How to Clean Your Toilet

by Julia Woodbury
(last updated June 3, 2019)

Oh yay! Our favorite household item to clean! The bad news is there's more to clean than you think. The good news is if you clean the toilet right, the easier it will be to clean later.

The first words of advice: Go beyond the bowl! It is true that the toilet bowl seems to get the dirtiest, but that doesn't mean that you should neglect the rest of the toilet where the dirt and germs can be just as heavy. Here are some pointers to help you clean your whole toilet keep it that way.

Before cleaning prepare yourself with gloves, rags or paper towels, surface cleaner, a long handled toilet scrub brush, a small hand mirror, an old toothbrush, and cleaning powder. If your toilet has bad stains or mineral build-up you will also want to get a pumice stone and vinegar. When you go in to clean, be sure to turn on the bathroom fan and leave the door open so that you have proper ventilation.

Begin on the bowl. Pour some of the cleaning powder into the water and agitate it with the toilet brush. Scrub the sides of the bowl and under the rim with the brush and then, leaving the brush in the bowl, close the lid and flush. This will clean the brush as well as rinse the bowl. Add more cleaning powder, agitate it and scrub, and then close the bowl and let it sit while you work on the rest of the toilet.

Beginning from the top, spray and wipe the outside of the toilet with the surface cleaner. This includes the tank, the flusher, the toilet lid and both sides of the seat, the outside of the bowl, and the base. If you can, use a cleaner that can disinfect as well as clean and deodorize.

While you are cleaning pay special attention to the flusher, the bolts connecting the seat to the toilet, and the bolts connecting the toilet to the floor. If there are caps over these bolts, lift them up and clean under and around them with the toothbrush. You may want to use the cleaning powder for this if there is a lot of grime. You will also want to pay attention to the crack between the toilet and the floor which is often neglected. If you're feeling especially zealous you can even attack this part with a toothpick. Once you've cleaned the toilet exterior, clean the floor around the toilet as well.

Now that you've let the toilet bowl soak for a while scrub it again, paying special attention again to the lip under the rim. Use the mirror to check under the lip and make sure that you've cleaned it completely. Flush the toilet a few times until the water is clear. If there is mineral build-up or stains that the cleanser can't take care of, pour a few cups of vinegar into the bowl and let it sit over night. This will loosen mineral deposits and eat away at stains. In the morning scrub the mineral deposits with a wet pumice stone until they are gone.

Once you have deep-cleaned your toilet you should work to maintain it by giving it a light cleaning once a week. Usually a little cleanser, a quick scrub, and a disinfectant wipe down will be enough.

Something that has not yet been mentioned is the tank. Don't worry, its not as scary as you think. Often some of the deposits and stains that show up in your toilet bowl have their source in the tank, which hardly ever gets cleaned. Once in a while pry that cover off and face your fear of what might be lurking in the toilet tank. Usually it's just the run-of-the-mill flusher, drain, plug, and other gadgets that make all that fascinating noise whenever you flush. Taking time to scrub the inside of the tank will improve the cleanliness of your whole toilet, keeping it cleaner longer.

Author Bio

Julia Woodbury

Julia Woodbury is a recent graduate of Brigham Young University. She delights in the written word and has interests in magazine writing and editing. ...


Washing Colors

It happens to all of us. One sneaky red sock gets into the light colors, and before you know it, your whole laundry load ...

Discover More

Cleaning Your Couch Cushions

Best-case scenario: your couch cushions are just a little dingy from use. Worst case scenario: kids or pets leaving their ...

Discover More

Washing Your Dog

Washing your dog is a chore that, if done right, can actually be pretty fun for you and your dog. Here are a couple of ...

Discover More

Tough Cleaning Jobs Require Brawny! Brawny paper towels provide the versatility you need: the strength for demanding jobs and the softness to clean up your child's messy face. This 24-roll pack of pick-a-size sheets can handle just about every cleaning task in your home. Check out Brawny 24-Pack Giant Paper Towels today!

More Cleaning Tips

Dealing with Porcelain Water Rings

Porcelain, while beautiful, often is a little difficult to keep clean. Many times porcelain sinks have a habit of ...

Discover More

Removing Stubborn Bathroom Stains

No matter how hard we try to prevent it, bathrooms have a habit of collecting stubborn stains. Removing stubborn bathroom ...

Discover More

Cleaning Spilled Hair Products

When you have unruly or messy hair, then hair products are exactly what you need to help get everything under control ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in Cleaning Tips from Tips.Net. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is nine minus 1?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)

Newest Tips

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in Cleaning Tips from Tips.Net. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.