How to Remove Yellow Stains From Toilet: Simple Solution

As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you.

Combining an acid and a base, such as vinegar and baking soda, and scrubbing the toilet with the toilet brush, should eventually clear up yellow toilet stains. Sun-discolored plastic on toilet seats is not easily cleared—better to buy a new seat and protect it from the sun.

Your bathroom is one of the rooms in your home that you will visit multiple times a day and is arguably the room that needs to be kept the cleanest at all times (apart from the kitchen) to avoid foul smells, stains, and bacteria. There are few things worse than looking down into a yellow-stained toilet bowl when visiting a public place or even a friend’s home, let alone having your own toilet look like that.

We can all agree that yellow-stained toilets are just a pure no-go. With these few tips, you won’t need to worry about keeping your guests out of your bathroom as you can have a shiny, white toilet at all times.

Causes of Yellow Stains in Toilets

Even though the toilet might have been recently cleaned with detergent, yellow stains give the appearance of a toilet that has been neglected and lacks overall hygiene. Here are a few of the most common reasons why your toilet might have yellow stains.

Urine Can Stain Toilets

Ever heard of the saying, “if it’s yellow, let it mellow” when referring to not flushing the toilet if there is only urine in it? Please don’t follow this advice.

As the urine-filled water rests at the bottom of the toilet and is not washed off regularly enough (by flushing the toilet after each use or more thoroughly with cleaning detergents), it can stain the circumference of the bowl a light yellow color.

This happens because the toilet bowl will hold on to any of the urobilin, or yellow pigment of urine when the toilet has not been flushed. The longer it remains unflushed or uncleaned, the darker the stains will become and the more difficult they will be to remove.

Dirty and stains on toilet bowl

This can also happen a lot easier if the top, smooth layer of your toilet material (enamel, porcelain, etc.) is pitted, because a rough surface holds stains more easily.

Calcium (Lime) Build-Up

Another very common reason for your yellow-stained toilet could be due to a calcium or limescale build-up, which is a consequence of having hard water.

The limescale is what remains in the toilet bowl once the hard water has evaporated from it. Over time, dirt and debris will stick to the lime, and create a horrible build-up, causing the unsightly stain.

These types of yellow stains are a little more difficult to clean, so they will require extra elbow grease and stronger cleaning materials, preferably with an acidic component (lime is basic).

UV-Related Discoloration

This may come as a shock to some, but your toilet might have yellow stains because of exposure to the sun. That’s right, simply being exposed to the sunlight could change the color of your toilet seat, all while having nothing to do with how regularly you clean the toilet.

I specified the toilet seat here for a reason. UV-ray-related discoloration mostly affects plastic materials. Toilet bowls and cisterns are made of sturdier materials, but most toilet seats are plastic, so they are most at risk of turning yellow when exposed to the sunlight over time. Furthermore, the toilet seat is most likely to be exposed to the sunlight in the first place.

General Yellow Stain Removal Method

I am sure we are all in agreement that having a yellow-stained toilet is simply unacceptable and something that we all would rectify as soon as possible.

There are so many methods for removing these unsightly stains, and while the exact method can differ, most stain removal techniques involve the same basic ingredients and steps.

Better Life Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaner, 24 Ounce (Pack of 2) Tea Tree & Peppermint Scent

For all methods, you will need a base and an acid to make up your cleaning solution, and then some determination, time, and elbow grease to help you get the job done.

If you have lighter stains, like those caused by urine, then use a less intense acid, such as lemon juice. For tougher stains, it will be better to use a stronger acid such as white vinegar, which can assist with removing mineral deposits.

For those truly impossible stains, you might want to use the extra strong stuff: bleach. Just be careful to wear gloves and keep windows open to allow air to circulate. You don’t want to get dizzy from the fumes.

It might be tempting, but please, if you value the appearance and integrity of your toilet, do not use a wire brush to scrub the inside of the toilet. I know, it seems like it will be useful in eliminating stains faster, but you will really just be damaging the coating of your toilet, making it even more likely to become stained.

