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How to Get Rid of Toilet Ring: The Best Ways To Clean Toilet Bowl Rings

How to get rid of the ring in a toilet bowl

How to get rid of a toilet ring may not be the easiest question to ask (it’s not a great dinner conversation), but it needs to be dealt with, and we are going to show you how to get rid of toilet bowl ring.

Before we begin, it’s important to know why there is a ring in the toilet. If you think it is because it’s not on your household cleaning checklist (get ours here if you don’t have one), it’s likely not. It’s a little more complicated than that.

How to get rid of ring in toilet


What causes a toilet bowl ring?

A ring in your toilet bowl can feel embarrassing because it gives the feeling that the house isn’t being cleaned properly. When in truth, this isn’t a matter of cleanliness as it is of external factors you likely aren’t even aware of!

The ring in your toilet bowl is caused by one of two factors:

Hard water:

Your toilet bowl can become discolored over time, but it isn’t a reflection of your bathroom cleaning schedule. The toilet bowl ring is the result of hard water and a mixture of standing water in the bowl coupled with normal usage.

All water has minerals in it like iron and calcium, but hard water stains in a toilet are because the water has more than normal minerals in it, and these can stick on the inside of your toilet bowl (and other areas of your house where there is standing water). The toilet ring is from the build-up on the waterline and from the water sitting awhile without being flushed.

Mold and bacteria:

This can happen when a toilet isn’t used as often, as is the case with a guest room or basement bathroom. Black mold in a toilet can grow quickly if left unattended in the toilet bowl and needs to be handled fast.

Psst! Make sure to get our How to clean a bathroom checklist


Types of toilet bowl rings

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Black, orange, and green rink

If you have a black, orange, or green ring in your toilet bowl, it is from mold or mildew buildup. This is usually due to moisture issues and not the quality of your water. It is very common to see mold or mildew build-up in wet parts of a bathroom like a toilet, shower, bathtub grout, and tiles.


How do I get rid of the black ring in my toilet?

Removing the toilet bowl ring is easy. Get a good toilet bowl cleaner; it’s better if it is mold or mildew specific, and squirt it around the inside of the toilet bowl so that it can run onto the toilet bowl rings and soak in.

Leave it in for the recommended time. Let toilet bowl cleaner dissolve on the toilet bowl rings as per the directions on the bottle.

When you come back, give the toilet bowl rings a scrub with the toilet brush and use the water in the bowl to scrub it. Try to refrain from using a hard brush as you do not want to scratch the finish of the bowl.


How to prevent mold and mildew ring in the toilet

The easiest way to prevent mold and mildew from building up and creating a ring in your toilet bowl is to make sure the area is properly ventilated. The more moisture accumulates in the bathroom, the more likely you are to experience this type of ring in your toilet. Frequent flushing of your toilet will also help so that there isn’t water sitting over time. A daily flush will go a long way to preventing a black ring.


Pink ring

This is caused by a certain kind of airborne bacteria known as Serratia Marcescens and is not coming from your water but the air. This type of bacteria can cause damage, and you want to get rid of it quickly. It thrives in moist areas (like your toilet bowl), and sitting water can be a prime candidate for it.

How do I get rid of the pink ring in my toilet bowl?

Getting rid of a pink ring in your toilet is easy. Use a toilet bowl cleaner and squirt it around the rim. Let it sit for some time. Then use a toilet scrubber to gently remove the toilet ring using the water in the bowl.

How to prevent pink rings in the toilet bowl

After that, you will need to regularly maintain your toilet to prevent it from happening again. Because it is airborne, you will need to keep up with a bathroom cleaning routine and make it a part of your bathroom cleaning schedule. Flushing the toilet daily can go a long way in preventing the pink ring in your toilet bowl from building up.


Red, Rust, and Brown ring in the toilet

If you have a red-brown or rust color in your toilet, it’s from too much iron in your water; these are common hard water stains and can be removed with some natural homemade cleaners.


How to remove rust ring in the toilet bowl

How to remove hard water stains from a toilet is simple. There are several options for removing hard water deposits from a toilet. Understanding that the water minerals have built up in the bowl and need to be removed.

To remove hard water stains from a toilet, use a baking soda and vinegar mixture,  or a ¼ cup of borax and a cup of vinegar mixture (one or the other, not both) along with your toilet scrubber, and you should remove the hard water buildup easily.


How to prevent hard water stains in the toilet

The best way to prevent this type of build-up in your water is to install an iron removal system on your main water supply as it comes into the house. This will help prevent the rust ring.

Another thing you may want to do is inspect your pipes. The iron could be coming from the pipes in the house. Either way, if you are going to attempt this, it’s best to bring in a plumber to see what option is right for your situation.

