Ask A House Cleaner, Toilet Bowl Ring, Savvy Cleaner

Toilet Bowl Ring – 3 Different Types

[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]Toilet bowl ring nastiness creeps upon us all. Did you know there are three types of toilet bowl rings? They mean different things and you need to clean each toilet bowl ring a different way.

Today on Ask a House Cleaner we cover some DIY house cleaning secrets Learn how to rid your loo of the toilet bowl ring.

Angela Brown, The House Cleaning Guru walks us through non-toxic toilet bowl cleaners. And we’ll talk about hydrochloric acid, SDS (Safety Data Sheets) Green cleaning and more.

Today show sponsors are Savvy Cleaner Training (for maids and housekeepers) (a referral hub connecting house cleaners and homeowners) and (a hub for all things cleaning.)

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Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer.

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Question: Toilet Bowl Ring – 3 Different Types

 Today’s question comes from a homeowner who wants to know, “What is the deal about the toilet bowl ring?”

He says, “Every time I go into this bathroom that we never use, there’s a ring on the inside of the toilet. What is up with that?”

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Answer: Toilet Bowl Ring – 3 Different Types

There are three different types of toilet bowl rings. Once you understand the different rings, you can decide how you’re going to clean them.  

Toilet Bowl Ring – Three Types

  1. The first one is a red rust- or brown-colored ring.  That forms from calcium and magnesium mineral deposits that come from your water. If you scrub the inside of your toilet and can’t get it clean, then it’s a hard water stain.  
  2. The second is a black or a green ring where the water sets in your toilet, and that is mold. 
  3. The third kind of toilet bowl ring is pink, and that’s a bacteria ring around the inside of your toilet.

Toilet Bowl Ring of Rust or hard water stainsToilet Bowl Ring of Rust

First, let’s talk about the rust and how we clean the rust. The rust is going to be the hardest ring or gunk in your toilet to get rid of.  Since it etches its way into the porcelain, it’s difficult to get rid of. The most effective way to get rid of that is with hydrochloric acid.

Now, hydrochloric acid is a caustic material.  You can see the breakdown of the chemicals if you look at the SDS sheets of the detergents or solutions you use to clean your toilet.  

Safety Data Sheet (SDS) Toilet Bowl Ring, Read SDS for Chemical Reactions to Cleaning solutions

SDS stands for Safety Data Sheet.  Every chemical manufacturing company is required by law to produce an SDS sheet. So, if you’re going to buy a particular chemical, you may want to go online and do a little bit of research first.

What you can do is, you can type in the brand, the name of the product you want to use, and right next to that type in SDS. It should pull up the chemical data sheet for the product that you want to buy.  I did a search and found that the Lysol toilet cleaners have the highest amount of hydrochloric acid for over the counter store brands.

Disposable gloves to clean toilet ringPrecautions Needed

Now, having said that, you want to take some precautions should you decide to use concentrates. I’m  just giving you a fair warning.  The warning hazards are printed on the label and SDS sheets. Since Hydrochloric Acid is caustic, you want to make sure that you’re protected.  Make sure you wear gloves and don’t get it on your skin because it will give your skin a chemical burn.

Hydrochloric acid is also bad for inhaling, so don’t whiff it while you’re doing the project. If you are a professional cleaner, you may want to wear your face mask while doing a deep clean on a toilet.

Hydrochloric Acid is not good for pets and it’s not good for kids. So, if you’re going to use this, use it when no one else is around. But it does remove the hard water stains from the inside of your toilet.

Coca-Cola Myth

Now, there are myths going around, like, “If you pour a can of Coke in the toilet, it will …” Don’t pour cans of Coke in your toilet. That’s not what Coca-Cola is for. It doesn’t do that great of a job. Just stay away from all these household urban myths. Okay? You need hydrochloric acid.

A Pumice Stone To Remove a Toilet Bowl Ring?Cleaning Toilets pumice stone

Lots of house cleaners will use pumice stones as a natural, non-toxic way to clean that rust on the inside of your toilet. But what you have to know is that pumice is a stone. It is hot lava, mixed with water and hardened. That’s what pumice is. And rub a rock on the inside of the porcelain you’re going to be scratching that porcelain away. That’s how a pumice stone works.

Now, you will remove the hard water stains but you’re also removing the porcelain finish. Here’s the caution: your toilet is more susceptible to future stains.  From here on out, you will only be able to use pumice stones if you scratch off the porcelain veneer in your toilet. 

denture cleaning tablets for toilet bowl ringDenture Tablets for Toilet Cleaning

Now, there’s another method that is also effective. Denture tablets. 

You can put a few of those inside the toilet, close the lid and leave it overnight so that it disintegrates.  The tablets will help to eat up a lot of the rust and stuff inside the toilet.  So, that is a way to get rid of the toilet bowl ring of rust.

Toilet Bowl Ring in Green or BlackBlack Toilet Bowl Ring from mold

The second type of toilet bowl ring is the black mold or green mold.

These rings form because of the remnants of whatever is inside of us we flush down our toilets.  What we put in our bodies gets eliminated through our toilets. 

We think everything flushes away because the water looks nice and clean in our toilet.  But keep in mind that the water doesn’t always flush out.  That murky water is flowing through our pipes.

Recycling Water Through Pipes

When we flush our toilets, it brings back water that comes through the little holes on the top right under the rim.  All that water comes back in and gives water to then flush the toilet again.  

So, you’re bringing back water that you had already flushed through the sewer pipes.  Since that water is coming back through the pipes, that’s why you’ll notice the dark rings of mold. 

no smoking signNicotine Ring (Black Grease)

Now, if you see a black or a green ring and it’s greasy, that’s either tar or nicotine. For all the houses that I’ve cleaned, I can walk into a house and pick out a nicotine ring.

