ToiletFilter: How do I get this stain out?
August 19, 2018 4:09 PM   Subscribe

Yes, I used The Goog first. I've tried a chemical intended for iron stains, a vinegar soak, and Limeaway. Nothing has worked yet. Photo is of stain + useless Limeaway. Suggestions?
posted by 4midori to Home & Garden (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Looks to me like the surface coating has been worn away. Are you sure it's actually a stain? If it's the coating there are products to re-coat, but you are typically better off replacing...
posted by NoDef at 4:18 PM on August 19, 2018 [4 favorites]

CLR is a very strong stain remover and stripped the chrome off a chromed brass fitting when I was careless with it. I don’t even know if it’s legal for sale to consumers in Canada.
posted by infinitewindow at 4:18 PM on August 19, 2018 [2 favorites]

Do flakes of the stained area break free at all?
posted by Glomar response at 4:19 PM on August 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

Are you talking about the dark brown part? I had some stains like that which came off with a pumice stick when none of the chemical cleaners did the trick..
posted by belladonna at 4:46 PM on August 19, 2018 [4 favorites]

If it's actually a stain, Bar Keepers Friend.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:59 PM on August 19, 2018 [2 favorites]

Yes, bar keepers friend. It's got oxalic acid in it. I buy the liquid kind, douse the stained area, and let it soak for 10-15 minutes.

(I am a chemist. I am not your chemist, etc. )
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 5:05 PM on August 19, 2018


Is there a way to tell? The toilet is 8 yrs old, and I don't see why the surface coating would have been worn away.

@All: Thanks for the suggestions.
posted by 4midori at 5:15 PM on August 19, 2018

I had luck with KABOOM! in a similar situation.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:10 PM on August 19, 2018

Could be aggressive cleaning in the past, or simply an issue from manufacture. Does the stain "feel" different if you run your finger from the white to the dark? If it feels smooth it is more than likely a stain, if not it's either a buildup or the loss of surface coating.

If chemical treatments don't work, start going the abrasive route. Pumice should work well, but just try it at the edge of the discoloration. This will definitely answer the stain vs. surface question - either you will start to remove the dark, or you will notice that you start to remove the white. If you can't see anything with Pumice - Next in line would be wet sandpaper but that really is the nuclear option...
posted by NoDef at 6:14 PM on August 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

One more note - be careful mixing cleaners here...especially if you have introduced bleach into the mix (bleach + acids = chlorine, bleach + ammonia = chloramine, both can be very bad for you). Keep the room well ventilated and be sure to rinse the bowl before trials...
posted by NoDef at 6:21 PM on August 19, 2018

Have you tried bleach? OxyClean? Try those (one at a time, not together), or the above-mentioned Barkeepers Friend (that stuff is simply magic; I use it for so many things and I can't believe I only learned about it a few years ago when I got stainless steel major appliances).

It's possible that it's damage to the enamel. If a bad chemical combo was used, or any chemical cleaners were left sitting too long, it can cause damage like this -- or it could just be a super cheap toilet and the enamel is wearing away for whatever reason.
posted by erst at 6:30 PM on August 19, 2018

What worked for me when nothing else did was The Works from the dollar store.
posted by idb at 7:20 PM on August 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

If it is a stain rather than damage to the bowl, citric acid could work - dissolve a spoon or two of the crystals into the bowl water, leave it for a few hours and then scrub clean. I've had luck with this for cleaning very stained toilets in the past.
posted by terretu at 11:23 PM on August 19, 2018

if it's hard water/lime, you'll have to go at it with a pumice stick as suggested above. that's the only thing that touched my toilet staining.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 7:42 AM on August 20, 2018

When we lived in the country with hard well water, we used Iron Out to remove rust stains from surfaces and clothing. It worked pretty well, assuming the clothing held up to it (it was a last-chance thing with clothes).
posted by answergrape at 8:32 AM on August 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

Try this: make a paste of Cream of Tartar powder and hydrogen peroxide (the ordinary 3% stuff from the store). Brush it on the dry stain, let sit for a few minutes, and scrub. It doesn't work on everything, but is very effective on Manganese stains.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:38 AM on August 20, 2018

I have just discovered denture cleaning tablets. I gave the bowl a scrub with sea salt and lemon and then popped them in for thirty minutes. I was shocked by the difference. I am now using the tablets weekly to keep that stain away.
posted by cairnoflore at 5:40 PM on August 20, 2018

Thanks, MetaCrowd!
posted by 4midori at 7:42 PM on August 20, 2018

Pumice works! It takes a lot of elbow grease, but it works.
posted by 4midori at 2:10 PM on August 24, 2018

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