How to Get Rid of Toilet Rings? (Explained)

How to Get Rid of Toilet Rings? Photo of a person cleaning toilet rings.

There’s nothing that ages your toilet more than a toilet ring! It’s both embarrassing and unsightly, yet a common problem even with those who clean their toilet regularly! Here’s what you’ll want to know on how to get rid of toilet rings.

The best approach for a toilet ring is to clean it thoroughly as you normally would to remove it. Then add 1 gallon of water (3.7 L) with 2 tablespoons (1 fl oz) to break down the lime and minerals that cause the stain.

For an all-natural option, you can also pour in 1 cup (236 ml) of vinegar, then add in 1 cup (236) of baking soda that is followed immediately by another 2 cups (473 ml) of vinegar for a chemical reaction that will break it down.

Other approaches include dish soap, a denture cleansing tablet, or a designated toilet ring commercial cleaner. You can even take a more manual approach with a sponge if you want to.

What causes a ring around the toilet?

In most cases, the ring in the toilet is mineral deposits that will build up with time around your toilet where the water line sits. Limescale and other minerals will create a dingy line at the toilet’s top and lower around the hole.

In some cases, poor cleaning habits and hygiene also can create a ring. For example, if someone has a clogged toilet and leaves the waste to sit for a long time— think days at a time— because they don’t want to deal with it. Or, someone simply doesn’t clean the toilet at all, ever.  

How do I get rid of the toilet bowl ring?

We introduced the methods above to help you clean the toilet ring, but let’s are a look at them in greater detail! Your best options include:

  • Bleach and water
  • Baking soda and vinegar
  • A grease-cutting dish soap
  • A denture cleansing tablet
  • A commercial toilet ring cleaner
  • Used dryer sheets
  • A sponge or steel wool

Bleach and water

As mentioned above, mix the 2 tablespoons (1 fl oz) of bleach with 1 gallon (3.7 L) of water. Pour into the toilet and let it sit for 30 minutes. Flush 2-3 times, and the stain should be gone! As an added bonus, bleach is also a tremendous sanitizing choice, and it can give your toilet that extra touch to be as clean as possible. If the stain is particularly stubborn or dark-colored, bleach is the recommended option.

Baking soda and vinegar

If you don’t like bleach, try using 1 cup (236 ml) of vinegar with 1 cup (236 ml) of bank soda. Just make sure that you remember to add in the 2 cups (473 ml) of vinegar directly after the baking soda so that it creates a chemical reaction!

Let the entire mix sit for 30 minutes. You’ll hear it fizz and hiss as it reacts. This bubbling is what creates the cleaning power for those stubborn rings. Before you flush the toilet, put a bit of the mix on your toilet brush by dipping it into the bowl. If there are still little water stain marks, scrub at those using the same solution.

A grease-cutting dish soap

Pick your favorite grease-cutting dish soap directly onto your toilet brush. Dab a bit into the bowl if you want to swish the water around. Brush thoroughly at the stains and let the dish soap do all the actual hard work! This is a great choice when you want to use products that you are familiar with and used to using elsewhere in the home.

A denture cleansing tablet

Your toilet is made of porcelain, in most cases. If you have denture cleansing tablets, you can simply pop one into the toilet bowl and let it work. It’s designed to remove bacteria and stains from porcelain teeth (aka dentures), so it’ll do the same for your toilet. Before you flush it down the drain, dip your brush in and scrape gently away at anything remaining!

A commercial toilet ring cleaner

If you have a particularly stubborn toilet ring, consider using a purpose-designed toilet ring cleaner! You can find these at most drug stores with your home cleaners. Follow the instructions on the bottle, particularly when it talks about how often to use it. Some are safe for use regularly, but others may specify that you should use them rarely.

Used dryer sheets

If you feel that manually working at the stain will give you the satisfaction of knowing that it’s spotless, dryer sheets are a great choice! This is also a really eco-friendly option. It should be a used dryer sheet (which gives it a second life), as those work better than the starched ones. Use the dryer sheet to thoroughly rub away the stains manually. 

This approach is wonderful for stains right at the top of the toilet bowl, directly under the rim. Make sure you wear full coverage gloves to keep yourself safe!

A sponge or steel wool

You can also use a scrubbing sponge or steel wool to help you get that same manual effect. Just take care, particularly with the steel wool, not to scratch the porcelain of the toilet bowl if you get a bit enthusiastic.

Photo of a dirty toilet with rings.

Does Magic Eraser remove toilet bowl ring?

This Mr. Clean product is a great choice when looking at an alternative to sponges or steel wool; just activate this by using a bit of water and scrub at the ring.

This is yet another good choice for hard water stains that are up along the very top rim of the toilet since the sponge can cover a lot of areas and doesn’t take quite as much scrubbing as other methods.

