We had a problem that drove me nuts. We had rings. Toilet bowl rings that wouldn’t go away. Now before you go thinking that I don’t clean my toilets, please think better of me. We regularly clean our toilets. Furthermore, I have tried a series of things to clean these rings but nothing touches them. After becoming more and more frustrated by our rings, I was desperate (and totally disgusted, it was embarrassingly gross). Finally I found a solution that worked, and I am shouting the news from the roof tops. Because it worked for me this post includes affiliate links to help support this website.
Here’s the story. We have three toilets: one is pristine clean, one has a small ring issue and the third is my nemesis. Our house is seven years old, and for the first 4-5 years the toilet near my daughter’s room was rarely used. It basically just sat. The toilet near the guest room got some use, and the toilet in our master got regular use. Since those with the least use are the bowls with the issue, I am lead to believe this is a hard water issue. (Which I know we have.)
Alright, so here’s what I have tried…
- Cleaning it with toilet bowl cleaner (many brands with false promises)
- Cleaning it with toilet bowl cleaner with bleach (more brands, more false promises)
- Cleaning the bowl with multiple other brands of cleaners not intended for toilets…
- Those flushing tablet things – I can’t stand the blue water and chemical/bleach smell every time I flush
- Scrubbing the bowl with baking soda
- Scrubbing the bowl with Borax (a suggestion from a friend)
- Pouring cans of Coke in the bowl (also a friendly suggestion – the acid is supposed to dissolve the ring)
- And on and on… I promise I tried everything I could think of…
Then, one day my husband saw a product. The Pumie. I wasn’t hopeful, but for less than $10 it was worth a shot. I had tried everything else. I seriously thought I was going to have to buy a new toilet to get rid of the rings (not that I would find new toilet money in my budget, but I really thought there was no hope).
So The Pumie arrives… This unassuming pumice stone on a stick is my new best friend. No exaggeration necessary. Those rings that I have lived with for years were gone in five minutes. Five minutes, two toilets, pristine once more. Even the lovely ladies and gentleman who have reviewed this product on Amazon sing its high praises (with a few negative nellies as always).
No longer do I feel ashamed when guest use my potty. No unsightly rings. The Pumie works, and I am a customer for life!
If you have toilet bowl rings, you need The Pumie. You will thank me later.
And now for the visual proof…
And yes, for the record, the before picture was taken after being cleaned with my normal cleaner.
I may have to try that. I give my a swirl with the smallest grit sandpaper and it takes the rings and stains right off without marring the toilet.
Emily Lange says
Thank you so much. My toilet ring prayers have been answered! Worked like a charm. Even 8 years after this post you are making a difference in toilet bowls everywhere!
Kathryn Slepicka Skokna says
I have used a pumice stone for over 10 years…it’s the only thing that works on these well water stains. I, like you, had tried everything. It’s cheap, lasts a long time, and it gets rid of the gross looking rings in the toilet! 🙂 Wish I had known you were having that problem, would have told you…lol 🙂
I don’t understand how a pumice stone won’t scratch the surface.
It isn’t like the pumice stone you use on your feet. It is MUCH softer. As you do it, bits of the pumice stone come off and it wears down fairly quickly. It might make microscopic scratches, but nothing I can see and I have been using for a while now 🙂
I recently removed the laundry room bathroom because of similar issues. The bathroom was never used and had rings drove me nuts. Took it out and gave myself a bigger laundry room over Christmas/New Years Vacation.
Our water comes from a well and has a LOT of minerals, so I thought I was doomed to the ring. I am SO going to buy one of these and not feel embarrassed to send guests to the toilet room any more!
The trick is keep it wet- keep dunking it while you’re using it, as long as it’s wet it won’t scratch.
Unfortunately, I have used a pumice stone for a long time now, and not only will it remove the stains, but now it has scratched the finish off over time due to reusing it again and again. I’m still trying to find a replacement other than the pumice.
Citric acid dissolves mineral deposits.
