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Grey Sediment in Toilet Bowl: How To Get Rid of It

We’ve all had those moments. You look down into the toilet bowl, and the bottom is covered with grey sediment. You immediately want to close the bathroom and never allow anyone to use it again.

The best way to get rid of grey sediment is to figure out what caused it and address that issue. If you don’t know what caused it, using bleach or a combination of baking soda and vinegar can remove the residue and leave your toilet bowl sparkling. 

So how do you get rid of that grey sediment in your toilet bowl, and what causes it? Let’s find out so that you feel comfortable using your bathroom again.

Grey Sediment in Toilet Bowl

What Causes Grey Sediment in the Toilet Bowl?

A few things can cause you to see grey sediment in the bottom of your toilet bowl.

  • An abrasive cleaning tool or cleaning product
  • Hard water depositing mineral stains in the toilet bowl
  • Bacteria growth 
  • Unused toilet
  • Flushing away chemicals

Let’s examine each of these causes and determine what you can do to correct each one. 

Abrasive Cleaning Tool or Cleaning Product

Most toilet bowl cleaners are gentle enough to use on the porcelain of a toilet. Still, if you’re using a heavy-duty cleaner not intended for bathrooms, you may end up with an abrasive cleaning product that is too gritty and causes scratches or stains. 

We can say the same with the tool you use to clean your toilet bowl. Even a cleaner meant for the toilet bowl can cause damage if you use an abrasive material to clean it. So it’s best to stick with a cleaning product specifically for the toilet bowl and a cleaning brush also made for cleaning toilets. 

There is another cause for scratches in a toilet bowl. If you have recently had your toilet unclogged, you may notice a few scratches inside the bowl.

These could be caused by the tool used by plumbers to clear the clog, which is called a toilet auger. They aren’t scratches but some rust that may have come back up with the auger. You can remove these rust stains with a specialized rust remover for toilets, and your toilet bowl will return to its usual, clean self. 

How To Fix It 

If you have used something that has caused scratching, the best way to rid yourself of the scarring is to use bleach. Bleach is the most common cleaning agent that will remove almost all stains from a toilet bowl. 

However, remember to ensure your bathroom is well ventilated before using bleach and diluting it. Bleach alone can be corrosive, so you want to do at least nine parts water to one part bleach. 

Also, please remember that sometimes the scratching from abrasive cleaners or cleaning tools cannot be removed. The bleach might hide the scratches, but any bacteria in the toilet bowl will bring them to view. So scratches may not go away for good. Getting your toilet repainted and sealed can fix scratches. 

Fix Grey Sediment With Bleach

Mineral Stains

Mineral stains build up over time from hard water. Over time, these built-up minerals cause the grey sediment in your toilet bowl. However, this is an easily solved problem. The grey sediment also builds up under the rim of the toilet seat. 

How To Fix It 

Start with a dry scrub under the toilet rim with a dry toilet brush. Scrub well. After scrubbing, use a toilet bowl cleaner with bleach and squirt it all around under the edge of the toilet seat so that it begins dripping down the sides. If you don’t use toilet bowl cleaner, you can apply some bleach under the rim using a bucket and your toilet brush. 

If you’re using bleach to scrub, pour some into the toilet bowl itself. After pouring it in, put the lid down and leave it alone for about 15 minutes. 

Once your 15 minutes are up, you can begin scrubbing to eliminate the stains. The bleach also eliminates any possible bacteria, but you must scrub hard to rid yourself of the stains. 

Make sure to scrub from the top down and get that scrubbing brush as far into the hole as possible when you get to the bowl. Do this a few times, so it loosens any grey sediment under the water seal down there. 

If mineral deposits cause your grey sediment, know that it will happen frequently. Regularly cleaning your toilet bowl will help keep this discoloration from building up. Leaving the stains for a long time can make cleaning them more challenging.  

Bacteria Growth

Bacterial growth is simply a case of not properly cleaning your toilet bowl frequently. Bacteria is the inevitable result of a lack of cleaning. The fix for this problem is simple; follow the steps above to clean your toilet with bleach

It is essential to realize that various bacteria can grow in your toilet bowl. The most common is sulfur bacteria, which can also cause a rotten egg odor. In addition, the bacteria produce a grey tint to the water, which is what stains the toilet bowl over time. 

Unused Toilet

If you have more than one bathroom in your house, you may forget to clean one as often as possible. Over time, without use, the grey sediment builds up on the bottom of the toilet bowl. Take steps to clean it just as you would in your regular cleaning routine.

Unused Toilet

How To Fix It  

Outside of cleaning your toilet typically, there will likely be an added step to fix this problem in a new or unused toilet. If the grey sediment has had more time to build up and stick, it might take a bit more elbow grease and a couple of extra ingredients to loosen it and rid yourself of the unsightly grey sediment. 

The added ingredients for this are vinegar and baking soda. Baking soda and vinegar together do an excellent job of cleaning. You will need to make sure the bowl is empty of water before you begin so that the water does not wash away the baking soda before it can start its work. 

Once the bowl is empty, sprinkle some baking soda around the edges and in the middle. Then put some regular white vinegar in a spray bottle and spray the toilet bowl sides and bottom with it. 

Some bubbling and fizzing will happen from this, but that’s good. It means the solution is breaking down the mineral stains so that you don’t have to scrub too hard. Once the fizzing has slowed, you can begin cleaning with your toilet bowl brush to loosen and remove the sediment and stains. 

The combination of vinegar and baking soda will give an extra assist. Your toilet bowl may flush easier and better once it’s gone down the drain. The mixture continues to work through the pipes and will help clean out any sediment in the lines that have caused slow flushing in the past.

If you’ve noticed your flushing is not as intense as it once was, you might consider cleaning your toilet with vinegar and baking soda once a month or so to keep the lines cleared.

Curious about what vinegar and baking soda does to a toilet? Check out this video.

Flushing Away Chemicals

The grey sediment on your toilet could happen due to hair dye chemicals or other skin care products being flushed down the toilet. 

As a result, getting rid of the offending stain becomes more of a challenge, but you can do it. The best way to rid yourself of the grey sediment from flushing chemicals is to use bleach and scrub the stains. In the future, be sure not to flush any hard chemicals. 

The Bottom Line

When you notice grey sediment at the bottom of your toilet bowl, think before you clean. As you can see, there are several options for cleaning stains or hiding scratches in your toilet bowl. 

Stop to consider how that sediment got there in the first place. Once you realize why it’s there, you’ll better understand what you need to do to get rid of it.

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