.

Recommended for: Mold, serratia marcescens and general stains. Might work on some hard water stains but chances are you will need something stronger.


Add vinegar: Add one cup of undiluted white vinegar into the bowl.


Add baking soda: Add one cup of baking soda into the bowl and allow a few seconds to fizzle.


Start scrubbing: Start scrubbing the bowl with a toilet brush until all the toilet bowl stains are off. If dealing with mold, serratia marcescens or general stains then it should come off very easily.


Flush the toilet: Once all stains are off flush the toilet and wait for the water in the bowl to refill.


Add bleach: Add one cup of bleach into the bowl. Be sure to get most of it onto the sides of bowl instead of pouring all of it into the water. Wait 15 to 20 minutes but no longer because bleach is harsh on the toilet seals.


Flush a few times: Flush about three times to make sure you get all the bleach out of the bowl.

How to clean toilet bowl stains with coke

Coca-Cola does a great job at removing general stains and rust rings. It even helps unclog toilets too. This is all thanks to its mild acidic content.

Recommended for: General stains and rust rings.


Add coke: Pour one can of coke into the bowl. Be sure to hit the sides so that it covers the bowl.


Wait: Wait at least an hour while the acidic content of the coca-cola breaks down and loosens the stains. Actually, the longer you leave it the better it will work so you could pour the coke into the bowl just before you go to sleep and let it sit overnight.


Scrub the bowl: Take the toilet scrubbing brush and scrub the bowl until the stains are off.


Flush: Flush the toilet.

How to clean hard water stains from the toilet bowl

The high calcium and magnesium content of hard water creates some of the toughest stains in the toilet bowl. In some cases coca-cola nor a combination of vinegar and baking soda will do the trick here. Instead, a much stronger off the shelf product like Bio Clean Hard Water Stain Remover should be used.

Hard water stain remover

Bio Clean: Hard Water Stain Remover (10 Oz)

The Bio-Clean Hard Water Stain Remover easily and effortlessly removes the most toughest stains from many types of surfaces. Toilet bowls, tiles, glass, sinks, showers, hard vinyl and many more.

The best part is that the product, although having incredible industrial strength, contains zero harsh chemicals. It leaves no harsh fumes, unpleasant smells and is biodegradable which makes it 100% safe for humans, animals and the environment.

Bio-Clean works so well, and because of its non-toxic biodegradable nature, is the only off the shelf toilet bowl stain remover we recommend.

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Pumice Cleaning Stone Toilet Bowl Stain Scrubber

Pumice Cleaning Stone Toilet Bowl Stain Scrubber

The Pumice cleaning stone has a fine grit which makes it safe and suitable for safely scrubbing tough stains from fragile surfaces such as porcelain without leaving scratch marks behind.

There are many such products on the market but the reason we chose this one in particular is because of its ability to conform to the shape of surface being cleaned. Also, it lasts up to 40% longer than other similar products.

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