Streaks of orange rust stains are not the most attractive in toilet bowls, especially if you plan to have guests over to your home. Without proper care and maintenance, rust stains can build up in your toilet over time. Preventing stains requires cleaning on a routine basis using the right types of products. Many products will fail to remove rust stains effectively, and some may even cause them to become permanent. Thus, it’s crucial to know what causes rust stains and how to clean them properly. Here’s how to remove rust stains from your toilet:
What Causes Rust Stain In Toilets?
Rust stains in toilet bowls result from water containing high levels of untreated metal components in toilet tanks, iron bacteria, rusty water heaters, iron plumbing pipes, or iron particulates. They are most commonly found in houses in hard-water areas that use well-water. The mixture of the water’s minerals and iron bacteria can result in rust particles clinging to bathroom fixtures’ enamel or porcelain surfaces. If the water is not filtered or treated using a water-softening system, the stains will reappear even after cleaning.
How to Get Rust Stain off Toilet Bowl
If you find rust in your toilet bowl, you’ll need the following:
- Microfiber cloth
- Old toothbrush
- Spray bottle
- Toilet bowl brush
- Scrub brush
- Lemon juice
- Cream of tartar
- Baking soda
- Plastic food wrap
- Cleaning vinegar
- Pumice stick or powder
- Distilled white vinegar
- Commercial rust remover
Use Citric Acid
Citric acid can serve as a powerful toilet bowl rust stain remover. It can be from fresh grapefruits, limes, lemons, or powdered citric acid found in drug or grocery stores. If you’re scrubbing away rust stains with fresh citrus fruit, dip the edge in baking soda or salt to provide a gentle abrasive. For areas with heavy stains, mix a baking soda and lemon juice paste to apply to these spots. Cover the paste with plastic wrap to stay moist, letting it sit for an hour or more to help break down the particles of rust. If you’re using citric acid powder, make a paste using several drops of water and apply it directly to the stained spot. Wash away the stain using an old toothbrush or scrub brush with elbow grease.
Distilled White Vinegar
Another effective toilet bowl rust remover is distilled white vinegar. It contains acetic acid, which can help prevent rust stains from becoming permanent if used on a weekly basis. Use cleaning vinegar rather than food-grade vinegar, as the former has a higher acidity that is more effective for difficult rust stains. Add one or two cups of vinegar to the toilet bowl and use a toilet brush to scrub the stains. For older stains, empty the water out of the toilet bowl and pour in undiluted vinegar, letting it sit overnight (or at least two hours). Scrub it well and rinse with fresh water.
Cream of Tartar
Cream of tartar, a powdered form of tartaric acid typically used in baked goods, is a great rust remover. Using several drops of water, make a paste to apply to toilet bowl stains. Like other acids, give it some time to work and cover the area with plastic wrap so that the paste remains moist.
Add Gentle Abrasives
Gentle abrasives such as table salt, pumice powder, or baking soda can be used with acid cleaners or alone. They are gentle enough that they do not damage the porcelain finishes of toilets. To get the best results, wet the stained surface using cleaner or water and keep the area wet while using the abrasive. Pumice, a naturally occurring volcanic rock, comes in powder or solid form. Pumice stones or sticks can scrub away limescale, hard water, and rust stains.
Use Commercial Rust Removers
There are many commercial rust removers on the market that effectively remove stains. As some are harsher than others, take time to read the labels carefully, follow the directions, and store and dispose of products correctly.
How to Remove Rust Stain From Toilet Tank
If you want to remove rust stains from the toilet tank, you’ll need the following:
- Long handle scrub brush
- Rubber gloves (optional)
- Disinfectant cleaner
- Distilled white vinegar
Find the Water Valve
First, you must empty the tank of water. If you use the control valve to stop the water flow, it is generally on the wall behind the tank or by the toilet’s base. To shut off the flow of water, turn it clockwise.
Empty the Tank
Remove the tank’s lid, putting it somewhere out of the way. Flush the toilet until the tank is completely drained. Depending on the reservoir’s size, you may have to flush it two or three times.
Assess the Tank
If you have a new tank or live in an area with great water, you might only need to scrub the tank well with a disinfectant cleaner. However, if there is rusty discoloration on the bottom of the tank or a hard ring of minerals close to the top, you’ll need to give the tank a deeper cleaning using vinegar.
Use a Disinfectant Cleaner
Spray the inside of the tank’s walls and floor using a disinfectant cleaner, leaving it for 10 minutes or more before scrubbing it away. Next, wash away any grime using a long-handled scrub brush, reaching into the bottom and corners of the tank. Then, clean the toilet’s “working parts” with a dampened sponge and disinfectant cleaner. Wipe down components such as the flapper, handlebar or handle chain, ball float, and refill tube. Spray cleaner on the sponge to prevent using too much and rusting metal components. Turn the water valve back on, letting the tank refill. Lastly, flush a few times to get rid of the loosened soil and cleaner.
Utilize Distilled White Vinegar
Empty all of the water from the tank, remove the top, and fill it with distilled white vinegar till it reaches the level of the overflow valve. Depending on the side of the tank, it might take up to three gallons of vinegar. Allow it to sit for 12 hours and then flush away the vinegar to empty the tank. After that, follow all the same steps as the disinfectant cleaner.
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