A Handy Step-by-Step Guide on How to Clean a Toilet


Maria DeSouza

| Published September 20, 2023

A spotless and hygienic toilet is necessary for maintaining a healthful living environment.

Neglecting the cleanliness of this vital fixture not only leads to unpleasant odors and unsightly stains but also poses serious health risks.

However, regular cleaning can effectively combat these issues and ensure a fresh and sanitary toilet.

In this guide, we will explore four easy yet effective steps on how to clean a toilet accurately, allowing you to create a hygienic oasis in your bathroom and promote the well-being of yourself and your loved ones.

Overview of Cleaning a Toilet

From gathering the cleaning supplies to tackling stains, this detailed guide on cleaning a toilet will walk you through each stage, equipping you with the details needed to get your porcelain throne sparkling clean.

Importance of Regular Cleaning

Firstly, a hygienic toilet assures a clean environment and helps stop the spread of harmful bacteria, viruses, germs, and other microorganisms. Regular cleaning also eliminates unpleasant odors that can linger in the bathroom.

Regular cleaning prevents hard water buildup and the unsightly marks it creates, ensuring your toilet maintains its pristine appearance.

GOOD TO KNOW: A toilet flush may cause E. coli bacteria to scatter into the air in your bathroom for up to six hours.

Basic Toilet Anatomy

A typical toilet has several key components facilitating proper flushing and waste disposal.

  • The toilet bowl is the primary part of the toilet that holds water and waste.
  • Toilet seats are hinged seats that provide a comfortable and sanitary place to sit.
  • The flush tank, also known as the cistern, is at the rear of the toilet bowl.
  • The water valve is at the bottom of the toilet tank.
  • The tramway is a curved pipe at the toilet bowl’s base.

How to Clean a Toilet: A Step-by-Step Guide

In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through each stage of how to clean a toilet, equipping you with usable tips, an effective cleaning solution, and time-saving methods.

General Checklist of Cleaning Materials

Here’s a comprehensive bathroom cleaning checklist of tools you need to prepare:

  • Natural Rubber gloves
  • Toilet brush or an old toothbrush
  • Toilet cleaner
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Microfiber cloth or paper towels
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda and bleach
  • Toilet deodorizer or air freshener
  • Bucket or spray bottle

Preparing for Cleaning

First, collect all the cleaning materials mentioned in the checklist above. Open a window or turn on the fan before performing this particularly crappy chore.

Next, quickly flush the toilet to moisten the exterior of the toilet and remove any loose debris. Clear any items or objects from the toilet tank, lid, or surrounding areas.

Lastly, familiarize yourself with any precautions, recommended usage amounts, and contact times your cleaning agents may offer for optimal results.

The Cleaning Process

The toilet cleaning process involves several steps to ensure a thorough and hygienic result. Here are directions to help you effectively deep clean your toilets:

  1. Use the toilet cleaner: Begin by squirting or pouring the toilet cleaner into the dirty toilet. Ensure that the cleaner coats the inside of the bowl and the tank, including under the rim and along the sides.
a pair of gloved hands dispensing toilet cleaner into a toilet bowl, while the other hand holds a cleaning brush
  1. Scrub the toilet bowl: Take the toilet brush and physically scrub the entire exterior.
  2. Properly clean the toilet seat and lid: Apply an all-purpose cleaner or a mild soap and water solution to a cloth or sponge. Wipe down and brush the entire toilet seat, tank, and lid surface, including the top, bottom, and hinges. Rinse the cloth or sponge frequently and continue wiping until the toilet seat lid and tank are clean.
  3. Clean the exterior of the toilet: Wipe down and brush the exterior surfaces of the dirty toilet, including the tank, flushing handle, base, and any other accessible areas. Rinse the cloth or sponge as needed and thoroughly wipe all surfaces.
  4. Address the flush tank: Spray and brush the cleaning solution into the tank and allow it to sit for a few minutes.
  5. Finish with a final wipe: Take a disinfectant wipe or paper towels and dampen it with water. (Do not discard paper towels or disinfectant wipes in the toilet.)
  6. Add finishing touches: As a final step, spray sodium bicarbonate into the toilet bowl toward the toilet water and scrub it lightly with the toilet brush. You can even use a toilet deodorizer or air freshener to leave a pleasant scent in the restroom.

