Urine stains on toilets are unsightly, unhygienic and often smelly – so they’re something you don’t want to allow to develop and something you’ll want to remove quickly as soon as they appear.
There are several easy ways to clean urine stains using some simple household products, and in this post, we’ll tell you how as we talk about how to remove urine stains from toilet seats and bowls.
Why do urine stains develop?
Urine stains are a common problem in many bathrooms, but they’re quite easy to prevent – because they only develop when urine is left on a toilet bowl without being cleaned off.
Urine contains a chemical called urobilin, also known as urochrome, and this is what gives it its distinctive yellow color – and if you don’t wash urine off of your toilet bowl, it’s also the chemical that causes the stain.
Another reason for urine stains to develop is if the toilet isn’t flushed after each use.
Sometimes, people don’t always flush the toilet after a “number one” to save water – but this practice risks allowing urine stains to develop.
A different issue is when toilets develop buildups of minerals like magnesium from hardwater. When these deposits build up, they can lead to a stained toilet seat or bowl because the urine gets stuck to the mineral deposit.
What products can you use to remove urine stains?
Urine should be washed off of your toilet bowl immediately, and any that gets missed should be washed off during your regular toilet cleaning.
However, if urine is left on a toilet bowl, wooden toilet seat or plastic toilet seat long enough to cause a stain, there are several options you can turn to for cleaning it.
These include regular store-bought toilet detergents, but there are also several other cheaper, more natural options that are preferable to harsh chemicals – so let’s have a look at some of these now.
Vinegar is a well-known all-purpose cleaner that can be used for all manner of household chores, including removing urine stains from toilet bowls and seats as well as killing germs and bacteria.
The reason it’s so effective is that it contains acetic acid, which does a great job of removing even the most stubborn stains. Vinegar is also a popular choice since cleaning-grade white vinegar is both easy to find in any local supermarket and very inexpensive.
2. Lemon juice
Lemon juice contains citric acid, which, like the acetic acid in vinegar, makes it a surprisingly useful cleaning agent. Furthermore, it has a naturally pleasant odor, which is an extra advantage it has over vinegar.
You might think of Coke as being a popular type of soda, but as any DIY fan will tell you, it’s also useful for a range of household tasks such as unblocking sinks – and cleaning stains from toilet bowls or seats.
This is because it contains a type of mild acid – most brands of cola will do a similar job, so it’s not always necessary to buy “the real thing”.
4. Bicarbonate of soda
Most homes have a box of bicarbonate of soda – also known as baking soda – in the cupboard. It’s another extremely useful product to turn to for all kinds of difficult cleaning jobs, and when mixed with vinegar, it can be even more effective.
Borax powder is similar in some ways to bicarbonate of soda – but it’s a bit stronger, so you’ll have to pick it up from a hardware store since supermarkets don’t usually stock it.
You can just sprinkle it onto a stain to use it – or you can mix up a paste using water or vinegar.
Chlorine bleach is a potent cleaning agent that you can turn to as a last resort. However, it’s not great for the environment, and you should also take care if you use bleach since it can harm your skin or especially your eyes.
How to remove urine stains from your toilet
Here are a couple of suggested methods for removing urine stains from toilets using some of the cleaning agents above.
How to Remove Urine Stains from Toilet Seats & Bowls with vinegar
What you need:
- Spray dispenser
- Cloth, rag or sponge
Step 1. Put vinegar into spray dispenser and spray onto stain
Start by pouring a cup of vinegar into the spray dispenser and then spray it generously onto the affected area. This is more effective and accurate than if you simply pour it into the toilet bowl.
Step 2. Leave to take effect
Leave the vinegar for at least half an hour or preferably longer. This will give it time to work on the stain, making it easier to wash off.
Step 3. Rinse off with cloth
After leaving the vinegar on the stain for the required length of time, simply rinse it off with the cloth, rag or sponge and some warm water.
