How to Clean Calcium Buildup in Toilet Bowl? – 3 Ways

Written by

Paulk Webb


Freddie J. Hagopian

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how to clean calcium buildup in toilet bowl

Hard water leaves calcium stains in the toilet. It’s the reason why you’ll see rusty or chalky buildup after flushing. This can cause embarrassment, especially if you have guests at home, so how to clean calcium buildup in toilet bowl?

You may use a calcium remover for toilets. If you have patience and willingness, you can make a DIY toilet cleaner composed of vinegar, lemon, other acidic liquids, and baking soda. Thick calcium deposits in the toilet require muriatic acid and deep scrubbing with scour paper.

To ensure that you take the proper steps to remove calcium buildup or limescale, read the rest of the article.

Ways to Remove Calcium Buildup

To get rid of calcium buildup in a toilet, check these ways and pick the suitable one for your toilet case.

1. Remove limescale from the toilet below the water line


What to prepare

  • Plunger
  • 1 cup of baking soda
  • Non-scratch pad
  • A bucket
  • Acidic toilet bowl cleaner (ideal toilet bowl cleaner for calcium buildup)
  • Latex gloves

These steps are good for different cases of mineral deposits in toilets. By following them, you can get rid of even the stubborn ones and buildup in toilet pipes and in the toilet traps. This is also a safer alternative than abrasive cleaners and bleach.

Steps to follow

  • Step 1: Use the plunger to remove the water. And disconnect the water supply and remove water from the bowl.
  • Step 2: Use the towel to dry up the water in the toilet.
  • Step 3: Pour some acidic toilet bowl cleaner into the toilet hole. Leave it there for 2 – 5 hours.
  • Step 4: While making the water boil, pour a cup of vinegar. Let this liquid work in the bowl for a minute.
  • Step 5: Scrub the toilet with the non-scratch pad.
  • Step 6: Add a cup of baking soda and foam it up with the water. You can use a plunger to direct the fizz downwards, as it also dissolves calcium buildup in drains.
  • Step 7: Flush the toilet twice.
  • Step 8: Scrub the toilet and flush the toilet again to remove all the foam.
  • Step 9: Do the same the next day if your toilet still has buildup.

2. Getting rid of calcium buildup above the water level with vinegar


What to prepare

  • A bottle of vinegar or cola
  • Toilet brush
  • Kitchen pad or pumice stone
  • Rubber gloves

Steps to follow

  • Step 1: You’ll need to pour half a bottle of vinegar or cola into the toilet. Wait for 3 to 4 hours to let the magic work. If the hard water buildup in the toilet is stubborn, you need to let the liquid stay in the bowl the whole night.
  • Step 2: The following day, use a toilet brush to get rid of the stain without scrubbing rigorously. However, a very stained toilet bowl may not budge when you do it. You’ll need to add more vinegar or cola.
  • Step 3: Wear some gloves and work on the stubborn stain with the scourer side of the kitchen pad. You can replace the kitchen pad with a pumice stone which a plumber usually uses in dealing with this issue.
  • Step 4: Scrub vigorously, and you’ll need to add more vinegar or cola to get rid of the calcium deposits on the porcelain.

Scrub the crevices, especially the rim, as there are jet holes where water from the tank passes. If ignored, it can harbor millions of bacteria that cause health concerns. You may need to scrub under the rim.

  • Step 5: Then, flush after removing all the stains.

3. Use Ready-to-use toilet calcium remover


What to prepare

  • A long-handle toilet brush
  • A plunger or sponge
  • Mask and rubber gloves

When removing calcium buildup on your toilet, you need more than ordinary toilet cleaner. Based on my experience of eliminating calcium buildup or limescale, Santeen and CLR toilet bowl cleaners are effective.

From the porcelain surface to below the waterline, you can use these cleaners.

  • Step 1: Before you use it, make sure you have protective gear. The products I recommend are not abrasive, so they won’t harm your toilet if you follow these precautions.
  • Step 2: If there’s a manageable amount of stain on the bowl, pour the right amount of cleaner. Let it stay for 2 minutes.
  • Step 3: Flush it two or three times.
  • Step 4: When you still see the minimal stain after flushing, you can get rid of it by scrubbing the surface lightly.
  • Step 5: Turn off the water supply and take out the water in the bowl and tank buildup. You can use a plunger to push water into the toilet drain pipe. Water can also be collected through a sponge.
  • Step 6: Once there’s no water or only a small amount, put some cleaner in the bowl or tank.
  • Step 7: Give it two to three minutes before turning the water back on so it can flush the toilet twice or thrice.

How to Prevent Calcium Buildup

Cleaning calcium buildup in the toilet bowl is different from prevention. Think of not making an effort to hinder calcium buildup.

  • To prevent calcium buildup, you need a water softener. Aside from being cost-effective, its service is for the long run.
  • Use vinegar/lemon juice or any acidic cleaners each month. Leave the agent there for half an hour before flushing.


What will dissolve calcium buildup in a toilet?

Besides toilet calcium remover, acidic substances like vinegar, cola, and lemon juice can dissolve calcium buildup in a toilet. They can remove the buildup that is not too hard without scrubbing.

What causes calcium buildup in the toilet bowl?

Calcium buildup in toilet bowls is caused by hard water that has mineral buildup in the toilet. Filling the tank with water and flushing the toilet leave these minerals on the surface. The effects are stains and scales that can harden if not treated in due time.


The steps on how to clean calcium buildup in toilet bowl depend on your toilet case. Also, there are several options to choose from. You can opt for toilet calcium removal or a DIY solution involving baking soda and acidic liquids like vinegar and cola.

After cleaning the buildup, you have to do the prevention. Add a water softener to your pipes, so you don’t have to deal with chalky buildup and stains in the future.

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