How to Remove Rust Stains from a Toilet

We’ve all seen them. Rust stains in a toilet. What do most of us instantly think? That’s right, we assume the homeowner does not take proper care of their bathroom. Of course, many of us know that rust stains are not caused by ignoring our bathroom chores! Minerals in our water (often iron) cause those rust stains.

Watch for our next blog where we will be discussing tips on how to prevent rust stains from even happening, but first let’s deal with getting rid of the ones we already have.


You’re going to be cleaning your toilet, so wearing comfy clothes and preparing the floor around the toilet should be a given. Also make sure you have sufficient ventilation, in case you decide to try one of the more smellier cleaning options.

Turn the water off to the toilet. Flush a couple times to completely empty out the bowl. It will be important that you have easy access to get to those rust stains

Cleaning Options

There are many cleaning tactics that can be tried until you find the one that works for you and the amount of muscle you can exert. Here are a few options.

Green and Septic Friendly: Use lemon juice or white vinegar to scrub the area. If you think it is the approach for you, rinse and repeat. Or if you want a bit more umph, mix the liquid with baking soda to form a paste. Apply to the rust stains, wait 30 min, then scrub and rinse.

Another green approach is to fill your toilet bowl overnight with a Cola product. It won’t harm your septic system, and may make it easier to scrub away the rust in the morning.

Over the Counter: We always recommend you read the label thoroughly and please note that these may not be good for the useful bacteria in your septic system. Zud is an Oxalic Acid that is a heavy duty cleaner. Lime-A-Way, CLR (Calcium-Lime-Rust), Barkeepers Friend and The Works are a few more commercial products that can be used to fight rust stains on porcelain.

If you run into plumbing problems or decide to update those fixtures in West Haven & Fairfield Counties, Rick’s Plumbing can help! Check out our money saving coupons and then give Rick’s Plumbing a call. If you need it quick, call Rick!