Asked on Mar 14, 2016

The bottom of my toilet looks grey, how do I get rid of it?

Thomas Brooks
by Thomas Brooks
I just moved in new house and my toilet looks like this. How do l remove this browny grey?
  77 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Mar 17, 2016
    Try putting baking soda and white vinegar in the bowl and let sit overnight.
  • Blair Blair on Mar 17, 2016
    Try a pumice stone. Rub it over the stained area. Is also good for hard water rings.
  • Srichmond83801 Srichmond83801 on Mar 17, 2016
    I agree with can get a pumice stone at Home Depot or Lowe's. They are usually with the cleaning supplies.
  • Laurie Johnson Laurie Johnson on Mar 17, 2016
    try denture cleaner....effervecent
  • Bobbie Littlefield Bobbie Littlefield on Mar 17, 2016
    Denture cleaner works - sometimes. Pumice stone is a bit too harsh. There is an open weave hardware cloth (available at most hardware stores) that dry wallers use to sand the walls. Buy several different grit strengths (might as well pick up wet/dry sand papers as well-an investment in your workshop). Starting at 80 grit and working your way up, try removing it slowly by rubbing the area. Works for all calcium deposits as well but test the area (start with the highest number grit and work your way DOWN). It CAN scratch porcelain surfaces so be careful. You will need to use scissors to cut it into manageable squares. Use really dull scissors and watch them get sharpened!! Wonderful stuff. I always have squares in my cleaning supplies, at the dish sink, garden and workshop areas. I store these and other wet/dry sandpapers and wood sandpapers in a collapsible file folder labeled with grit strengths.
  • B. Enne B. Enne on Mar 17, 2016
    I like to throw in a dishwasher pack for a few hours or overnight. Any cheap brand works really well. I don't need to scrub, but just give a quick wipe with the brush (not always necessary). Just make sure to flush before using the toilet.
  • Cookie Cookie on Mar 17, 2016
    Get out as much water as you can and pour full strength white vinegar in the bottom of the bowl and let it sit as long as possible and then I took a old table knife and just chip away at the spot and it came clean. There is a bowl cleaner that Amway makes that would possible get get rid of it also.
  • Debs Debs on Mar 17, 2016
    Lime away in the pour bottle not the spray.. It Works wonders, just do not get it on your skin..and flush a couple of times to make sure it is all out before using the facility..
  • Tesspug Tesspug on Mar 17, 2016
    I buy a pumice stone called a Scouring Stick. Rub like crazy and it takes all the buildup off without scratching the porcelain.
  • MN Mom MN Mom on Mar 17, 2016
    Remove as much water as you can from the bowl and add plain white vinegar. Let it sit for several hours. Add baking soda and scrub with a Magic Eraser. Let that sit and then flush it away. You may need to repeat this process.
  • Meli Meli on Mar 18, 2016
    Remove as much water as possible . Pour in half a bottle of coke and leave it overnight or longer if possible. You may have to repeat this.
  • Soi3582991 Soi3582991 on Mar 18, 2016
    Ordinary domestic bleach may be less environmentally friendly than vinegar but it does whiten the toilet bowl quickly. However, bleach doesn't remove limescale so best use a limescale remover toilet cleaner first. DON'T use bleach and limescale remover together. That produces a toxic gas that could damage your lungs.
  • Val Davis Val Davis on Mar 18, 2016
    lime scale remover is what you need ,bleach will only whiten it . Get the liquid pouring type. Good luck
  • John Grimley John Grimley on Mar 18, 2016
    Caustic soda crystals. Pour in some hot water out of your sink/bath (the cold water already in there will cool it down. Add a capful of caustic soda crystals and leave as long as possible.
  • Poppy Poppy on Mar 18, 2016
    rubber gloves, remove as much water as possible using a green scourer and CLR scrub hard, one house we had the tennant had not used limescale remover in 7 years and I actualy had to chisel it off [ very carefully] not a happy experience but it did work
  • White Oak Studio Designs White Oak Studio Designs on Mar 18, 2016
    I have this too and just now thought to use try denture cleaning tablets.....
