How can I get rid of a scratch in my toilet bowl?
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A discussion started in 2003 & continuing through 2020
Summary of the thread: The most frequently recommended product, and readily available is Barkeepers Friend. Several other products were found effective as well. And next time use a Toilet Auger, not a snake or coat hanger :-)
January 1, 2013
Q. We have a badly scratched up toilet bowl due to a snake. Awhile back, my husband drained and painted it. I'm not sure what kind of paint he used but the areas he painted have since turned a yellowish color - YUCK! It is a Toto bowl - and runs about 300. I'm about to replace unless there is an alternative. Not sure if I should bother trying barkeeper since it was already painted?
Any advice is appreciated.
- San Diego, California, USA
January 3, 2013
Q. Thanks, the barkeepers friend worked wonderfully. A different issue I have is that we had rust in another toilet tank, trying to get rid of it, I wiped the sediment, stirring it up, and when I flushed, the bowl became rusty. I tried to clean the rust with bleach and now have a pale blue tint where the water is. I can't find anything to get rid of this. Any ideas? thanks in advance. debbieDebbie Giannuzzi
- Tampa, Florida, USA
January 4, 2013
I found this site while looking for a way to re-glaze the inside of my OLD toilet bowl.
My toilet is a "Standard" which came with the house in 1956. At some point I realized that there was a build up of calcium at the bottom of the bowl that was hindering a complete and smooth flush. After attempts to clean it with Comet failed, I emptied and dried the bowl. I got a pumice stone and worked on it... far too long... so I got a knife and scraped it, having more success.
Now, the larger problem I'm having is with the sides of the bowl, where I also used the pumice. They will not come clean. It's as though I have a permanent stain which gets really bad between weekly cleanings with Comet. I believe the pumice put hair-line scratches in the finish that were not apparent until time allowed for the stain to develop.
So I don't believe any of the remedies will help my situation, because I don't have surface scratches from an auger or a coat hanger.
I don't like the new toilets, how can I salvage/restore this old one? I know someone with a kiln, is there some way to patch this problem? Or would the whole bowl need to be re-glazed with a specific process?
Thanks for any advise to restore it.
- Houston, Texas, USA
A. Brasso [affil. link to product info on Amazon]! Works on tubs too.....James Cullen
- St.Louis, Missouri
October 18, 2013
Q. I was scrubbing my toilet bowl in my apartment and evidently overdid it and scrubbed too much in one area. This area near the waterline is now grayed rather than white. There are no scratches, though.
Will this much mentioned Barkeepers Friend solve this issue for me? I hope so.
- Burbank, California
November 23, 2013
A. Metal marks in your toilet bowl?
Salt and vinegar, baby! Works like a charm.
Make a paste of salt and vinegar (lots of salt), just enough to cover the marks. Let the paste sit on the marks for a while (5-10 minutes). Scrub with a scrubbing sponge like hell. Marks will be gone in no time.
Note: this is very environmentally friendly and cheap!
- Montreal, Canada
June 17, 2014
A. Baking soda and water worked perfectly. I drained the bowl using a combination of plunging the brush down it then getting the rest out with a sponge then I went at it with the baking soda and water paste.
No need for any fancy product. That's on a porcelain bowl.
- Peckham London United Kingdom
July 31, 2014
TOM: Can't thank you enough for your post. You turned a 4 day problem into a 10 minute job.David Reckard
- Highland Beach, Florida USA
August 8, 2014
we had lots of metal scratches on our old enamel bath ~ I read your wonderful thread ~ bought some Barkeepers Friend from Leighton Buzzard for £4.99 ~ a little elbow grease and WOW what a difference!!!
It looks like a new Bath!!
Thank you all for the Great advice and fabulous recommendation!
Kindest Regards, a very happy,
- mentmore Bucks United Kingdom
November 28, 2014
The Barkeepers Friend worked for me as well.John Schreiner
- St Charles Missouri USA
Scratched the toilet with pumice stoneDecember 21, 2014
Q. While using a pumice stone to clean a toilet in the basement apt my brother-in-law has kindly let us stay in for free while remodeling our new home we bought on auction. I have scratched it. Can someone give me advice? We can't afford a new toilet, but can't leave this either. It's an expensive one!Kim Grantham
- Lillington North Carolina us
February 4, 2015
Our plumber came and 'snaked' our toilet. Removed the blockage but left tons of scratches. I tried Barkeeper's Friend based on the many recommendations. This product worked like a charm. All scratches are GONE. This product saved my marriage and maybe $300 for a new toilet.Jim Neal
- Litchfield, Connecticut
July 31, 2015
Just used the Bar Keepers Friend as recommended. It worked great. All the scratches that happened when a toilet was snaked are gone. Thanks for reminding me of this great cleaner.Bob Hamm
- Fitchburg, Wisconsin USA
August 19, 2015
I don't know about the other products but Bar Keepers Friend solved my problem. Thank you.
