How to Clean Stubborn Toilet Bowl Rings

Whether you just bought a new home and are faced with toilet bowl stains from previous owners or have neglected your cleaning duties for a little too long, stubborn toilet bowl rings can be one of the most difficult things to clean. In some cases, porcelain toilets are prone to picking up these stains and holding onto them even with regular cleaning. These stains can be dark, slimy, and make the toilet look like it hasn’t been cleaned in ages. Caused by a buildup of minerals found in hard water, stubborn toilet bowl rings are a common problem. Here are some ways you can eliminate toilet bowl rings for good.

Vinegar

Ideal for less problematic stains or for those who are tired of using harsh abrasives and toxic chemical cleansers, vinegar is a natural way to clean your toilet. One method is to place three cups of vinegar into the toilet bowl and scrub the stains away with a brush. The other method is to put the vinegar into a spray bottle, drain the toilet bowl, and spray the solution directly onto the stains. Unfortunately, vinegar might not be strong enough to remove extra tough stains. If this tip doesn’t work out for you be sure to try one of the other solutions found below.

Borax Powder

Although borax paste is sold in hardware stores it’s a powerful cleaning agent that can be used to clean a variety of tough household stains – toilet bowl stains included. Start by shutting off the water supply to the toilet and draining the toilet do the hard water stains aren’t covered by water. Make the paste by mixing ½ cup borax powder with enough vinegar to form a paste. From there, liberally spread the paste over the stains until they’re completely covered. Allow the paste to sit for about twenty minutes before scrubbing it off with a toilet brush. If successful, the stubborn stains should come off with the paste.

Lemon Kool-Aid

Sometimes what’s hidden away in your kitchen can work wonders for hard water stains, and Lemon Kool-Aid is one of those hidden wonders. Simply empty a packet into the toilet, let it sit for a bit, and scrub away the stains with a brush. Lemon Kool-Aid works in the dishwasher too! If you notice a build-up of soap scum in your dishwasher, just replace the soap or detergent with a packet of Lemon Kool-Aid, run an empty load through a regular cycle, and your glasses and plates should come out crystal clear.

Coke

Believe it or not, you can use a can of Coke as a cleaning agent in the bathroom. Although pouring a two liter bottle of Coke into the toilet may sound a bit odd, it’s an effective way to clean stubborn toilet bowl rings. Usually all you’ll need to do is let the Coke sit in the toilet bowl for about thirty minutes before wiping away with a soft rag. For extra cleaning power, let the Coke sit in the toilet overnight before scrubbing. Note: since it’s the phosphoric acid that does a lot of the cleaning work (and not the actual Coke), it’s just as effective to use soda water in lieu of Coke.

Muriatic Acid

Since this method is a rather dramatic way of cleaning stubborn toilet bowl rings, it should only be used if the above methods didn’t work. Make sure to use the weakest form of the acid possible and wear protective gear while working with muriatic acid. Before starting, ensure the toilet bowl is empty and the water supply has been turned off. Muriatic acid works by eating away the first layer or two of your toilet bowl, thus getting rid of the stain. Just be sure to follow the directions on the back of the package closely, as using too much muriatic acid can be harmful.

Common Plumbing Questions: Answered

As a homeowner, it’s only natural to have plumbing questions. While some plumbing problems are quite complicated and may require the expertise of a professional, many issues are minor and can be fixed with a bit of time and elbow grease. Not only will homeowners who understand the complexities of plumbing be better prepared to make the best decisions when a plumbing problem arises, but they may be able to take care of the problem themselves.

Q: What are the most important plumbing tools to keep at home?

A: The most well-known tool is the plunger – an essential tool that should be found in every household due to its usability and effectiveness. It can be used for unclogging toilets, sinks, showers, and tubs. Next on the list is a hand auger, which should be used for difficult clogs. With over 25-feet of steel cable, the hand auger is capable of handling clogs a plunger can’t. Finally, a wet-dry shop vacuum, though not strictly a plumbing tool, can be a lifesaver in the case of a flood. If a broken pipe or appliance has flooded a room, getting the water up as quickly as possible with the vacuum can mean the difference between saving a floor and having to completely replace one.

Q: How can I increase my water pressure?

A: Typically, issues with water pressure can be attributed to a volume or flow issue. A restriction in a line, or having a line that’s too long or under sized, could be the problem. If a pressure gauge is installed, you can check the pressure yourself. Water pressure in most households should be around 50 PSI. Look at the gauge with all the water off, and then once again when the water is on full. If the pressure is okay until you turn the water on, then it’s a flow problem. If the pressure problem only happens to a particular faucet, it might be possible to improve the pressure by cleaning the faucet or installing a new aerator on the end of the spout. Over time, faucets can clog and reduce the flow.

Q: How can I avoid frozen pipes?

A: If the pipes in question are exposed to an unheated area (garage, basement) or are outside, the pipes should be wrapped with foam or some type of insulation material and bound with electrical tape. If you can get your hands on electrical wire heating wrap, this will keep the pipes above freezing even in very cold weather. If you’re concerned about pipes within a wall, you can poke small holes through the wall and cover the pipes with insulating foam. If the pipes are totally inaccessible, leave a trickle of water running– this will warm the pipe slightly and slow down the freezing process.