  • Barb Barb on Mar 18, 2016
    You could also try a pumice stone.
  • BerylGan4640 BerylGan4640 on Mar 18, 2016
    There is a product called 'The Works', dirt cheap, it worked on my daughter's toilet....but not on mine so I think it depends on the 'chemistry' of the deposit. Pumice stone is also great but make sure you use it under water as it will scratch the porcelain if not.
  • Jerry Logan Jerry Logan on Mar 18, 2016
    ZUD its like comet
  • Erica Erica on Mar 18, 2016
    CLR poured in bowl and left to sit for a bit. You don't need lots, approximately 1/2 cup. Scrub with abrasive sponge or brush after 30 mins or more.
  • Candi Candi on Mar 18, 2016
    It looks to me like the finish has worn off.....
  • Kristi K Kristi K on Mar 18, 2016
    I have a similar problem in one of ours. I figured out what the problem is tho I haven't done anything about it yet (yeah, I'm procrastinating) ..... The tank itself has quite a bit of "gunk" in it. Not sure when or how that happened because we've been in our house 10 years and it's just now becoming a problem. And only with ONE of the three toilets, so your guess is as good or better than mine. Anyhow, I need to turn off the water supply, completely drain the tank, scrub it & rinse it all out. With all that said, you might start by checking the condition of the inside of your tank. Best of luck to you because if you're like me there's nothing more annoying than cleaning a toilet only to have it look "abandoned" the next day! LOL
  • Doris Doris on Mar 18, 2016
    I had a similar situation in my house. Denture cleaning tablets cuts it ...drop 2 or3 in at night and flush in the a.m. It may take doing more than one time and that's practically no labor..
  • Marilee H Marilee H on Mar 18, 2016
    Try all the cleaning hints offered, one at a time, till one works! But I suspect this may be a case where all you can do is buy a new toilet.
  • Buddy Buddy on Mar 18, 2016
    From the look of it, no quick fix is worth the time and effort. it's outlived it's charm. . Just replace it.
  • Sonia Sonia on Mar 18, 2016
    I have heard that Coca Cola poured in and left for a while works wonders. However if the surface has been eroded off it will mean replacing the toilet.
  • Chr4998078 Chr4998078 on Mar 18, 2016
    Try scrubbing it with drywall sandpaper. It was nothing short of amazing removing horrible built-up rust/calcium deposits in my bathroom. Here's the link where I found the suggestion.
  • Meemoo Meemoo on Mar 18, 2016
    Looks like hard water and crud that was never cleaned thoroughly, to me. We have terribly hard water and renters so I had the misfortune of the same issue, I tried all of the above and none worked well. Finally, with gloves on and a lot of elbow grease, I scrubbed the crud with a Scouring Stone? It's a pumice stone that you can get at a dollar store. It took 3 stones to get the crud out BUT it worked beautifully! I followed with letting Lime Away sit in the bowl for an hour or so then brus and flush. Ta-da! No more nasty! If there is ever a next time, I'll just replace the pot! That will be MUCH easier! Lol
  • Leslie Conterman Lanning Leslie Conterman Lanning on Mar 18, 2016
    New house= new toilet. Save your time for fun making your house yours.
  • Deb Clark Deb Clark on Mar 18, 2016
    Our older home has older toilets and when we moved in there was a dark ring around the water line. I poured in some CLR and let it sit for a while. The ring is now gone. We have a lot of lime in our water.
  • Ste4465176 Ste4465176 on Mar 18, 2016
    I would replace it. Inexpensive, and I was able to do it myself when I purchased my house. Plus the newer ones use less water. Good luck.
  • Yan2420203 Yan2420203 on Mar 18, 2016
    actually you can use a flat object (screw driver) and chip it without scratching the enamel if careful. it comes out in hunks usually. i do this when i clean certain homes.
