How to remove brown stains from a toilet – four easy ways to shift limescale

Lynsey Crombie demonstrates how to clean your toilet

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Limescale is often thought of as white chalky stains around taps and showers, but it can look brown and dirty when found in the bowl of a toilet. While flushing and scrubbing might seem like the easiest way to get rid of it, hard water stains can be trickier to clean than you might think. Luckily there are a few naturally powerful remedies which will do the trick, and these are the four most effective methods to use.

The brown stains in your toilet might not be what you think they are. In fact, they’re most likely to be limescale.

Hard water is the main cause of these unsightly brown marks, leaving limescale to build up with every flush of water that runs through the toilet.

As the deposits of minerals – such as iron, calcium and magnesium – build up, they can turn green, orange and brown – but how can you get rid of them?

Cleaning up layers of stubborn stains requires just a few simple ingredients, and this is how to use them.


This popular fizzy beverage is a firm favourite for drinking, but it could also have an impressive effect on the cleanliness of your toilet.

Using this sweet liquid to banish limescale can be done in just three steps, with very little elbow grease required.

Start by pouring the cola over the edge of the bowl and leave it to settle at the base of the toilet overnight.

Scrub with a clean brush and flush the liquid away the following morning.

Watch the unpleasant brown stains lift away from the surface in an instant.

Citrus juice and white vinegar

Lemons and limes are renowned for their sour taste, and it’s the same tangy juice which makes them so useful for banishing tough limescale.

Mix the juice of one lemon or lime with enough white vinegar to fill a standard sized jug.

Remove as much water from the bowl as possible and pour the citrus-infused vinegar into the toilet.

Leave the acidic solution to work its magic overnight and scrub the morning after.

Flush the remaining liquid away to reveal a stain-free and fresh smelling toilet.

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Baking soda and white vinegar

This staple ingredient is known for its impressive cleansing properties, and it’s perfect for tackling those tough brown toilet stains.

Pour equal amounts of baking soda and white vinegar into your toilet bowl and watch the fizzing action take place.

These two staple products are perfect for lifting stains and washing away stubborn grime, leaving your toilet sparkling clean.

You should leave the mixture to sit for at least half an hour before washing it away with some boiling water.

White vinegar and soda crystals

Yet another white vinegar solution, these two powerful ingredients are ideal for a no-scrub hack to clean up your toilet.

Pour equal parts white vinegar and boiling water into your toilet bowl to fill it up to the rounded rim as the toilet bowl widens.

Leave the acidic liquid to sit for at least 15 minutes.

Add one cup of soda crystals to the bowl before flushing away, watching the stains peel away from the surface as the solution disappears.

You might need to repeat this method a few times for more stubborn limescale deposits.

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