Sunday, April 8, 2012

Removing iron stains from a toilet, the eco friendly way

When life gives you lemons... scrub your toilet
Photo credit: brad montgomery
I had an entire sunny, warm Saturday all to myself. No kids, no husband, just some lazy dogs soaking up sun in the backyard and the sound of chickens clucking somewhere off in the distance. Judging by the title of this post, you can make a pretty firm judgement about how exciting my days off are. But when your 2 year old comes in and says something to the effect of "it smells like pee in here" you know you are well past the socially acceptable span of time between bathroom cleanings.

I always promote the use of natural, chemical free cleaners; I just had never been convinced they actually worked for tough situations.

I had always used harsh chemicals in the toilet bowl. We have a lot iron in our water and it stains the toilet within a few days after cleaning it. It is nearly impossible to scrub off and to be real honest I have been doing just 'bare minimum' cleaning since the arrival of my second daughter back in August. I had tried vinegar, baking soda, non-toxic all natural cleaners and nothing touched the iron stains in the toilet. I've tried hand scrubbing, brush scrubbing and letting the cleaner soak for a few hours. Nothing. The only success I have had in the past getting the toilet clean and bright white was to use some sort of iron removing harsh chemical spray and scrubbing the living hell out of the toilet with gloves on and a little green dish srubbie. I probably don't have to explain what level I feel at socially when I'm on my knees scrubbing stuck bits of god knows what off a nasty toilet bowl with just a stupid little green scrubbie. At least the noxious fumes of the cleaner gave me a bit of a free buzz while I was down there.

In steps the miracle of lemons and salt. I had a half of a lemon drying out on the counter for no apparent reason. I glanced over at it on my way to tackle the filth that had taken over my bathroom and thought I'd give this whole eco-cleaning thing one more shot. I had heard that lemons were a main staple in eco cleaning because of the acid, and using a course salt was supposed to create an effective scrubbing action.

Gloves on, lemon in hand, I squeezed it a little to get the juices flowing and topped it with a heavy shaking of course sea salt. I had already dumped a big bowl of clean water into the toilet to make it do that magic thing where the water goes down but doesn't refill; the toilet was pretty much empty while I was cleaning it. I took the salted side of the lemon and used it to scrub the slime/iron/calcium that had built up in the bowl. "Are you kidding me." With minimal effort a small portion of my toilet was actually white. White! "Are you kidding me?!" I had not seen a white toilet bowl in about year. I had pretty much given up on it and let the iron win this battle. "You have got to be kidding me." My dog had come in at this point and was staring at me wondering who I was talking to.

It did take some elbow grease in a couple of tough spots, but I just kept re-salting my lemon half and scrubbing away. That dried out half of a lemon was the only lemon in the house. I can imagine the task would have gone even better had the lemon been fresh and if I had more than one so I could swap them out as they wore down. It was pretty ragged looking lemon in the end.

I have no 'before' pictures of the said toilet. I had no hope of a simple thing like lemon and salt actually working like it did, so I had no ambition to get out my camera before hand. When it was all done, I actually took 3 pictures of the toilet it was so damn good looking.


Elizabeth said...

Holy cow! Nice toilet, lol. I have some serious stains in my toilet that haven't come out (water softener stopped working one week we were on vacation)...looks like I need to run to the grocery store this morning for a lemon!

Sadie Ann said...

I live out in the country with a well and septic system. The "new" toilet looks horrendous! The manufacturer says NO harsh chemicals, and the iron flips a bird at my cleaning attempts. The bowl is covered in iron stains and has a very thick line at the water line. The area underwater is easy to clean, but everything else stays orange. :(

WOW! I hope this will work on my toilet! I am putting lemons on my shopping list!

luky begum said...

Thanks a bunch for sharing this with all people you actually recognize what you are talking about! Bookmarked. Kindly also discuss with my website.

Kimberly Mayer said...

Tried everything to get the rust "ring" out of my toilet. Nothing worked. I came across your post and thought "I might as well try it, what do I have to lose?" It worked awesome!! I couldn't believe it! Although I did use Epsom salt instead of sea salt. Didn't want to use my expensive pink sea salt to clean the toilet. LOL
I also used this on some rust stains in my tub. Worked great.

Abhijeet Bhosale said...

Removing iron stains from a toilet, the eco friendly way - nice post to clean the things in natural ways.

Thanks for share.

joy said...
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Brianna said...

Of course removing iron stains from a toilet, the Eco friendly way saves time, space and money...i totally agree to you with that! Thanks for sharing!

Leaders of Restroom Hygiene

Leaders of Restroom Hygiene

Gayatri Dye & Chemicals said...
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Tiffany said...

Thank you for posting this. Unfortunately it didn't work for me. Is there a difference between iron stains and rust? Maybe I have to other brown stain. I don't know how to tell what's coming from my well.

Leslie Lim said...
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mamahnatuk said...

Thank you for your post!!! I didn't have any lemons at home but thought "hey, I wonder if that stuff I use to clean my dishwasher would work?" Basically its citric acid crystals, the same as a lemon and salt. IT WORKED!!! Just dipped a nylon scrubby into a bowl of the citric acid crystals and it worked like a charm!! It was always so hard to clean those brown stains. So happy!!!!

Unknown said...

The bowl looks great!!! But how do you keep those shiny metal hinges looking so shiny - we all know they pee there too!!!


The bowl looks great!!! But how do you keep those shiny metal hinges looking so shiny - we all know they pee there too!!!

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