This $12 Tool Instantly Removed the Stubborn Hard Water Stain in Our Toilet that Nothing Else Could

published Jan 21, 2023
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Credit: Sarah Crowley/Apartment Therapy

When my husband and I moved into our first home three years ago, we quickly realized we had a hard water problem.

After a few months of getting settled in, we noticed a pesky white residue building up on our coffeemaker and shower head. My already-dry skin was almost painful and cracked after a shower, and our new towels and bedding seemed to look worn faster than usual. I knew that hard water buildup — when your water has higher than average mineral content, typically, a larger calcium and magnesium concentration — was likely the culprit.

If you’ve ever lived in a home with hard water, I don’t have to tell you how annoying it is to clean up the mineral residue. While using a cleaning mixture of diluted white distilled vinegar did the trick for our coffeemaker and shower head, the hard water rings forming in our toilet bowls weren’t so easy to remove. Even with consistent weekly cleanings, the toilet bowl stains never budged and seemingly continued to worsen. No matter how sparkly and clean our guest bathroom was, I felt like our bathroom still looked dirty because of the yucky brown ring.  I had to figure this out.

Initially, I tried our go-to toilet bowl bathroom cleaners and a good scrub with a cleaning brush, but they didn’t budge. I thought maybe I wasn’t using enough “elbow grease,” as my grandmother calls it, so I asked my husband to give it his best shot. No luck. Even at top strength, he couldn’t make any headway. Like most people, I then turned to the internet— aka TikTok’s #Cleantok community— for hacks and recommendations for other methods to try.

I learned that using a mix of Borax and vinegar should do the trick. Emphasis on should. I tried it twice, and the rings remained. I tried a combination of baking soda and vinegar solution to loosen the stain — another common recommendation from cleaning pros — and still, no change. A lot of people also swear by using a pumice stone to remove these types of stains, especially when they’re stubborn, so I headed to Amazon, and a simple search revealed this top-rated pumice stone toilet bowl cleaner with a handle. I was sold after reading countless positive reviews, many of which said that the produce removed even their toughest hard water stains in seconds.

Within five minutes of opening this handy tool, I had successfully removed toilet bowl stains from both toilets in our home, with little to no exertion or cleaning solutions. See?

Credit: Charli Penn
Credit: Charli Penn

While I’m positive that you can use any heavy-duty pumice stone you already have lying around to remove hard water stains, the handle on this one makes it super easy to angle the stone correctly to make each stroke the most effective. One warning: You will notice that the stone begins to wear down fast as you start to scrub, but it still holds up well. I’ve been using the same pumice stone cleaner I originally bought for the last four months. I did purchase a second one for our shower walls and faucets, to keep them separate.  

If your toilet bowl hard water stains are stubborn like mine, I can tell you this product won’t disappoint.