Skip to Content

Homemade Toilet Bowl Cleaner For Hard Water Stains

Hard water stains are unsightly, regardless of where you find them. Alongside being an eyesore, these stains can also cause clogging in the long term – not ideal. Fortunately, a very easy solution is sitting in your pantry. 

A very simple homemade toilet bowl cleaner can remove hard water stains from your toilet. Simply pour distilled white vinegar into the bowl, swish it around, sprinkle baking soda over the vinegar, and leave that to do its magic. Then scrub the stains and flush! 

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see our disclosure.

Let’s look at each cleaner and what they’re good for beyond cleaning hard water stains in your toilet bowl! 

cleaning a toilet with homemade cleaner

What Are Hard Water Stains?

Before removing hard water stains, we must understand that a hard water stain is mineral build-up from hard water deposits. These stains are also known as limescale and look like chalk residue. 

These “hard” minerals include:

  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Iron

When these are present in water in greater amounts than usual, and water dries on a surface, these minerals leave behind a residue. Mostly, this residue is chalky, but at times it can also look like rust or have a brown coloring. 

How To Remove Hard Water Stains With Simple Home Remedies

There is one effective way that you can go about cleaning limescale or hard water stains

While there is nearly an unlimited supply of chemical products in the market, you can often save some money by using items readily located in your pantry. 

Generally, it is recommended that you use vinegar to clean these hard water stains – but this can prove challenging in a toilet bowl where it won’t readily stick or pool on the sides.

Removing Hard Water Stains From Your Toilet Bowl

You want to gather a few supplies before removing hard water stains. 

Below you will find your hard water stain removal checklist:

  • Distilled white vinegar (in a spray bottle, if possible)
  • Baking soda (bicarb of soda)
  • Water
  • Toilet brush or sponge
  • Kitchen or cleaning gloves

Now that you have gathered your supplies: let’s get cleaning! 

First, you will want to put gloves on and ensure your toilet bowl is as clean as it will get (other than the existing hard water stains). 

Then, measure 1 cup of vinegar and slowly pour it over the hard water stain or around the toilet bowl. 

Because vinegar doesn’t readily stick to the sides of the bowl like chemical toilet cleaners, you’ll want to manually move it around using the toilet brush. Do this for about 1-2 minutes. 

If you have a spray bottle, spritz as much vinegar on the toilet bowl sides without the vinegar pooling up and dripping off into the bowl’s water – let the vinegar sit for around 1-2 minutes before proceeding to the next step. 

Then comes the reactive part of cleaning the bowl – you’ll want to add the baking soda and more vinegar. 

Sprinkle one cup of baking soda over the sides of the toilet bowl and gently pour another cup of vinegar over the baking soda, or use your spray bottle to spritz the vinegar over the baking soda. The mixture will fizz. 

Let the vinegar and baking soda mixture sit for 10-15 minutes. Using the toilet brush, scrub the sides of the toilet bowl and cover the remaining hard water stains with the baking soda and vinegar paste. 

Once you’ve spread as much of the mixture onto the hard water stains on the toilet bowl, let it sit again for 30 minutes. 

After letting the paste sit for half an hour, use the toilet brush or sponge to scrub the remaining hard water stains. Then, flush the toilet to clear the bowl. 

Sometimes limescale can be resistant, so if you see any remaining after your first cleaning, you’ll simply want to rinse and repeat until they’re gone. 

If, after a few attempts of the homemade remedy, there are still hard water stains, we recommend that you use toilet cleaners specifically produced to remove limescale from the sides of toilet bowls – sometimes, it’s best to use products designed specifically for a single purpose. 

Can Hard Water Stains In Toilet Bowls Become Permanent?

If left too long, water stains can become a permanent eyesore. 

The best way to prevent that is to attend to the hard water stains when you see them appear. For something like hard water stains, the earlier you remove them, the easier and more effectively you can remove them. 

When the water in your toilet bowl dries, it leaves behind mineral deposits. To prevent this from happening, you want to:

  • Regularly clean your toilet bowl – it’s good housekeeping to clean it at least once a week. Hard water stains are less likely to appear if you regularly clean the toilet bowl. 
  • Find the source of mineral build-up. Mineral build-up can occur from rusty pipes or simply from your water source. If it’s a pipe-related problem, it will continually occur until you replace the pipes, whereas if it’s the water itself, you should simply install a water softener.

You can also try adding white vinegar to the toilet tank – some people have seen great results with this technique, while others haven’t. It’s worth the experiment if the hard water stains are bugging you. 

However, cleaning will be your best solution if fixtures or replacing pipes isn’t feasible. Not only will you have a hard water stain-free toilet, but also a bacteria and germ-free one. 

Hard Water Stains On Other Bathroom Fixtures

If you see any limescale forming on other bathroom fixtures like your tap or bathtub, you can simply use the same amount of vinegar and baking soda listed in the toilet bowl cleaning solution. 

Another way to combat hard water stains is by keeping the surfaces and faucets dry – keep a drying cloth or towel in your bathroom for that specific purpose. 


Getting rid of hard water stains in your toilet bowl shouldn’t be challenging if you have white distilled vinegar and baking soda in your pantry. 

This combination of household items seems to be the perfect solution to most unwanted stains. 

However, if it doesn’t work for your toilet bowl, try using a product designed specifically to remove limescale or fix the root of the problem by installing a water softener. 

May the combination of baking soda and vinegar be the best solution to your bathroom cleaning problems!

Share and join us on social media!