Orange rust stains in the toilet bowl are unsightly. The only way to prevent the stains is to clean your toilet using the right products regularly.
An all-purpose bathroom cleaner lacks the chemical composition and power to remove rust stains effectively. Bleach can make rust stains worse or even permanent.
The most effective products to use are acid-based. The acid can range from citric acid, like lemon juice, and tartaric acids, like cream of tartar, to something stronger, like sulfuric acid or hydrochloric acid. The latter two are commonly found in commercial rust remover. Acids interact with rust, loosening its bonds from the toilet’s surface.
Why Does Your Toilet Have Rust Stains?
If you leave your shaving cream can or razor blade on the sink, oxygen will react with moisture, leading to oxidation. This explains why you might see a ring of rust on your sink or the edge of your tub.
However, the rust you see in your toilet bowl is there because the water in some parts of Scottsdale, Arizona, is hard. It has high levels of iron bacteria and iron particulates. Combine that with a rusty water heater, iron plumbing pipes, or untreated metal components in the back of your toilet tank and you get iron stains in your toilet.
The mixture of minerals and iron bacteria in your water allows rust particles to adhere to the enamel or porcelain surface of your toilet. Unfortunately, unless you use a water softener or constantly clean your toilet, the rust stains will reappear.
Clean Your Toilet Frequently
When people talk to our team at AC by J about rust stains in their toilet, the first thing we recommend is to pay extra attention to the parts of your toilet that have a propensity for developing rust stains. It does require a little bit of sweat equity, but it is possible to prevent rust stains from becoming a problem. If they are already there, there are specific steps you can take to eliminate them.
Clean Your Toilet With Lemons and Limes
Citric acid is a safe yet powerful tool in combating rust stains. You can find citric acid in limes, grapefruit, and lemons. Many stores will sell citric acid.
If you are going the fresh fruit route, cut the lemon, grapefruit, or lime you will use in half. Dip the cut edge of the fruit in baking soda or salt. This will create a mild abrasive that will help break down the rusted area. Use the fruit as a scrub over the affected area.
If the problem is severe, take some lemon juice and mix it with baking soda to create a paste. Put the paste on the rusted area. Use plastic wrap to cover the paste, which will keep it moist for a couple of hours. This combination will help dissolve rust particles.
If you opt to purchase citric acid powder, mix it with water to make a paste. Put it directly onto the rust stains. Use an old toothbrush and a little bit of elbow grease to make the stain disappear.
A great tip is to flush the toilet and then turn off the water valve to stop the toilet from refilling. This way, it will be easier for you to clean the rusted areas and prevent the cleaning solution from getting diluted.
The Power of White Vinegar
White vinegar has acetic acid, which is a powerful rust removing compound. You can use white vinegar to remove existing stains, or you can use it as a weekly cleaner to prevent stains from forming. If the rust stains are severe, purchase cleaning vinegar. This has a higher acidity level compared to food-grade distilled vinegar.
Use a bottle to spray the vinegar on the rust stains for weekly cleaning. With a scrub brush, clean the area well. You can also add a couple of cups of vinegar to the toilet bowl and use your toilet brush to break down the stains.
If the stains are old, flush the toilet bowl, turn off the water to not refill it, and pour vinegar into the bowl. Let the vinegar sit for two or three hours. If you don’t need to use a particular toilet, let it sit overnight. Scrub the toilet, and rinse it using freshwater.
Using Cream of Tartar
Cream of tartar is for more than just making meringue. It is an excellent rust remover. Cream of tartar is tartaric acid in powder form. Spread it on the rust-stained areas of your toilet. Use a nylon bristle brush to scrub the areas. From time to time, sprinkle some cream of tartar in your toilet bowl and let it sit overnight to prevent rust buildup.
One of the best cleaning tools you can have is an old toothbrush. We recommend that you keep your old toothbrushes around for cleaning under the rim of the toilet bowl.
Include Gentle Abrasives
Including gentle abrasives, like pumice powder, baking soda, or table salt, with your acid cleaners can help get rid of rust stains. They are abrasive enough to break up the rust stains but gentle enough not to damage enamel, fiberglass, or porcelain toilets. Keep your toilet bowl wet with water or your acid cleaner while using the abrasive for the best results.
Take Advantage of Commercial Rust Removers
You can find commercial rust removers at just about any hardware store. They do an excellent job at removing rust stains. Before purchasing a cleaner, we recommend that you take the time to carefully read the labels. Some are harsher than others. Also, you should carefully follow the directions when it comes to using, disposing of, and storing the cleaning product.
Preventing Rust Stains in Your Toilet
Since the rust in your toilet results from iron-rich water, especially if you have a well, installing a water softening system can prevent rust stains. Inspect the metal parts in your toilet tank’s interior. These metal pieces can corrode and get rusty. It is best to replace them with noncorrosive PVC components.
A clean and sparkling toilet is appealing to look at. Your bathroom is going to need more attention than other parts of the house. The tools and ingredients needed to remove rust from your toilet are safe, readily available, and inexpensive.
Reliable Service for Your Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling Needs in Scottsdale
The experienced team at AC by J is ready to show you why we are the preferred plumbing, heating, and cooling company in our area. Our plumbers and technicians are trained in state-of-the-art techniques and the use of modern tools. Every job we do gets our full attention. Cutting corners is not an option for us.
Whether you need heating, plumbing, air conditioning, zoning systems, or home energy audits, our team is the only one you need to call. We carry high-quality products, and our technicians are equipped to work on all makes and models. From 24/7 emergency repairs to complete system replacements and maintenance, there is no better team to trust to keep your home comfortable all year round. Call us at AC by J today. We look forward to working with you.