The Ultimate Toilet Cleaning Guide

By Big Ted, 16 Jan 2022

It’s simple, right? Just scrub it up and go.

Well, that couldn’t be further from the truth. There are a few hard truths that you have to come to terms with before you can determine whether or not that’s the proper way to clean your toilet.

For starters, the toilet is by far one of the most used seats in any household. In fact, a study by the Water Research Foundation found that the average person has up to five toilet visits a day resulting in five toilet flushes.

Another research indicates that with every open brown flush, a toilet plume; which is the dispersal of waste into the air, is likely to occur. This bacteria shoots up to 10 inches above and could land either on the toilet seat or its surroundings.  

Now do the math with an average family of five.

See where we’re getting at? Other than being an overall embarrassment with its stench, a dirty toilet is a risk to the health of its users.

So there really is no debate on how important it is to ensure that the hygienic condition of your toilet is always top-notch.

That said, here’s a reliable guide to toilet cleaning that will save both your time, energy and health.

Equip yourself with the necessary tools

First things first, gather your supplies and keep them within an arm’s reach.  The last thing you want to do is to stop cleaning mid-way in order to look for equipment.

You will need the following;

  • A pair of waterproof rubber gloves
  • A bristle scrubbing brush
  • Toilet bowl cleaner, bleach and/ or vinegar
  • Disinfecting spray and wipes
  • Paper towels
  • Pumice stone on a stick

A pair of rubber gloves are a must but you can also add protective eyewear such as goggles since you are dealing with harsh chemicals.

Another thing to note is that it would be wise to use separate cleaning equipment for toilet cleaning distinct from other cleaning supplies for the rest of the house. The bacteria from this equipment simply shouldn’t be mixed with other household items.

Clear everything from around the toilet

Before you start with your cleaning, it will do you well to remove anything around the toilet that you wouldn’t want to dirty or stain with either the toilet water or the cleaner you are using.

That goes for the rag or mats and any other item on the tank lid.

Drain the water

The most common mistake when it comes to toilet cleaning is that most people tend to introduce the cleaning agent when the toilet tank still has water within. This then dilutes the cleanser and diminishes its cleaning ability.

You ought to drain the toilet of any liquid by turning off the water valve at the base of the toilet then flushing once. That way, the water won’t refill after your flush.

While at it, ensure that the toilet lid is down as you flash to avoid sprinkling the water into the surroundings.

Introduce the cleaning solution

There’s a wide selection of cleaning solutions that you can choose from. Pick one depending on the level of dirt and get busy.

Your choice of a cleanser is dependent on the type of stain on your toilet bowl. The average toilet cleaner will get rid of any grime while bleach fights off severe stains and vinegar works great for hard water stains. 

Add your choice of cleaning solution to the toilet bowl and allow it to drain from top to bottom. That means from right under the rim, throughout the bowl and finally at the bottom end of the bowl.

At this point you want to allow the cleansing agent to do its work. The more it soaks, the better it interacts with the build-up dirt in the toilet. The chemicals in the cleanser fight off the germs completely ridding them after the scrub.

If you choose a cleanser, apply it generously and give it five to ten minutes for it to fully work.

As the cleansing agent works its way to the base of the toilet, close the lid and take this time to clean the exterior of the toilet.

Clean the exterior of the Toilet

Shift your attention to the exterior of the toilet as its cleanliness is just as important as that of the interior.  

Spray the disinfectant thoroughly around the toilet but if the toilet is extra dirty then a quick wipe with paper towels before spraying should do.

As usual, start off from the top going downwards; the reason being that you do not want to dirty an already cleaned spot. So work your way downwards. 

Spray the disinfectant spray all over the exterior from the easily accessible areas such as; the lid of the toilet and handle to harder-to-reach areas such as the back of the base, the hinges located there as well as where the seat meets the floor. Be sure to also spray the walls behind and beside the toilet seat.

Allow the cleaner to sit for around five minutes then wipe it down with paper towels.

Note that with a disinfectant spray, it is not necessary to use water. So paper towels will do. Work your way from top to bottom and dispose the paper towels right after use rather than laying them in a pile around you. 

Lastly, clean any visible slime off the toilet tank by adding an all-purpose cleaner, allowing it to sit for 10 to 15 minutes and scrub it off with either a toilet brush, scrubby sponge or old toothbrush.

If there’s any cleaner, water or urine spills (common to households with males) on the floor, mop around and move back to the interior.

Clean the toilet seat

Like we’ve highlighted above, the toilet seat is a prime spot for bacteria so you want to ensure that you place emphasis while cleaning this area. After all, it is the primary point of contact of the toilet and people’s bodies.

Pop up the lid and scrub toilet seat. You want to use wipes to do a quick swipe over the surface of the toilet before using a spray or disinfectant.

This will allow the disinfectant to properly neutralize any germs. Wipe off with paper towels and move on to spray the rim of the seat.

Clean the bowl

By now the cleansing agent should be fully soaked. So grab the toilet brush and start scrubbing the solution into the toilet bowl from top going downwards and ending with the opening at the base of the bowl.

Scrub from right under the rim to loosen the grime hidden there and move on to the sides of the bowl and end with the u-bend/ drain hole where stains are usually prevalent in the form of a ring.

If you are using bleach in place of a cleaner, you will need to pour a cup of it onto the toilet bowl and scrub it into the bowl. Allow around five minutes to pass before flushing it away.

With vinegar, use one cup of distilled white vinegar and allow it to sit for an hour or so before you scrub the solution into the bowl and proceed to flush. This will get rid of those distasteful toilet rings.

If dealing with hard-water rings or stains, a wet pumice stone is another great addition. It is just soft enough to not damage the porcelain but tough enough to scrub stains off. The best part? It doesn’t matter what type of stains you are dealing with; a pumice stone will dislodge the deposits and/or discoloration.

At this point, you can turn the toilet’s water back on and flush the toilet to rinse the bowl. Just ensure the lid is down as you do this.

Clean your supplies and put them away

Cleaning the toilet is never really done until you have also cleaned off the cleaning equipment. The last thing you want to do is leave off the dirt-ridden equipment hanging around the toilet. This will negate all you’ve done as bacteria spreads easily and quickly.

Clean the toilet brush by pouring the cleaning solution from its business end towards its base. Allow it to sit for about a minute then rinse with water and allow it to air-dry before putting it back into the canister.

To clean the toilet brush canister, fill it with warm soapy water, scrub it and disperse the contents into the toilet bowl.

Scrub the gloves with soap and water and then prop them up to dry. After they are all dried, store these supplies away from the rest of your cleaning supplies.

Finish off by emptying off any trash that might be in the room and leave the bathroom spotlessly clean.

Maintaining Toilet Cleanliness

Alright, so you’ve done a spectacular job at cleaning the toilet. What next?

Well, you need to ensure this level of cleanliness can be done easily.

Establishing a cleaning routine is one great way to preserve the sanitary state of the bathroom. For instance, wipe the rim of the toilet after every use, clean the toilet bowl every day and most importantly, give the bathroom a proper clean at least once a week.

Bottom line

A dirty toilet will only get dirtier so don’t postpone the cleaning. As repulsing as this job is, cleaning a toilet regularly is a sure way to prevent growth of mold, yeast and germs; many of which constitute a dirty and stinky bathroom.

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