As if a toilet wasn’t already hard enough to keep clean, your own waste is not the only thing that’s going to cause stains in that bowl. Something that you may have noticed is that your toilet bowl and even the tank have brown stains in them. Why does that happen? After all, you always flush, don’t you?
Well, the reason might actually be rust. Yes, that is right, even in porcelain or ceramic toilet bowls, rust can and often does form. What we are here to do today is to talk about why it forms, how to prevent it from occurring, and how to remove rust stains that are already present.
Why Does Rust Form in a Toilet Bowl?
OK, so what you probably know about rust is that it is caused by a reaction between oxygen and iron. Now, this might all be pretty confusing because after all as far as you are concerned, your toilet isn’t made out of iron. So why exactly does this happen? Well, it’s not that your toilet bowl itself is rusting, but the water that is in your toilet is rusting.
In other words, if the water in your home has a lot of iron in it, that iron by itself can rust in the water and therefore inside of your toilet. Once the iron and oxygen react and create rust, that rust will be present in the water, and generally speaking it will stick to your toilet bowl.
For the most part, this is caused by water that has way too much iron in it, as normal water with normal iron levels shouldn’t cause this to happen. Therefore, as you can probably tell, for the following section on how to prevent rust from forming in your toilet, getting that iron out of the water is going to be a big point. Moreover, if your toilet bowl is not clean and there is a lot of debris on the inside, it will provide the rust with somewhere to hold onto.
4 Tips to Prevent Rust from Forming in Your Toilet Bowl
Now that we know why rust forms in your toilet, let’s talk about all of the different methods at your disposal to prevent this from occurring.
#1: Clean Your Toilet Regularly
OK, so as we mentioned before, it’s not actually your toilet bowl that is causing the rust, but that said if your toilet is very dirty and if there is a lot of debris stuck to the inside of it, then it does provide the rust with a good place to hold onto. Keep in mind that if the rust does not have a good place to hold onto, it will simply flush down the toilet, likely before it ever gets a chance to fully form.
Therefore, to prevent any possible rust from sticking to the inside of your toilet, it is essential that you keep it clean and free of any debris. Simply put, you want to clean your toilet on a regular basis at least every two or three days for the best results.
#2: Use Toilet Tabs
If you aren’t too big into cleaning your toilet on a daily basis, then something you can also do is use some toilet tabs. Toilet tabs contain special cleaning chemicals that prevent buildups from sticking to your toilet, and they also help to keep things smelling good too.
Although this is not as good a solution as actually cleaning your toilet, it will help prevent rust from occurring in between cleanings. Using a toilet tab like this can cut down your toilet cleaning requirements by about 50% if not more.
#3: Use a Water Softener
So, as we have clearly established by now, rust occurs in your toilet due to high iron levels present in the water. Therefore, the best solution to prevent rust stains from occurring in the future is to have a water softener from your home. Any kind of water softener or specific filter designed to remove iron from the water will do the trick. You do not have to get a full scale water softener because simple iron removers or iron filters do also exist.
Keep in mind that there are also special filters designed for whole-home water systems that specifically work to prevent rust. You may even find models specifically labeled as rust filters.
4. Upgrade the Plumbing System
In case you didn’t know, very old homes still often have iron pipes. As you can probably tell, when it comes to the issue of rust, having iron pipes is not beneficial. Whenever water flows through those pipes, they will pick up some of that iron on their way to the toilet, and then once that water gets to your toilet and is exposed to oxygen, rust will occur.
This is especially the case if the iron pipes are very old and starting to break down, as a whole lot of iron can enter the water on its way to your toilet. Therefore, the only real solution here is to upgrade your plumbing and get yourself some new pipes that aren’t made out of iron.
How to Remove Rust Stains from a Toilet
Now that you know how to prevent those rust stains from occurring in your toilet, you probably want to know how to remove the rust stains that are already there. We would usually provide you with a step by step process here, but the fact of the matter is that the only real way to remove those rust stains from your toilet or to scrub them away. Follow the tips as outlined below in order to complete this task:
- The simplest method to go with here is to use a homemade cleaning solution that is made out of one part vinegar and one part water. Simply spray the solution onto the affected area, let it soak for a little while and then scrub it away.
- If this does not work, then the next solution is to mix three parts baking soda and one part vinegar to make a paste. Apply the paste to the affected area and let it soak for about an hour before scrubbing it away.
- If those natural solutions did not work, then the only real option left at your disposal is to use a chemical cleaning product that is designed to remove rust. CLR and Borax come to mind here.
Pro Tip: do not use any kind of very abrasive cleaning sponge or brush on the toilet as you may scratch the porcelain or enamel and thus allow rust to take hold much easier in the future.
Pro Tip #2: You never want to use bleach to try to remove rust stains from the toilet. Although we aren’t going to get into the specifics of it besides just being bad for the environment, bleach may actually make the rust stains worse, especially in the future.
OK people, so the best solution here is to just get a water softener. If you can remove excess amounts of iron from your water, then the problem should more or less solve itself, barring any existing rust buildup.