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1 July 2021

How to Remove Limescale from a Toilet

Limescale is unfortunately commonly found in bathrooms, and particularly in toilets.

Nobody likes the look of limescale and needless to say it is not just unsightly, but also unhygienic.

Hence it is best to be aware of some tips and tricks which can make removing limescale an easy task.

What is Limescale?

Limescale is a hard deposit build-up.

It is mainly composed of calcium carbonate, and it is the byproduct of ‘hard water’.

When hard water evaporates, limescale is left behind due to the high mineral count in the water.

The soluble calcium bicarbonate turns into insoluble form and this is when it becomes limescale buildup.

Limescale has a chalk-like appearance and you will commonly find it on pipes, taps, shower heads, in kettles and hot water boilers, as well as in toilets.

In the case of toilets, limescale buildup generally looks brownish, or sometimes orange or pink.

The stains inevitably make the toilet look old and dirty, especially since most toilets tend to be white or a light colour.

Is Limescale Dangerous?

Limescale is not considered dangerous, but it can cause various kinds of damage to surfaces.

Minor issues include the unsightly appearance of limescale on water taps, shower heads and in toilets.

If this is not cleaned often and properly, it will easily accumulate and look even worse.

Moreover, in some cases the limescale buildup could restrict the flow of water from the tap or the shower-head, or lead to the toilet flush from not operating at its best efficiency.

Large buildups of limescale could also lead to pipe blockages, and in some serious cases even cracks.

Hence it’s important to remove limescale on a regular basis to avoid large buildups which could lead to problems.

The following are some cleaning methods that you can try out to remove limescale from your toilet.

White Vinegar

White Vinegar
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White vinegar often works wonders.

It is a natural cleaner which is cheap yet highly effective.

All you need to do is pour a litre of white vinegar in the toilet bowl.

Make sure that the vinegar manages to reach all the parts of the toilet bowl, particularly the areas where there is the limescale buildup.

Leave it for at least 3 hours so that it can work its way into the limescale.

If the limescale buildup you are dealing with is substantial, it may be best to leave it overnight.

Afterwards, scrub with the toilet brush and flush the toilet.

You might need to repeat if there is still limescale visible in some parts of the toilet bowl.

You could also apply some white vinegar to these areas where there are still stains.

For more stubborn stains you may need to scrub such areas with a scourer.

Vinegar & Baking Soda

Baking Soda
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Another effective cleaning option are vinegar and baking soda.

This may be a great alternative if white vinegar did not work well enough on its own.

Try pouring a cup of white vinegar in the toilet bowl, and follow with a cup of baking soda.

Let them rest for around ten minutes.

It is recommended to wear eye protection and gloves while using this cleaning method.

Next, use the toilet brush to scrub the toilet bowl well.

Allow the solution to work for another half an hour, and then flush the toilet.

Coca Cola

Glass of Cola
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Did you know that coca cola is highly acidic?

Apart from being a tasty soft drink, it is also often used for cleaning purposes due to its acidity.

Try pouring some cola in the toilet bowl, making sure that you are coating all the areas where there is limescale.

In most cases a regular can of cola should suffice.

Leave it to sit for at least an hour, or in cases where there is a lot of limescale, allow it to work overnight.

Next, scrub the toilet bowl with the toilet brush, or with a scourer for the more stubborn limescale stains.

Finally, flush the toilet to check if the limescale has been removed.

If not, repeat the process again.


Bottle of Bleach
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Bleach is another good option to clean limescale.

Wear rubber gloves while handling bleach.

Pour the bleach in the toilet bowl and allow it to sit for at least half an hour.

Flush the toilet afterwards to check whether the limescale was removed, and if not repeat the process and scrub more rigorously.

Commercial Products

Putting Chemicals in Toilet
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For more stubborn and difficult limescale build up, you might wish to opt for commercial cleaning products.

There is surely a wide variety to choose from, but be aware that most of these tend to be quite expensive.

Moreover, most of them will simply be made of bleach.

Since they are chemical cleaners, make sure to allow for ventilation in the room, and wear gloves.

Most commercial cleaners recommend that you leave them to sit for at least half an hour.

Scrub with the toilet brush and flush the toilet.

Repeat the process if necessary.


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If the limescale stains in your toilet are excessively stubborn, you may wish to try scrubbing at them with sandpaper.

This can be considered as a method of last resort as it might lead to damage to the toilet if you scrub too hard.

However sandpaper is a good way to wear down very tough stains in toilets.

Medium grit sandpaper should be good enough.

Once you are done scrubbing flush the toilet to remove the residue.

Pumice Stone

Pumice Stone
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While using pumice stone, it is very important to make sure that both the toilet bowl and the stone are wet while you are cleaning.

Otherwise, the porcelain will end up getting scratched and you want to avoid such damage.

So keep a bucket of water next to you if you opt for this cleaning method.

Use the pumice stone to scrub on the limescale.

Then rinse and flush the toilet well.

WD40 Spray

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Another option is to use WD40 spray.

This spray is found in most households as it can be used for a variety of reasons and applications.

But most probably it never occurred to you that you could use it to remove limescale from your toilet or bathroom.

In fact, it can work well to soften up the limescale buildup in your toilet bowl.

Simply spray it on the areas you want to clean, wait for it to work its way into the buildup, and then start scrubbing with the toilet brush or a scourer.

Lemon Juice

Freshly Squeezed Lemons
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Lemon juice is another natural alternative you could try out.

You may also combine lemon juice with white vinegar for extra efficacy.

Lemon juice is acidic and it will work well against the calcium carbonate that is found in limescale.

Leave it to soak for around an hour to break down the build up, and then scrub away at it.

Preventing Limescale Build Up

Scrubbing Toilet Bowl
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As noted earlier, limescale buildup is very normal, and the harder the water is in your area, the more easily it will be for it to develop.

Therefore while it is important to be aware of cleaning tips and methods, it is also best to know how to go about preventing limescale from building up in your toilet.

You could try using some cleaning methods regularly to help the limescale from building up.

If you tackle it in the beginning, it is easier to remove it than if you allow it to get thicker and more spread out.

Try pouring some lemon or white vinegar in the toilet bowl at least once a month.

This can help prevent the build up of limescale and reduce the need for rigorous scrubbing.

You may find it helpful to keep these cleaning solutions in a spray bottle so as to apply them more easily and effectively, both in the toilet bowl as well as underneath the toilet rim.

You might also wish to install a water softener.

This device helps to remove minerals found in hard water, and hence they will reduce the buildup of limescale.


Everybody likes to see and use a sparkly clean looking toilet.

A toilet with limescale buildup looks dreadful and very unhygienic.

You should do your best to avoid limescale deposits from getting out of hand by using some preventive measures, and cleaning methods on a regular basis, as we discussed here.

You will be amazed at how much better your bathroom will look if the toilet looks clean and free from limescale!

How to Remove Limescale from a Toilet
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