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Get Rid of Ugly Toilet Bowl Rings for Good — 3 Tried and True Methods

Eliminate just about any stain without intense scrubbing.


Cleaning the bathroom wouldn’t be so difficult if it weren’t for toilet bowl rings. Why are stains in the innermost part of the bowl so hard to get rid of? It could be an issue of buildup — not cleaning your bowl every week can create stains in various colors. But it could also be a water problem; minerals in hard water can contribute to a brown-black ring on porcelain at the water lever. So, how do you know what’s causing a ring to form in your toilet? It really comes down to trial and error. Fortunately, we’ve got a couple of quick tricks to help you eliminate just about any stain (without intense scrubbing!), no matter what the cause.

Method 1: White Vinegar and Baking Soda

You’ve probably tried a mix of vinegar and baking soda before — it’s a non-toxic cleaning solution that works for so many grimy spots in the house. But if it hasn’t worked for your toilet bowl, you might not have used enough. Vinegar and baking soda are gentle yet abrasive enough to get the toughest stains out of ceramic — but only if you use a large amount and let it sit for at least half an hour.

According to TikTok influencer Lora McLaughlin, who creates home-improvement videos for her followers, you’ll need one cup of baking soda and three cups of vinegar. (Yes, three!)

How to:

  1. Clean the toilet with a brush as you normally would, removing any existing gunk. (This clears buildup from the toilet bowl ring, so that the vinegar and baking soda can work directly on the stain.)
  2. Pour 1 cup vinegar into the bowl. Let sit 10 minutes.
  3. Add 1 cup baking soda, paying close attention to the toilet bowl ring.
  4. Add 2 more cups vinegar. Let soak 30 minutes.
  5. Scrub with toilet brush and flush.

Method 2: Bleach

Bleach isn’t something you should use every time you need to clean the toilet, because it’s very abrasive and could harm the porcelain. For tough stains, however, it’s your best bet. Here’s McLaughlin’s how-to:

  1. Add 2 tablespoons bleach to 1 gallon of water.
  2. Pour the mixture into the toilet bowl, starting at the top of the bowl and moving your hand in a circle as you pour. Let soak 15 minutes.
  3. Scrub thoroughly with toilet brush and flush.

A word of caution: Don’t spray bleach directly on the stain. While you might think that this would lighten the stain, it could in fact make the stain more permanent.

Method 3: Pumice Stone

If neither method works, you may have a permanent stain on your hands. Permanent stains won’t come off with any sort of cleaning solution, so your best option is to try a gentle pumice stone. Pumice stones work by physically rubbing off stains caused by mineral deposits and rust. Our top pick? The Pumie Toilet Bowl Ring Remover (Buy from Amazon, $11.55). Here’s how to use it:

  1. Wet the Pumie stone in water.
  2. Using back and forth strokes and light pressure, gently rub the stain away until it disappears.
  3. Clean the pumice stone by rinsing under water, then hang to dry.
  4. Scrub the area in the toilet bowl with a toilet bowl brush, then flush.

Which of these methods got your toilet bowl shining? Let us know in the comments.

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