Last Updated on September 5, 2019 by Dave Farquhar
Some nasty mineral deposits can build up in toilets over time, which leads some people to replace them. But you don’t have to. Here’s how to refurbish a toilet with vinegar.
Ugly mineral deposits in a toilet can be a turnoff. Fortunately you can fix them with less than $2 worth of vinegar and a little time, by pouring a cup of vinegar into the toilet and letting it sit.
Refurbishing toilets with vinegar
I see this problem in seldom used toilets, or in toilets that have been sitting a long time. The trick is simply to pour a cup or two of vinegar into the bowl and let it sit. The longer you can let it sit, the better, but even 30 minutes can make a difference. I like to let it sit overnight if possible. Pour a cup or two into the reservoir tank as well. That way, you’ll still have some vinegar in the bowl even if someone flushes it. Plus, vinegar in the reservoir helps clean out the reservoir too.
Sometimes you don’t even need to brush it, but if there’s a large rock formation building up down there, you may need to. Avoid the temptation to scrape it with anything harsh. You don’t want to scratch the bowl. Just let the vinegar do its thing.
You can repeat as often as necessary. If you’re living in the house, getting a good soak overnight can be difficult, but be patient. It takes months, if not years, for the buildup to happen. So it’s OK if it takes a few days to clear it back out.
Once you get it cleaned out, adding this process to your routine cleaning will keep the toilet looking new. Just pour some vinegar into the toilet when you start. You’ll be surprised how effective it is.
Is it worth it?
A toilet can cost less than $100, and if you’ve done it before, you can swap one out in an hour. But then you have the disposal fee to get rid of the old toilet. Plus, now something potentially useful is going into a landfill.
If you have an older bathroom with fixtures that aren’t white, matching the color can be extremely difficult and cost a lot more than $100. So in that case, refurbishing the toilet can save you a remodel.
Refurbishing a toilet with vinegar takes patience, but not much work. So you can buy a $2 jug of vinegar, pour some in, let it do its work, and save your time, energy, and budget for other projects. When I’m fixing up a house, I get lots of unexpected $100 projects, so being able to avoid a $100 project is a good thing.
If you’re fixing up a vacant house, you can pour some vinegar into the toilet when you leave for the day, let it work until you use it next, then repeat. Just let the vinegar work while you’re away, and it can save you a bundle.
I use vinegar for other things too, like removing rust, but I really like it in toilets.