  • Tammey Tammey on Mar 18, 2016
    Use gloves! Empty the water from the toilet, ( I just use a paper cup ) then scrub with a pumice stone. They are sold at Wal-mart in the cleaners section. I use them and they work on hard water stains and neglected toilets ! Works great with very little effort. Good luck
  • Tammy Sea Tammy Sea on Mar 18, 2016
    Looks like the porcelain is gone. Time for a new toilet!
  • Candy Shields Candy Shields on Mar 18, 2016
    First you need to drain the toilet, by shutting off the water valve, then pour in 2 cups baking soda, followed by 2 cups of hot vinegar, let it sit for 20 minutes and if that hasn't totally eliminated the gunk.. do it again.. a lot easier and cheaper than changing a toilet! I use this on my drains and difficult lime problems.... we also use a product called "The Works" (a toilet cleaner at Walmart) and it is really wonderful for even cleaning the boat and white walls!!
  • CK CK on Mar 18, 2016
    All good suggestions above. However the photo doesn't really tell me what the 'brown' is. So that might depend on what method and/or cleaner to use. When we moved into our current home, all the toilets had 'something' in that same place as yours. I thought it was permanent. :-( Turned out it was just rusty residue from the owner's lack of cleaning ;-) I got in there with a small scrub brush (even an old toothbrush) and cleaned it off with some gentle all-purpose cleaner... Didn't even have to shut off the water. I just left it in the bowl then flushed when done. Yes, use gloves...just to be safer. ;-)
  • Joan Joan on Mar 18, 2016
    Don't know where you live or if you are near a Home Hardware. They sell a bowl cleaner called Bowl Brite. I use it all the time. . It cleans the stains instantly.
  • WB WB on Mar 18, 2016
    Try to remove most of the standing water and used 2 cups or more of hot white vinegar; next pour into toilet bowl let stand for 30 minutes and with a strong brush with baking soda start to brush. If you need to repeat do so.
  • Hope Williams Hope Williams on Mar 18, 2016
    Hi Thomas! I have to second Ms. Connie's answer. Ours do the same thing. Ours is clay from our water though. I just use a small round brush about 1x week in addition to regular cleanings. It's just buildup, no need to purchase a new John or turn off your water!
  • Tene Tene on Mar 18, 2016
    I haven't tried this but thought I would add it and you can google more about it. Empty a can of Coke (pop) into it and let sit for about an hour. Then flush. The corrosive action cleans the debris away. Hope you are enjoying your new home.
  • Linda Shockey Linda Shockey on Mar 18, 2016
    Pour a can of coke in let it set n flush..... sometimes the water it self makes odd colors in your stool....
  • Wylie Swish Wylie Swish on Mar 18, 2016
    Denture tablets!
  • Jennie Lee Jennie Lee on Mar 18, 2016
    I'd recommend cleaning vinegar first, if that's not enough, try LimeAway, if it's still there use a pumice stone on it.
  • Vedez Vedez on Mar 18, 2016
    Empty water from the bowl, then clean the stain with a pumice stone, rinse. Very easy!
  • Sparkles Sparkles on Mar 19, 2016
    a product called "The Works" is what I use for the bottom stain.
  • Lyn Lyn on Mar 19, 2016
    The first thing your going to want to do is get downand reach behind and turn that water off.Its going to be bad enough trying to clean that without having the thought of a splash of the water getting on you especially since you just got into the place.And who knows whose crud has been on that crud. Your are gonna need some tools cause you are gonna wanna get this chore done quickly.So get your rubber gloves and your goggles....If you dont have a gas mask ,You'll be okay. And since you see what has built up there you gatta know that the little holes under the lip of the rim(i know! the thought of a lip right there...) You gotta get over it!I dont know what else to call it. Those holes help the toilet have a good strong suction when it flushes and help to keep it cleaner. A wire hang works perfect but you need some pliers to tweek the end so you can get it straight into the hole, not kock eyed. For one it wont go in that will chip the porclin. And two, yes I know I spelled kock eyed wrong I was trying to disguise the word so you wouldn't recognise it and we could just move right along...but Of course 'cant pull nothing over on you. You know we are never gonna get this done if your gonna nit pick every little thing I say....okay? So now Grab a little hand mirror and hold it below the rim enough so you can see up under there . You can TRY to bend down and look to see those holes but it's not gonna work and you are just raising the chance of your lip coming in contact with the other lip that you keep freaking out about , and I can tell you right now....If that happens there's just no way you are going to get over it. And we are not on a mission to give you reasons to need therapy. We are just trying to clean the crud out of the toilet. So use the mirror. You know what... this is worse then I thought is was going to be. I was going to say that you need to squirt some Lime Away up under there and on the bottom and let it set for a half an hour or so and that you might want to have your puma stone . Ssscrubbbbb it real hard with that stone. Dont forget to get up under the rim too.And I was gonna tell you, that you may have to do it a couple three times and that your toilet will be good as new. But... I just realized that I have to go to the bathroom, I MEAN..... use could ya, you know, excuse me a minute here.... GO ON.... GIT!!!
