How to Clean Under the Toilet Rim?

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The dirtiest part of your toilet bowl is the one you can’t see. Yes, we are talking about the toilet bowl rim — a place that hides ugly stains and a dirty black ring.

You know you must do something about it as soon as you see it, but how to clean under toilet rim? Many options are available, but we selected three solutions that guarantee near-instant results.

Let’s check them out!

3 Ways to Clean Under the Toilet Rim

Most households have tools and cleaning products that can fend off disgusting stains in the toilet bowl. We tried them all and identified the top three ways to clean the rim.

Solution 1: Use Vinegar and Duct Tape

Toilet rims are hard-to-reach areas that often stain and develop black rings. But a substance like vinegar can help you clean stubborn waste deposits in a few simple steps. Here’s how it works.

Begin by turning off the water supply — turn the shutoff valve clockwise to prevent water from entering the toilet tank. If the shutoff valve won’t shut off due to corrosion, penetrating oils such as WD-40 will loosen it.

Flush the toilet to empty the tank — it allows you to dry the toilet bowl. 

Removing the water from the toilet bowl is the next step, so you’ll need to wear rubber gloves. Use a small cup to remove water, while a dry sponge should pick the remaining droplets. 

Let the toilet dry, and then cover the outlet drain with duct tape. Make sure to close all gaps as it prevents vinegar from seeping out through the outlet drain. Next, pour vinegar into the toilet bowl until it reaches the rim.

Let it sit overnight so that the vinegar can break down mineral deposits, mold, bacteria, and limescale buildup under the rim and its jet holes. If you have time, let the solution rest in the toilet bowl overnight. 

In the morning, turn on the water supply because it’s time to check the results of your work.

Remove the duct tape and pull the flush handle. Rinse your toilet with a wet sponge and do a final wipe down — it should remove the bacteria buildup and residue left after cleaning under the rim.

Solution 2: Borax Paste

Another common way to clean under the rim is with a borax paste. The borax and water combination produces a thick paste that you can easily apply to the black ring and stains.

Before applying the paste, remember to ventilate the bathroom as borax may produce a strong smell. Also, put on protective gear like rubber gloves because borax can irritate the skin. This is the drill:

Add a small amount of water to a cup and pour some borax powder in it — you probably don’t need more than one tablespoon. When mixing the two components, use a toothbrush or toilet brush to apply the paste under the rim.

Let it work for 30 minutes so the borax can break down the deposits. After that, scrub the area gently with a toilet brush to remove the black ring and the stains. The last task is to flush the toilet and rinse it with a wet sponge.

After finishing the whole procedure, the toilet surface and its rim should be neat and clean.

Solution 3: Vinegar and Baking Soda

It’s also possible to combine vinegar with baking soda to clean mold and mineral deposits from the toilet bowl rim. The two ingredients produce a foamy paste that can ease removing stains from the jet holes and the rim itself.

The process is similar to the previous two, but we’ll breeze through it anyway:

Start by pouring white vinegar under the rim. Cover the entire rim with this acidic substance and leave it there for five minutes. After that, you should sprinkle some baking soda over vinegar. 

These two substances will react instantly, so don’t be surprised by the fizzing sounds. Let them work for 20 minutes — it will loosen mineral deposits, stains, and mildew. After that, scrub the area and flush the toilet to rinse everything.

Remember to ventilate the bathroom during this process because vinegar and baking soda release a strong smell.

The whole cleaning procedure should take no more than 30 minutes, but you may need to repeat it if the stains are really stubborn.

Toilet Rim Cleaning Alternatives

The three options we discussed above are all you need to clean toilet rim stains and mineral deposits. However, some homeowners might prefer other products and alternative cleaning solutions. 

Don’t worry — we have more cleaning tips for you! You can help you clean the rim and toilet lid using other cleaning products. Here are four practical alternatives.

Clorox Toilet Wand

Clorox is a great tool because it has a flexible nozzle that reaches the inner parts of the toilet bowl. According to the manufacturer, Clorox successfully cleans mineral deposits and kills 99.9% of germs.

It’s easy to use this product — all you have to do is insert the wand into the toilet bowl. Create a sharp angle to reach water jets and remove an annoying bacteria buildup.