Christine N. says
I think that if you make a habit of using that bathroom more often and do a Flylady swish and swipe that the ring won’t develop as often. That’s been my experience with hard water and rings – that if you swish it with a toilet scrubber every two or three days you never get a ring in the first place.
I’m buying the Pumie. I have tried everything that you did minus the Borax and Coke. I live in an old farm house with really hard water so toilet rings are my nemesis too. It’s embarrassing.
Good luck! 🙂 Hope it works as well for you as it does for me 🙂
I uses a pumice stone also to get the ring off are toilet bowls. You can buy them in the cleaning section at lowes for about $3 they don’t have the handle though just a long bar of pumice.
I use gator paper. You buy it at either Home Depot or any hardware store that sells sheets of sandpaper. It is sandpaper that you can use in water, and it works just as well as a pumice stone. But I use a fine grit so you don’t feel like it is doing as much damage as a pumice stone. Plus you just cut off pieces, use and throw away. I promise it’s awesome!
I have used the pumice stone before and fell in love with it! I cleaned a rental and in the rental the toilets were horrible and I used the pumice stone and they looked almost new!
oh yes i love the pumice stone.. been using that for years. it just takes it right off 🙂
You might want to try a little CLR in a spray bottle, leave it on for a while and rinse it off and you’ll have the same result without scratches. Do not breathe the stuff in (it’s caustic as hell) but this will remove EVERYTHING. We had a rental with hard water build up around the taps that was so thick it looked like caulk. Came off no problem.
Linda J. Grant says
I used CLR and a Dobbie scrub pad and LOTS of elbow grease
on three of my toliets and they all look great now.
just buy a water softener
Dave Frederick says
We have a softener, but still get a ring on a new toilet. And the directions that came with the toilet said NEVER use abrasives because they scratch the special surface making the next ring easier to form.
The Pumie is great because while it is abrasive it is gentle enough that it does not scratch the toilet. It would be bad to scratch the bowl, but I have never scratched one with the Pumie. It isn’t hard like a pumice stone for your feet, it is much softer. Hope this helps.
Kari Hanson says
I went through that same process, and came to the exact same conclusion. But my pumice isn’t on a stick. I just buy the normal block and where rubber gloves. Funny that those are never advertised on TV.
I work for a city and we have really bad water spots on our porcelain toilets, we have found sand paper to be our best friend we prefer it over the pumie stone. Only down side you want to stay away from the trim it can damage the metal.
220 sandpaper works great; just dip into water and scrub.
Do NOT use 220 wet-or-dry sandpaper on your toilet. It is far too coarse and will scratch the porcelain. The lower the grit number on sandpaper the coarser the grit. The coarser the grit, the deeper the sandscratches. ALL sandpaper leaves sandscratches, but with very fine sandpaper the abrasion is more like polishing than sanding. Don’t use anything lower than 400 grit. 600 grit is better. It takes longer but saves your toilet.
This also works well for my gas stove. Of course I dont use the same one I use on the toilet. It does not scratch the surface… I love the pumice stone!!!
Melody S. says
I love our pumice stone…My mother just bought a house wherethe toilets were AWFUL…I had all four of them looking brand new in less then an hour!! I also pour about 1 cup white vinegar in each about a half hour before cleaning, and that also helps break down the buildup. The only thing that I cant figure out how to get clean is the back part of the hole at the bottom of the toilet…for the life of me I cant get rid of the staining!!
I used the pumice stone for a long time. It no longer works. I can scrub and scrub until my arms are sore. I need something new!
I just read an article in Reader’s Digest called something like “What Your House Cleaners Don’t Tell You.” Anyway, it said somewhere in the article to dissolve denture cleaning tablets in the water of your toilet, let it sit for awhile then you can easily scrub the ring away. Haven’t tried it yet, so I don’t know for sure, but figure it can’t hurt.
Ohhh, that’s a good tip too. (I love Reader’s Digest!)
First world problem.