  • Kay4540410 Kay4540410 on Mar 19, 2016
    Sounds like the surface is no longer non porous. I put bleach in the cistern and flush. It helps if the surface is intact. If not get a new bowl installed. Totally worth it.
  • Denise Heydon Denise Heydon on Mar 19, 2016
    Citric acid, available from your supermarket, 1-2 tablespoons added to the water and leave overnight. Give it a brush in the morning and flush.
  • Nancy Denick Nancy Denick on Mar 19, 2016
    Pool acid (any hardware or pool supply store). Pour it in, let it sit for about 30 minutes, use toilet brush, and flush. If there's any minerals still stuck, you can use a pumice stone or a stiff grout brush . This worked on a vintage pink toilet that was 5 X worse than yours, and it looked brand new. Actually sold the toilet (pink is hard to find) to a contractor doing a renovation in a retro bathroom.
  • Maven Maven on Mar 19, 2016
    I'm on septic and had the same problem from mineral stains. Citric Acid is the way to go. Otherwise drain the bowl and hit it with CLR.
  • Jack Jack on Mar 19, 2016
    Try 2 c. Vinegar and 1 c. baking soda, let sit overnite. Good luck!
  • Ana Natyshak Ana Natyshak on Mar 19, 2016
    I drop several denture cleaning tabs and leave over night....once a week
  • Johnchip Johnchip on Mar 21, 2016
    baking soda and those soft round metal mesh wire scrubbies from supermarket work well better than brushes and do not scratch surface.
  • Em Em on Mar 21, 2016
    Had a mess like this when I moved into my house. I tried every product on the market and even drained the toilet of water and tried to scrub it off with cleanser and a brush. Tried chipping it off with the back of the toothbrush. Nope. Finally tried one last product. It is called The Works. Sold in dollar stores and that is all I use now. I got most of the water out of the toilet put The Works in and let it sit overnight. Stains and build up encrusted on GONE. Never came back. I use it once a week just to wash the bowl out with a regular toilet bowl brush.
  • Gayle Gayle on Mar 22, 2016
    If you have a janitorial supply in your town, they will have a high acid toilet bowl cleaner that works really really well. Pour some in and let sit overnight.
  • D roach D roach on Mar 26, 2016
    spirit of salt
  • Pam Pam on Mar 27, 2016
    I had the same problem when we moved into a new place; I purchased a "pumice stone" and it worked great. I found it in the cleaning aisle of a home improvement store. If you can't drain your toilet wear heavy duty rubber gloves, worked great for me!
  • Hb Hb on Mar 27, 2016
    The mess in the bottom of the toilet is just minerals that have accumulated mixed with urine Pretty much empty the bowl of water (leave a little ) and pour in one or two cans of coca cola . Leave overnight . Will wash clean in the a.m.
  • Alan Alan on Apr 07, 2016
    The usual answer would be bleach and a screwdriver to scrape away the debris or ask the local hardware store for an answer.
    • Em Em on Apr 09, 2016
      @Alan you will scratch the porcelain with a screwdriver and following stains will be worse
  • Karen clark Karen clark on Apr 07, 2016
    I use effordent denture tabs in mine. put 2 in and let it sock over night. I also put 2 in the tank every few days and it keeps it clean.
