Inside: You may think you know how to clean a toilet. Just swish the brush in the bowl and you’re done; however, there are a lot of areas equally important as the inside, and many miss. Find out the exact process you need to take to clean your toilet like a pro.
It’s a beautiful sunny Sunday morning. The sun’s shining; the birds are chirping a beautiful melody. My annoying neighbor is running his lawnmower up and down his lawn for the third time this week. I just know in my core today’s going to be a great day.
I call the boys to the table; chat with them about their plans for the day while handing them a nice hot plate of bacon and eggs. Joy fills my soul as my boys’ whole-hardily scoff down their food before heading outside to play basketball with their friends.
Heading back to my room to get dressed, I start to pick up some of the boy’s toys they left in the living room. While making my way to the boy’s room I got distracted by the looks of their bathroom.
It halted me right in my tracks.
My boys had a pee party in the bathroom.
They got more pee on the rim and tank than they did the bowl itself.
It was at that point I wished I never potty trained them.
You may not think cleaning a toilet is a risky job, but you’ll want to protect yourself from being splashed in the eyes by toilet water (with and without chemicals in it).
You’ll also want to protect your hands by using disposable gloves, safety goggles, or a face shield for your eyes and face.
If you decide to use “plastic cleaning gloves”, you’ll want to sanitize them after each use to prevent contaminating any surface they touch.
Best cleaners to clean a toilet
Cleaning agents are subjective to everyone’s likes and finances. There are 3 types of cleaning agents you can use to clean a toilet.
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Commercial toilet bowl cleaner
When using a commercial toilet bowl cleaner, it’s important to follow the directions outlined on the packaging. If it states to only use on the inside of the toilet, then do not use it to clean the seat or the base of the toilet.
The reasoning behind this is, that most toilet cleaners contain harsh chemicals that can cause severe irritation once it makes contact with your skin.
Household bleach is one of the best cleaners I can think of. It is an irritant, so always be careful when using bleach.
To clean a toilet with bleach, you’ll want to use ¼ to ½ cup of bleach when cleaning the inside of the toilet bowl. Do not use straight bleach to clean any other area of the toilet.
Household vinegar is one of the best natural cleaners. If you choose to clean a toilet with vinegar (which ideally should be your last resort), you’ll want to use ¼ to ½ cup of vinegar when cleaning the inside of the toilet.
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Although vinegar is a great cleaner, it needs to sit for a least 10 minutes before it starts to really clean. It more than likely will not get the hardest of stains out, but if that’s all you have, then use it.
Supplies needed to properly clean a toilet
To properly clean a toilet, you’re going to need the following supplies:
- Household bleach
- Disinfecting spray and wipes
- Paper towels
- Disposable gloves
- Protected eyewear
- Toilet bowl cleaner
- Toilet brush (use a real one, not the disposable brushes)
- Kitchen sponge (if you don’t like toilet brushes)
- Old toothbrush
- Pumice stone on a stick
- A toilet bowl cleaning caddy
You’ll want to keep all of your toilet cleaning supplies separate from the rest of your household supplies. It’s best to not keep your toilet cleaning supplies next to your everyday cleaning supplies. You wouldn’t want to clean the dishes with a toilet sponge.
This is how you properly clean a toilet
Believe it or not, there’s a right way and a wrong way to clean a toilet. There’s more to cleaning a toilet than just concentrating on the inside of the bowl and the seat.
There is scientific evidence proving every time we use the bathroom and flush, small particles of feces float into the air, landing on all other surrounding surfaces within close proximity to the toilet. You can learn more about this on our sister site, Food Safety Superhero.
When cleaning a toilet bowl, you’ll always want to start from the top down.
Most people will start by cleaning the inside of the bowl, the base, and the lid; sometimes forgetting to lift the lid up to clean it. Often we forget to clean the screw caps which hold the toilet securely to the ground as well as open the hinge caps to clean the screws.
Step 1: Remove the toilet tank cover
Most people tend to forget about cleaning the inside of the toilet tank. The inside of the toilet tank has a tendency to be covered in rust and limescale. If you have hard water, you’re probably familiar with the gross black caked grunge in the bowl and under the rim. That grunge is helped in part by the rust and limescale in the tank.
