Limescale in the Toilet: How to Get It Out Below the Waterline

Limescale can be found in everyone's toilet. While it is an unsightly sight, it does not imply that you do not clean your toilet frequently enough or that you have bad habits in general.  

When you notice that pesky buildup below the waterline, you might wonder what the quickest way to remove it is, one that won't take all day and won't damage your toilet bowl.  

Here's everything you need to know about this common but inconvenient household task.

How to Remove Limescale Below the Waterline from a Toilet

Limescale can be removed from a toilet bowl below the waterline using either a natural ingredient, such as baking soda or vinegar, or a commercial limescale remover.  

To remove the most stubborn stains, you may need to use a special toilet brush or even a sanding sponge, depending on the condition of your toilet and the amount and thickness of the limescale.  

What Exactly Is Limescale?

Limescale is a chalky mineral deposit that is mostly made up of calcium carbonate. It is most common in areas with hard water and anywhere water stands for an extended period of time.  

Limescale is typically brownish or orange in color, but it can also be grey or off-white. Its color is determined by the minerals in the water. Iron, for example, produces reddish stains.  

While limescale buildup is unsightly, the worst part is not its appearance, but the damage it can cause. If left untreated, it can clog pipes and impair the performance of a wide range of appliances, from kettles to washing machines.

Why does limescale accumulate in the toilet?

There are two major factors that contribute to limescale buildup in a toilet.  

One of the causes is the type of water flowing through your pipes. If it's mineral-rich, particularly calcium carbonate (which also acts as a pH stabilizer), the water will be hard, and limescale will accumulate over time.  

The age of your toilet is also important. New toilets typically include a protective enamel layer that does a reasonable job of preventing limescale formation. Because using and scrubbing the toilet naturally damages it, limescale will begin to appear over time, particularly along the areas where your toilet's flush power is strongest.  

Limescale is usually more severe in older toilets because their protective layers have been washed away over time. They may have accumulated stains that are now nearly impossible to remove without causing damage to the bowl.  

How to Get Rid of Thick Limescale

To remove a thick layer of limescale, use a strong scale remover.  

Fortunately, there are many different products on the market, so you will be able to find a solution that works for your specific type of limescale. Don't be concerned if not all of it is removed on the first try; you may simply need to try a different product. You should also try repeating the process with the same product a few times to ensure that it reaches all of the various layers of that thick limescale buildup.  

If you want to remove stains below the waterline, make sure to empty the toilet bowl before using your limescale remover. If you don't, the product will become diluted and will be less effective.  

If you are using scale remover tablets, you will still need water to dissolve them in.  

To drain the toilet, first turn off the water supply to the tank. Flush your toilet to empty the tank, then fill a large bucket with water. Pour the water into the toilet bowl and observe how much of it drains away. Then simply scoop up what's left with a sponge or a towel.  

The drier your toilet bowl is, the better the scale remover will work, so wipe it clean, ideally after a good scrub with your regular toilet cleaner, to remove any non-limescale stains. Then simply follow the instructions included with your limescale remover.  

You must apply the product and allow it to sit for a period of time, sometimes even overnight. Then, to get into all those curves and edges, use a brush with a D-shaped head. The stains may disappear without scrubbing, but thick stains usually necessitate some elbow grease.  

How to Remove Limescale from a Toilet with Baking Soda

Baking soda is a natural product that can be used to remove limescale beneath the waterline.  

You must first empty your toilet bowl before applying a solution of 6 tablespoons baking soda and 2 tablespoons water. The paste should be thick, and it should be applied directly to the stains.  

Allow it to dry before scrubbing away the limescale with a brush. If a regular brush isn't cutting it, you can try a sanding scrubber.  

More stubborn stains will necessitate several rounds of scrubbing, and you may need to use another limescale remover.  

Vinegar to Remove Limescale from a Toilet

Another popular natural cleaning agent that can assist you in removing limescale from a toilet bowl below the waterline is vinegar.  

First, empty your toilet bowl, and then pour a bottle of undiluted white vinegar into it. Allow it to sit for at least 4 hours (preferably longer). It is important to note that you will almost certainly need to keep the bathroom door closed because some of the odor will seep through even with the toilet seat down.  

To remove any stubborn stains, you will need to apply some elbow grease and use a special brush or scrubber. You can also add lemon juice because its acidic properties will help dissolve the stains.  

When you're finished, flush the toilet and you should be stain-free. If this does not work, repeat the process or use a more aggressive scale remover.

Finishing Up

Limescale is an unavoidable part of life, and it will inevitably accumulate at some point. By regularly scrubbing it away below the waterline of your toilet, and cleaning your toilet regularly in general, you should be able to keep it at bay, and in general, spend less time removing it, than if you were to allow it to reign unchecked for a long period of time  

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