Search the internet for, descaling your toilet, toilet cleaning or limescale removal and methods using lemon juice, distilled vinegar, borax, coca cola and combinations of vinegar and bicarbonate of soda are all mentioned.
Having tried the following to various degrees of success we thought you might like to know about how we resolved the problem.
This is a list of what we tried: proprietary shop bought limescale remover, borax and vinegar, borax paste, lemon juice, vinegar and bleach. We may have had some success but the effects were not really satisfactory leaving the scale encrusted on the toilet bowl.
You can see in the image below evidence of some success with the previous methods as well as proof of some vigorous scrubbing with the toilet brush!
The limescale in the toilet pan is calcium carbonate, the methods outlined above are basically to use organic acids such as acetic acid, lactic acid or citric acid. Coca cola works because it contains phosphoric acid. These weaker acids are effective for minor limescale deposit however, there comes a point where the limescale deposit is to large for the remover to work. Repeated dosing might would over time but if we are realistic most of us don’t have time to clean the toilet every day for a couple of weeks!
Browsing through the comments section it was clear that success had been achieved by using stronger acids such as hydrochloric acid muriatic acid (impure HCl) and sulphuric acid. The problem is where do you get these acids and even if you can get hold of them aren’t they dangerous? So without further ado here is our solution with a note for those concerned about the environment towards the end.
Removing limescale from the toilet bowl
Gloves and eye protection
5L patio cleaner, available from DIY supermarkets or builder merchants about £8.00 you use less than half.
Stiff nylon brush
Yogurt carton or similar.
Gloves on, goggles on, use the yogurt carton to bale out the water in the bottom of the bowl. I’m not convinced you need to do this but it does mean that the patio cleaner isn’t further diluted. You just need to get most of it so don’t worry if a puddle is left. It may get a bit wiffy as you get near the bottom but that will be sorted soon.
Open the patio cleaner container and fill the bowl up to the normal water level, this stops the drains smell straight away. Don’t keep pouring when you get to the normal level as it will just overflow down the U bend. Pouring down the slopes of the bowl completes the job.
You may get some slight fizzy but that dies away, put the lid down and leave for a while, when you return expect the bubbles to have diminished and the water to look a bit horrible as below.
Leave overnight, make sure the toilet isn’t used, the liquid in the bowl is dilute acid so a note is a good idea.
In the morning it will be done. If you don’t want to flush acid down the drain due to environmental concerns add some sodium bicarbonate to the bowl, it will fizz, when it stops the acid is neutralised. Flush twice.
The patio cleaner is dilute acid and it gets used up in cleaning the limescale then further diluted, it may well be that the sodium bicarbonate is unnecessary but by adding it all you are flushing is a solution of a type of soluble salt down the drain.
The bowl will be clean now but using a toilet brush or a stiff dustpan brush is advised, go as far as you can down the bowl and have a vigorous scrub, you may well see flakes of limescale. Brush the slopes of the bowl and give a final flush. It should look like this.