You can scratch your toilet by using a coat hanger or the wrong kind of auger to clear a clog, and you can inflict even deeper scratches by scraping the sides in an effort to remove grout, plaster or something else you definitely shouldn't have tried to flush. A number of gentle abrasive cleaners will remove these scratches with a little work on your part. Among the possibilities are tooth whitening powder, baking soda, an oxalic acid-based cleanser, a pumice stone and even a combination of soldering flux and steel wool.
Porcelain Is Ceramic
Porcelain is a type of ceramic that has been fired at high temperatures to create a vitreous material that is smooth and somewhat fragile. Although it looks and feels glassy, porcelain isn't glass, and because it's composed primarily of clay, it is possible to rub out scratches, which you couldn't do if it were glass. The trick is to rub gently and persistently with a mild abrasive to gradually smooth the surface, much as you would do to a furniture finish. The main thing is to use a fine abrasive that doesn't make the situation worse by adding deep scratches.
Cleaning With an Abrasive Powder
Among the abrasive powders that people have found useful for removing scratches from porcelain, the most effective is a particular product that combines abrasive mineral powder with oxalic acid and a surfactant to make scrubbing more effective. If you don't have any, tooth-whitening powder --or even white toothpaste -- and baking soda are better alternatives than a conventional scouring powder, which might dull the finish.
Wet a nonabrasive rag with clear water.
Pour some abrasive powder onto the rag -- not onto the porcelain. Rubbed the scratched area in a circular motion, rewetting the rag and adding more powder as needed.
Rinse with clear water when the scratches are gone.
Removing Scratches With a Pumice Stone
A pumice stone is a volcanic rock with sharp, glassy edges that can grind and polish hard surfaces, such as porcelain. Pumice stones are filled with tiny pores, and the finer the pores, the better the stone will work on your toilet.
Wet the pumice stone with water to lubricate it. This is critical -- rubbing with a dry pumice stone may simply add to the scratches.
Test the pumice stone first on an inconspicuous part of the toilet, just to be safe.
Rub the scratched area in a circular motion. You'll have to apply some pressure, but don't overdo it. It's better to rub gently for several minutes than it is to attempt to remove the scratches quickly by rubbing aggressively.
Wipe the area down with a damp rag when you're finished rubbing with the stone. Examine it with a flashlight or even a magnifying glass to be sure you've removed all the scratches.
Removing Scratches With Soldering Flux
If you're accustomed to making your own household repairs, you probably have some soldering flux in your tool chest. You can use this to lubricate very fine steel wool and rub out the scratches in your toilet.
Load the end of a wad of 0000 steel wool with soldering flux.
Rub the scratches in a circular motion, adding more flux as needed to keep the steel wool lubricated.
Wipe the area thoroughly with a dry cloth when the scratches are gone.
Chris Deziel is a contractor, builder and general fix-it pro who has been active in the construction trades for 40 years. He has degrees in science and humanities and years of teaching experience. An avid craftsman and musician, Deziel began writing on home improvement topics in 2010. He worked as an expert consultant with eHow Now and Pro Referral -- a Home Depot site. A DIYer by nature, Deziel regularly shares tips and tricks for a better home and garden at Hunker.com.