Using muriatic acid to clean mineral buildup off of toilet bowl

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by brenda_md, Aug 2, 2016.

  1. brenda_md

    brenda_md New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2016
    Location:
    Maryland
    We have well water that is hard and have both a water softener and acid neutralize installed to help keep the blue water stains from the copper pipes building up as well as other minerals. However, I still get mineral build up at the water line in the toilet bowls, regardless of regular cleaning (these are 30 year old, American Standard toilets). I will periodically use a pumice stone to remove the ring, but don't like to do this often because of possibly scarring the toilet surface. Additionally, I don't think it ever fully gets all of the buildup off so that it is easier for future buildups to start. I read an article that said muriatic acid could be used; being a liquid sloshed around the toilet, I think it would do a better job of removing the mineral buildup. My question is would this hurt the PVC pipes as it is flushed from the toilet. Here are the instructions I found:

    "I always start the cleaning project by using the standard toilet bowl cleaners to sanitize the bowl. Once this is complete, I rapidly pour 5 gallons of water into the bowl to simulate a flush. This leaves a small amount of water in the bottom of the bowl. Then I slowly pour about 12 ounces of muriatic acid into the bowl.

    Be sure you have the bathroom well ventilated, preferably with a window open to exhaust the acid fumes. Wear tight-fitting goggles, rubber gloves, old clothes with long sleeves, etc. so that you have virtually no skin exposed. Carefully use a toilet brush to spread the acid solution under the rim of the bowl. Do this multiple times over a period of 30 minutes.

    Let the acid solution work for up to an hour or two. If you have to leave the room always put the toilet lid down to prevent animals from getting into the acid solution. If children are in the house, never leave the toilet alone. Work until the job is finished."
     
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    I would worry less about the PVC pipe than the bacteria doing the work in the septic tank.
    http://www.vinidex.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Chemical-Performance-of-PVC.pdf
    If you were on sewer, you could empty the muriatic with a lot of water, and the PVC would be fine.

    Try Super Iron Out to see if that makes a dent on your toilet. If you have any orange, it should.

    I tried muriatic acid. Very acrid fumes. I then tried to neutralize the acid with baking soda -- a big bag sold for adjusting the pH of pools. Foamed up, so if you try that slow does it. I also tried painting the muriatic on with a Q-tip. Not as effective as I hoped. This was because I was wanting to not use the pumice on a new toilet with Sanagloss (CeFiONtect). Ended up using the pumice, and I could not identify any damage. That was a one-time thing for me.

    Katalox Light says it acts on copper among other things. http://watchwater.com/katalox_light/katalox_light.php It may be that your softener should get some attention. Get a Hach 5-B test kit to make sure you have less than one grain of hardness in the water, even when the softener is almost due for a regen. If there is residual hardness, a setting on your softener might handle that. Do you have

    Another thing to consider, and this will sound extreme, you could replace the bowl of the toilet periodically, maybe every couple years.
     
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  4. Smooky

    Smooky In the Trades

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    Apr 4, 2011
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I am interested in why you have a softener and an acid neutralizer? My recommendation would be to take a water sample of the raw well water to determine what parameters you are dealing with and install a properly sized and designed system that will correct your water problems.
     
  5. brenda_md

    brenda_md New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2016
    Location:
    Maryland

    I did give thought to the impact on the septic. But a one time use I figured would not be that detrimental and it would rarely be used. That was an interesting link to the pdf on the PVC pipe. Thanks. I will give the Iron Out a try and look into the Hach 5-B test kit..
     
  6. brenda_md

    brenda_md New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2016
    Location:
    Maryland
    We have both systems because of the water issues we were experiencing. I can't remember which one we put in first as it was 30 years since we built our house, but we were having the discoloration from the water's effect on the copper piping. We were also having buildup of minerals due to the water's hardness. Our systems have certainly been changed out since the first ones were put in. However, I sometimes wonder if the softener doesn't help to add to mineral build up. It may very well be a good idea to have the water rechecked. The one thing I know is that if the float in the tank requires replacement and the water line in the toilet does not hit the same exact spot as before the replacement, a new buildup will start at the new water level.
     
  7. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Note the level in the bowl after a flush. (mark with tape?) Slowly add an extra pint or so of water (an extra gallon should give the same result). Wait a couple of minutes. If the water in the bowl is higher than it was after a flush, you need more refill water. Some fill valves have adjustable refill rate. For others it is a fixed refill rate.
     
  8. lanachurner

    lanachurner Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2016
    Location:
    Minnesota
    We get quite a bit of mineral deposits here and the usual buildup in the toilet bowls. In the half bath i installed a very cool old pink toilet and sink so Like you, I hated to remove the deposits by mechanical means -pumice stone, etc.
    In the last 9 years I have done the muriatic acid treatment 3 or 4 times.
    It does an amazing job with no effort at all. I also take the water pump from my tile saw and drop it in the bowl and run the hose to the overflow tube in the tank.
    Let it pump for a couple of hours to remove the lime in all the small holes around the rim. We are on city water/sewer so no concerns about a septic system. Just flush a couple of times. If you are concerned about your pipes buy a fitting that is the same type of plastic and let it soak in a container of full strength acid. But I'm willing to bet you could soak it in there for weeks and it would have no effect on the plastic fitting at all.
     
  9. brenda_md

    brenda_md New Member

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    Aug 2, 2016
    Location:
    Maryland
    Thanks, I will do this in mind the next time this problem occurs.
     
  10. brenda_md

    brenda_md New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2016
    Location:
    Maryland
    What a creative way to clean out the small holes; did it affect the rubber and plastics in the tank?
     
  11. flapper

    flapper Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2016
    Location:
    California
    Toilet bowl cleaner contains muriatic acid and should do exactly the same thing.

    Toilet bowl cleaner instructions say to not put the lid down.
     
  12. brenda_md

    brenda_md New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2016
    Location:
    Maryland
    Putting the lid down was part of the instructions I quoted. However, if I am using any toilet bowl cleaner that will be left in the bowl, the lid goes down until it is flushed so the pets do not drink the water. Some toilet bowl cleaners contain citric acid. One brand I have does contain hydochloric acid (another name for muriatic acid), but it has not been effective enough, probably because it is not at full strength.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2016
  13. lanachurner

    lanachurner Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2016
    Location:
    Minnesota

    No, it did not affect any of the rubber or plastic. If you think about it, pumping the acid solution from the bowl to the overflow tube pretty much bypasses anything in the tank - except for the rubber donut between the tank and bowl and the tube itself. But those are cheap enough to gamble on should the acid damage them. But no damage occured to the toilet (or the pump) in the times I cleaned the toilet.
     
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