So my friend said I could rent out his place for free if I can get it clean and the person was here last didn't take very good care of it. The toilet looks like it hasn't been cleaned in ages and there are stains. Any idea what the best way to remove them is? I've scrubbed at it for like an hour with a pumice stone and while it's a mild improvement, there's still a long way to go. Any ideas as to get it clean?enter image description here

  • Is this in the bowl? Wouldn't a pumice stone just scratch up the finish? A picture would be helpful
    – cutrightjm
    Commented Mar 25, 2020 at 5:14
  • Yes it's in the bowl. I added a picture to the main post. I know it looks pretty gross but it actually looked worse before.
    – Matt
    Commented Mar 25, 2020 at 5:40
  • Some people in here probably have more experience with removing stuff like that (it almost seems like paint or something was in it from the picture?) - but if it were me, and the removal took too long / was extremely difficult, I'd probably just ragequit and replace the toilet if that was an option. Some of the people on here are pretty smart though and will probably have better answers soon.
    – cutrightjm
    Commented Mar 25, 2020 at 5:47

4 Answers 4


My furnace blew up a few years ago and my insurance company hired a professional cleaning company to clean everything. (About 8 weeks and $35,000 later and they were done.) I had to leave the house, but stopped by occasionally to watch.

I had terrible rust stains in the toilet (we have “hard” water). They used an electric drill (actually battery powered...maybe that’s a safety thing) with a bristle toilet brush stuck in it. They cut the plastic handle of the toilet brush off down to about 6” - 8” long then stuck it in the chuck where the drill bit would go.

They used Comet cleanser (they said Bon Ami could work too.)

You’d think it would splash like crazy when you start scrubbing, but it doesn’t. They laid the brush tight to the wall of the toilet and moved it around slowly...stopping to add Comet cleanser from time to time.

Try it...you’ll be amazed.

  • I'm curious what you mean by the "furnace blew up"
    – cutrightjm
    Commented Mar 25, 2020 at 6:41
  • 2
    My furnace was an oil fired boiler. It caught fire and threw soot out throughout the house. The fire shut down almost immediately, but there was a “fog” of soot everywhere. They wiped everything down...like in the kitchen, they washed every item in every drawer, then took every drawer out and wiped it down, then wiped the cavity where the drawer was...they also dry cleaned every piece of clothing in the house.
    – Lee Sam
    Commented Mar 25, 2020 at 13:49

Muriatic acid is the best cleaner for toilets in this state period. It isn't for everyone but to be safe, wear gloves and have and extended brush and this is a 15 minute job. I have used muriatic acid many many times and not only will it clean the inside of the toilet bowl but it can be used to unclog the rest which may have issues.

Warning when using muriatic acid it cannot get on you, room should be ventilated (may need to open windows everywhere), and you must use gloves. I am suggesting it in your case not because your bowl is just dirty - it will eat through that like nothing - but because of the lack of care of the bowl you need to restore the whole thing.

You are going to:

  1. Turn off water to toilet.
  2. Flush it.
  3. Empty the tank as much as you can.
  4. Fill tank with a few cups of muriatic acid with the stopper up. You would like to get just enough so toilet will flush.
  5. The muriatic acid will flow down to the bowl through the crevices on the top of bowl. This is key because it will basically renew the toilet. (also what you do when toilet is not flushing well)
  6. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
  7. Brush it out. 8.
  8. Repeat at steps 4-8 least 3 times to ensure any dried stuff the muriatic acid knocks out gets moved. Keep doing it more until the toilet looks perfect.

Muriatic acid is available at most big box stores, is cheap, and won't ruin your toilet's finish coat. The main reason I am suggesting it here is that you will probably need to use it to restore the flushing of the toilet anyway so you might as well get use of its cleaning qualities.


You could buy a new one... toilets are as cheap as 60$, and decent ones under 110$. Your labor is free, however... the cleaning supplies might run you 20$.


I think you want something gentle that won't damage the glaze. I have never before seen a toilet that filthy, but I would try citric acid. Fill the bowl with water, add a cup citric acid powder (anhydrous citric acid - buy in bulk from a home brewing store, or pet store, at a few dollars per kilogram), stir to dissolve, and let it sit for 24 hours to dissolve the scale. Then scrub the bowl with a toilet brush, flush the toilet, and repeat.

  • I have seen Coca Cola or Pepsi work just as well - pour a large bottle in slowly and leave overnight - just think people drink it!!
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Mar 30, 2020 at 7:01

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