How to Remove Yellow Stains from Toilet Bowl & Seat

Have you spotted a yellow discoloration in your toilet? Do the walls of the toilet bowl have a hue of yellow ranging from tanned porcelain, faint tint, or a dark golden yellow color resembling ginger? Then your toilet needs thorough cleaning to remove the stains.

Yellow shades of discoloration are mostly spotted in the bowl and on the toilet seat. These stains are caused by pee, tannins or mineral deposits. Some blame the aging toilet seat material, but in most cases it is simply dirt that results from negligence

Below are details on the causes and what you can do to get rid of these stains plus tips to prevent them from appearing.

Causes of the Yellow Stains

Pale yellow stains in your toilet bowl are a result of urine residue accumulation. Urine has a yellow pigment known as urobilin or urochrome, which gives it its yellow hue.

Every time you pee, the bowl holds on to the pigmentation for as long as the toilet is not flushed immediately and regularly cleaned.

Yellow stains in toilet bowl

The more the urine will stay the more the color of the stain will intensify. As the surface of the bowl dries, the pigment will etch more causing the stain time even darken after some time.

Another cause of yellow discoloration in the toilet is tannins available in the water.

Similar to hard water stains that cause brown rings and sediments in the toilet, the tannins can cause the loo to have a yellow lining. Tannins are decayed organic matter like decayed vegetation and animal matter that appears in most municipal water.

Because they are difficult it filter, they will find a way to your water tank and every time you flush, the water will release tannins that stick in the walls of the toilet bowl, further causing discoloration.

Yellow stains on toilet seat
Stains underneath seat

How to Remove

Since you’ve identified what is the cause of the yellow stains in the toilet bowl, let’s now look at simple ways you can get rid of these stains.


Vinegar is acidic in nature, therefore, offers the right chemical solution to getting rid of the stains. If the extent of the pigmentation is not severe, using this acidic solution is the perfect choice for removing these stains.


  1. Take a cup of vinegar and pour it generously into the toilet bowl making sure all the areas of the bowl are attended to.
  2. Let it sit for a while to dislodge the yellow stains.
  3. Scrub gently with a brush or a sponge.

This method is rather easy and straightforward as you only need to let the vinegar work its magic. For a more reactive approach, you can warm up or heat the vinegar to a good temperature then pour it in the toilet bowl. Use a strong scrubing brush

Coke and Baking Soda

Coke contains phosphoric, carbonic, and citric acid which work very well with other acidic materials. Mixing these two options is the best solution for tougher stains.

You could also add a pinch of sodium bicarbonate to take things up a notch. The mixture will double up as a bleaching solution as well as a disinfectant.


  1. Pour two cups of Coke and pour it into the toilet bowl.
  2. Open the box of baking soda and sprinkle it in the bowl as well.
  3. Leave for the effect to take place.
  4. Come back and scrub to remove the yellow pigmentation.
  5. Rinse it up. with clean warm water

Automatic Toilet Cleaners

There’s always a fast and easy way to get things done without looking for home DIY methods to clean the toilet. Simply head to the store and look for the toughest toilet cleaner. One with a high level of chlorine to remove the stains and disinfect the toilet.


  1. Pour the chemical solution in the toilet starting from under the toilet rim.
  2. Let the cleaner sit for over 15 minutes to even overnight.
  3. Scrub gently to dissolve the cleaner. Flush and clean up.

Homemade Toilet Cleaners

The best thing about homemade or DIY remedies is that they are cheap and easily accessible. You can use a variety of cleaning agents from your pantry including;

  • Baking soda
  • Lemons
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Borax
  • Coke
  • Sodium bicarbonate/ baking powder

Here are several ideas you can incorporate for your homemade cleaning, along with steps you can follow for each.

1. Baking Soda and Vinegar

A mixture of baking soda and vinegar generates a chemical compound called carbonic acid, which is aggressive on stains and mineral deposits on surfaces. It will be an excellent remedy for this problem.


  1. Measure about a cup of vinegar and pour it inside the toilet bowl. Swish it around so it gets to every area in the bowl.
  2. Let it sink in the bowl for about half an hour to one hour.
  3. After that time, open the box of baking soda and sprinkle it all over the toilet. The vinegar you added previously will ensure it sticks on the walls of the bowl.
  4. Add some vinegar to activate a fizzy reaction.
  5. Let it fizz for another 15 minutes, then come back and brush the interior surface of the toilet bowl.
  6. Scrub the toilet with nylon stifle brush and rinse off by flushing. The toilet should be stain-free.

You can repeat this method as many times as possible. You could even leave the solution overnight to let it work through the tougher stains. 

2. Borax and Vinegar

Borax is also an excellent multipurpose cleaning, especially on really tough stains. A mixture with vinegar only makes it better.


  1. Add about a cup of borax into the toilet bowl.
  2. Add some vinegar right over the borax.
  3. Gently scrub the toilet. Let sit for 15 minutes and flush the loo as you scrub again.

3. Borax Paste

For those deep yellow/ golden stains, a borax paste should do the trick. Here’s how you can do that;


  1. Wipe down the toilet bowl to get a clear view of where the mold is.
  2. Make a paste in a dish using borax and water. Ensure the paste is thick enough to stick on the walls of the bowl.
  3. Apply the paste over the hard stained areas and scrub gently with the hand brush to make sure the paste all over the bowl.
  4. Leave it on for half an hour.
  5. Once back, scrub again gently to scrape off the brown stains.
  6. Flush the toilet to finish up.

You can replace the water for vinegar in case you want a more reactive solution. Just ensure you add only a little amount so the borax can still mount on the wall

Yellow Stains on Toilet Seat

The methods and solutions for the bowl can also be used to remove the yellow markings from the toilet seat. The only difference is that most seats are made of plastic thus you need to avoid scrubbing items that might leave scratches on the seats.

Here is a quick video on how to use baking soda and vinegar to remove the seat stains

How to Prevent

There are several measures you can take to prevent these yellow stains from etching in your toilet bowl. Here are simple tips you can use.

  • Use chlorinated tablets to keep the toilet clean and free from urine pigmentation.
  • Maintain a cleaning routine as regularly as possible to ensure the pigments can’t etch in the Porcelain. Constant cleaning and leaving of disinfectants overnight will kill any likelihood of the stain forming.
  • Always flush the toilet after use whether it’s a short or long call. Also, remember to clean the guest bathroom and flush the loo daily even when not in use.
  • Avoid using aggressive measures to clean the toilet because tools such as the pumice stone can cause cracks or dents in the toilet bowl. So when the urine starts to pigment the walls, you can’t reach the crevices to clean it out.
  • Invest in carbon filtration to get rid of tannins from the water. There isn’t much you can do about the municipal water because they equally chlorinate the water too much. But adding the filter can save you the extra work of cleaning up.
  • Regularly disinfect the toilet bowl and seat with bleach or other chemical detergents.

Further Reading

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