10 Surprising DIY Toilet Stain Cleaning Solutions

If you've got to go, you've got to go — even if the toilet doesn't exactly look like it just rolled off the assembly line. Stains in your toilet bowl and marks on the seat are hardly inviting. When cleaning day rolls around, skip the commercial cleansers with their chemicals. Instead, make your throne sparkle with things you probably already have around the house.

Daily perspective: Cropped hand of person cleaning toilet bowl. Top view.

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1. Baking Soda and Vinegar

When it comes to cleaning, baking soda and vinegar go together like peanut butter and jelly. The chemical reaction that's caused by combining these two ingredients can remove mild stains in the toilet bowl. Pour equal parts of each into the bowl, baking soda first. Put down the lid and wait about 10 minutes, then scrub the bowl to loosen stains.

Close-Up Of Baking Soda And Vinegar On Table Against White Background

2. Cola

Your favorite afternoon pick-me-up doesn't seem like it would be an effective toilet cleaner. That should be comforting while you're sipping on an icy cold cola. But surprising though it may be, cola may actually work to remove stains that have built up in the bowl. Pour a full can or two into the toilet, being careful to let the liquid run down all along the wall of the bowl. Wait at least 30 minutes, then scrub with a toilet brush and flush.

Close-Up Of Drink Pouring In Drinking Glass Against Black Background

3. Effervescent Antacid Tablets

If you find yourself without baking soda, vinegar or cola but somehow do have antacid tablets on hand, you're in luck. Antacid tablets that fizz (think Alka-Seltzer) can do wonders for a toilet bowl that's seen better days. Drop a few tablets in and let them break down for 15 or 20 minutes before flushing. They release carbon dioxide, which should help eat through stains.

Man dropping antacid into a glass of water

4. Baking Soda for Seat Stains

What's less appealing than walking up to a toilet with stains and marks on its seat? It's hardly a welcoming sight. Baking soda, that miraculous little cleaning agent, comes to the rescue again. Sprinkle some on a damp cloth and rub it into the seat. When combined with water, the baking soda should form a paste that scrubs stains clean.

Close-Up Of Baking Soda In Wooden Spoon And Jar On White Background

5. Clean Toilet Base With a Toothbrush

It's hard enough to get down on your hands and knees and get the base of the toilet really clean. Make it easier to reach all the nooks and crannies around the base using a toothbrush. First, spray the base with all-purpose cleaner or a mixture of vinegar and water. Wait a few minutes to let the spray work, then use the brush to work at any spots that remain. Just be sure to store the toothbrush far from any brushes that will be used on teeth.

Used worn blue toothbrush on background. Selective soft focus. Text copy space.

6. Clean Tank with Vinegar

Happily, cleaning the inside of the toilet tank doesn't need to be added to your weekly chore list. But because minerals can build up in the tank and eventually end up in your toilet bowl, giving the tank an occasional deep clean saves you work later. Shut off the water valve to the tank, then flush the toilet to empty the tank. Fill the tank with vinegar or a mixture of vinegar and water, let it sit for several hours, flush until the tank is empty and turn the water on again.

hand flush toilet

7. Check Under the Rim with a Mirror

No one wants to see if anything is living and growing under the rim of the toilet. It's far more pleasant to pretend there's nothing lurking there, just out of sight. But denial is not an effective cleaning solution, so you've got to take a look. One easy way to check? Grab a hand mirror like the kind used in compacts and lower it into the bowl until you can visualize the entire area.

Close-Up Of Woman Hands Holding Powder Compact Over White Background

8. Use Paper Towels Under the Rim

So your mirror check of under the rim reveals black stuff. It's an unpleasant reveal but ultimately an easy fix. Soak paper towels with vinegar and stuff them under the rim. They'll stay put so the vinegar has a chance to break down the mildew lurking there. Remove and discard them after a few minutes, then use a toilet brush to remove any remaining gunk.

Woman wiping table with paper towel

9. Oxygen Bleach

You may already be totally hooked on using oxygen bleach… for your laundry. This gentler alternative to chlorine bleach will remove stains from your clothes and your toilet bowl, too. Sprinkle oxygen bleach powder all over the inside of the bowl and wait at least 15 minutes before scrubbing and flushing. A toilet cleaning solution of oxygen bleach, baking soda and salt will also erase tough stains.

Directly Above Shot Of Toilet Bowl

10. Use Wipes and a Screwdriver to Get Tight Places

Those bolts that connect your toilet seat to the toilet itself sure do collect a lot of dust, and other particles you'd rather not think about. It's easy to miss a spot, and then your toilet isn't truly clean. One simple way to get these cramped little areas clean is to wrap a cleaning wipe around a screwdriver. Hold it in place with a rubber band and ta-da: You have an instant cleaning wand that will reach every nook and cranny.

Close-Up Of Screwdriver On White Background