How to Remove Rust Stains From a Toilet Bowl? – 5 Ways

Written by

Paulk Webb


Freddie J. Hagopian

Saveourwaterrebates is reader-supported. When you buy via our links, we may earn a commission at no cost to you. Learn more

how to remove rust stains from a toilet bowl

Have you ever wondered if you are cleaning the toilet bowl the correct way because no matter what you do, there are still orange and brown stains on it?

Rusting is caused by two things: hard water from your supply (which has iron) or your house has galvanized steel or iron pipes. Those stains can appear naturally—sometimes even with regular cleaning—but don’t worry because we are going to get rid of them.

In this blog, we are going to teach you easy and safe ways how to remove rust stains from a toilet bowl.

Ways to Remove Rust Stains From a Toilet Bowl

Method 1: Vinegar and Baking Soda Paste


This mixture is widely used in the bathroom-cleaning world and we can also use this to clean rust stains from toilets. However, instead of pouring the mixture, we are going to make a paste to remove tough rust stains.

Step 1: Turn off the toilet’s water valve.

Step 2: Mix 1 and ½ cups of baking soda with ½ cup of white vinegar until the mixture becomes a paste. You can add more amounts to the measurement using a 3:1 ratio.

Step 3: With your gloves in both hands and an applicator like a scouring brush, apply the paste to the rusty areas especially to get rust out from the toilet bowl rim.

Step 4: Let the paste sit for an hour or two. You can also mildly brush it before rinsing.

Step 5: This should get iron stains out of the toilet, but you may repeat the process if necessary.

  • NOTE: If you are trying to remove rust in the bottom of the toilet bowl, you have to drain it aside from shutting off the water valve. The paste has to stick to the material to work.

Method 2: Citric Acid


Citric acid is an organic acid that is good in derusting bowls. This might be the holy grail to remove those brown rust stains in the toilet. You have the following sources for this acid:

  • lemon
  • lime
  • lemon or lime juice
  • calamansi
  • grapefruit
  • citric acid in powder

Step 1: Turn off the toilet’s water valve and drain the bowl especially if the rust stain is at the bottom.

Step 2: After cutting the citrus fruit, scrub it against the bowl to get rid of iron stains in the toilet.

Step 3: You can also dip the cut edge into baking soda or salt to add a bit of friction while scrubbing.

For powdered citric acid

  • Step 1: Add water to the powder and mix until it becomes a paste.
  • Step 2: Apply to the iron stains preferably using a scouring brush then scrub.

Method 3: Citric Acid and Baking Soda Paste


Citric acid is a good toilet bowl rust cleaner, but what more if we mix it with baking soda? See the instructions below to make this paste that can remove iron stains from porcelain toilets.

Step 1: Turn off the toilet’s water valve so water won’t reach the rust while you remove it.

Step 2: Mix the citrus fruit with baking soda until you create a paste plenty enough to cover the iron stains.

Step 3: Apply the paste to the rust and keep it moist by covering it with plastic wrap.

Step 4: Leave it for an hour or two and the paste will dissolve iron stains. Repeat the process if necessary.

Method 4: Pumice Stone


This stone is abrasive and is commonly used for skin exfoliation, but it is also an effective rust remover for toilets.

There is nothing much you really need here, except for the pumice itself. However, it is recommended to have a round of toilet cleaning before scrubbing the rust away.

Step 1: Turn off the water valve and drain the bowl of water, especially the rusted areas.

Step 2: Proceed with your toilet cleaning routine using your preferred products.

You can also use white vinegar as a natural disinfectant by spraying it on the toilet (especially on the rusted areas), then leaving it for about 30 minutes before you scrub using a toilet or scouring brush.

Step 3: Rinse the toilet.

b Slightly wet the pumice, making it damp, then scrub it on the bowl’s rusted areas. Ensure that the bowl is wet so the stone won’t scratch while you elbow grease.

Step 5: Run some water on the areas every now and then to see how much rust you are already removing. Continue scrubbing until most or all of the stains have been removed.

Method 5: Bar Keepers Friend (BKF)


This product is a staple in eliminating stains because of its oxalic acid that tackles rust and tarnish effectively at a molecular level. That is why Bar Keepers Friend can also remove rust in the toilet bowl.

Step 1: Flush the toilet to wet the bowl, then turn off the water valve.

Step 2: Mix the BKF with water until you create a paste. After this, spread this paste to the toilet bowl’s areas with rust stains.

Step 3: Leave the paste to sit for about 5 minutes, then scrub off the rust using a scouring brush. Remember not to be too harsh so you won’t scratch the porcelain.

You may also try the BKF Toilet Bowl Cleaner and BKF More Spray + Foam as complementary products to help keep your toilet clean and polished. Doing so can help prevent rust stains from reoccurring.

What Causes Rust Stains in the Toilet?


Rust stains in the toilet are caused by two things:

  • hard water with high levels of iron (plus magnesium and calcium)
  • iron or galvanized steel pipes that carry water to your toilet tank

Read more: Ways to remove hard water stains from toilet.

What Is the Best Rust Remover for the Toilet?


All of the ways that we listed above are effective in getting rust stains out of the toilet. Some of them can be found at home such as the:

  • citric acid
  • white vinegar
  • baking soda

In these three, the baking soda acts as the base for the two acids. However, you can also use a citrus fruit alone to scrub the rust out of the bowl.

The other rust removers can be bought in a local store like the pumice and the Bar Keepers Friend products to get rid of rust stains in the toilet.

How to Prevent Rust Stains in the Toilet Bowl

In preventing rust stains from forming in your toilet bowl, it is important that you clean it regularly. We mentioned Bar Keepers Friend products such as their toilet cleaner which you can try.

Since you are tackling rust stains in particular, avoid cleaners with bleach as this will make the problem worse.

Aside from regular cleaning, you may install a water softener system as a solution to your hard water supply.

You may also call a licensed plumber to check your pipes if they are corroded or if you have the budget to replace them with copper, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), or other pipes that don’t develop rust.


Toilet rust stains are caused by high levels of iron in the hard water and the use of galvanized steel and iron pipes that corrode over time.

But there is nothing to worry about since the question of how to remove rust stains from a toilet bowl can be solved with these:

  • vinegar or citric acid mixed with baking soda
  • citric acid scrub through a citrus fruit
  • pumice
  • Bar Keepers Friend

These effective solutions will get rid of those nasty rust stains and will make the bowl shiny again.

5/5 - (2 votes)