I’ve used them for years. You can buy them at Smart & Final too. It’s truly THE ONLY thing that will completely get rid of the rings. I also use them in the sink around the drain.
Salina F. says
I’m so glad that someone mentioned FlyLady! I have been on that program for awhile now, I found her after having my son and started fluttering. But, I have been having the toilet ring since we moved into this place, so I know that it is not my fault, but it’s still embarassing to have people use our toilet. Today is bathroom cleaning day, so I’m going to try the trick that you mentioned. I don’t have the pumie, but I do have a soft pumice stone, and hoping that will help!
I was told to wax the inside of your toilet with car wax and it will prevent the rings altogether. I haven’t tried it yet cause I still have to get rid of the ring but it’s worth a shot.
Had the same problem. Tried the pumice stone and it didn’t really work for me. Now I use “The Works” disinfectant toilet bowl cleaner(the one with the blue lid) that I buy in the cleaning section of Dollar Tree. Works like a charm every time!!
Dondna Joldersma says
We have a water softener and still get the ring… I have been using the pumice for awhile now! It is perfect… no scractches either.
I can recommend using CLR! It removes calcium, lime and rust. I pour some into the toilet every couple of months. No scrubbing, no scratches. CLR simply dissolves the mineral deposits.
Hmmmm…. I wonder if one of those non-abrasive steel wool things would work just as well? Might have to try that! Tired of hard water rings!!!
IDK, but I am still using and happy with my Pumie 🙂
Sherryll Walker says
I wouldn’t recommend the non-abrasive steel wool things – I tried them and all it did was give me more marks. They’re grey and look like pencil marks, they won’t come off either 😟
I suggest not to use any metal cleaning the toilet, You’ll get dark marks almost impossible to get rid of them.
You are absolutely right! No metal. That’s why I like the Pumie, it is a soft, porous rock-like material. Metal would ruin a toilet.
I just ordered two! I really hope this works because we are about to move out of a rental and the maintenance guys said its from hard water.. but I dont want to be charged for anything! Thanks so much for the tip! Please work. lol
White vinegar works great & no unhealthy chemicals or scratching! Plunge the toilet to get rid of most of the water, then use a tennis ball inside a knee-high nylon to plug up the hole. (You put it in the nylon so you can secure it to something & it won’t accidentally go down the drain.) Pour a gallon or two of vinegar in (really cheap stuff!) & leave it overnight. The hard water stains soften & will easily brush off in the morning.
Vinegar also works for the hard water stains around faucets. I roll up paper towels & soak them in the vinegar then lay them around the faucet over the buildup. Leave for a few hours & it wipes off easily.
Carla – don’t use steel wool, it will leave ugly scratches.
We are on well water, have a softener and had hideous rings. I found a pumice scrubbing stone at Walmart (cleaning supply area) for $1.88. Much cheaper than everything else I tried without results. I used one stick and a tiny bit of a second to clean 4 toilets.
Rosemary Raasch says
The above comments all make sense (about “rings” in the bowl), but how to get rid of the hard water deposits that have collected under the rim? I’ve tried it all, and haven’t had much luck at all! PLEASE send some ideas! Thanks!
I have great results using dry wall sand paper. It’s flexible so it can easily be used on the deposits under the rim.
I agree, Sandra! I live in an area with extremely hard water and mineral deposits are a huge problem. They used to sell small pieces of what to me looked like gritty screen-type material at the grocery store for the purpose of removing the bowl rings. One day, my husband, who works at Home Depot, saw what I was using and told me it was just drywall sandpaper and that I could buy a whole package for about what that one small piece cost me!!
Pumice stones are great!!! The were originally for the pool but many years ago my mom used them for her toilets and until this day she continues to use them on her toilet bowl rings. Now I do the same! Thanks for sharing. Glad we are not the only ones!
Pumice scratches the bowl and gives stuff a place to cling.Try a product called The Works from wally world.Just drain the toilet,spray it on ,wait a few minutes and it comes off very easily.