Q: Is there a difference between hard and soft water?

A: Yes, and the difference can be damaging to both your home and your body. Hard water is water that contains a noticeable amount of dissolved materials, like calcium and magnesium. Soft water is treated in such a way that the only ion present is sodium. If you’re experiencing damaged clothing after laundry, excessive soap consumption, pipe scaling, deterioration of faucets and fixtures, or undesirable odors or tastes in your water, you may have a water problem. In addition to improving soap lather and removing soap scum, using a water softener can have financial benefits as well. In homes with water softeners, energy bills are noticeably lower and, since appliances don’t have to work so hard, the lives of washing machines, dishwashers, and water heaters can be prolonged.

Organize Your Linen Cabinet in a Few, Easy Steps

Linen cabinets are an awesome addition to any bathroom – they ensure extra towels and linens are always within reach and, depending on the style of linen cabinet chosen, can also act as a beautiful focal point in your bathroom space. Typically, linen cabinets are used as a catchall for bath essentials, towels, sheets, and personal hygiene products. With such a variety of items being stored, it’s easy for the space to become overwhelmingly cluttered. If you avoid opening the doors of your linen cabinet for fear of what lies within, these tips can help you condense and organize your linen cabinet.

Bundle Spare Sheets

For many people, the main source of their linen tower clutter is sheet sets that somehow get separated or tangled. By bundling sheets together, you can avoid mismatched sets and heavy piles that topple over. Sheets can be bundled together by stacking sheets in a wicker basket, or tying the sets together with leftover wrapping paper ribbons. Don’t forget to add labels so you’ll know which size bed the sheets are intended for. Aim to have at least two sets of sheets for each bed in the house.

Purge Frequently

How many times have you headed to Costco and bought toilet paper in bulk, only to realize you already had ten rolls hidden in the back of your linen cabinet? A common mistake many homeowners and renters make is purging linen closets and cabinets only when necessary. By adding linen closet organization to your monthly cleaning list, you’ll be able to keep a better inventory and avoid accidentally purchasing the same item twice. In order to better keep control of your inventory, try fixing a dry erase board on the inside of your linen cabinet – as items run low, make a note.

Utilize Hanging Hooks

Every space has a hidden potential if you’re willing to think outside the box and get a little creative. By installing hooks from the walls of linen cabinets, you can conveniently hang loofa, robes, towels, and whatever else you can think of. If you don’t want to go through the effort of purchasing and installing hooks, repurpose your old shower rod and hooks for linen cabinet storage. It’s as simple as trimming down the rod to fit in your linen cabinet, installing the rod towards the back of your linen cabinet, and hanging items like washcloths, hand towels, and spare loofas from the hooks.

Maximize Shelf Space

By using stackable boxes, bins, or basket for storing small items like cosmetics or first aid supplies, you can maximize vertical space on the shelves of your linen cabinet. Another good way to corral small items, like cotton balls and q-tips, together is to arrange them on a tray or in a drawer which you can easily slide in and out of your linen closet. For easy maintenance and cleaning, be sure to use a tray that’s both waterproof and wipeable. If you use your linen cabinet to store shower products while not in use, load up a caddy with bath products so you can easily move the products in and out of the shower.

Clean Bathroom? Check.

Whether you clean your bathroom in a few hours or spread the task out over a few days, it can be hard remembering to scrub every tile, dust every surface, and wash every towel. By using this handy daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly bathroom cleaning checklist, you’ll keep work to a minimum and give yourself the time you need to do the things you love. If you have a larger family, consider handing parts of this checklist to family members, delegate tasks, and ensure everyone sticks to the schedule.

Daily:

  • Wipe down sink, tub, and faucets after each use
  • Wipe down counters
  • Spray shower and shower curtain/door with cleaning mist after use
  • Wipe down counters

Weekly:

  • Scrub bathtub/shower/tiles
  • Scrub & disinfect the sink & toilet
  • Clean mirrors & faucets
  • Wipe down & disinfect counters
  • Wash toothbrush holders & cups used for rinsing
  • Wash & refill soap dispenser or soap dish
  • Wipe down & disinfect door & doorknobs
  • Empty & wipe down the wastebasket
  • Vacuum, sweep, or mop the floor
  • Wipe down any switch plates, moldings, or baseboards
  • Replace & wash towels
  • Dust windowsills & other exposed surfaces
  • Wash any rugs or mats, if necessary (Some prefer to wash rugs bi-weekly)

Monthly:

  • Wipe down & disinfect the fronts of cabinets & drawers
  • Organize medicine cabinets, linen towers & items in drawers
  • Deal with any mold & mildew in the bathroom
  • Check & restock supplies, including toiletries & cleaning supplies

Quarterly:

  • Clean & re-seal grout (if needed)
  • Dispose of expired or old medication, cosmetics & toiletries
  • Change or launder the shower curtain & liner
  • Wash walls & ceiling
  • Launder window curtains, if applicable

Yearly:

  • Wash windows inside & out
  • Replace torn mats & rugs
  • Replace torn window curtains, if applicable
  • Clean out/vacuum ventilator
  • Deep-clean carpet, if applicable