By: Elizabeth Tran

November 3, 2021

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How to Clean Your Toilet (in 5 Easy Steps)

Cleaning the toilet isn’t (usually) anybody’s favorite household chore.

It’s awkward to do — your bent over, scrubbing away, head close to toilet water. And sometimes it seems like no matter what you do — no matter what stain remover you use — there are stains and grime you can’t get rid of.

The good news is that cleaning your toilet doesn’t have to be. . such a chore.

In today’s post, we show you how to clean your toilet in 5 steps, including what you’ll need to get the job done and a routine you can follow to keep your toilet clean.

Step 1: Gear Up

When it comes to cleaning your toilet, there are a variety of products you can pick from the store, or even mix up solutions of your own. Any will get the job done as long as you apply it correctly. As for your supplies, you do not want to be searching for all your tools mid-clean so keep them at arm’s reach conveniently in a bucket.

You’ll need:

  1. Paper towels
  2. A toilet brush
  3. A small toothbrush
  4. Toilet cleaning solution
  5. Disinfectant Spray
  6. Bucket


  • Toilet pumice stone
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda

Step 2: Pre-Wipe the Area You’re Going to Clean

Many people misuse their cleaning supplies by just spraying on the solution and wiping it down. The key to getting the most out of your products with that 99% bacteria-killing promise is to pre-wipe the area of any debris.

Be sure to wipe the surfaces with a wet wipe and scrub any hard gunk that is stuck to the toilet’s exteriors and surrounding area. You can use the toothbrush to get into the hard-to-reach areas and then folding your paper towel into those areas to wipe that gunk away.

Step 3: Clean the Exterior

Each flush launches particles in the air, which then settle on nearby surfaces. That makes the area surrounding the toilet a major ground for bacteria and microorganisms. When cleaning these surfaces, be sure to spray behind and below your toilet as well.

After pre-wiping, spray all the surfaces of your toilet with a disinfectant spray. To completely disinfect the surfaces, let it sit for 10 minutes, or as much as the product suggests before you begin wiping it down.

Step 4: Clean the Bowl

Cleaning the bowl is a little trickier than just spraying. A lot of the cleaners used in the bowl are extra harsh because they can become diluted by the water. This means the best way to clean and sanitize this area is to first drain the water in the bowl. You can do this by filling a bucket with water and pouring it into the toilet to trigger the flushing action, or if you know where the water valve for your toilet is, you can turn it off and flush once, and you’re ready to start.

Start cleaning the bowl by applying the product to the underside of the rim and letting it coat the bowl. Let the product sit for at least 10 minutes before you proceed with scrubbing the toilet with a brush.

When scrubbing the bowl, the best way to prevent splatter and get the best clean is to keep the entire brush in the bowl while scrubbing and clean from top to bottom. This means starting from the rim, and getting the underside, and work your way down.

Once you’re finished scrubbing, you are ready to flush to remove all the debris and product.

How to Handle Odors and Hard-to-Clean Stains

If you’re still finding tough stains or any lingering odors you may want to take a couple of extra steps to get that cleaned.

Start by soaking the area with vinegar before scrubbing to soften the stain so you use less pressure that may cause damages to the surface.

Then use toilet pumice stone toilet which can help you scrub the hardest stains in the toilet bowl, but make sure to wet the pumice stone before use and to use this only in the hard porcelain bowl. The pumice stone will damage softer surfaces like the seat that are usually made from plastic.

If you do have stains on the plastic seat you can try a gentler method like a baking soda paste along with some elbow grease to target these areas.

For any lingering odors, we recommend using a solution of vinegar as a natural approach to attack the odor. Simply add a liberal amount of vinegar to the bowl and scrub the area inside the bowl. Let the solution sit for 5-10 minutes and flush it away.

Step 5: One Final Wipe

After all the toilet and tiniest areas have been scrubbed and cleaned, you’re finally done with one more cleaning wipe down to clean that seat.

While you may be tempted to use sponges or a wet cloth all of that is unnecessary. A paper towel will be just fine for the job. Spray on the last spray of disinfectant on the seat and wipe it down from top to bottom. Make sure to wipe all the solution off as sprays have chemicals that can break down the luster of toilet surfaces.

How to Store Your Supplies

After cleaning everything your supplies can become covered in bacteria that can multiply when stored away. In order to prevent bacteria and mold build up, make sure to sanitize and dry all your supplies before storing them away.

For all of your brushes, you can easily sanitize them with this pro-tip. Prop the toilet brush under the toilet seat and pour a cleaning solution of choice or bleach over the brush. Rinse the brush with water and then air dry it in that position before storing it away.

Next Steps: Keep Your Toilet Clean with this Routine

Cleaning your toilet should only take about 30 minutes and should be repeated to keep the area sanitized and clean. We recommend that your toilet is cleaned bi-weekly to keep the area free of bacteria and build-up, but should be repeated more often if someone is sick as more bacteria can grow in the area.

Having a routine that not only cleans but also disinfects is key to practicing healthy hygiene. Cleaning your toilet is a daunting task, but it can be done. Just follow this guide to clean your commode like a pro.

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