Cleaning the "uncleanable" Toilet

About: I am a dad and husband and love sharing what I am up to. My content is family friendly and fun! (At least I think so! :) )

I'm almost embarrassed to publish something so simple on instructables, but if it helps one other person, I suppose that's worth something :-)

My wife and I recently moved into a home that had been sitting on the market for the better part of a year. Needless to say, the place needed a thorough cleaning. The toilet however just wouldn’t clean. Typically I use a cheap chemical cleaner that I pick up at the dollar store (for a dollar) and a scrub brush to clean off the junk that accumulates in a toilet, but this mess wasn’t coming off. I tried scrubbing, scrubbing again and even a different harsh chemical cleaner intended to remove calcium, lime and rust deposits. NOPE. Didn’t work.

To clean our dirty home, we hired the help of a cleaning crew that boasted their ability to clean toilets such as ours. BUUUUT when the they showed up, it was a team of 1 person who didn’t bring their toilet cleaning materials. *face-palm*. She did however divulge the secret to cleaning this unsightly mess – *drumroll* a pumice stone.

Step 1: Procure the Pumice

Pumice on stick was not readily available at my local Walmart, but gloves were nearby – I picked both these items up in the home cleaning section. My gloves had a hole in them...because my sister in law used them as she remodeled our kitchen before I got around to using them. (Thanks S!)

Step 2: Scrub and Enjoy the 'After'

Before using the pumice stone, clean your toilet using your normal method, that way you won't have to use the brittle stone for more than is needed. To clean with the pumice stone, simply apply directly to the porcelain toilet to scrub/buff the stain/mineral deposit.

I was surprised with how easily the mineral deposits (that’s what I think they are anyways) were removed from the toilet bowl. It took me literally less than a minute to scrub off the majority of the build up. The only bit that gave me trouble was right where the water enters the bowl. The pumice stone is very light – surprisingly so – and it crumbles as you use it to clean the bowl under water. If you were going to work on a larger section, you may want a second stone handy, but for just a couple of dollars at Walmart, it won't break the bank.

Clean up was easy, I threw away the remainder of the stone, gloves and washed my hands…a lot.

Happy cleaning!


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    3 Discussions


    2 years ago

    We had the same problem when we bought our house, our water is very mineral rich and the original owners never installed a water softener (a MUST in our area) and they were here for about 3 years, the sinks and toilets had really bad rust stains on them.

    "harsh chemical cleaner intended to remove calcium, lime and rust deposits" that's what I used, but I used one of those green plastic scouring pads instead of a brush....... I wish I would have thought of the gloves though.


    2 years ago

    Sounds messy and "cringes away" but i will try coz my toilet has those build ups

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    The mess wasn't too bad, the pumice and build up pretty much turned to 'sand' :) I could imagine a larger build up flaking off and needing to be thrown away rather than flushed, but if you keep a rubbish bag close, you'll be fine! I'd really like to know how this works for others, this was surprisingly easy for me with very little 'elbow grease' required. Good luck!