This is a soft pumice meant for toilets. I have been using it for years now with no damage to my toilets. I also use The Works, but still need both for our VERY hard water.
I came across this page by searching on google how to get rid of toilet bowl rings.I tried using Coke,didn’t work.Had this generic dollar store bathroom cleaner with bleach and it got a lot of the ring off but you can still slightly see the ring.We moved into my sister’s house and she’s been gone for about 2 yrs before that so the toilet wasn’t getting used and left the ring.I’m going to try that pumice you guys are all talking about.If worse comes to worse I will just use fine grit sandpaper.I been thinking of trying it already anyways.Thanks everyone for all the tips and info.Definitely helped me.
the pumice stone leaves scratches, as does fine water-use sand paper. Use both often. We are well water, lots of minerals!
Horrid rings! Just used new flexible wet sanding sheet. mostly got off. enough to ask? Anyone use car wax on toilet to prevent rings?
Actually, my plumber suggested that I put car wax on my shower tile if I EVER could remove the green scum. He was serious.
Linda L. says
If you scratch the toilet bowl, even the bottom where waste goes down, “stuff” will attach to it, making toilet harder to clean.
I turn off the water supply to toilet, drain or flush 2x it again to remove water from tank. Then I take a paper towel rip or cut it into ¼s lenghth-wise. I roll these up and place them against the ring. Squirt CLR, or $ Tree brand, may be called Lime Rust Calcium or Lime away above the paper towel, so towel soaks it up and holds it to stain. Wait abt an hr or 2, check it, wipe it gently and it should be all gone. The I take these same towels and slide them up to where bowl meets rim. There’s usually some stuff going on there too. They will stick there and let them sit for another hour or so. Turn on water and use toilet brush to loosen the rest of what is under the rim.
One more tip. Beauty supply stores such as Sally’s sell rolls or cotton like what is used around hairline to catch chemical drips. That would work perfectly but paper towels are on hand and cheaper.
Jean Hollander says
I do not wish to start a blog, but as a 72 yr old I want to share a secret of my own. My mother used to keep all the wet shoes and boots on the cold porch of Min. Many years passed and I too do it not only with boots and shoes but pillows, blankets etc. The colder it is the better this works against any stinky shoes and ND and do so completely freshens the comforters, blankets and pillows. I have a s
garage and an enclosed porch. No one ever had stinky feet or athletes foot. The cold temperatures kill everything that survives on warm damp items. Bedbugs, and other critters that may harass cannot live in that cold enviornment. If you live in hot climates, put it in plastic bags and put them in freezer. Grandma from Europe used the cold weather to clean things, she had no running water, no soap.It works for 3 generations of mothers in my family and probably longer. Save $ on disinfectant for shoes and feet. Old ways are still good ways.😆
Barkeeper’s Friend works good too.
Ken Ritzert says
Just used Barkeepers Friend and it did the job. Worked great.
I’ve used a pumise stone & it does work however, careful lady’s it will scratch. That is why I wanted to comment. After your ring is gone wax the inside of your toilet. That’s right wax it! Use car wax. It will stay ring free for months. I’m going on 6 months since I waxed my toilet & still no ring!
In order to wax the toilet would you have to drain all the water from it first? I would imagine so.
wow thank you for that, i was wondering about the scratching
I have actually never had a problem with scratching. HOWEVER, you must get a soft pumice stone made for the toilet. If you use the type of pumice stone intended for your feet, it will defiantly scratch. The Pumie is a soft pumice that wears down quickly and has never scratched my toilets. 🙂
Marlene Haffner says
That’s what I wanted to hear. The ring comes off very easily. You don’t even need anything but a brush, but how do you keep it from coming back, as it always does. Thank you for this idea.
Horace Palmer says
Just a couple of bucks at WalMart. And yes, this works better than anything else.
