A stained toilet bowl is probably one of the worst sights you can expect to find in a home. Apart from looking unsightly, it is a source of bacteria and other microorganisms that can become a health hazard pretty quickly.

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to clean a stained toilet bowl that you can try depending on the type of stains you are dealing with. CLR (short for Calcium Lime Rust) is a solution that works every time.

In the sections that follow, you will find all the necessary info on how to clean your toilet bowl with CLR, including tips that will make the process quick and easy. With those, getting your toilet bowl to shine will be a piece of cake!

Types of Toilet Bowl Stains

Most toilet bowls are made of porcelain. Though this material is durable and easy to clean, it also stains notoriously easily, especially due to hard water. Thus, it is necessary to clean your toilet bowl at least once a week to ensure that it lasts a long time and looks spotless all the while.

Here are the stain types you should watch out for.

Regular Stains

Since you use your toilet bowl every day, it is only natural that it gets stained frequently. Regular stains can be easily cleaned with ordinary store-bought toilet cleaners and a bit of scrubbing.

In most cases, you won’t even have to scrub too long or leave the solution to sit. A few seconds of scrubbing will be enough, and your toilet bowl will be looking brand new in no time.

Rust and Hard Water Stains

However, regular toilet cleaners cannot deal with more severe and persistent strains that can appear in your toilet bowl. These stains are usually caused by hard water or rust, and they require something stronger to disappear.

Rust stains usually occur due to a rusty pipe or another component of your plumbing system. The rust particles will enter your toilet bowl water and stain it. Some of them will stick to the surface of the bowl and become rather hard to remove.

Hard water stains occur when your water contains a high amount of abrasive minerals. These include calcium and magnesium, which leave residue on most of the places they come in contact with, such as your sink, bathtub, shower, and toilet bowl.

Though such stains might seem easy to remove (after all, they do come from water), they are anything but. In fact, hard water stains are some of the most difficult ones to remove, no matter how strong your cleaner is.

Why CLR Is Good for Rust and Hard Water Stains

CLR is an effective cleaning agent that will make all persistent stains disappear. The best thing about this cleaner is that, despite its strength and effectiveness, it contains no harsh or toxic chemicals. Thus, you don’t have to use bleach or other similar cleaners and put your safety in jeopardy just to clean your toilet bowl.

CLR is a good cleaner for all stains, especially if they are old and if you’ve already tried everything else. We will tell you how to use this product to clean your toilet bowl in the sections that follow.

Using CLR to Clean Persistent Stains in Your Toilet Bowl

There are two ways in which you can use CLR to clean your toilet bowl, all based on where the stains are. Here are the instructions for each.

If the Stains Are Above the Water Line

If you are dealing with old stains that are well above the water line in your toilet bowl, using CLR to clean them will be rather easy. All you have to do is apply CLR to the stains generously and scrub them with a toilet bowl brush.

You do not have to brush for too long or too hard. Just make sure you cover all the stains well, and you’ll be good to go. Then, leave the cleaner in the bowl for around two minutes. Make sure it is not too much longer than that so that the CLR does not damage the porcelain finish of your bowl.

Once the two minutes are up, you should simply flush your toilet two to three times. That will ensure any excess product washes away, leaving your toilet bowl all shiny and new.

If any stains still remain after you flush the toilet, simply give them a scrub or two with your toilet brush again. You’ll notice them coming off easily this time. Flush the toilet once more, and you’ll be truly done!

If the Stains Are Below the Water Line

However, you will have to do a bit more work if you want to clean rust or hard water stains that are below the water line in your toilet bowl. Before you even touch the CLR, you will have to empty your toilet bowl completely so that there is no water left. Here is how you can do it.

Emptying Your Toilet Bowl

First, you need to turn off the water source for the toilet. Doing so means that no one will be able to use the toilet for at least half an hour, so make sure you do all this at a convenient time.

After you have turned off the water supply, flush the toilet to ensure the tank empties fully. Of course, you won’t be able to get all the water out, but the amount that remains is insignificant for your task. Thus, you can leave it be.

Your next step is to plunge your toilet bowl. The plunging motion will push all excess water out of your toilet bowl and into the trap that connects the bowl to the drain. From there, the water will continue down, and your bowl will slowly become empty.

You can remove any excess water with a big sponge that you don’t mind throwing away after the task is done. The same goes for any dishcloth or similar item you want to use to scoop up the water.

Though this method is the most common one, it is definitely not the only thing you can do to empty your bowl. You can also siphon out the water with a hose or use a small cup to get the water out by hand.

You can choose which method works best for you based on the supplies you have and how much time you are working with. As long as your toilet bowl ends up empty in the end, you can do anything you want.

Cleaning the Stains

Now that the bowl is empty and dry, you can get a good look at the stains and apply your CLR. Make sure you scrub at them and leave everything be for about two minutes.

Again, it is best not to leave the cleaner inside the bowl for more than two to three minutes. That way, you won’t risk any further damage to your toilet bowl.

Once the time is up, turn the water supply back on and flush your toilet two to three times. You will notice that the cleaner has removed all of the stains and that your toilet bowl is pearly white once again.

Remember to Wear Protective Gear

As mentioned above, CLR is not as toxic and harmful as some other abrasive cleaners. However, you should still make sure to protect yourself while using it.

Remember to wear gloves while handling the product. In addition, make sure you scrub at your toilet bowl with a long-handle brush to avoid touching CLR. You should be especially careful if you have sensitive skin and severe reactions to cleaning products in general.

Another thing that can help you be safer is wearing a face mask. It will stop you from breathing in the fumes from CLR. That way, you won’t get light-headed, and you will be able to finish up the cleaning process quickly and efficiently.

What If the Stains Persist?

As powerful and efficient as it is, CLR is not a magical substance that can clear any stain there is. Thus, it could happen that it simply isn’t strong enough to remove certain stains. That will especially be the case if the stains are due to hardened rust. Though you can try repeating the cleaning process a few times, it most likely won’t work.

In such cases, it might be best to try something stronger, such as Borax or any other type of bleach. These cleaners are much more abrasive and toxic. As such, they will be able to do the job better than CLR.

Simply make sure that you follow all the instructions to protect your toilet bowl from damage. Do so, and you should be able to remove even the most stubborn of stains.

To Conclude

As you have read, CLR is a powerful cleaning agent that can help make your toilet bowl look brand new in the blink of an eye. Suitable for most rust and hard water stains, CLR is an efficient yet non-toxic solution for all your toilet bowl problems.

Hopefully, the advice above helps you deal with any annoying stains quickly. Remember to wear protective gear, and good luck cleaning!

Related: Will a Toilet Eventually Unclog Itself?

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