My toilet was almost black because I used a home depot metal brush to clean it.
In the first try I didn't notice any change but I tried again and yes! black color was disappearing ... next try the black was out.
- Houston, Texas, USA
September 26, 2015
After having new tile flooring installed in my home, I started having problems with my guest bath toilet flushing. I discovered the tile installers flushed the grout down the toilet when cleaning up. I used a metal snake to try and remove it and thought I had ruined my toilet bowl. It had black marks galore. I was ready to change it out when I found this website. I tried the Barkeepers Friend product and was able to get it cleaned up. Thanks to all who recommended Barkeepers Friend. You saved me the cost of a new toilet bowl and labor.John Albrecht
- Surprise, Arizona, USA
October 1, 2015
I too can vouch for Harpic Power Plus to remove what seemed like ceramic damage caused by a metal edge. I had used a plunger which had a metal disc on it to clear a blockage, and it looked as though the metal disc had scratched through the enamel. I tried scouring the damage marks, and also tried a fine blade to see if it was just surface damage, both to no avail. I was convinced I had damaged the ceramic beyond repair, and was thinking I would have to buy a new toilet. I tried the Harpic Power Plus, and thankfully within 10 minutes it had dissolved the marks completely, leaving a pristine toilet again! Thank you to the OP for the Harpic Power Plus advice!Rob Page
- Manchester England UK
May 24, 2016
Just wanted to add weight to the bar keeper's friend band wagon, completely got the scratches off my toilet bowl after a plumber knocked his toilet snake down there. Brilliant, thank you guys for your help!Benjamin Phua
- Melbourne, VIC, Australia
September 10, 2016
A. Scratched toilet bowl as I incorrectly used a snake rather than toilet auger with protective sheath. VIM Cream (with micro-particles cleanser) found at grocery stores works beautifully and scratches all were removed.W Chew
- Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
February 28, 2016
THANK YOU TOM!!! I read your post as I searched in a desperate effort to avoid having to replace our toilet scratched by the snake. Barkeepers Friend removed all the scratches effortlessly and the stuff is cheap! You saved us the cost of a new toilet.Karen Reinhart
- Portland, Connecticut, USA
A. LIME-A-WAY, toilet bowl cleaner, thick gel formula works without having to drain bowl etc. This is a thick green gel cleaner distributed by Reckit Benckiser and I bought it at Dollar General for a couple of bucks. Just put it around bowl under rim as you would when cleaning toilet. Let sit for about 3 hours and the scratches disappeared. I also used toilet brush before flushing and there are no signs of scratches left and there were plenty because I used a regular snake without plastic protection.Andrea Brown
- Lawton, Oklahoma
May 22, 2017
Q. Husband blocked the toilet, as they do and used a coat hanger to clear it. When I next went to the loo I noticed all these black scratches on the toilet bowl, could have literally killed him, bathroom is 2 years old and cost £5000. So I've ordered some of the Barkeepers Friend ... do I have to drain the toilet or can I just pour some in?
Also he poured a cheap drain cleaner down the bathroom sink and lifted the chrome of the plug hole and it is now rusted -- stupid stupid man
- United kingdom
May 25, 2017
Just to let you all know my BKF arrived today, I poured a small amount into the loo and left it for an hour, couldn't believe my eyes, the scratches had all gone . I am over the moonRosemary A [returning]
- United Kingdom
June 28, 2017
Well, as they say, there's one in every crowd. I scratched my Black toilet up pretty badly scrubbing the bowl quite briskly, and when I got done I rinsed it out and let it dry and then the scratches all appeared, and the whole bowl was scratched considerably. I tried BKF and it didn't touch it. So I tried it again, maybe just slightly better. I did a lot of reading on the internet first before I did anything, and several sites said to use a pumice stone, so that is what put all the scratches in it. Unless someone can come up with something new that hasn't been posted yet I think I'm looking at a new toilet, and it won't be cheap since it's a one piece toilet.
As they say, you live and learn. Unless I can find a paint that is specifically used to paint the toilet bowl, I have learned a very expensive lesson: don't believe everything you read. Thanks so very much.
