How to get rid of a toilet ring, so it's no longer a permanent feature

Scrub, scrub, scrub

A tiled bathroom with a raised sink and toilet.
(Image credit: Getty)

IDK about you, but cleaning my toilet is pretty straightforward and doesn’t take long at all. A quick spritz of my go-to bathroom cleaner, a little wiping, and a squirt of bleach in the bowl, and I'm good to go. Sometimes this kind of routine isn’t enough to prevent certain issues from occurring, such as the development of an ugly — and seriously stubborn — toilet ring. 

Whether you’ve just noticed that your toilet has begun to develop an icky brown-hued ring at the water line or it’s been a problem for a while that won't go away no matter how many toilet cleaning hacks you try, you might wonder how you can get rid of the stubborn stain. 

This is one bathroom cleaning issue that I’m all too familiar with. The day I moved into my first apartment, I was greeted with a rather grimy-looking toilet ring that, no matter how hard I scrubbed, I just couldn’t seem to get rid of. That was until I found the perfect techniques. FYI, they’re all super easy to do. 

Good to know

Time: 5–10 minutes depending on the method. 

Difficulty: Easy 

Helpful hints: Make sure that you have a sturdy toilet brush, a flimsy little thing won't cut it

Here’s what you’ll need

How to get rid of a toilet ring

Step 1: Pour white vinegar into the toilet bowl 

Measure out one cup of distilled white vinegar (we'd recommend this Heinz vinegar from Amazon) and pour it into the bowl of the toilet. Let it sit for a minute or two. 

Step 2: Add baking soda 

Fill a cup halfway with baking soda (we always recommend Arm & Hammer from Amazon) and then pour it into the toilet bowl onto the white vinegar. When the two ingredients mix, the mixture should begin to froth and fizz. 

Step 3: Let the mixture sit 

Leave the mixture of white vinegar and baking soda to sit for around five minutes. 

Step 4: Scrub the toilet ring  

Put on your rubber gloves and use a toilet brush (a silicone one like this one from Amazon is best) to gently scrub around the toilet ring, removing the build-up. 

Step 5: Flush the toilet 

Once you’ve removed as much of the ring mark as possible, flush the toilet to wash away any loose fragments and to remove the vinegar and baking soda from the toilet bowl. 

Step 6: Buff with a pumice stone 

To remove any leftover toilet ring staining, gently use a pumice stone (this one from Amazon is on a handle it easier) to buff around the ring mark. This should ensure that any leftover staining is removed. 


Is it safe to use vinegar and baking soda in your toilet?

Yes, as long as you don’t mix either vinegar or baking soda with any cleaning chemicals, it’s safe to use them in your toilet bowl. 

Why does vinegar and baking soda remove a toilet ring?

When mixed together, vinegar and baking soda create a chemical reaction that acts like a mini eruption, helping to remove stubborn stains, such as toilet bowl rings. 

What causes a toilet bowl ring?

It’s basically a build up of hard water or bacteria and mold that has been caused by germs or fungus from within the water. This then sticks to the edge of the toilet bowl and a not-so-lovely ring is formed.

Beth Mahoney
Freelance journalist

Hi! I’m Beth Mahoney and I’m a former staff writer at Real Homes. I’ve been a journalist for the national press for the past six years, specializing in commerce and trends-related lifestyle articles, from product reviews and listicles to guides and features. With an eye for pretty things (think: quirky wall prints, scalloped edge furniture, and decadent-looking tableware) but a limited budget, I love nothing more than a bargain buy.