I clean houses for a living, so I regularly clean 4 to 6 toilets a day… I used the pumie and loved it except that it was like fingernails on a chalkboard for me… so I was searching for something else… I came across a post about drywall sandpaper.. I now use that and all the toilets I clean are ring free…It looks like window screen. I get the medium and just tear off whatever size piece I need…
After reading all the comments, the only thing I already had in my toolbox was drywall sandpaper! Worked like a charm and I cleaned the rings off 4 toilets in well under 10 minutes! Thanks so much for this! No need to buy special tools or chemicals.
Hello – I stumbled upon this on pinterest. Thanks for the entertaining article. I love the bit where you say “Now before you go thinking that I don’t clean my toilets, please think better of me” so needed on the internet.
What will be happening is water will be evaporating from the walls of the toilet, leaving behind its soluble contents. This is made worse by 3 factors – a) Warm water mixed into the toilet water causes it to evaporate quicker b) water being attracted up the sides of the toilet, probably evaporating quicker at this section for some reason c) as you have said, your hard water containing a lot of the solid material.
The solid deposit, the ring, should be dissolved by any acidic chemical, such as vinegar or coke or limescale remover. HOWEVER any acid your pour in toilet will be diluted, and hence not be acidic enough to react away the limescale (unless copious amounts used) or the product is used very frequently. One could remove some of the water and use a foaming acidic spray (something aimed at limescale removal) that clings long enough to the ring to be effective (out of the waters touch).
Or scrub it with pumice 🙂
This is just the sort of outcome-based information I was seeking, thanks! Since I did have a pumice stone meant for the feet, I tried that, cautiously, and had encouraging results. Then I thought to compare it against other methods before completing the job, so shut off the supply line and flushed, removing about half the water in the bowl, and then replaced that with vinegar. No immediate results, though some may complain I should have waited longer. Next meant to try the drywall abrasive product, as I had had some in the basement for some time; however, it had not seemed particularly effective for its intended use, and apparently had been discarded, so I tried 0000 steel wool, with no effect, then finished up the job with the pumice in no time!
If you drain your toilet bowl, let it air dry, then put paper towels or paper napkins down right on top of the ring, then pour your acidic solutions on the paper product you use, let it sit preferrabley over night. Remove the paper product then scrub it with a nylon type brush, you will achieve great results.
Worked like magic and in seconds. No lie! And this was after spending $650 on a professional cleaning crew. Hat tip!
Ouch! That’s a hefty cleaning bill!!! So glad it worked as well for you as it did for me! 🙂
my ring around my toliet is a blue ring– I’ve tried the pumice- clorex= help!
I just seemed to have solved this issue in another manner. I clean the regularly by dumping bleach in, letting it sit over night and then give it a swirl with the brush in the morning followed by a few flushes. It works great except for the water line. At the water line it wasnt getting the bleaching action and developed a worsening and worsening ring until today I had a eureka moment, shoved a hand towel in the drain, hit flush which caused it to nearly overspill, then with the water line ready to overflow, dumped in the bleach, now, about 5 hours later the ring is nearly gone. I speculate that if I had simply done this from the beginning that the ring would have never formed in the first place and I also speculate that after several cleanings my ring will be gone.
Gary Vandeman says
What about the other ring? These rings build up at the water level. There is another water surface in the toilet, up the chute in back. As this ring builds up, the toilet material hangs up on that ring until you replace the toilet.
How do we remove That Ring?
Please be cautious about draining the water from the toilet. When you use the shut-off valve, it becomes likely to then leak. Put a small container under it for a few days to make sure the valve doesn’t leak and cause a big mess. I’ve seen it happen more than once. Thank you for all the cleaning tips. This is what I need to do today!
Patricia Hankins says
I drain the water from my toilet by simply dumping a bucket (or waste basket) full of water in the toilet. No need to bother with the shut off valve. When finished cleaning, flush and you’re done.
Karen Spurlin says
I have found that an inexpensive liquid automatic dishwasher detergent works better than anything I have ever used. It works very well on the underside of the bowl, where the water comes out to fill the bowl! Just let it work for about 5-10 minutes. Then use your toilet brush and scrub. Sparing again!
