The Best Ways To Get Rid Of Hard Water Stains In Your Toilet

One of the most frustrating parts of cleaning your bathroom is likely dealing with those pesky hard water stains. Not only do they look unappealing, but they get tougher to clean the more they build up. And, as Good Housekeeping explained, if left too long, they can even become permanent, which is something you certainly don't want.

Hard water stains can look a little different depending on where they are and the type of minerals within the water — for example, you might spot some white-hued stains on your stainless steel faucet, whereas the hard water stains in your toilet bowl could be more of a brown or rust color. Regardless, the crisp white backdrop of most toilet bowls makes certain hard water stains very apparent. And sometimes, no matter how hard you scrub, they just don't seem to want to budge. Luckily, there are a few tips and tricks that will help to remove those hard water stains and leave your toilet sparkling clean — read on to learn more.

A toilet cleaner designed for hard water stains

This may seem like an easy place to start, but, well, it's effective for a reason. As Good Housekeeping reported, a simple way to tackle those hard water stains is with toilet cleaner designed for that purpose. Additionally, certain solutions have a unique design, like a curved neck, that can be helpful for tackling stains along the rim and top of the toilet bowl. While some may prefer a more natural solution, if the contents and fumes of the toilet cleaner don't bother you, it's definitely a solid starting point.

Plain white vinegar

Whatever mess you're looking to tackle in your home, chances are, regular white vinegar can help — it's a total powerhouse when it comes to cleaning. As Sunrise Specialty recommended, for best results, you'll want to drain and dry out your toilet bowl, so the vinegar doesn't get diluted, and then spray plain white vinegar over the bowl. Then, simply give the vinegar some time to work its magic. At that point, you should be able to scrub away those hard water stains with minimal effort.

A toilet cleaning stone

If you have some seriously stubborn hard water stains that just aren't budging, you may need to introduce a little more abrasion and elbow grease into the equation. As Good Housekeeping recommended, try grabbing a toilet cleaning stone. Some will recommend a pumice stone, but as Hunker reported, you can risk scratching your toilet if using those improperly. A toilet stone is a bit more gentle — though you may need to scrub a bit more to get the results of a pumice stone, you won't risk accidentally damaging your toilet.

Borax paste

Borax isn't just something that can be used to level up your laundry game — the readily-available product has plenty of uses, including tackling hard water stains. As The Spruce suggested, once you've drained your toilet bowl, slowly combine about half a cup of Borax with vinegar until you have a paste. Then, immediately spread it along the hard water stains, let it sit for about 20 minutes, and scrub it all off, removing those hard water stains with the paste.

Very fine steel wool

While items with abrasive elements are undoubtedly effective, you do need to be careful not to scratch the toilet bowl in your quest to tackle those hard water stains. If all your concoctions and cleaning products aren't doing the trick, The Spruce recommended using 0000-grade steel wool, which is the finest grade — then you can use whatever your preferred cleaning product is, with the steel wool offering that little extra elbow grease to get the job done.

CLR Calcium, Lime, and Rest Remover

If you're impatient and want a solution that works very quickly, you may want to consider this particular product, which is both effective and safe for porcelain. As the CLR website explained, you can put about a cup of the solution into your toilet bowl, and after just two minutes, you should be able to scrub it all away and remove those hard water stains. The product is designed to remove lime deposits, which is another name for hard water deposits, as per Culligan Water.

Vinegar and baking soda

Whatever mess you're trying to clean, there's a good chance that the budget-friendly powerhouse combination of vinegar and baking soda can help. If vinegar on its own didn't do the trick, as Good Housekeeping suggested, add baking soda into the equation. You start by adding a cup of vinegar to the toilet bowl, then sprinkle a cup of baking soda and a second cup of vinegar. Allow the mixture to hang out in the toilet bowl for about 30 to 40 minutes, at which point you can scrub away anything still clinging to the toilet bowl.

Coca Cola

If you're a Coca-Cola fan and happen to have this product on hand, you may want to try this unconventional suggestion from Build with Ferguson. All you need to do is drain the toilet bowl, so the water doesn't dilute the power of the Coca Cola, then fill it nearly to the top with the fizzy liquid — allow it to sit overnight as the acidity of the beverage tackles those hard water stains, and then simply flush it all down and give your toilet bowl a final scrub.

A scrub brush

Rather than using a particular solution, this tip from Build with Ferguson is all about the method you use to eliminate those hard water stains. It's fairly common to just reach for your toilet brush to scrub at any stains, but consider using a scrub brush instead for stubborn deposits — the bristles of this tool are a bit tougher and thicker and will allow your elbow grease to yield more results than simply scrubbing with the thinner nylon bristles of a standard toilet brush.

Fine-grit drywall sanding screens and Bar Keepers Friend

Tackling stubborn hard water stains is challenging because sometimes you need something abrasive to truly get rid of the issue, and yet you don't want to risk damaging your toilet. The Forked Spoon suggested trying fine-grit drywall sanding screens combined with the cleaning product Bar Keepers Friend. The sanding screens are abrasive enough to be effective, yet still somewhat gentle on the porcelain surface of your toilet. One commenter on the blog post sharing the tip said it "worked like a charm."

Denture cleaning tablets

For those who have tried all the conventional methods for tackling hard water stains, you may want to test this unexpected solution from Food52 — denture tablets. This hack requires very minimal effort, as you simply drop in a handful of denture tablets into your toilet bowl, allow them to sit overnight, and then scrub away the loosened hard water stains. Denture tablets are typically inexpensive, making this a budget-friendly tip in addition to being one that doesn't require too much elbow grease.

Dishwasher pods

It's always a bonus when a cleaning hack uses a product you likely already have, as is the case in this trick from Everyday Cheapskate. The website suggested allowing an automatic dishwasher pod to sit in your toilet bowl for a few minutes until it's dissolved and then scrubbing as usual. The pod can tackle a variety of grime during a dishwasher cycle, and it seems it's just as effective at combating hard water stains.


While many still perceive WD-40 as a lubricating product, it actually has a ton of uses — including as a solution to your toilet's hard water stains. For best results, all you need to do is spray it along the hard water stained areas, and then scrub it away just as you normally would — the contents of the product should help to soften those deposits causing the stains, allowing you to more effectively clean than with just scrubbing power alone.


There's a reason natural substances like vinegar are effective — acidity is a great tool to tackle grime and build-up, which is why this lemon hack from Tips Bulletin works so well. And, it's a great solution for those who prefer to use more natural cleaning products. All you need to do is slice a lemon in half and then use that exposed portion with all the acidic juices as your scrubbing tool. As a bonus, those citrus aromas will have your bathroom smelling fresh when you're finished cleaning.