How to Remove Rust Stains from the Commode


Carolyn asked: How do I remove rust stains from my commode? I have some water rust stains on the inside of my commode. It appears to be where the water fills the commode.

Rust stains can appear from a variety of reasons, but most often, the stains are caused from iron deposits that have built up over time. This is a common problem with well water. Unlike other stains, rust stains seem to adhere to porcelain and are more difficult to remove. Fortunately, there are ways to remove these stains.

Cleaning with a Pumice Stick

You Will Need:

Steps to Remove the Stains:

  1. Wearing rubber gloves is optional, but again, you’re working inside the toilet. Who wouldn’t want a little extra protection against germs?
  2. Moisten the pumice stick with water.
  3. Gently rub it over the stained areas.
  4. Once the stain is removed, rinse clean.

Cleaning with a Chemicals

You Will Need:

  • ZUD or The Works
  • Scouring pad or toilet brush
  • Gloves

Steps to Remove the Stains:

  1. Again, wearing rubber gloves is optional, but advisable, especially since these chemicals can be harsh to skin.
  2. Squirt the chosen cleaner around the basin.
  3. Allow it to set for a few minutes.
  4. Scrub with a toilet brush or scouring pad.
  5. Add enough water to cover the areas or squirt additional cleaner onto the exposed areas.
  6. Allow the cleaner to sit for an hour to an hour and a half.
  7. Scrub again with a toilet brush.
  8. Flush to rinse the cleaner away.

Cleaning with a Citric Acid

You Will Need:

  • Citric acid powder
  • Toilet brush

Steps to Remove the Stains:

  1. Drain the water from the toilet, but do not dry it out.
  2. Sprinkle the citric acid powder directly onto the stains. If you are unable to find citric acid powder, drink mixes that contain it (Tang, powdered lemonade, etc.) can be used instead.
  3. Allow it to sit for 30 minutes or more. If the stains are really bad, allow it to set overnight.
  4. Scrub with a toilet brush.
  5. Turn the water back on and allow the basin to refill.
  6. Flush to rinse.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • If the stains are recurring or have been in place for some time, they may not be able to be removed. Over time, the rust will etch the surface of the porcelain, making it nearly impossible to remove.
  • “The works” contains acid and should not be used if you have a septic system.
  • Many have used lemon juice with salt or lemon juice with comet to successfully remove rust stains.


  1. Carcarci says:

    This article SAVED MY LIFE!! I had moved to another apartment and the commode had these rust stains, which didn’t go with anything: vinegar, bicarbonate, coca-cola. The pumice and elbow grease WERE THE SOLUTION! Thanks, I had tried almost everything before I tried this.

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