- Southampton New Jersey USA
Hi Robert. Sorry to hear that.
Pumice is just a stone from volcanos, and as a powder it comes in many different grit sizes, like sandpaper does. Might it be that a pumice stick used in England is made from a very fine material of flour size grit whereas the ones we find here may be formed from far coarser materials?
I wonder: are black toilets black through & through or just on the surface? Is it showing white scratches?
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading
Easy way to empty toilet bowl of waterOctober 11, 2017
A. To a regular full bowl (after flushing), add enough water to make the water flush without using the handle (about 2-3 cups, more as needed). The bowl will then be almost empty because it doesn't fill back up unless you have depressed the handle. The small amount of water left probably is insignificant, but you could easily remove it with a large sponge. Then proceed with your treatment of the mineral buildup. Good luck!Candace Allert
Just something I've learned. By Diy - Wimberley, Texas, USA
October 12, 2017
Get the dog to drink it silly :-)Mark Lees
- wind rock in the irish sea
December 18, 2017
A. I just had this problem (black scratches in a white toilet from a snake). I put Lysol toilet bowl cleaner (blue stuff) in there and let it just sink to the bottom and sit there for an hour. Then I brushed, and the marks are gone. Too easy!Annie Neroda
- PHOENIX, Arizona USA
December 30, 2017
A. After the plumber used both a snake and auger to clear a soft blockage, the toilet was metal marked in 5 places below the water line. Drained bowl completely and applied Barkeepers Friend on a damp cloth. It all came off after vigorous scrubbing. Bowl must be dry. WEAR GLOVES. Thanks all.Patricia Strang
- Cambria, California, USA
February 21, 2019
Being in the UK couldn't find BKF here, so skimmed through the rest of the posts and was first of all pleased to find white vinegar in my cupboard (way out of date I'm sure, I've had it since brewing champagne back in '09 haha) and copious amounts of salt. Made myself a stinky paste and set to work on the rim of my toilet bowl which got scratched up sawing a stubborn bolt off (replacing toilet seat due to slamming my old one in a rage ... don't ask, I clearly have issues haha) wasn't convinced it was working at first, ended up ditching the sponge and really laying into it with my thumb instead and it slowly but surely faded away. The scratches are still there, but now only I will know rather than an obvious large grey smudge greeting anyone that lifts the toilet seat up
Thank you internet, was genuinely thinking I would need a new toilet as just knowing that mark was there was annoying me.
My eyes are slightly sting-ey but it was worth it.
- Greater Manchester, UK
August 2, 2020
I found some Barkeeper's Friend powder in a gold tin here on Amazon. I've got some scratches under the water line of my toilet and I'm hoping it helps as I don't feel comfortable trying to drain it so I can get scrubbing directly on it. My plan is to leave it in there for an hour or so and then give it a light scrub with the toilet brush.
I've read through these comments but I have struggled to understand what procedure exactly I should do. Hopefully I've read things right though perhaps I don't even have the right version of BKF so who knows!
I had a huge limescale buildup and while removing it gradually over a couple of days I got a little impatient and used a knife to chip some away. Obviously now I know that this has left these grey scratches at the bottom of my porcelain toilet bowl. I can live with them but figured it would be good to give this a go to see if they can't be removed.
Any further tips and tricks with this powder would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
- United Kingdom
A. Hi Michael. Draining the toilet is not high-tech. You just dip out the water with a paper cup and pour it down the bath drain. Cleansers like Barkeeper's Friend are both a mild acid and a mild abrasive; so a little time to let the acid do what it does, plus a little scrubbing to let the abrasive do what it does.
Luck & Regards,
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading
August 3, 2020
Q. Thanks for the advice! OK so I found squeeze cup and was able to get all the water out. I put some powder in and let it settle for 5 minutes and then used a dish sponge with a very slight abrasive side and got scrubbing. Took a few minutes of work but if there's any scratch marks left then I can't see them. Absolutely magic.
I'll be honest; I'm sure if it's possible to sign up or log into this account and I have no idea how to reply to posts at all but this thread saved my toilet. I was close to getting a new one fitted as there were so many unsightly scratches (the picture doesn't really do it justice because of the lighting in my bathroom but trust me, there were plenty and now I can't see any!). Thrilled with BKM.Michael Coates [returning]
- United Kingdom
Ed. note: There are no logins or passwords or anything like that; you just put your name and town on each Q. or A.