S Owens says
Thanks for the tip. I have purchased about every cleanser under the sun to try and remove the stubborn toilet bowl ring, but no luck. After reading about the Pumie, I thougt why not give it a try. Well I must say for less than $3 at Lowes and less than a minute of scrubbing, I am very thankful. I have finally gotten rid of those ugly stubborn tolilet bowel rings.
Sarah Fowler says
I’ve been upset about this for a long time. I own a horse riding facility, and the barn’s toilet is very, very rusty. This morning, one of my lesson students’ mother told me that the toilet’s water was “dark brown” and there was something wrong because there were brown stripes on the toilet itself. I know the toilet doesn’t look pretty because it’s rusty water, but seriously, if someone sees it’s bad enough to mention to me, I need to fix it ASAP! Thanks for the tips. I plan to buy the Pumie through Amazon, have it sent out next-day mail, clean it, and then finish off with car wax on the interior. Thank you so much for all of the suggestions on the blog AND in the comments above. This is a big problem that I really need to fix right now.
Good luck! I hope it helps you as much as it helped me!!!
Donald C. says
I manage an apartment building, and got online about 30 minutes ago, to see what i could get/do to get rid of the dreaded ring. I had 3 toilets I have been fighting to get clean…. I found this site, and the info on “The Pumie” and thought i would give it a try… but first I would see if I had brillo pads or scouring pads.. when I went into my cleaning supplies…. I found a new Pumie in there, that I never knew what was for… I gave it a shot… and after 10 minutes, the 3 toilets look 90% better! (If I had more time today, they would have been finished, but I was just trying it out! I was very nicely surprised with the results… but stil hoping to not be up to my elbows in toilets again, any time soon!
HA! I am so glad you found one and it worked. Do be careful with a brillo pad, they can scratch the toilet. Hopefully you won’t be in the toilets again soon 🙂
margie poole says
Where do you purchase the Pumie? How do you drain the toilet to get to the ring (is that really necessary?) and finally, how often do you have to do that?
Here is the link to buy the Pumie on Amazon – http://amzn.to/2xxuKhG. You do not have to drain the toilet. In fact, you want the water to wet the Pumie. As to how often, it depends on the hard-water level where you live. I don’t have to do it more than once, maybe twice a year. But my friend has much harder water where she lives and does it more often. Hope this helps!
Olga Zak says
HELP! I’ll try all above for the rings. Thank you! I also want to mention that another big problem I have is dull marble tiles on the countertop in my bathroom. I tried lot of things to make it little shine but nothing worked so far. Any suggestions?
I googled around and tried just about everything to get rid of the stubborn toilet rings: dumping Coca cola, household bleach, SoftScrub, baking soda & vinegar, Brillo scouring pad, etc. I’d let these sit then scrub really hard. I probably saw about a 40% improvement after trying everything. Then I came across a bottle of Lime-Away at Dollar Tree. I figured for a buck it’s the one thing I hadn’t tried yet. Sure enough, it worked like you would expect it to in a late night infomercial! The Lime-Away is a gel in a bright green bottle (the packaging doesn’t look like a knock off brand). The gel doesn’t run off like a liquid. As it runs down from the rim it coats the entire surface down to the water line . I let it sit about 10-15 minutes and brushed everything off. No elbow grease required. It almost rinsed off. Ring totally gone. Not even a hint of it. For a buck.
fonda auldridge says
WALMART SELLS THESE FOR 79 CENTS AND THEY WORK
Deborah Young says
I also had tried so many products: baking soda and vinegar, bleach, Iron Out, CLR, 0000 steel wool, and others I’ve forgotten. Such a waste of money, time, and elbow grease. Pumie worked like a charm! What an easy remedy. I wish I’d seen this post much earlier!
SO glad this helped you too!!!
Thank you, thank you, thank you!! When I read your story it was if I wrote it up until you mentioned The Pumie. It arrived today and I”m still working on it but the ring is going away! I’m thrilled.