  • Anna Anna on Apr 07, 2016
    I have done the denture tabs and it works but if the doesn't work try a bottle of coke and let it over night it work.
  • Alan Alan on Apr 09, 2016
    I also wrote that you could go to your local hardware store, and my thoughts were for caustic soda, but that may be to harsh, maybe lemon juice or citric acid may help, or perhaps you've already decided?
  • Allinthefamilysingers Allinthefamilysingers on Apr 10, 2016
    try a bottle of catsup or can of tomato juice over night. or even a couple cans overnite good luck....dhall
  • Chrystal Baker Russell Chrystal Baker Russell on Apr 10, 2016
    We had this problem as well in our last house. I used a flathead screwdriver very carefully to chip it away, then polish up afterwards with a pumice stone. Our toilet looked as good as new, with no scratches.
  • Yan2420203 Yan2420203 on Apr 11, 2016
    That is what I said before as well, it chips out. I have done this many times :))
  • Julie Yeary Julie Yeary on Apr 24, 2016
    This won't be much help for now but mine looked something like that when I moved in here. I thought it was a permanent stain. Then one day it just popped out at least an 1/8 in thick tube of calcium. Keep trying the other suggestions and pry on the edge from time to time.
  • Bruce Bruce on Jun 15, 2016
    I had the same problem and all you need do is use a very coarse or rough grade of black emery cloth, flush to toilet to ensure that you have clean water into which you will have put your hand and rub the deposit off. It could have been caused by someone who had used a very strong solution of caustic soda os sodium hypochlorite [swimming pool chlorine] which eats into the porcelain. From Bruce in South Africa +27 11 463 3100 or
  • Sherrie Sherrie on Jun 24, 2016
    Muratic acid. Use The Works Toilet Bowl Cleaner or use Muratic acid. Take out the water and pour it in and let it set. We use automotive brushed to scrub toilets to get I to all the nooks and crannies. Let it set for a few hours then clean. See if that helps.
  • Sue Sue on Sep 15, 2016
    Poor Coke down n let it sit overnite it's amazing how it pulls that stain off.
  • N N on Oct 03, 2016
    Shut water valve and flush the toilet. Pour generous amount of plain white vinegar and leave it to work as long as you can, maybe overnight. Scrub before flushing. You may have to repeat it, but eventually it will go away.
  • Patty Patty on Oct 03, 2016
    Had a dark black stain or deposit in the bottom of my toilet for years. FINALLY put Lysol Lime and Rust toilet cleaner in there and let it sit over night. The bottle is black (The others did not work). My toilet came perfectly clean. I am thrilled. I believe my problem was calcium. Do not use anything abrasive in there, or you will have to use it continually. It will ruin the surface. Trust me. My husband was a master plumber.
  • Linda Nixon Daniel Linda Nixon Daniel on Oct 03, 2016
    NOOOO.....this worked like a dream!! Leave water as is, long screw driver and just gently scrape. The pieces will start chipping off like paint will little effort. You won't scrape the porcelain at all. I was shocked how fast this worked. In a minute, seriously it looked like new. My plumber friend told me about this.......
  • Marsha Marsha on Oct 03, 2016
    Denture cleaner Polident works best. Dental background. Really works
  • Dottie Dottie on Oct 04, 2016
    "WORKS" toilet bowl cleaner cleaner took care of mine.
  • Jennie Lee Jennie Lee on Oct 05, 2016
    I found out about The Works here on Hometalk. Since I've used it now, I've gotta say, it's great! I put one tablet in the tank, and cleaned the toilet. It stayed clean, for a long time! I finally noticed the bowl was getting dingy. Sure enough, the tablet I'd put in was completely gone. So, I put in another, and didn't get around to cleaning the bowl for a while. It cleaned itself! I am very impressed, and will buy this stuff from now on!
  • E E on Nov 07, 2016
    Pumice stone that are made for toilets, you can purchase in a supermarket can get water stains off, if that is what is causing it.