Calcium buildup in toilet: Why does it happen and how can it be removed?

Cleaning a toilet

Hard water contains high amounts of dissolved minerals, including calcium and magnesium. As water flows through your pipes, some of those calcium and magnesium minerals get left behind. Over time, those minerals can build up, causing unsightly stains and scaling. 

One of the most obvious signs of hard water buildup is in the toilet. You might see a white or rust-colored ring forming at the waterline or staining at the base of the bowl. If it’s really bad, limescale and calcium buildup can plug the water jets under the toilet rim, causing slow, weak flushes. 

Cleaning with Vinegar or Other Acids

To clean calcium buildup out of your toilet, use vinegar or another acidic cleaner. The acid will break down the mineral deposits so you can brush them away. Be sure to take the necessary safety precautions when working with cleaners. Wear gloves and eyewear and open windows for ventilation. 

Cleaning the Toilet Bowl

When removing limescale from the toilet bowl, pay attention to the base of the bowl, the waterline, and the water jets below the rim. Each of these areas can be prone to mineral buildup.

Step 1: Remove water from the bowl

In most cases, you’ll want to remove water from the toilet bowl so your cleaning solution can work undiluted. To remove water from a toilet bowl, use a plunger to force water out of the u-bend. 

Another way to empty water from the tank is to turn off the toilet’s water valve (located near the floor). Flush the toilet a couple of times. This will drain water in the bowl as well as the tank. Because the water valve is turned off, the toilet won’t refill. 

Step 2: Apply your cleaning solution 

Pour your cleaner onto the affected area and give it time to work. If using a vinegar solution, you may need to wait a few hours for the vinegar to dissolve and penetrate the hard calcium buildup.

Step 3: Scrub with a firm bristled brush

Once your solution has had time to work, use a toilet brush or a scouring pad to scrub the limescale away. (Do not use sandpaper or metal scraping tools as they will scratch the porcelain, which can lead to faster staining and buildup in the future.)

Step 4: Clean the water jets 

To clean calcium out of the under-rim water jets, use a foam paintbrush to apply your cleaning solution around and into each jet. Do your best to press the solution into each jet. Once you’ve let it set for a while, use a stiff bristled brush to scrub the jet clean. You can also use a small wooden skewer to help clear sediment out of the jets. 

Preventing Limescale Buildup in the Future

The cleaning process is only a temporary fix. Also keep in mind that using highly acidic cleaners do a great job to clean up the calcium but exposing these harsh chemicals to your fixtures on a regular basis can also do their own damage over time. To avoid unsightly limescale and calcium buildup in the future without having to go through the harsh cleaning process, consider installing a water softener. 

Water softeners provide a long-term, cost-effective way to avoid calcium buildup once and for all. Water softeners turn hard water into soft water by removing calcium and other minerals from water. No more scaling inside your toilets, pipes, or other fixtures! 

That means your appliances will last longer – and look good longer – without a lot of costly products and time-consuming cleaning. On top of that, many people find that soft water is easier on their hair and skin. Overall, soft water can be better for you, your family, and your home. 

If you’re tired of calcium buildup in your home, contact us using the form below. We’ll connect you with a local water specialist who will come to your home to do on-site water testing and design the ideal water treatment system for your household.

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