How to Clean a Toilet with WD-40: Remove Tough Stains

can you clean a toilet with wd40

When I first heard of this I thought: “why would anyone want to clean their toilet with WD-40?” Well, it turns out that it can actually be really helpful.

You can use WD-40 to break down tough lime stains or hard water lines in your toilet bowl. First, spray a small amount of WD-40 into the bowl, let it sit for a few minutes, then scrub the stains or water lines with your toilet brush. After flushing your toilet, the stains should disappear.

Pretty crazy, right? Now, even if you have no desire to clean your toilet with WD-40, we’ve got some information about why it works and when you should and should not use it. Let’s get into the details.

4 Steps to Clean Your Toilet with WD-40

I won’t lie to you, after I did some research I was actually pretty excited to try this. Imagine that, excited to clean a toilet.

I wanted something that would really show the power of WD-40. So, I searched for and found a pretty gnarly toilet. It hadn’t been flushed in probably two years and had some major hard water stains. But, with the help of a little WD-40, it now looks sparkly and new.

Before we get into the steps, here’s a close-up picture of the toilet bowl before I cleaned it with WD-40.

Alright, now let’s walk through the steps for cleaning.

1. Get Some WD-40

This step may seem kind of silly, but if you’ve never heard of this glorious stuff before and you’re just looking to get rid of troublesome water stains, then you probably don’t know where to get it.

WD-40 can be found at pretty much every hardware store. I would be amazed if you found one that didn’t have it considering how many things it can be used for.

You’ll probably find it in the automotive section or with the degreasers and rust cleaners. I would recommend getting a bottle with a wide spray option so it covers more of the surface of your toilet bowl in one single spray. You can also buy WD-40 on Amazon (*Note: this link goes to Amazon, and we receive commissions on Amazon sales at no extra cost to you).

2. Spray it in Your Toilet Bowl

Now you get to use your WD-40.

Before you do though, make sure you read the back of the bottle for the safety information. I’m not usually one to worry about reading the safety card but this stuff is pretty intense.

Most notably, since you’ll probably be doing this inside, make sure the area is well ventilated, don’t shut your bathroom door and maybe open a window.

Then, just spray a small amount of the liquid into your toilet bowl. It really doesn’t need much. I used about a 1-second spray.

If you’re looking to get rid of a water line, just spray it directly into the water at the bottom of your bowl.

If there are hard water stains around the side of your bowl, you can do a quick sweep around the inside to make sure it hits those stains.

3. Wait

Next, you just wait for 10-15 minutes for the WD-40 to work its magic. If you have some especially tough stains that you think will be stubborn, or if it doesn’t work the first time, you can wait longer to let it soak.

If you want to go all-out to get rid of those pesky stains, you could even let it sit overnight.

4. Scrub a Dub

After you’ve let the WD-40 sit for at least a few minutes, it’s time to use some good ole elbow grease.

Grab your toilet brush, and give those stains a piece of your mind.

Once you’ve thoroughly scrubbed the stains and you’re satisfied with your work, flush the toilet to reveal your new, sparkling clean toilet.

The Finished Product

Once all is said and done, your toilet will hopefully look something like this.

If it’s not, well, just try again but this time leave the WD-40 to set for a longer amount of time or consider leaving it overnight.

For me, when I first started scrubbing it didn’t look very promising. I’ll admit, I started to doubt the powers of WD-40.

Because the toilet I cleaned hadn’t been flushed in so long, there was no water present. After I manually flushed it with a bucket of water I tried scrubbing it again. This time the rust came off super easy.

So, if it’s still not coming off, try adding some water and scrubbing again.

Why it Works So Well

I’m a science nerd, so obviously I had to figure out why this stuff works so well.

WD-40 is made and advertised as a rust removal spray and rust protector. That’s why it works so well on hard water stains, it’s rust.

This is the best explanation I could find. WD-40 first starts as a liquid and works its way between the rust and the surface that it’s rusted to. Then, it evaporates into a gas causing the rust to loosen from the surface and to easily be wiped off.

It also creates a seal around the surface of the object, in this case, a toilet, to prevent rust from sticking to the pores of the material in the future.

Because WD-40 works so well on hard water stains, you could potentially use it on other things that have hard water stains, such as your tub or shower.

While WD-40 may seem like a miracle product, it’s a pretty simple process that WD-40 has mastered.

When Not to Use It

If WD-40 is so amazing at cleaning toilets, why don’t we just use it all the time?

Well, there are a couple of reasons why WD-40 is only used to clean rust stains and not as a commercial toilet bowl cleaner.

First of all, WD-40 is more expensive than a regular toilet bowl cleaner. The difference isn’t a ton, but if you use it a lot then the price will start to stack up.

Secondly, WD-40 doesn’t disinfect or kill bacteria living in your toilet bowl. While it’s great for breaking down rust, it doesn’t do the full bathroom cleaning job that you need to stay clean and healthy.

Last but not least, it’s not environmentally friendly. WD-40 has a whole host of chemicals in it that aren’t found in nature and that aren’t broken down easily.

Now you may be thinking “But toilet bowl cleaners have chemicals too” and you would be correct. However, many toilet bowl cleaners are now becoming eco-friendly and are being made with natural products which is something that can never be done with WD-40.

How does WD-40 remove toilet bowl stains?

WD-40 starts as a liquid when you spray it. Then, it works its way between the rust and the surface that it’s rusted to. Next, it evaporates into a gas causing the rust to loosen from the surface and to easily be wiped off.

How do you clean a badly stained toilet?

There are many cleaning products out there that help clean stains off a toilet. If none of them work, you can use WD-40 to get the stain off. If the stain still doesn’t come off, you can paint over your stained toilet to give it a new and clean appearance.

Does WD-40 remove hard water stains?

WD-40 can remove hard water stains. To use WD-40 to remove hard water stains first spray a small amount on the stain. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Then, start scrubbing it off. If it doesn’t come off right away, try to rinse the surface with some water and scrub it again. Once it’s clean, rinse it thoroughly to remove any residue.


Leslie has lived in tons of different places that were all in different states of repair. She has experience remodeling and replacing just about everything in a home including the roof. When she's not working on a project, Leslie blogs about home improvement tips to pass on her knowledge to others.

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