Recommended Reading: This is how you unclog a toilet quickly.
To get things started on the right foot, pour 4 cups of white vinegar into the toilet tank. You’ll want to let it soak for an hour before moving on to step 2.
Step 2: Turn off the water valve
Cleaning the toilet bowl is most effective when you remove all the water from the tank and bowl. In order to do this, you’ll want to shut off the water valve that’s located by the base of the toilet. Once this is done, flush the toilet twice, or until there’s no water left in the tank and the bowl.
Once the toilet bowl is completely free of water, you can move on to step 3.
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Step 3: Disinfect the entire toilet unit
Spray the entire exterior of the toilet bowl with your favorite disinfectant cleaner.
Make sure you spray the base and back of the base, the screw covers, and screws that not only hold the toilet seat to the bowl but don’t forget about the ones that hold the entire toilet until to the floor.
You’ll also want to disinfect the plumbing that connects the toilet tank to the wall.
Step 4: Be patient
Let the disinfect spray do its job. After spraying down the entire toilet, let it sit for 5 to 7 minutes.
If you’re cleaning the toilet bowl with vinegar, saturate paper towels and allow them to cling to the sides of the toilet bowl for 10 to 15 minutes.
Step 5: Use your favorite toilet bowl cleaner
Make sure you spray or brush the cleaner under the rim of the bowl. You’ll want to pay special attention to the area under the rim that’s towards the front. This area in particular typically has the largest water spouts and get’s even grungier than the rest of the toilet.
Let the cleaner sit in the toilet for 5 to 7 minutes.
Step 6: Finally, we can get to cleaning the toilet bowl
- Using your toilet brush or sponge, brush along the under area of the rim.
- Using your old toothbrush, get the bristles into the water holes to remove all the extra grunge hiding there.
Step 7: Wipe down
Wipe down the tank cover with a clean paper towel. Using a disposable disinfectant wipe, wipe down the flusher handle.
Begin wiping down the entire toilet from the tank cover to the base of the toilet. Don’t forget about the back and the plumbing.
Peachy tip: Don’t pile up your used paper towels. Keep a plastic bag close by and throw them out after you clean each area of the toilet.
Step 8: Turn the water valve back on.
Once the tank has filled up with water, you’ll want to go ahead and flush the toilet.
Step 9: Getting rid of the toughest toilet stains
If your toilet still has hard-to-remove stains, you’ll want to scrub them out with a pumice stone. Make sure the pumice stone is wet before doing so. If you don’t have a pumice stone, you can get them online. They were not very expensive.
Step 10: Disinfect the toilet brush
When you’re done take the toilet brush and sandwich it between the top of the rim and the toilet seat. You’ll want to make sure the brush end is directly over the bowl.
Pour some bleach over the bristles of the brush and let it sit for 5 minutes.
Don’t submerge the brush back into the bowl to rinse it off. Instead, pour some tap water over the brush to rinse off the rest of the bleach.
Wash out the brush canister (brush holder) with warm soapy water or disinfectant spray before putting the toilet brush back in its holder.
Step 11: Throw out your gloves
If you were wearing disposable gloves, remove them by pulling them down from the wrist area, then throw them out.
If you were wearing plastic cleaning gloves, you’ll want to use a clean paper towel to turn on the bathroom sink. While you’re still wearing the gloves, wash your gloved hands with warm soapy water. If you only have bar soap, avoid this part, and just spray down your gloves with disinfectant spray before removing them.
Step 12: The final step
Wipe down the flusher handle again. There’s a good chance you may have touched it with your gloved hand.
This entire process shouldn’t take you any longer than 30 minutes. Once you get the hang of it, it will become a breeze. When you deep clean your toilet, in the long run, you’re actually saving time, because the next time you clean your toilet, it won’t be as grungy; even if you have horribly hard water.
Congratulations, you now cleaned a toilet like a pro.
What’s the one part of cleaning the toilet you typically forget to clean?
Before I learned the correct way to clean a toilet, I always forgot to clean the flusher handle. How do you clean your toilet? Share in a comment.