The ugly brown stains that leave streaks inside a toilet are rust -- iron particles that combine with air. Rust often forms in the holes under the lid where water is flushed, leaving the bowl looking dirty and unkempt. Hard water, made up of natural minerals like magnesium, calcium and iron, takes part of the credit for these unsightly stains. According to the DIY experts of "The Family Handyman Magazine," hard water can be found in 90 percent of homes, no matter what filters or systems a home has to remove harsh particles. While we can't avoid hard water, we can remove the rust that forms as a result of it in our toilets.
To get rid of rust stains, visit your local hardware store and purchase a cleaner containing hydrochloric acid, like Santeen De-Limer and Toilet Bowl Cleaner or The Works Toilet Bowl Cleaner. Products may be labeled as containing HCL, hydrogen chloride or muriatic acid -- all of which will effectively remove rust from your toilet. Never use any cleaner containing bleach, as it will allow rust stains to set and make them nearly impossible to remove.
Do you keep a bleach cleaner or tablet in the toilet tank? Before you uncap the hydrochloric acid, remove any bleach products, and flush the toilet several times to ensure all bleach residue is gone. When bleach and acid products combine, they produce deadly vapors. Protect your hands, eyes and mouth by wearing protective rubber gloves, goggles and a mask, and turn on the bathroom fan or open a window to allow air to circulate as you clean, just to be safe.
After the water supply is off and the bowl is dry, pour the hydrochloric acid on a toilet brush with stiff nylon bristles, and spread the cleaner throughout the bowl and over all jet openings. Scrub until stains are removed, reapplying hydrochloric acid to the brush as often as needed until the bowl is clean. Don't scrub too quickly -- any splashes or droplets of cleaning fluid that fly outside the toilet bowl can damage skin, tile, carpet and vinyl. Never set cleaning bottles on exposed surfaces, and place a bucket of clean water and a cloth nearby to clean any accidental spills. Once the bowl is clean, turn the water supply back on and rinse immediately with two flushes.