How to prevent & remove limescale in a toilet

Want to prevent and remove limescale in a toilet? Here are some safe, chemical-free and eco-friendly ways to prevent limescale build-up and hard water stains. I also share how to use citric acid, the best natural limescale remover in my opinon, to get rid of limescale in a toilet. Cheap, effective and no need for dangerous chemicals!

How to remove limescale from toilet

Since we stopped using bog-standard (sorry, couldn't resist!) toilet cleaners, we have noticed that limescale has built up so I looked into how I could prevent limescale from forming and the best toilet descaler and natural limescale remover.

How to prevent limescale in your toilet and limescale build up in your toilet cistern

Review: Ecozone Magnoloo Toilet Descalers (Anti-limescale rings)

A few years ago I bought some Ecozone Magnoloo toilet descalers. The blurb claims that this “ingenious magnetic toilet descaler prevents minerals, germs and fungus from causing stains, rings and limescale build up in your toilet.”

Drop one (or two if you live in an exceptionally hard water area) of these into your toilet cistern to keep your loo free from a build-up of deposits for up to 5 years. Although some reviewers say they are still using theirs 6 or 7 years on. The chemical-free magnetic ring changes the ionic charge of the calcium, stopping crystals forming and so gets rid of the problem.

Well, so far I have to say they're right! This is definitely a safe, chemical-free and eco-friendly way to stop limescale build-up in your toilet and cistern. As a limescale inhibitor it eliminates the need for chemicals which means you don't need to waste any more money on harsh limescale removal products. Plus this anti-limescale device makes cleaning the toilet much easier. Marvellous!

It won't remove any existing limescale though so read on for the easiest way to get rid of limescale in your toilet bowl.

Buy Ecozone Magnoloo in the UK

Buy in the US

Read more posts about limescale removal

How do I get rid of limescale in my toilet naturally? How to remove limescale and brown stains

If you're too late to prevent limescale with the toilet descaler mentioned above then you'll be looking for some easy, cheap and green methods to clean limescale without the need for harsh chemicals or limescale remover products. Before you spenad any more money on Calgon or more time on other descalers, here are a couple of natural limescale removers to remove thick, hard limescale build-up from a toilet bowl (or toilet pan) which have worked for me. The products I use are also used in food so there's no need to bring dangerous chemicals into your house. You can get rid of limescale in your toilet naturally using products which are really cheap to buy too.

How to remove limescale in toilet using citric acid

How to remove limescale from a toilet using citric acid

Forget coke, bleach, vinegar and toilet bowl cleaner products. In my opinion, the best thing to remove limescale is citric acid. Citric acid is the active ingredient in lemons and limes and gives amazing results when descaling a toilet and can be used instead of limescale remover tablets or blocks.

Citric acid is the best thing to remove limescale from a toilet. Cheap, easy-to-use & effective. Click To Tweet

I used citric acid to remove thick limescale buildup and it was amazing how easy it was to do. It's the best toilet descaler and cheap to buy too.

  1. To remove limescale from below the waterline, empty out as much water from the toilet bowl as you can by thrusting the brush several times towards the opening or scoop it out with a cup.
  2. Add water to half a cup of citric acid to make a solution.
  3. Pour the solution down the toilet.
  4. Leave for approx. 30 minutes or longer if you prefer. (I do this in the morning before I leave for work so it has the whole day to work.)
  5. This should remove all or some of the limescale and brown stains depending on how stubborn the build-up is.
  6. Scrub with a toilet brush and then flush.
  7. Be amazed!
  8. If you need to get rid of thick limescale, you may need to repeat if limescale build-up still remains.
  9. Repeat once a week or as necessary.

How to remove limescale from toilet cistern (or tank) using citric acid

If limescale builds up in your toilet cistern it can stop the flushing mechanism from working properly.

  1. Put on protective gloves and old clothing.
  2. Remove the cover from the toilet cistern.
  3. Pour 1/2 cup of citric acid into a bowl or jug and add water to create a solution.
  4. Empty the cistern by flushing the toilet.
  5. Lower the water level by turning off the water supply to the toilet or adjusting the float height valve.
  6. Pour in your citric acid solution ensuring it covers the areas affected by limescale.
  7. Leave for at least 30 minutes. It works better if you can leave it longer.
  8. Use a brush to scrub thoroughly.
  9. If any limescale remains, rinse and repeat, as necessary.

Do this regularly to prevent limescale from building up again. You may find once a month is enough for you but it will depend on how hard the water is in your area.

Where to buy citric acid

You should be able to buy it from your local hardware shop or you can get it online:

In the UK

In the US

Using vinegar to remove limescale in a toilet

You can also use white vinegar (not malt vinegar) to remove limescale in a toilet. All you need to do is empty out as much water from the toilet bowl as you can. I find thrusting the brush several times towards the opening can get rid of most of the water or you could scoop it out with a cup. Leave half a cup of vinegar in the bowl overnight and then scrub it well before flushing.

Buy white vinegar

You should be able to buy it from your local hardware shop or you can get it online:

In the UK

In the US

Using a knife to remove limescale in a toilet

If you want immediate results when trying to remove limescale in a toilet, a knife is the answer. Get an old dinner knife or buy a cheap knife, put on rubber gloves and start chipping away at the limescale. The great thing about a knife is you can use it to get rid of limescale from under the toilet rim, the bottom of the toilet or anywhere else. This method is quick and easy but I find it can scratch the toilet bowl so I don't recommend it if you don't want to mark or damage your toilet. If you're less heavy-handed than I am, you may be able to use a knife without making scratches but it's at your own risk!

I suggest going with the citric acid method though. It's quick and easy and I'm sure you can think of better things to do with your time than sticking your head down the toilet.

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Read: Bicarbonate of soda – the wonder product for your green cleaning cupboard

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Join the discussion

What are your top tips for environmentally-friendly ways to prevent limescale build-up in a toilet? How do you remove limescale in a toilet? Have you tried any of these methods?

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8 thoughts on “How to prevent & remove limescale in a toilet”

  1. This is just the article I was after! I am using mangaloo’s but they don’t seem to do their magic for me. Very hard water in my area…
    I’ll have arm myself with some citric acid and probably a knife too.
    Nice to come across a UK green blogger 🙂 There aren’t man of us!

    1. My husband is a plumber and was upset with me for putting boiled water in the toilet. It turns out really hot water /boiling water can crack the porcelain.
      I was lucky, won’t be doing that again!
      Citric acid works without the hot water, just leave it to soak overnight. For bad build up, need to do more than once (I did twice, worked great)

      1. Melanie, thanks to you (and your husband!) for the tip about not using hot water. I’ve removed that from the post now. Pleased to hear that citric acid worked well for you. The results are pretty amazing!!

  2. Another thing you can try is to put a dose of distilled vinegar in the toilet without removing the water. Leave it overnight (or as long as possible) and it will get rid of some of the scale. It is perhaps less effective than emptying the bowl first, but takes just a few seconds to do, so if you are good at remembering to do this every so often, then it does save on doing the yucky task of getting your hands dirty.

    1. Hi Tim, thanks for the tip. Have you tried citric acid? I’ve found it to be more effective than vinegar but I do live in a very hard water area.

  3. What quantity of water do you put with 1/2 cup of citric acid to make your solution, please?

    Many thanks


    1. Hi Garry. It doesn’t really matter how much water you add. I normally add enough water so the cup is nearly full. Sometimes I don’t empty the water out of the bowl and just pour a about a tablespoon straight in. I suggest starting off with a smaller amount and you can always do it again, if you need to. It depends on how bad your limescale problem is. Hope this works for you. Please pop back and let me know how you get on.

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