Asked on May 6, 2013

HELP I turned my toilet bowl gray!!!!

Tony Romano48746664Kelly Antinori


A few months ago I decided to try to get the hard water line out of my toilet bowl.. I used an SOS pad (steel wool with soap). I did get rid of the hard water line for the most part, but to my horror I turned my toilet bowl gray!!

Does anyone know of anything that will now clean the gray out of the bowl. Bleach DOES NOT work!!

19 answers
  • Elyse
    on May 6, 2013

    i found a bunch of suggestions for you at this link.. ..i just google searched it, apparently you arent alone with the sos pad issue :)

  • Jayme
    on May 6, 2013

    @Elyse ...thanks for the link. I actually tried a couple of the suggestions. Totally destroyed a Mr. Clean Eraser and just happened to have The Works. All that remains is a gray shadow where the hard water line was...thinking about CLR next. :)

  • A few suggestions. Never use any sort of metal cleaning type of pad or any abrasive pad for that matter when cleaning porcelain. Once scratched it will always become difficult to clean and will dirty up much faster. SOS with a bit of elbow grease and a good sponge should remove any leftover marks on the toilet.

  • Opal
    on Feb 9, 2014

    Try this...Before bed if it is not in the master-bath, put a tea kettle on to boil, plunge all the water out of the toilet, pour in a gallon of vinegar ($3.00), then the hot water just enough to cover the are plus 1-2 inches. Leave overnight. Scrub in the am and flush. hope that works. If you don't have enough vinegar and are ocd about doing this now, put vinegar in a spray bottle and wait at least an hour then scrub and flush.good luck. vinegar also takes care of that calcium crud around faucets by soaking a paper towel in vinegar are wrapping overnight.

  • Piz453509
    on Aug 31, 2014

    Rub baking soda into the grey marks! It worked for me

  • Mary Titus
    on Apr 1, 2015

    Baking soda and a lightly dampened magic eraser worked, amazing, ty pizzahut666

    • Michael
      on Oct 1, 2019

      Thank you Mary! I never had a bowl that was so problematic to clean and made the mistake of using brillo which turned it grey as others have pointed out. Your solution was only thing that worked after bleach, vinegar, etc.

  • Janice AndDoyle
    on May 18, 2015

    you have scrubbed the enamel off of the bowl the gray you are seeing is the base material off the toilet bowl.clay/ ceramic material . you cannot put the enamel back on once you scratch it off. Steel wool or anything abrasive like that CAN NOT be used on enamel ... this includes you stove, frig, dishwasher, washer , dryer and what ever appliances you have that have shiny finishes.... Stainless steel appliances will also be a mess of scratches if you use steel wool on them

  • Mark Slone
    on Jun 7, 2015

    Drain the water below the gray stained area - it's just a stain - you haven't removed the enamel. Then use a little Pfaltzgraff Stoneware and Porcelain Cleaner and it will be gone in a blink. :)

  • Ytttprime
    on May 14, 2017

    I had this issue and followed the solution on this thread here: I emptied the bowl of water and used a pair of disposable gloves to gently rub Lysol bowl cleaner with hydrochloric acid with a Magic Eraser type of sponge on the gray line I had caused to appear and that took it out.  So thankfully it was not the surface being scratched off as I had feared but a mark being made on it with the scrubbing metallic material somehow.
  • Sassy
    on Feb 20, 2018

    If all that fails, try dumping a can of Coke in the toilet bowl at night and see if it removes the stain by morning.
  • Val33880103
    on Aug 1, 2018

    I had a similar problem- cleaned toilet vowel with wire scourer. In desperation as I had no baking soda or borax & visitors arriving in a couple of hours I emptied my cleaning product cupboard and found a well forgotten bottle of ceramic hob cleaner.... it worked. Little bit of elbow grease and a sponge and it’s as good as new.Good luck.
  • Lisa Knight
    on Sep 22, 2018

    I had the same problem! What finally did the trick was turning off the water supply and flushing the toilet to drain the bowl, then putting "beekeepers friend" (the liquid one) on it. Waited about a minute and it all just wiped right off as easy as you please!

  • Judith
    on Sep 22, 2018

    Lagostina stainless still pot cleaners works great. Not only on porcelain toilets and tubs....but cleans grey marks on coffee and tea cups too. A cute tip to get inside your coffe pot and tea pots is to put automatic dish detergent dry crystals into a lot water in the tea and coffee pots. Let stand for an hour stirring now and then with a spoon......instant clean pots??

  • Robin Harris
    on Jan 18, 2019

    Barkeeper’s Friend works!

  • Kelly Denoyer Russell
    on Jan 18, 2019

    Try The Works toilet bowl cleaner. The thin original one not the thick formula. Cheap and in Walmart or wherever! It has been this crazy tb cleaner that practically melted off water rust stains and I have used it for crazy odd nontoilet messes since then like fluorescent orange spray paint my kid sprayed on the brick of my house. If that doesn’t work I think it’s permanently damaged. I spilled on carpet and it melted it so whatever is in it is strong! Lol

  • Deb
    on Oct 19, 2019

    I did the same thing. I used steel wool to remove the hard water line and left gray scratches on the bowl. After reading all the comments, I checked my cleaning supplies and found a bottle of ceramic stovetop cleaning solution. I emptied the toilet of water and applied the cream with a magic eraser sponge and it looks like new. No more gray scratches! So you just need to polish the porcelain again with whatever you have - beekeepers or any glass top stove cleaner. Good luck!!

  • Kelly Antinori
    on Feb 15, 2020

    Empty the bowl and use glass top stove cleaner and Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, and it worked like a charm.

  • 48746664
    on Feb 19, 2020

    White Vinegar worked for me!

  • Tony Romano
    on Apr 26, 2020

    You did not etch the toilet! I used Comet and it worked for me. Dumped a bucket of water to get the waterline down and sprinkled it on and scrubbed with toilet brush and then put some more on top of that and let it sit for about 5 min. Took most out the first time. Repeated once more to get the last bit.

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