After-Cleaning Care

After cleaning the toilet, give it a final rinse and flush the toilet afterward. This will help remove any remaining cleaning product residue and ensure the toilet is fresh and ready.

Use a sterile cloth or paper towels to dry the surfaces, including the entire bowl, toilet seat, tank, lid, and exterior of the toilet.

Drying the toilet with a paper towel will help prevent mineral buildup and keep it looking clean and polished.

Tips for Effective Toilet Cleaning

While following a step-by-step guide is important, incorporating additional tips and techniques can further enhance the efficiency and thoroughness of your cleaning routine.

Choosing the Right Cleaning Agents

Choosing the right cleaning agent is crucial to clean a toilet effectively.

  • Look for a toilet bowl cleaner formulated to remove dirt, kill bacteria, and disinfect the toilet tank and bowl.
  • Look for an all-purpose cleaner for various surfaces that effectively cuts through grease, grime, and dirt.
  • Vinegar is a versatile, eco-friendly option. Sodium bicarbonate is another natural cleaning agent that can help eliminate smells and act as a mild abrasive for cleaning away dirt.
  • Look for a disinfecting spray or disinfecting wipes that is a bathroom-specific disinfectant.

Techniques for Removing Stubborn Stains

Here are some tips for removing dirt when you clean a toilet:

  • Pre-soaking helps loosen and break down the stain.
  • Use a toilet brush with firm bristles to brush the stained area.
  • Moisten the pumice stone and gently scrub the stained area with light pressure.
  • You can create a paste using sodium bicarbonate and water to remove stains.
  • You can consider using chemical cleaners specifically formulated for tough stains.

Maintaining Hygiene During Cleaning

Here are some fundamental tips for maintaining the bathroom’s overall cleanliness:

  • Before and after washing toilets, clean your hands with soap and hot water.
  • To prevent the spread of bacteria, use separate cleaning supplies for different toilet areas. Don’t forget to use a disinfectant spray.
  • After each use, sanitize your cleaning instruments by washing them thoroughly and allowing them to air dry completely.
  • Start with the highest surfaces when cleaning toilets and work your way down.

Dealing with Common Toilet Cleaning Problems

From stains and mineral deposits from the toilet water to unpleasant odors and clogs, these issues can be quite frustrating.

However, you can overcome these challenges effectively with the right knowledge and strategies.

Method for Cleaning a Badly Stained Toilet

Here’s a method for cleaning a toilet that’s badly stained:

  1. Collect the following cleaning materials: rubber gloves, toilet brush, bathroom cleaner (preferably one formulated for tough stains), vinegar, sodium bicarbonate, bleach, and a pumice stone (optional).
  2. Pour a generous amount of the toilet cleaner directly onto the stains.
  3. Put on rubber gloves and use a toilet brush with firm bristles to vigorously scrub the stained areas.
  4. If the stains persist, create a paste by mixing one cup of vinegar and sodium bicarbonate, bleach, or a pumice stone.

Removing Hard Water Stains

Here are some methods for removing stains from your toilet:

  • Pour a combination of white vinegar or sodium bicarbonate and water into the toilet bowl.
  • Spray the citric acid powder or squeeze lemon juice onto the stained areas and let the cleaner sit for a few hours.
  • Follow the instructions on the commercial limescale removers carefully.

Combating Mildew and Mold

Here are some points to consider when dealing with mildew and mold:

  1. Mildew appears as gray or white patches, while the mold is usually black or green. Identifying the type of growth is crucial for selecting the appropriate cleaning method.
  2. Before cleaning, ensure proper ventilation in the bathroom by opening windows or using fans.
  3. Various cleaning products effectively combat mildew and mold. Common options include bleach, hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, sodium bicarbonate, commercial mold, and mildew removers.
  4. Remove any visible mildew or mold using a toilet brush, sponge, or cloth. Dip the tool in your chosen cleaning solution and thoroughly scrub the affected areas.