Does Coke get rid of toilet stains and limescale?

Coke products, with Coca-Cola soda as the leader, are great for removing toilet stains. Coca-Cola’s acidity and sugar effectively remove bacteria and the more common limescale/mineral stains. Content will break down your stains quickly and effectively. Plus, it’s got a unique smell that isn’t obviously a cleaning smell!

Does WD-40 remove toilet rings?

While this is often used in the auto shop, WD-40 is effective at removing toilet ring stains! It breaks down gunk and grease, including those mineral stains and bacteria lines. Just spray a light layer over the impacted area, allow it to soak in for a few minutes, and flush! This will make your bathroom smell like a garage, however.

Does vinegar remove limescale?

Yes, vinegar can remove limescale on its own because it’s so acidic. While it will work better when combined with baking soda, you can just use straight vinegar on its own. Use white vinegar or what’s more commonly called “cleaning vinegar” for the best results.

Does baking soda remove limescale?

Baking soda can remove limescale stains. Mix it with a bit of water and make a paste that you can then rub onto the stains and leave to saturate for 10 minutes or so. The longer you let the paste saturate, the better it will be when you remove it!

How do you get rid of thick limescale in a toilet?

If you are dealing with particularly thick and long-term dark toilet rings, you’ll want to look at something equally heavy-duty. While all of these options will be up to the task, the best choices for the least amount of work include using bleach, a Magic Eraser, and a commercial toilet ring cleaner.

What is the best limescale remover for toilets?

Are you ready for your toilet ring adventure to be over? Do you simply want to know the best choice for removing a limescale toilet ring? If so, choose the purpose-designed limescale remover product. You can find several versions in classic household stores, so consider off-brand and on-brand names!

How do you clean a badly stained toilet?

Cleaning mild toilet rings is one thing, but a badly stained toilet will be another. It can be an intimidating process that is often gross, too. So, what do you do? 

If the entire toilet bowl is stained, you’ll want to start with a product that covers it all with minimal effort and is one that you can leave for a long time, preferably overnight.

One of the popular choices is Coca-Cola. If you pour that into your toilet and leave it there to soak into the porcelain, it’ll do a lot of the heavy lifting for you. If the rim of the toilet (underneath the lip) is stained, too, saturate a paper towel in Coke and apply it around the rim so that everything is covered.

In the morning, remove the paper towel and dip your toilet brush into the bowl to wet its bristles. Flush the toilet and scrub any remaining stubborn spots with the prepared brush.

Once you’ve done the overnight soak, you can wash it with traditional toilet cleaner or try dish soap with water, etc. 

Why does my toilet keep getting a black ring?

Are you here because your toilet keeps getting a black ring, and you want to know what you’re doing wrong? Don’t worry, you aren’t alone! A black ring in your toilet is most commonly caused by the hard minerals in your water. As they settle in and replenish every time you flush, the circle can quickly go black.

Many people automatically assume that black rings mean mold, but thankfully this is rarely the case. A pink or green ring most commonly suggests mold, but a black ring is often mineral deposits!

If you are sick of dealing with this black ring, then you will want to work hard on preventing toilet rings, which we’ll cover next!

How to prevent toilet rings

Prevention is always a great approach to protecting your toilet, especially when looking at a chore as disgusting as cleaning your toilet. Top tips to help you prevent these unsightly rings in your toilet include:

  • Installing a water softener or purifier in your home
  • Cleaning your toilet more often
  • Changing your toilet cleaner to one intended for water staining
  • Adding in a separate cleaning cycle just for toilet ring prevention and treatment
  • Treat a toilet ring as soon as you see one start to form

You deserve to have a clean, glossy white toilet and one that’s free from embarrassing rings. These tips above will help you get that porcelain throne looking its absolute best, no matter what condition it’s in now!

While many toilets worldwide will have to deal with toilet rings and the need to deal with them every week, if not more often, it doesn’t mean that you need to struggle alone! These techniques and suggestions will support you in getting your bathroom back to its sparkling clean starting point faster than you may have thought possible! Know someone who is struggling with constant toilet rings? Share this with them and help give them the toilet of their dreams!

In general

Your best choice for removing a toilet ring will depend on whether you want to go with a chemical-based or all-natural cleaning solution. Low-effort and chemical options include using bleach and water, a purpose-designed toilet ring remover solution, and a denture cleansing tablet.

Natural options include vinegar, baking soda, Coca-Cola, or dish soap, and hot water. You can also rely on elbow grease by using a Magic Eraser, steel wool, or a used dryer sheet if you want to try it that way!

Rosa Peterson

Rose is the writer and creator of Better That Home, a blog about home design and decor. Rose has been designing spaces for over 10 years and writing home design and decor for big publishers. She has been inspired by many other creatives from around the world and loves to share those inspirations with her readers. Read more about Rose here