2 Easy Steps To Remove Limescale from Your Toilet

Limescale build up in a toilet is disgusting and I am going to show you a simple cleaning hack for getting rid of it! 

remove limescale from toilet

Limescale can make your perfectly clean toilets look like they haven't been cleaned in years.

I totally understand how it feels because thanks to the water in my area, I get hard water stains around my toilet rim and bowl very regularly.

If you're struggling with this issue, have no fear – removing limescale from a toilet is not as daunting a task as it may seem.

In this post, I will show you my favourite two step method for removing limescale from your toilet as well as some popular methods online.

I will also give you a cleaning schedule that will prevent it from forming in the future. 

The Absolute Best Toilet Limescale Remover

The absolute best option I have used to remove limescale from my toilet successfully is citric acid. 

remove limescale from toilet with citric acid

Now, you might be thinking, "Acid in my toilet? Are you crazy?"  But hold on! Citric acid is merely a concentrated version of the type of acid found in lemon juice. 

Recently, my friend was at her wit's end with the thick limescale that had built up in her toilet, staining the bowl with a stubborn brown film.

Her overenthusiastic cleaner had recently used a scouring pad to scrub the inside of her toilet. This meant the porcelain was compromised and that made her toilet more susceptible to these stains. 

She had tried everything to get rid of it but nothing was working.

I casually mentioned citric acid, and to our delight, she had some tucked away from an old Amazon purchase.

She tried it and sent me the photos below a few days later, thanking me profusely. Let's be honest, the results were impressive! 

After she had tried everything, citric acid finally worked! It took a few days but it worked!

If you are after a much quicker method, I share a few below. Citric Acid just happens to be be the product that is most natural and delivers great results. 

how to remove toilet limescale

2 Steps to Use Citric Acid To Remove Limescale

Here's how you too can get rid of limescale in your toilet with this easy 2-step process:

stubborn limescale in toilet bowl

1. Soak: 

  • Flush your toilet.
  • Pour 1-2 cups of citric acid in the toilet bowl and onto the sides. 
  • For the rim, mix 1/2 cup of citric acid powder with warm water. Soak a paper towel in the solution, fold it into the rim, and let it sit overnight to break down the limescale.
how to remove brown stains from toilet

2. Scrub: 

  • In the morning, use a toilet brush to scrub the areas where you applied the citric acid solution. You should see the limescale breaking away easily.
  • If the limescale has not dissolved completely by morning, you can repeat the critic acid soak. My friend did hers for three consecutive nights.
  • Alternatively, scrub the remaining limescale with a toilet pumice stone using some elbow grease. 

Citric acid, combined with a pumice stone, is honestly the best solution I have found removing brown limescale buildup and that horrible chalky deposit in your toilet. This method is not only effective but also gentle on the toilet surface. 

Although I must say that you should avoid using the pumice stone often.

Frequent scratching of the porcelain makes the surface more prone to stains in the future.

Other Effective Methods to Remove Limescale From Toilet

Even though citric acid is my best method for tackling mineral deposits in the toilet, I wouldn't be thorough if I didn't mention other commercial limescale removers that work. 

As someone who's battled limescale in the toilet, I know that getting rid of it once doesn't mean it won't come back.

If you're like me, you're always on the lookout for new and effective ways to tackle it. 

Here's a simple trick I used to find solutions that work.

I asked myself, what are the main ingredients in a kettle limescale remover? They are ingredients like acetic acid, citric acid, and phosphoric acid, so what did I do?


Cleaning products that contain ingredients like acetic acid, citric acid, and phosphoric acid are excellent for limescale removal

I simply searched for products that contained these ingredients or found the acids themselves in their pure form. 

Some of the solutions I am about to mention are strong chemicals so if you decide to try them, remember to follow safety precautions and wear rubber gloves when handling.

HG Limescale Remover Spray

When I am in a rush, the HG Limescale Remover Spray is what I reach for. It is such a powerful and convenient option for dissolving limescale buildup around your toilet rim and other bathroom surfaces.

It comes in a handy spray bottle and works really fast. 

hg limescale remover

Here's how to use it:

  • Shake the bottle well before use.
  • Direct the spray nozzle towards the limescale buildup. Mine is usually around the rim.
  • Apply a generous amount of spray to cover the affected area. Let it sit for 15 minutes.
  • Scrub the area with a toilet brush or sponge. The limescale should come away easily.
  • Flush and repeat if needed. 

Best for: Thick limescale build-up around toilet rim

Dishwasher Tablet

One method I've seen talked about in facebook groups is using dishwasher tablets.

dishwasher tablet for toilet cleaning

Here's how to use it:

  • Drop a dishwasher tablet into the toilet bowl, let it dissolve for a few hours, preferably overnight. 
  • Optional: For extra cleaning power, add a scoop (about 1/4 cup) of oxygen bleach.
  • Scrub with a toilet brush and then flush the toilet

Best for: Mild limescale build-up in toilet bowl

Muriatic Acid

When dealing with particularly tough limescale and don't have the patience to wait several days for citric acid to work, some people consider using muriatic acid.

However, due to its extreme corrosiveness and safety concerns, I strongly advise against it. Safer and more effective alternatives exist. 