The Role of Professional Cleaning Services

Professional cleaning services play a vital role in today’s fast-paced world, offering a range of benefits and convenience to individuals and businesses alike.

With their expertise, specialized equipment, and industry knowledge, professional cleaners can transform the cleanliness and hygiene of any space.

When to Seek Professional Help

Cleaning large spaces can be challenging due to their size and specific requirements. Hiring a cleaning expert can save valuable time and energy that can be directed toward other priorities.

Professional bathroom cleaning services in Boston excel in deep cleaning beyond regular maintenance.

Deep cleaning involves thoroughly cleaning hard-to-reach areas and tackling accumulated dirt, grime, and stains. If you don’t have the time, knowledge, or cleaning tools to deep clean your home, it would be best to call in the experts.

Cost of Professional Cleaning Services

The national average price per cleaner for one task is between $40 and $50 per hour. The house size, the kind of cleaning, and your location determine the overall cost.

A three-bedroom, 2,000-square-foot home normally costs between $160 and $200 to clean, but a one-bedroom apartment generally costs $80-$110. The average cost of cleaning a house is $180.

Frequently Asked Questions

We provide expert answers and practical solutions to help you clean your toilet effectively and maintain a clean and sanitized bathroom environment. Keep going to uncover additional information!

What Are the Best Cleaning Agents for a Toilet?

Some of the best toilet cleaning agents include bleach, toilet bowl cleaner, vinegar, sodium bicarbonate, hydrogen peroxide, and commercial cleaners. It is advised to explore these top-rated bathroom cleaners.

How Often Should I Clean My Toilet?

Understanding how often to clean a toilet relies on several factors, including the number of dwellers in the household, personal hygiene habits, and usage level.

However, cleaning your toilet at least once a week is suggested as a general guideline.

Can Baking Soda and Vinegar Remove Hard Water Stains in the Toilet?

Sodium bicarbonate and vinegar can effectively remove some hard water stains in the toilet, but their effectiveness may vary depending on the severity and age of the dirt.

While baking soda and vinegar can be helpful for mild to moderate hard water stains, it’s important to note that severe or stubborn stains may require more potent cleaning agents or professional assistance.

Why Does My Toilet Get Dirty So Quickly?

Here are some potential explanations:

The more often a toilet is used, the quicker it can accumulate dirt and bacteria.
Inadequate flushing can lead to leftover residue and dirt in the toilet bowl.
If your area has hard water containing high mineral content, it can lead to mineral deposits and dirt in the toilet bowl.
It may not thoroughly remove dirt if you’re not using the right tools, cleaning products, or techniques.
Poor ventilation in the bathroom can contribute to mineral buildup.

How Do I Keep My Toilet Bowl Stain-Free?

Some tips to help you maintain a stain-free toilet bowl are the following:

Establish a frequent cleaning routine for your toilet bowl.
Choose appropriate cleaning products for your toilet bowl.
When you brush the toilet bowl, use a toilet brush to scrub all surfaces, including the tank, under, inner sides, bottom and top rim of the toilet.
Flush the bowl properly after each use to prevent debris, waste, and dirt from lingering in the bowl.
Consider using in-tank or in-bowl fresheners that release cleaning agents every time you flush the toilet.


In conclusion, maintaining a clean toilet is critical for a hygienic and satisfying bathroom environment.

You can effectively remove dirt and bacteria by following the four steps to clean the toilet: preparing the necessary cleaning supplies, applying cleaning agents, scrubbing thoroughly, and rinsing.

Remember to practice preventive measures, such as regular cleaning, proper flushing, and adequate ventilation, to keep your tank and bowl stain-free and fresh.

Time to roll up our sleeves and get things done! Implement these practices in your regular toilet cleaning and enjoy a clean and inviting bathroom that promotes comfort and well-being for you and your household.

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