It’s easy to spot, because it’s thick and greasy, and it has the tar in it, it doesn’t flush well.  This ring settles in the water and as it comes back, it builds a weird ring that comes back every couple days. 

You can try to kill the bacteria and you can try to flush it out, but it’s going to keep coming back.  Because that is the nature of what toilets do. We flush sewage away, but then we bring the water back to flush more sewage away. So, there’s a constant process of sewage being inside that toilet, which takes us to the next type of toilet bowl ring.

The Not So Pretty Pink Ring Toilet Bold Ring Pink muck

The third type of ring is a pink bacteria ring. We call it the ‘bathroom ring’ or the ‘bathroom mold.’ It’s not actual mold; it’s a bacterium. You find it inside showers, and sinks, and toilets.  It’s based on a mix of airborne contaminants and dust that settle with water and body excrement.

That could be feces. It could be urine or sweat, or dead skin cells. It could be stuff that you wash out of your hair. When you mix that with soap, like with shampoo, that’s where the pink bacteria in your shower comes from.

When you flush your toilets, there’s extra body stuff that’s mixed with airborne contaminants.  These things settle around as a pink ring inside your toilet.

Toilet bowl ring pinkHow Do You Clean A Pink Toilet Bowl Ring?

Well, for the black, the green and the pink mold, you can use a simple cleanser. Something like Bar Keepers Friend or Comet Cleanser. You just put a little bit of cleanser in there. It’s a powder. You shake a little in the toilet and scrub the ring with a toilet brush.

While you’re scrubbing it, make sure you scrub up underneath that rim. Remember that’s where the mold tends to settle. If you don’t clean under the rim, the water will continue to come through the mold.  And there will always be bacteria inside your toilet. 

Unused Toilets Toilet Bowl Ring, Powder Cleansers for basins with drains

Going back to the guy who goes into his guest room and there’s a toilet bowl ring in the toilet. It’s important if you have toilets you don’t use in your house, that you go in and you flush them every other day. Maybe once a week or every other week give it a good scrub with a toilet brush. 

If you have a housekeeper, they can do a quick clean on the toilet with detergents and a brush to keep that bacteria at bay.

Because even though no one is using that toilet, all your sewage still exists in your pipes and the standing water with bacteria in it can leave unsightly rings.

toilet spacer Savvy Cleaner

Don’t Be Neurotic

You don’t need to use the cleanser every single day, but at least two or three times a week on the toilets you use. There are a lot of people that think, “Well, I have a house cleaner. I don’t need to clean my toilets until my house cleaner comes.” Oh. Yeah, you do. It’s a breeding ground for bacteria, and it’s the doorway to the sewage.

So, every time you flush, there are a bunch of toxins in your water.  Boody chemicals, body wastes, all that stuff gets flushed through the system. As it’s flushed through the system, traces of that stay behind. So, please, on a regular basis clean your toilets. It’s super important.

Windex all purpose spacer Savvy Cleaner

Keep An All-Purpose Spray Near Your Toilet

Keep an all-purpose spray inside your bathroom. So, that on a regular basis, you can wipe the toilets down. This is where you wipe toilet seats, behind the toilet seats, the handles, the tank and the floor around the toilet. All those things collect germs.

Then another thing that I should mention is, and this is a pet peeve of every house cleaner. From all the house cleaning friends of mine to you, I’ve got news for you.

toilet bowl ring brushesEvery Toilet Gets its Own Brush

If you have five bathrooms and only one toilet brush, you’re four toilet brushes short. 

You need to run out, and you need to go buy four more toilet brushes. Every single toilet needs its own toilet brush.  

I don’t want you carrying a toilet brush from room to room of your house.  You also don’t want the house cleaner bringing a toilet brush that’s been in other people’s toilets.  Have your own toilet brush and have one at every single toilet. If you have one at every toilet, there’s a better chance you will use it. If you have one and you are carrying it from room to room you’re less likely to use it a couple of times each week on every toilet.

Big Messes Need Immediate Cleaning

If the toilet gets a big mess, clean it right then. Rinse the brush off. You can even rinse it off in a bathtub if you like, but make sure that the toilet is clean.

Toilet Bowl Ring Recap Toilet bowl ring cleaning

Flush your toilet every couple of days. That way you can keep those toilet bowl rings at bay.

If you get ahead of the toilet bowl rings, and you clean them before they become high maintenance.  

You don’t have to use the heavy-duty hydrochloric acid stuff at every cleaning. Just one time to clean the toilet and get out the rust, stains and toilet bowl rings. From then on you can maintain your toilets with simple cleanser and a toilet brush. 

So, that is the nitty-gritty of toilet bowl rings.  And until we meet again, leave the world a cleaner place than when you found it.

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About the Show

Learn how the show came to be, interesting facts about the show host, and other frequently asked questions about the show.

Resources For This Episode

Nitrile Gloves, Latex Free Glove, Disposable Gloves, Powder Free –

Pumie 00022 Professional Grade Odor-Free Porcelain Toilet Bowl Ring Remover-

YoYo Moon Bronze Toilet Brush for Tall Toilet Bowl with Lid Brush Holder –

Carlisle 36719700 Toilet Bowl Brush with Hideaway Holder, 16″, 14.5″ Height, 3″ width, Polypropylene, White –

Lysol Lime & Rust Remover, Toilet Bowl Cleaner –

Clean My Space: The Secret to Cleaning Better, Faster, and Loving Your Home Every Day by Melissa Maker –

Cleaning on Your Schedule: Create the cleaning routine that works for you! , by Katie Berry –

Simply Clean: The Proven Method for Keeping Your Home Organized, Clean, and Beautiful in Just 10 Minutes a Day, by Becky Rapinchuk –

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