Muriatic acid for cleaning toilet

Muriatic acid is a last resort solution and is a highly corrosive and dangerous substance. It can cause severe burns to skin and eyes, and inhalation of its fumes can be harmful to the respiratory system. 

If you decide to use it, handle with care. Open your windows and be sure to wear gloves as it can burn your skin. 

Here's how to use it:

  • Empty the toilet bowl and the sides
  • Pour the muriatic acid down the bowl
  • Let it sit for 2-3 minutes (yes it works fast)
  • Scrub with a toilet brush taking care not to let it splash in your face
  • Flush and repeat if needed

Be careful not to let muriatic acid sit in your bowl for too long else it will remove the coating on your toilet and make it more susceptible to stains. 

Best for: Thick limescale build-up in toilet bowl and rim

Acetic Acid

Acetic acid, a more concentrated form of vinegar, is another effective acid-based product that works well for removing limescale.

You can easily find it online in 20-30% concentrations.

Here's how to use it:

  • Pour the acetic acid directly into the toilet bowl. No need to empty the toilet bowl prior to pouring. 
  • Leave the solution to sit for a few hours, ideally overnight.
  • Give the bowl a good scrub with your toilet brush, then flush to rinse away the loosened limescale.

Best for: Medium limescale build-up in toilet bowl and rim


Vinegar is one of the most popular household products used to tackle limescale.

Although I haven't been very successful with using it to remove thick limescale in my toilets, I had to list it because it works for some people. 


Here's how to use it:

  • Pour a cup of white vinegar directly into the bowl and onto the sides (or dilute in water for lighter cleaning).
  • Let it sit overnight, or for several hours for milder limescale.
  • Flush the toilet to loosen the softened limescale.
  • Scrub the bowl and rim with a toilet brush, taking care not to splash.
  • Flush again to rinse everything away. Repeat if needed

Best for: Thick limescale build-up in toilet bowl and rim

If you are struggling with rust or other limescale stains, I share in-depth on cleaning toilet bowl stains here. 

How to Prevent Limescale Buildup In Toilet

Growing up my mum always said this statement "Prevention is better than cure" and I firmly agree.

To keep your toilet looking sparkly clean and free of stubborn limescale, you only need to follow a few simple steps. 

  1. Firstly, make sure you clean your toilet regularly, I know I am stating the obvious but having a regular cleaning routine will prevent limescale from building up in the first place. Sometimes I drop these homemade toilet bombs or pour citric acid in the bowl every other night before bed or when the toilet will not be in use. 
  2. Another option is to pour thick bleach or toilet cleaner in the toilet before bed or when the toilet is not is use, for example when you are going on holiday. The  sodium hypochlorite in the bleach will bleach the limescale and make it less noticeable.
  3. Do not under any circumstance use a scouring pad in your toilet. My friend started having more stains in her toilet after an overenthusiastic cleaner emptied her toilet bowl and used a scouring pad to give it a good scrub. Doing this scratches the coating of your toilet and more limescale forms.
  4. Another measure you can take prevent limescale buildup is to address your water supply and install a water softener. I have to admit that water softeners can be expensive and require a bit of space which not everyone has. We didn't have the budget for one so we got a magnetic limescale reducer. It doesn't exactly prevent hard water but it reduces the amount of limescale you get.

Sample cleaning routine to prevent limescale in toilet:

If you need help implementing these tips, here is a sample cleaning schedule you can follow

  1. Pour citric acid or a toilet cleaner in the toilet bowl at least twice every week.
  2. Make a habit of cleaning your toilet once a week, paying attention to descaling the rims and holes under the rims
  3. Check and maintain proper water flow around the toilet rim at least once every month.

FAQs: How To Get Rid Of Limescale In A Toilet

What is the most effective way to eliminate limescale from the toilet?

In my experience, using citric acid has been the most effective at breaking down limescale in my toilets.

Pour a generous amount of it into the toilet bowl, let it sit for an hour (or overnight for stubborn stains), and then scrub the bowl with a toilet brush.

Follow up with a wet pumice stone if some stains remain.

I love this method because it is a natural cleaning agent that truly delivers great results every time.

Can you prevent thick limescale buildup in a toilet?

Absolutely! You can prevent thick limescale buildup by regularly cleaning your toilet and using citric acid or a toilet cleaner every other day.

 Maintaining a cleaning routine is the best way to keep limescale away.

How to remove limescale from toilet below waterline?

To remove limescale below the waterline, lower the water level in the bowl by scooping out water.

This will ensure that whatever you use to treat it will be in its most undiluted form and will work faster, whether that's vinegar or hydrochloric acid.

You can also try some other solutions mentioned in this post like dishwasher tablets.

What is the best method to clean limescale from the toilet rim?

Here's a simple trick: soak a kitchen paper towel in vinegar or citric acid solution and wrap it around the rim.

Let it sit for a few hours, then grab a brush or an old, dedicated toilet brush to scrub and reach every nook and cranny. Flush away!


Hey you, I’m Torera

Hey there! I am Torera, a home care and cleaning enthusiast with a mission to make cleaning as fun and easy as possible for women like you. As someone who had to learn everything from scratch, I have the mindset of a beginner and know exactly how to take you from A to Z. Let us ditch the overwhelm and create a space that is clean, cozy, and totally you!