The toilet bowl in our apartment has haunted me for a while. I didn't have problem maintaining a clean one in the past but this particular one has given me many headaches. It turned brown at the bottom part and no matter how hard I scrubbed, the stain won't go away. At one point I was convinced that I scrubbed it too much that the toilet brush hurt the porcelain and revealed the real color underneath.
So, guests have to use our gross toilet and I really have enough of it. I thought of changing one but before doing this, I checked online to see what I could do. And bingo, I found that some toilets have calcium deposits due to hard water and there are many ways to clean them. I especially like the methods from this website (in French). Here are the methods recommended:
1. White Vinegar (30 cents for 1L)
White vinegar is eco-friendly and is cheap. You can find it in grocery stores, displayed in the cooking oil and vinegar section.
To start the cleaning process, first use the toilet brush to push down the water level, then use a cup to drain out water from the toilet bowl. Use a sponge to absorb the remaining water.
Boil 1L white vinegar and pour it into the toilet bowl. Let it sit overnight.
The next morning, the calcium deposits were almost 60% gone!
2. Coca-Cola (1.34€ for 1.5L)
It is amazing what Coca-cola can do to toilet cleaning. The second night I drained out water and poured in 1L of Coca-cola and let it sit overnight. Ok, I was going to use the whole 1.5L but hubby wanted to drink some of it. The next morning, around 10% more gone. I'm not a big fan of Coca-cola and the fact that I'm using it to clean toilet, I think I won't touch it for a while.
3. Hydrochloric Acid
You can find this in Home Improvement stores like Leroy Merlin or Castorama. A lot of people recommended it because it takes less than 20 minutes to see the effect and apparently it cleans the dirtiest stains. However, it is dangerous to use as it creates toxic fumes so you will need to use a pair of rubber gloves and wear a mask. You will also need to open windows to let the air circulate. I hesitated for this method as it is not eco-friendly at all. In fact for those who has septic sewage system, this could kill the necessary bacterias. I will continue using white vinegar and use this as the last option.
4. Elbow grease (l'huile de coude)
Seriously, you can not blame me if I made a fool out of myself. I read this in French and I didn't know what was l'huile de coude. L'huile is oil in French so I went check online and I got photos of them in bottle and people asking question about where to buy it. I then asked hubby if we have this at home. He laughed at me so badly and he even told his coworkers and everyone had a good laugh.
So, what is l'huile de coude? Coude = elbow, in this case it means that I need to scrub scrub scrub with energy. And I did.
For my third attempt, I empty the toilet bowl and boiled another 1L of white vinegar. I let it sit for 10 minutes, then use a wooden spoon to scrub. It took some elbow grease but pieces of calcium took off and I felt that with the present of vinegar it was easier to scrub. Do not use metal spoon, I made a mistake by using one and it left a tiny scald there. Now the toilet is 98% clean, there remains some stains in the deeper area (non visible) but I think another round of white vinegar will do.
5. There are other tools that people recommended: pumice stone (I don't know where to find this in France), plumbers cloth or sand paper, screw driver (I'm not sure about this, it could hurt the porcelain).
Some people might think that this process of emptying the toilet bowl is gross. It was not for me as I think of this as a chemical operation. When calcium meets vinegar (acid), it soften and surrendered.
Voilà, here is how I use less than 2€ (1 bottle of Coca + 2 bottles of white vinegar) to clean the toilet bowl.