Related: How To Turn Off Water To The Toilet 


How to clean a ring in a toilet bowl

What you will need to clean a toilet ring

Here are the items you will need to clean your toilet bowl rings no matter what method you decide to use:

  • Toilet brush
  • Rubber gloves
  • Protective eyewear

No matter what you are using to clean your toilet bowl from that stubborn toilet ring, make sure you wear proper cleaning equipment. Your household cleaning supplies should include wearing rubber gloves, and use a toilet brush, some Mr. Clean Eraser, and a bunch of other things.

Always wear rubber gloves and read the labels before you begin.  No mixing chemicals; this isn’t Breaking Bad.

There are several ways to get rid of toilet rings. Let’s dive into each of them.

Get the full checklist of household cleaning supplies here.

Toilet cleaner


There are a host of different toilet cleaners on the market, all designed to help you remove the ring in your toilet bowl. Depending on the type of ring you have, this will do the trick. They can help with the pink ring in your toilet tank and bowl but may not work with the black. Make sure to read the label to see if it is for a specific color of ring or multipurpose.

Click here to buy this cleaner 


Baking soda and vinegar (Natural toilet ring remover)

If you are looking for a great homemade cleaner, vinegar and baking soda seem to be the wonder cleaner. It’s used in several places, from unclogging a bathtub drain, unclogging toilet when nothing works to cleaning a stainless steel sink. The combination of these helps to break down the mineral deposits on the bowl and allows you to use a toilet brush to scrub away the build-up after a bit of time has passed.

  1. Place a cup of vinegar in the bowl, then add a cup of baking soda.
  2. This mixture will start to fizz and will begin to break down the build-up.
  3. Let it sit for 10-20 minutes, then come back and scrub away the ring with a toilet brush.


Click here to buy vinegar 

Borax and vinegar

Borax and vinegar is another great homemade toilet ring remover you can use to remove stains from a toilet bowl.

  1. Simply pour ¼ cup of borax into your toilet, stir it around with your toilet brush and follow it with a cup of vinegar (seriously, vinegar is great for everything; I even use it to descale my Keurig).
  2. Let it sit for half an hour (let the family know not to use that toilet).
  3. Then come back and scrub the ring away.
  4. Flush the toilet with a swish (or a swoosh if you have a powerful toilet flush), and you are good to go.


Click here to buy Borax 

Pumie stone (Pumice stone)

If you have stubborn stains that aren’t coming out, you can use a pumice stone to get rid of the stubborn ring in your toilet. The Pumie is designed for removing stubborn stains, and you can buy it on Amazon.

Though this method works, you need to be careful that you don’t scratch the finish of your toilet and make it more susceptible to future bacteria.

Click here to buy the Pumie toilet bowl ring remover




If you have a ring that is from mildew or mold (black, orange, or green), then bleach is your go-to. This is because they are bacteria-based and will kill the bacteria in the bowl.

While using straight bleach isn’t recommended, it’s better to find a toilet cleaner that has bleach in it so that it can kill the bacteria that is causing the mold.

Click here to buy bleach 


Lemon and Salt (How to get rid of ring in a toilet for cheap)

If you want to use a homemade solution, this one is a super cheap way to remove the ring from your toilet.

  1. Make sure to turn off the water and remove most of the water from the bowl.
  2. Cut a lemon in half, place some coarse salt on it and use this as a scrub.
  3. Leave it to sit for a while
  4. Then use a cloth to wipe up and scrub away any part of the build-up that wasn’t removed initially from the lemon scrub.


CLR (Calcium Lime Rust) Remover

This is the last resort. If you have stubborn stains that normal cleaners won’t remove and you aren’t able to get rid of them with the other methods above. But if you have a septic system, be aware that they have a specific one for that type of water system.

According to their site, it is also a septic tank safe product as it is neutralized before it hits the septic system. You can buy it here on Amazon.

Never mix chemicals. The wrong combinations can be lethal. For instance, combining vinegar with bleach creates toxic fumes. Always do your research and never mix cleaning chemicals.

Click here to buy CLR 


Should I use a pumice stone or stainless steel pad?

As a rule, you want to avoid using abrasive cleaners on your toilet bowl. Using these can scratch the coating of the bowl and remove the finished seal. This will make your toilet more exposed, and it’s possible that you will get even more mildew and mold buildup.


Does WD 40 Remove toilet rings?

WD-40 is commonly used as a lubricant on many household items. (WD stands for water displacement). It can soften the rust, sediment, and lime deposits left from your hard water.

The caution in using Wd-40 is that it may cause issues for your septic tank if you aren’t on a city sewer system.


How to prevent toilet rings

The best way to prevent rings in your toilet bowls is to make sure the bathroom is properly ventilated and that you keep a regular bathroom cleaning schedule. These two things will go a long way in keeping your toilet nice and clean.


Looking for more cleaning tips? Read this next…

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