Clorox seeps under the rim to loosen stains, kill germs, and leave your toilet bowl sparkling clean. The only thing to worry about is accidentally flushing Clorox Toilet Wand Head. In this case, you’d have to remove an object from the toilet trap to stop the overflow.

Pumice Stone

Do you have a pumice stone at home? Most people do, which makes this product so convenient for eliminating mineral deposits from the rim and toilet lid.

Your pumice stone is best for cleaning toilets with mineral deposits and hard stains. Using it is easy — just grab the pumice stone and clean stubborn stains before flushing the toilet. 

However, scrub gently because you may damage the white porcelain bowl while removing tough stains. When you clean the hardest waste from the rim of your toilet, use a toilet brush to clean everything else. 

Iron Out Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Iron Out is a popular product in the United States because it effectively cleans both the toilet tank and the bowl. It contains ingredients that remove mineral deposits and rust stains in less than 30 minutes.

The product is practical and safe for all plumbing systems, including independent systems like septic tanks.

You only need to put one tablet in the toilet tank — when you flush, Iron Out will flow out through the rim jets to clean the entire bowl. 

Power Drill Brush Scrubber

Last but not least, we have the power drill brush scrubber. This is a highly efficient tool that can clean your toilet by removing the black stuff, pink stains, and brown discoloration.

How does it work?

This tool has a brush on a power drill, which makes it stronger than average scrubbing brushes. The power drill cleans all those tight and hard-to-reach places — and you don’t even have to use physical strength while cleaning.

What is the Black Stuff/Ring Under Your Toilet Rim?

We know you want to get rid of the black stuff under the toilet rim, but do you know what it is? We have a few hints just in case you are wondering.


You can imagine that the toilet base and the rim of your toilet are perfect places for bacteria buildups. They cause different discolorations before turning black eventually. 

Mold and Mildew

If you notice recurring stains in your toilet, you are probably dealing with mold and mildew. Mold spores thrive in damp and dark areas such as the rim, forming the black ring over time.

It often takes deep cleaning to get rid of these stains because they are very stubborn and persistent.

Hard Water Deposits

If your plumbing system delivers hard water, it will form the black ring sooner or later. The calcium and magnesium in the water react with other elements, creating a film on the surfaces of your toilet.

Mineral deposits go hand in hand with a strange odor, so your toilet might smell like urine or rust. In such circumstances, you have an additional motive to clean your toilet as soon as possible.

Why Do Stains Under the Rim Keep Forming?

Sometimes you’ll discover that the stains under the rim keep reoccurring. In this case, you should check the toilet tank because it may cause a constant influx of mold and mildew. Do it like this:

  • Open the tank lid with your hands or a flathead screwdriver
  • Inspect the tank to see if there are yellow or brownish stains inside
  • If you find mold, pour two cups of vinegar into the tank
  • After 30 minutes, flush the toilet to remove the stains from the tank

You can repeat the process if necessary. When you clean the tank, you probably won’t struggle with mold under the rim anymore.

How to Prevent Stains Under the Toilet Rim?

You can prevent stains under the rim by cleaning your toilet regularly. It means you should clean the toilet once a week — it’s enough to prevent the formation of ugly black rings and stains.

Besides that, you should ventilate the bathroom properly to reduce dampness and moisture. Use your exhaust fan frequently and open the window every day — it will allow fresh air to enter the bathroom.

The Bottom Line

Stains under the toilet rim are ugly, but you can remove them using one of the abovementioned solutions.

They are practical and efficient, and they will help you get rid of the black stuff, bacteria buildup, and brown discoloration.


How do I get rid of the buildup under the toilet rim?

You can get rid of the buildup under the toilet rim by sealing the toilet bowl with duct tape and pouring vinegar. Vinegar will dissolve mineral deposits and open the rim jets. After that, you can flush the toilet to remove leftover debris.

What is the brown stuff under the toilet rim?

The brown stuff under the toilet rim is probably lime buildup coming from hard water deposits. When hard water evaporates, it leaves mineral deposits that accumulate and form a brownish limescale stain. 

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