In another thread, it was determined that porcelain toilet
bowls were impervious to commonly available acids such as
phosphoric (Naval Jelly) & hydrochloric (pool muriatic acid).
So, I'll run an experiment to see which will remove the
brown stains best without destroying the porcelain or tile.
Here is a picture of the brown toilet bowl stains, after
scrubbing and household bleach - but before the first treatment:
Here are the next three planned treatments:
1. Pool bleach (12%)
2. Pool acid (28%)
3. Naval jelly
Let me know if you have any suggestions before I conduct the
Regarding the blackened bathroom sink, I left the phosphoric acid
on for an hour and then, with the drain open, I opened the faucet.
Almost no water went down the drain. Huh?
Having never used the sink myself, I realized for the first time
the sink had been almost totally clogged, all along, so I plunged
it and black crud started bubbling up from the pipes below:
Soon, water was flowing again, such that I could see that the
naval jelly worked, for the most part, to remove the black stuff
and it does not seem to have damaged the nickel plated brass:
Here is what it looks like, without any scrubbing, but with just
a wipedown with a wet towel (my sister was mad at me for ruining
one of her hand towels, but I am at her house and my bath towel
was already full of chemicals from the toilet bowl experiment):
Now, it's time to flush the toilet of the phosphoric acid ...
Tell your sister to get a stainless steel mesh "stopper" for the sink
(HD/Lowes/etc) and to make her offspring empty it from time to time.
Alternatively, suggest that she use some Drano once in a while. Drano is
lye with some bits of aluminum. The lye digests organic material and also
reacts strongly with the aluminum to create considerable heat and frothing
(within the pipes) thereby aiding the disintegration of the organic matter.
The most dangerous is the pool acid, so, I'll do that last.
Here's what I just did:
1. I shut the water supply off and flushed the toilet
2. I plunged & cupped & toweled out the remaining water
3. As a control, I blocked half the toilet with a bath towel
3. Naval Jelly (because it's sticky) went on first
This is my sister's kid's bathroom, so, while I was there,
I decided to apply the excess naval jelly to the yucky sink:
I'll wait a half hour - and then wash it off, and report back.
PS: How her kids make 'that' much mess of a sink just brushing
their teeth is beyond me!
In retrospect, I agree.
1. I left the naval jelly on the toilet bowl for an hour:
2. The towel maintained the right side as an experimental control:
3. The results, after only flushing (no scrubbing), were not stellar:
With my fingernail, I scraped along the area cleaned by the
phosphoric acid, and it felt rough, with pieces of loosened deposits
flaking off, so, perhaps with more time, the naval jelly "might" have
worked; but it's time to move on to the pièce de résistance, which
is the 28% hydrochloric acid & baking soda experiment.
I'm reading up on Oren's suggested reference now & will report back:
Ooops. I must have missed that step in the instructions.
Can you actually empty the bowl without emptying the tank?
Anyway, the deed is done.
After an hour of hissing and bubbling, I sprinkled the antidote:
Of course, that initiated a new round of hissing and bubbling:
After flushing a few times, I poured in the 12% pool bleach:
Now the bowl is "almost" clean of the brown "cooties":
My sister wants to know why I still left a little bit ...
Rust 1, naval jelly 0
Rust 1, muriatic acid 10
From what? The hydrochloric (muriatic) acid? Not a chance.
The glassy smooth surface is just that: glass. Acid - except hydrofloric -
is stored in glass containers (or, nowadays, plastic ones). One could also
use sulphuric (battery) acid. Or nitric. You could even mix up some aqua
regia (hydrochloric + nitric) and be good as gold. Except if the commode
was gold plated.
I now understand, from the diagram, that I could have emptied the
bowl without emptying the tank.
One question about this diagram:
Where is that dark blue path of water in 'my' toilet bowl?
I'd agree with Oren, but it's not all that easy to tell.
Certainly there were spots of smooth glaze afterward, but
there were also areas of roughness.
Since there were areas of smooth glaze, I'd have to assume
the porcelain was not damaged by an hour of 28% pool acid; and,
I'll assume, for now, that the rougher areas were simply coated
with Calcium deposits.
However, I'll take a closer look when I return to the scene of
Here, by the way, is a composite before & after montage:
Quite possible. That's one of the downsides of using bleach. It
doesn't alway "remove" the offending stained medium, it merely whitens
it. I've seen residual slime/mold turned white by bleaching action,
despite the slime/mold still being present.
This is good advice as the experiment was done for the acid,
so there was no brushing yet ... just chemicals ... on purpose ...
so that we could tell which worked best
bleach --> useless for the brown stains
naval jelly --> nearly useless for the brown stains
pool acid --> perfect for the brown stains
Yes. But I noticed "other" toilets in her house which seem to
need "the cootie treatment", so, I told her I'd come back to
finish them off.
Any other ideas for experiments?
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.