‘Golden rule’ for removing toilet limescale – ‘bleach won’t work’

Limescale is the chalky, scummy residue that lingers on shower screens, shower heads, drinking glasses and taps. 

It is most problematic, however, in the toilet and this is because it sees a lot of use and constantly has still water sitting inside it, which is the perfect environment for limescale to thrive. 

Limescale can be a variety of colours depending on the different compounds that are found in the water – from off-white or grey.

As for how to get rid of toilet limescale, Chris Wootton, Managing Director of the domestic cleaning business, Poppies, revealed the “golden rule” for cleaning toilet bowl stains.

He said: “The golden rule for cleaning toilet bowl stains is to use non-alkaline products.

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“Most toilet bowl stains appear in hard water areas, so it’s important to remember that bleach won’t work, and you will need to use an acid-based product such as limescale remover.

“While bleach doesn’t get rid of limescale, it does make it invisible which blends in with the colour of the toilet bowl. 

“That’s why toilet bowl stains appear to come back quickly, as they never actually went away.”

To get rid of limescale properly, Chris suggests using white vinegar to form a natural cleaning solution. 

He said: “Making a vigorous acidic solution is best done by using white vinegar. Pour a half cup of bicarbonate of soda into and around the bowl and let it sit for at least 15 minutes.

“Then, apply white vinegar over the baking soda. This produces a fizzing reaction that activates the acid and can break down the most stubborn build-ups of limescale.

“After about 10 minutes, scrub the toilet bowl thoroughly with a scouring pad – you may need to use some elbow grease!”

After scrubbing, “flush [the toilet] a few times to rinse [the limescale] away”. 

He added: “This should have done the trick, but if there are any lingering marks, you can also try lemon juice after you flush, as the acidic solution can help lift the most stubborn stains as well as deodorise the toilet bowl.”

When it comes to tackling limescale in other areas of the bathroom, you can clean your shower on a professional level with the right products. 

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Chris said: “All-purpose bathroom cleaner should work well for all shower-related cleaning, including shower tiles, the shower head, and fittings – there’s no need to overspend.

“Start by spraying all surfaces at the same time and then go back to where you started to focus on smaller areas when wiping them. If you have any limescale, ensure it is cleaned with an acidic solution as it is alkaline.

“The best way to tackle limescale is with warm water and white vinegar solution, and you may need to use the rougher side of a non-scratch scouring pad and some elbow grease.” 

For shower glass, Chris recommends an all-purpose bathroom cleaner, but “hard water stains can also be lifted and de-odorized by using lemons”. 

When it comes to a shower drain, “pour a quarter of a cup of bicarbonate of soda down the drain followed by a quarter pint of white vinegar. Let the solution bubble for 10 minutes, then pour boiling water down the drain to shift the grease and any lingering debris”. 

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