How to Remove Iron Stains From a Toilet

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Things You'll Need

  • Commercial rust remover

  • Toilet ring remover pad or pumice stone

  • Rubber gloves

Rust stains make a toilet look dirty and old.

Iron stains in toilet bowls are actually rust stains. Rust stains in toilets come from the oxidation of iron in the water supply, rusty metal pipes, or rusty metal components in the tank of the toilet. If rust stains are not removed quickly, they build up and make cleaning more time consuming and difficult. Thorough, frequent cleaning keeps toilet bowls stain free and clean looking.


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Step 1

Empty the toilet bowl.

Empty the toilet bowl of water. Shut off the water to the toilet by turning the water valve off. The valve is usually located behind the toilet bowl. Flush.

Step 2

Use gloves to avoid skin irritation from rust remover.

Put on your gloves. Apply rust remover to the stains. Most rust removers come in bottles with small holes to control flow. Squirt toward the top of the stain and allow it to flow down. Some of the rust should come off immediately. Let it sit for five minutes.


Step 3

Remove rust stains with a pumice stone.

Scrub with an abrasive, like a pumice stone or a toilet ring remover pad. Apply more rust remover, if needed. Work your way around the toilet bowl, scrubbing with short, firm strokes.

Step 4

Flush toilet to remove residual chemicals.

Turn the water back on. It will take a few minutes for the tank to fill up. Flush and access. If there are still rust stains, repeat steps one through three. If the stains are gone, flush the toilet again to remove residual rust remover.


Commercial rust removers can be found in hardware stores, the hardware aisle in most grocery stores and home improvement stores. Toilet ring remover pads are usually found where toilet bowl cleaners are found. Toilet ring remover pads are abrasive pads with a handle somewhat like a toilet cleaner brush. Replace rusty components in toilet tanks to minimize staining.


Excessive use of chemicals, like rust remover, may damage septic systems. Use sparingly. Never mix rust remover with chlorine bleach.