How Do I Clean this Old (Sorta) Scary Toilet?

How Do I Clean this Old (Sorta) Scary Toilet?

Tess Wilson
Mar 2, 2016

Q: I recently moved into a new (to me) place in Brooklyn. It's great, but it definitely needed a deep cleaning before I could unpack. Everything is in pretty good shape now, but there's still one serious offense I'm having trouble with. The toilet in my bathroom has some major issues. There's some sort of nasty hard scale in the bottom of the bowl [photos below—don't worry, they're not horrifying]...

At first I tried the normal toilet cleaner and scrub brush. Then I donned some long plastic gloves and a deep scrubbing sponge. Today I got out the steel brush, nothing worked! Whatever this is, it is hard! I can't even scrape it off! Has anyone encountered this before? What is it and how do I get rid of it? I'm embarrassed to have people over, lest they think I don't clean the toilet. Please help! I am desperate to get rid of this nastiness! -Sent by Sam

Editor: I do NOT relish opening up email attachment images of toilets, but I should have known from Sam's letter that this one would be spic-and-span. Readers, what do you think is going on—rust? eroded enamel?—and how can Sam best deal with it?

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