How To Clean The Bottom Of A Toilet Bowl

Seems like it should be a snap, doesn’t it? Unfortunately toilets can get touch to remove stains and you certainly don’t want to leave permanent scratches in the porcelain!

In this helpful guide I’ll show you what to do and how to handle some of the most common obstacles.

How To Clean the Bottom of a Toilet Bowl

how to clean the bottom of a toilet bowl

Naturally, you should regularly clean the bottom of your toilet bowl. Periodic cleaning will help minimize mineral buildup, keep your toilet stain-free, and leave you with a fresh bathroom.

Here are some simple options that can do the trick and help you clean your toilet well:

  • Bleach
  • Vinegar
  • Vinegar and Baking Soda
  • Toilet Cleaners

Option 1: Bleach

Household bleach can be a terrific product for cleaning and disinfecting your toilet bowl. All the supplies you need are a toilet brush and ⅓ cup of bleach.

  • First, flush the toilet to rid the bowl of any residue or standing water.
  • Next, add the ⅓ cup of bleach to the toilet bowl with the fresh water.
  •  Scrub the inside of the bowl thoroughly with the toilet brush. (Make sure you reach all areas including under the rim and deep at the bottom.)
  • Let the bleach and water mixture stand for at least six minutes to disinfect the surfaces effectively.
  • Finally, flush the bleach and water mixture, and your toilet is ready to use once again.

Option 2: Vinegar

White vinegar is a terrific natural antibacterial solution. Because vinegar is also a naturally-occurring acid, it can tackle some simple calcium and lime deposits in your toilet bowl.

Vinegar is also a great deodorizer making it ideal for bathrooms.

  • First, prepare your toilet for cleaning by flushing any standing water or residue.
  • Next, add one to two cups of distilled white vinegar to the toilet tank and two to three cups to the toilet bowl.
  • Lightly scrub the inside of the bowl to coat the surfaces and reach under the rim.
  • Let the solution sit for at least 30 minutes.
  • Finally, use a toilet brush and scrub the inside of the toilet bowl with the vinegar and water solution. Once you finish, flush and enjoy your clean toilet.

Option 3: Vinegar and Baking Soda

A surprisingly powerful natural combination for cleaning toilets is vinegar and baking soda.

  • First, flush the toilet to prepare it for cleaning.
  • Sprinkle baking soda around the sides of the toilet bowl and inside the bottom of the bowl.
  • Add two to three cups of white vinegar to the water in the bowl. The process creates a reaction that will fizz for a few minutes.
  • Allow the products to fizz and settle.
  • Scrub the inside of the toilet bowl, deep in the bottom of the bowl and under the rim.
  • Let the solution sit in the toilet for up to 30 minutes.
  • You can periodically scrub any stubborn toilet stains every 10 minutes with the water, vinegar, and baking soda solution.
  • Finally, flush the toilet and you’re ready to go.

Option 4: Toilet Cleaning Products

Some prefer using commercial toilet cleaning products. Unfortunately, some include harsh chemicals however they generally are very effective at ridding your toilet bowl of stains, grime, and buildup.

  • Flush the toilet to prepare for cleaning.
  • Apply the commercial cleaning products to the inside of the toilet bowl as directed. Many popular solutions will have an applicator that reaches under the rim easily. Follow the instructions on the product’s label.
  • Typically, you’ll need to wait for 5 to 10 minutes before scrubbing to allow the solution to work and disinfect your toilet bowl.
  • After scrubbing, flush the toilet, and it’s ready.

Does Bleach Damage a Toilet Bowl?

does bleach damage a toilet bowl

If you want to use bleach in your toilet for cleaning and disinfecting you must dilute it with water.

Some manufacturers don’t recommend using this product on specific toilet models. For example, diluted bleach will be fine for porcelain and fireclay but it’s best to find an alternative if you own an enamel toilet.

