Brenda asked, “I have been using a blue, clingy toilet bowl cleaner. This cleaner leaves blue trails down the side of both of our toilets and the entire bowl under the water is also blue, especially in the older toilet. Is there anything I can use to get these stains out? They always look so dirty! I am switching to a regular cleaner that is not clingy and not blue or green, but would love to know how to clean the stain out.”
Many toilet bowl cleaners contain dyes, which can lead to stains in your bowl. This is especially true for clip-on cleaners that remain in the toilet at all times, as well as for older bowls that may have a more porous surface from overly abrasive cleaning in the past. Here’s how to remove those blue stains from the bowl or below the waterline.
Removing the Stains Without Removing the Water
You Will Need:
- A cleaner (choose one)
- Denture tablets
- Oxygen bleach
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Chlorine bleach
- A scrubber, such as a toilet brush
Steps to Remove the Stains Without Removing the Water:
- Begin by removing the toilet cleaning product that is causing the stains. Research the product to ensure that it is safe to use with other cleaners. Many products can react, especially with chlorine bleach, so it’s important to know if your product contains chlorine bleach (as many do) or if it is recommended that it not be used with other chlorine products. Although flushing several times can help to remove the residue from the cleaner, it still may not be safe to mix chemicals.
- One of the easiest ways to remove these stains is to simply drop in a couple denture tablets. These work naturally to scrub off the dye stains. Repeat as many times as needed to fully remove the stain.
- Oxygen bleach can also work well to remove these dye stains. Pour some oxygen bleach into the bowl (either liquid or powder will work, though if you have the choice, use powder – it has increased scrubbing power), then scrub the bowl. It can help to sprinkle the oxygen bleach directly onto the toilet brush before scrubbing. After some scrubbing, let the bowl sit for with the oxygen bleach in it for about 20 minutes. Scrub again briefly, then flush.
- If your toilet cleaner does not contain chlorine bleach, isopropyl alcohol can be used. It’s effective for removing all sorts of dye stains. Simply pour some into the bowl (about 1/4 cup) and let it sit for about 20 minutes, then scrub.
- If you are sure it is safe to use chlorine bleach, add a small splash (about a teaspoon) to the bowl water and let it sit for 20 minutes before scrubbing. Flush, then repeat if needed.
Removing the Stains from an Empty Bowl
Once the water is removed and the stains are exposed, it will be much easier to remove them. Leaving the water in the bowl causes the cleaner to dilute, making it more difficult for it to reach the stains.
You Will Need:
- A cleaner (choose one):
- Oxygen bleach powder
- Baking soda
- Isopropyl alcohol
- A cloth or toilet brush
Steps to Remove the Stains from an Empty Bowl:
- Shut off the water valve on the side of the toilet, then flush the toilet to remove the water from the bowl.
- Make a paste with either oxygen bleach powder and water or baking soda and water. Isopropyl alcohol can be substituted for water for extra cleaning power if needed. The paste should be think, about the consistency of peanut butter or toothpaste.
- Spread the paste over the stained area.
- Repeated cleanings may be needed if using alcohol as it dries out much faster than water. To reduce how fast the alcohol dries, you can cover the paste with plastic wrap.
- Leave the paste in place for an hour.
- Wipe off the paste with a damp cloth or damp toilet brush to check the results.
- Repeat the process as many times as needed to fully remove the stains. You can turn the water back on and flush between cleanings to more easily wash away the paste.
- The key to removing dye stains is persistence. They can be difficult to remove, but persistence is what will get the job done.
- There are similar cleaners that can be found without dyes, so if you still want an in-bowl cleaner, switching to a dye-free version can help to avoid this problem in the future.
- Easy Green Living by Renee Loux
- Don Aslett’s Stainbuster’s Bible by Don Aslett