Step 4. Inspect and repeat
Once you’ve wiped the bowl or seat clean, inspect it to see if the stain has disappeared. If there is still some staining, you can simply repeat the process a couple of times until you achieve the desired results.
Tip: If the stain is near or below the waterline in the toilet, you will need to remove the water from the toilet to clean it.
The easiest way to do this is simply to scoop it out with a cup and then soak up any remaining water with an old towel.
Tip: You can try this same technique using lemon juice instead of vinegar. If you mix the lemon juice with a few drops of essential oil, it will work even better – and the smell will be even more pleasant from using this kind of mixture.
How to Remove Urine Stains from Toilet Seats & Bowls with bicarbonate of soda
What you’ll need:
- Bicarbonate of soda
- Cup for mixing
- Spatula or old spoon
- Cloth, rag or sponge
Step 1. Mix up a paste of bicarbonate of soda and water
Start by mixing up a paste of bicarbonate of soda and water in a cup. The ratio should be 2:1 bicarbonate of soda to water.
Step 2. Apply the paste to the stained area and leave to work
Using the spatula or old spoon, spread the baking soda paste over the affected area with the urine stain. You should then leave it for at least half an hour to work on the stain before you wash it off.
Step 3. Wash the paste off the stain and inspect
After the paste has been left for 30 minutes or more, simply wash it off with the cloth, rag or sponge. Check to see if the stain has been successfully removed.
Step 4. Repeat as necessary
If the stain hasn’t been completely removed, you can repeat the process once or twice more until you achieve the desired results.
Tip: If you want to make your paste even more effective, try mixing it up with vinegar instead of water – stick to the same 2:1 ratio.
How to Remove Urine Stains from Toilet Seats & Bowls with borax
What you need:
- Spatula or spoon
- Cloth, rag or sponge
Step 1. Mix up a paste of borax and water
Like with bicarbonate of soda, start by mixing up a paste of borax and water with a ratio of 2:1.
Step 2. Apply the paste to the stain and leave
Apply the paste to the urine stain with the spoon or spatula and leave for a minimum of half an hour.
Step 3. Wash off with warm water
Wash the paste off with the cloth, rag or sponge and some warm water. Check to see if the stain has been removed.
Step 4. Repeat as necessary
Repeat the process a few times if necessary until the stain disappears.
Tip: Like with bicarbonate of soda, a more effective paste can be made by mixing it with vinegar instead of water.
Tip: If the stain is not too severe, you may be able to remove it simply by wetting it, sprinkling on some borax powder, leaving it for a while and then wiping it off again.
Here are a few extra tips to help you achieve the best results and to prevent stains from developing in the first place.
Don’t use abrasive brushes on toilet bowls or seats
Avoid using abrasive brushes when cleaning your toilet or you risk damaging the porcelain toilet bowl or the plastic seat. This in turn will make the problem worse since scratches or grooves in your toilet will stain more easily.
The same is true of pumice stones, which are sometimes recommended for cleaning toilets. Pumice stones can be used for cleaning the most stubborn encrusted stains, but it shouldn’t be necessary to do anything so extreme for urine stains.
If you need to scrub a stain, it’s better to use a regular toilet brush since this won’t damage your toilet. Another option is an old toothbrush.
Keep the toilet clean at all times
The best way to avoid urine stains is to ensure your toilet remains clean all the time. Make sure you flush it after each use and try to have a regular cleaning schedule.
If you clean your toilet once a week, you shouldn’t have problems with stains developing in the first place.
Wear gloves when cleaning the toilet
When cleaning the toilet, you should wear rubber gloves to protect your hands. This way, you won’t need to touch the dirty toilet, and the gloves will also protect your skin from any harmful cleaning agents you’re using.
Plenty of easy ways to get rid of urine stains
While urine stains can be unsightly and seemingly stubborn, there are several easy ways to remove them using simple and inexpensive household products.
You can avoid them by keeping your toilet clean and well maintained, but if yellow stains do manage to appear, and if you don’t want to use a chemical cleaner, you now have several options for a homemade toilet cleaner you can try for removing them.