How to Clean Stains on Toilet Bowl Rim

Clean stains on a toilet bowl rim
Clean stains on a toilet bowl rim (Image: toy toilet image by Wayne Abraham from

If you consider the germs and bacteria that may be hiding under the rim of your toilet, it may be enough to make you run for the toilet brush. Because the rim of the toilet is often out of sight, it can be easy to miss stains that form there. Take a few extra minutes as you clean the toilet to concentrate on the toilet rim. Clean stains on the rim and disinfect your entire toilet.

Things You'll Need

  • Toilet bowl brush
  • Small mirror
  • Toilet bowl cleaner
  • Citric acid
  • Phosphoric acid
  • Pumice stick

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Push the toilet bowl brush quickly in and out of the trap at the bottom of the toilet bowl to remove as much water as possible from the toilet bowl. Continue pushing the brush until the water level is low.

Use the small mirror to gain a better view of the toilet rim. Position the mirror along the upper sides of the toilet so that you can see up and under the rim. Move the mirror along the entire toilet bowl to see the entire rim and note areas with stains.

Squirt the toilet bowl cleaner up and under the rim, saturating the entire rim area completely and generously.

Allow the cleaner to sit on the toilet rim for at least ten minutes. You must allow the cleaner to sit for this time to kill germs and bacteria on the rim adequately.

Rub the brush under the rim after the required time elapses. Apply firm pressure with the brush to scrub at the rim, paying particular attention to the areas where you noted the stains. Continue to scrub with the brush around the entire rim to remove as many stains and germs as possible.

Flush the toilet to rinse the toilet rim.

Use the mirror again to assess the rim. Check the entire rim to see if you were successful in removing the stains. If you note stains that persist, repeat steps 3 through 6 to remove the remaining stains.

Apply citric acid or a cleaner containing phosphoric acid to the rim of the toilet if stubborn stains remain under the toilet rim. Mix 3 tbsp. of citric acid with approximately 1 quart of water and brush this under the rim with the toilet brush. Alternatively, squirt the phosphoric acid cleaner directly under the rim. Leave either cleaner on the rim to sit for approximately 15 minutes. Wearing gloves, scrub under the rim with the pumice stick to remove the stubborn stains from the porcelain. Reapply either cleaner again, allow the cleaner to sit again and scrub with the pumice stick to remove any stains that remain. Rinse the toilet completely to finish.

Tips & Warnings

  • Pumice is a porous, volcanic stone that makes an effective scouring material.
  • Do not combine citric acid and phosphoric acid. If you decide to try both cleaners on your toilet rim, rinse the toilet completely before applying a second cleaner.


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