How to Remove Lime Scale from a Toilet

Jacqueline White

Lime scale is a product of hard water. Hard water contains higher than normal amounts of minerals. These minerals attach themselves to surfaces like inside the plumbing pipes and even in toilet bowls. Lime scale is not only unsightly, it can also lead to plumbing issues if it is not removed regularly.

A toilet with the lid up, ready to be cleaned.

Removing lime scale from a toilet can seem like a daunting task but it can be accomplished with common household items.


Clean toilet often to prevent thick buildup of lime scale. Add 3 cups of white vinegar to full toilet bowl and scrub with brush for maintenance. Add a water softening system or water conditioning system to water supply to prevent lime scale.

  1. Turn off water supply to the toilet if possible. Locate the valve behind the toilet to turn the water off. Flush toilet to remove water from the bowl.

  2. Pour in equal amounts of borax and white vinegar into the bowl. Make sure to add enough of the mixture to cover the lime scale.

  3. Leave mixture in the toilet bowl for at least two hours. Leave in mixture overnight if possible.

  4. Scrub lime scale with toilet bowl brush to remove.

  5. Turn water to toilet back on. Allow toilet to tank to fill with water. Flush toilet to rinse lime scale.

  6. Add 3 cups of white vinegar to the toilet tank to remove lime scale from toilet parts.