In some cases bleach can do more harm than good. Using pure bleach or using it too often can cause damage.

Although the toilet bowl may not show signs of damage, the seals and plumbing that connects your toilet can begin to break down and suffer if you don’t dilute it properly.

Another instance when you do not want to use bleach in your toilet bowl is when you have visible rust stains. Bleach can set the rust stain rather than remove it, making it impossible to get a clean-looking toilet.

If you prefer to use diluted bleach to disinfect your toilet bowl, always flush before cleaning. Combining bleach with urine can create a poisonous gas because of the ammonia salts in urine.

Because of this toxic combination, you shouldn’t bleach on the toilet seat or the outside of a toilet for cleaning.

What Are the Brown Stains at the Bottom of a Toilet Bowl?

what are the brown stains at the bottom of a toilet bowl

If you notice brown stains at the bottom of a toilet bowl, it could be rust stains, mineral deposits from your water, or both.

Rust Stains

The reddish-brown rust stains happen inside your toilet bowl when you have extremely high iron levels in your water supply. This can happen if you rely on well water or your plumbing pipes deteriorate and release additional iron into your water.

Mineral Deposits (Hard Water Stains)

Alternatively, if you have hard water that contains high levels of calcium and magnesium your toilet bowl may have visible stains. You may notice a brownish-orange or pinkish coloring that gets worse over time.

Hard water includes high amounts of minerals, and toilet bowls are ideal places for standing water to collect mineral deposits.

How To Remove Brown Stains at the Bottom of a Toilet Bowl

how to remove brown stains at the bottom of a toilet bowl

When your toilet is dirty you’ll often reach for the toilet bowl cleaner. While it can help with residue and some dirty bowls, it may not work on some stubborn stains.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Like cleaning with baking soda and vinegar, just add two to three cups of vinegar and up to ½ cup of baking soda to the toilet bowl. Let the solution fizz, then scrub the tough stains.

Allow the mixture to sit for up to 30 minutes more before scrubbing again, then flush.

Borax and Vinegar

Borax is a terrific all-purpose product to clean your toilet bowl, especially when you combine it with vinegar. To help get rid of brown toilet bowl stains:

  • ½ cup of vinegar with ½ cup of Borax powder to the toilet bowl water.
  • Lightly mix it and scrub the inside of the bowl.
  • Let it sit for up to 30 minutes for tough stains.
  • Finally, scrub the inside of the toilet bowl, concentrating on the stained areas. Flush to rinse.

Using Steel Wool

Steel wool can damage your porcelain toilet bowl if you’re trying to get rid of brown stains. Although scrubbing the inside of your toilet with steel wool may get rid of the stains, it can scratch the surface of the bowl in a way that can harbor bacteria and cause rust.

Check with the manufacturer to see if it is safe to use steel wool on your toilet.

Using WD-40 Spray Lubricant

WD-40 spray lubricant is a terrific product that can remove limescale from your toilet bowl.

  • Spray the affected area with WD-40 and let it sit for a few minutes.
  • Use your toilet brush to scrub the mineral deposits away.
  • Finally, flush, and your toilet bowl should look good as new.

Using Coke

Coke contains many elements that will help clean your toilet bowl easily, including citric, carbonic, and phosphoric acids.

  • Use a can of Coke to pour it around the edges of your toilet bowl, making sure you get under the rim.
  • Let the toilet sit overnight with the solution.
  • In the morning you can lightly scrub the inside of the toilet bowl and flush everything away for a cleaner bowl.

Can You Use a Magic Eraser on a Toilet?

can you use a magic eraser on a toilet

Yes, you can use a Magic Eraser on a toilet and the inside bowl. Its microfiber composition helps remove tough stains without causing damage to your toilet.

James Marshall
About the author

James is a business management professional and consultant with a former background in maintenance, repair, and hands-on projects. He enjoys DIY tasks and maintenance around the home as well as part-time writing. Read more »