When it comes to sun-damaged toilet seats, unfortunately, there is no very successful cure. Rather purchase a new toilet seat and take steps to protect it against UV exposure.

Specific Stain Removal “Recipes”

Okay, time to talk about the good stuff and probably the reason you are really here. There are SO MANY remedies and tools advertised all over the internet for getting rid of stains, that it can be quite overwhelming. I have saved you the stress and outlined a few of the easiest and most effective methods out there.

Baking Soda and Vinegar: Method 1

I am sure you are not surprised to see these two on this list. These household staples are truly incredible at performing so many cleaning hacks around your home. They are particularly effective in getting rid of stains.

So, for this method, you can perform it in one of two ways, but either way, you will get your desired outcome:

  1. Pour the vinegar first, directly onto the stains, and then add the baking soda.
  2. Do it the other way around.
Baking soda with white vinegar

Personally, I pour about a cup of white vinegar directly onto the stains and let it sit there for about 30 minutes. But leave it for longer if you have truly tough stains.

Then you’re going to want to generously sprinkle baking soda directly over where you poured the vinegar, followed by another cup of vinegar poured directly into the bowl.

Leave it for about 10 more minutes and then scrub it with a toilet brush. Give it a couple of flushes and you are good to go.

Baking Soda and Vinegar: Method 2

You can also get great results if you pour generous amounts of baking soda directly onto the stains and scrub with a toilet brush immediately. You can then add your white vinegar afterward, pouring it over the stained areas and giving it about half an hour before flushing the toilet to rinse off the solution.

Coca Cola

There is a reason that doctors and dieticians urge us to stay away from this drink. The phosphoric acid found in the sugary beverage is about the same strength as that of battery acid. I’m not kidding. Leave a dirty coin in a glass of coke and within a day or two, it will be as shiny as anything—or even disappear entirely after about a week.

Coca-Cola Retro Vending Machine Style 10 Can Thermoelectric Mini Fridge, 12V DC/110V AC with tall window display for Home, Dorm, Office, Travel and Games Room

To clean your toilet, simply pour the soda generously, directly over the stains. Leave it for a few hours, or even overnight for even better results, and then simply flush the toilet a couple of times to rinse it off. That’s it. No scrubbing involved, unless you have some really tough stains.

Automatic Toilet Cleaning Pods/Tablets

If you want to rid yourself of the yellow stains, but aren’t too bothered by them or you just don’t have the time or energy to kneel before the throne and scrub, getting an automatic toilet cleaning tablet is really useful.

They’re really easy to find at any grocery store or even online. Simply plop one of the Clorox Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner Tablets (amazon link) into your toilet bowl. The tablets will begin to dissolve and will slowly eat away at any stains and dirt in your toilet.

Preventing the Return of Yellow Stains

Now that you know just how much effort really goes into cleaning these horrid stains, it is definitely in everyone’s best interest to aim at prevention, rather than cure.

It is vital to keep a clean toilet at all times. That means regularly washing and scrubbing it with cleaning products or homemade remedies to prevent yellow stains from forming at all. It might feel like a nuisance but you really will reap the benefits from it. Urine won’t be given enough time to settle and stain if you are constantly washing it away.

Don’t let the yellow mellow! You might be tempted to let the toilet remain unflushed during the night to avoid waking people up, or you might be under the impression that less flushing means less water usage. I encourage you to please flush after every single use as this not only prevents stains from occurring, but it is also a hygienic practice.

It is also advised to avoid using very harsh brushes or other cleaning tools on your toilet as this can damage the coating of it, creating little holes that allow minerals and urine to settle and form stains.

Get Rid of All The Yellow Stains in Your Bathroom

If you’ve got a pearly white toilet, don’t settle for anything less in the other parts of your bathroom. Yellow/brown spots on your ceilings and walls are just as unsightly as a stained toilet. There are many reasons for these stains, but just as many solutions, so roll up your sleeves and start working—it’ll be worth it in the end.


Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc, or its affiliates.

Recent Posts