An open toilet

3 Tips to Prevent and Remove Rust Stains in the Toilet Bowl

Most of us enjoy having and using a clean bathroom, and we spend a considerable amount of time and money, keeping it nice and fresh. But, even if the rest of the bathroom is sparkling clean, it can still be spoiled by rusty stains in the toilet bowl. In this article, we will explain the cause and give your three tips to fix the root cause of the problem.

  1. Understand What Causes the Rust Stains?

The rust stains in your toilet bowl are usually caused by an elevated level of iron in the water. Excessive concentrations of iron don’t represent a health risk when they are present in water. But, the iron particles will oxidize, and that will cause the distinctive red/brown color. The iron may be present naturally, but if you have an older home, it could be caused by the deterioration of aging pipes. If you suspect that your plumbing needs an upgrade, contact your local certified plumber.

2. Clean the Rust Stains

Rust stains are pretty easy to remove if you use the right cleaning products, and you’re not queasy when cleaning the toilet bowl.

  1. Avoid using an abrasive scrubbing pad because it can damage the porcelain surfaces.
  2. Avoid using bleach because it just makes the rusty stains worse.
  3. Make your own toilet bowl cleaning solution with 1 part vinegar, 3 parts baking soda and 1 part vinegar, and 1 part water. Place this mixture in a spray bottle, which makes it easier to use.
  4. Wear a pair of goggles and rubber gloves to protect your eyes and hands when cleaning.
  5. Turn the water supply off, then flush the toilet, and this will remove most of the water.
  6. Spray the rust stains with your homemade cleaner and leave it to sit for 20-30 minutes.
  7. Scrub the bowl with a toilet brush or a non-abrasive scrubber.
  8. If the rusty stains are persistent, repeat the process or try a commercial cleaning product such as Bar Keepers Friend or Borax.
  9. Once the stain is clean, turn the water supply on to refill the toilet.

Congratulations, your toilet bowl is now clean, but you may want to follow up with our final tip if you don’t want to clean the toilet bowl like this again.

     3. Upgrade Your Plumbing System

The cleaning process detailed above should be helpful and get your toilet bowl clean and fresh. But, this won’t fix the underlying problem, which is the high concentration of iron in the water. Until this is fixed, the rust stains will return, and they may even affect other aspects of your home. There are three ways to remove the iron from your water; they are:

  1. Upgrade older iron plumbing pipes with PEX or new copper piping.
  2. Install a water softener that can remove mineral content, including iron.
  3. Add a water filtration system with a dedicated iron filter and other types of contaminants from the incoming water supply.

If you want to remove the iron from your water, contact your local certified plumber today.

By Giovanni Longo President Flood Brothers Plumbing
Giovanni Longo is a 3rd generation master plumber who has been practicing his craft and trade in the greater Los Angeles area for well over a decade and a half. A plumbing and hydraulics-engineering innovator, Giovanni’s particular world-class expertise focuses on dealing with challenging sewer system designs as well as resolving complex commercial and residential draining issues. As a certified Flood Mitigation expert, he is also well versed in a wide variety of water damage and remediation solution.