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Learn how to clean a toilet effectively and the rest of your bathroom cleaning will be a breeze.

How Often Should You Clean Your Toilet

Well, as soon as it’s dirty, silly. Which means rather often if you think about it. I live in a family of five and we have one toilet – that’s a lot of use, so I clean it every day. Takes me less than three minutes of labor (I timed it). Toilet cleaning is just like most house cleaning, if you do it often and regularly, it is less work overall. If you wait, stains will build up and you’re going to waste your life scrubbing.

Toilet Cleaners

how to clean a toilet

What a world we live in! There are hundreds of different products just for us to clean our toilets with. How to clean a toilet with so many choices?

A toilet cleaner might disinfect, dissolve grime, and in many cases help prevent hard water stains. However, if you clean your toilet regularly, you’re not going to have much grime or many stains to deal with. Your principal concern is going to be disinfecting, so you should probably use a product that limits itself to this function. Find more useful cleaning with bleach.

To make your own bathroom sanitizer, you can fill an opaque spray bottle with one part 3% hydrogen peroxide and one part water. This solution easily wipes away when you are done cleaning. Hydrogen peroxide is one way to disinfect that is very easy on your health and the environment.

In the toilet bowl, I alternate between using hydrogen peroxide and a mix of baking soda and vinegar which helps prevent hard water stains (a problem where we live). So one day the bowl gets sanitizing hydrogen peroxide and the next the stain-fighting vinegar and baking soda.

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I encourage you to use the simplest products you can in all your cleaning efforts. Limiting your family’s exposure to industrial chemicals is certainly a wise action. Whatever product you use, follow the directions carefully. And never mix products. Ever!

How to Clean a Toilet

This toilet cleaning method is meant for toilets that are regularly cleaned. If you are just learning how to clean a toilet or starting from scratch with a really filthy toilet, you should scrub the whole toilet thoroughly with a soap-based cleaner and water (please wear gloves), before following this sanitizing procedure. If you follow this sanitizing procedure regularly, you’ll never have to do a big clean on the toilet again.


  • Gloves – While you’re at it, why not equip yourself with a pair of these gorgeous Gloveable Gloves. (Fun is where you look for it.)
  • Cleaner(s) of your choice
  • Toilet brush or bowl swab
  • Cleaning cloths. (Tip: color code your cleaning clothes and reserve one color for toilet cleaning. Wash your toilet cleaning cloths in hot water after every use.)


Step 1: Open the windows. This gives any fumes a place to go and you should air every room in your house once a day anyway.

Step 2: (Optional – not necessary every time). Remove some of the water from the toilet bowl. This is to get the water line below where it normally is so you can effectively clean this area. To remove the water you can push your toilet brush or swab several times into the outlet or alternatively shut off the water and flush the toilet.

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Step 3: Spray a disinfectant cleaner on all parts of the outside of the toilet including the pedestal, on the floor around the toilet, on the lid and seat (both sides), and inside the bowl. Additionally, you may want to add some disinfectant to the water itself.

Step 4: Take a 10-minute break. This gives the disinfectant time to do its work.

Step 5: With your gloves on, rinse a freshly laundered cleaning cloth with hot water and wring it out. Wipe down the toilet with your cloth: begin with the toilet handle, then do the top, front, and sides of the tank, the seat, and lid (both sides), the sides of the toilet (get everywhere on the pedestal, even the back side), and end with the floor – wiping everywhere around the toilet.

Step 6: Using your toilet brush (good if you have hard water problems) or swab (fine if you have soft water), thoroughly wash down the inside of the toilet, concentrating on the area underneath the rim and the water line (where stains are likely to build up).

Step 7: Turn the water back on if you need to and flush the toilet, rinsing out the brush or swab as you do so.

Step 8: Let the toilet air dry or if someone is in a hurry, use a paper towel to dry it.

Step 9: Teach everyone in your household how to clean a toilet!

Getting Hard Water Stains Off A Toilet

When we first moved into our current apartment, one of the many cleaning challenges that faced was a terribly stained toilet bowl (the lid and seat I just been removed and replaced). Even if I knew those were just hard water stains, it was nonetheless disgusting.

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I wish I had known about how to clean a toilet with the power of a pumice stone on hard water stains, for I scrubbed and scrubbed with a scouring pad and used every product imaginable, but the stains remained. I ended up using a screwdriver to scrape the toilet clean. It took me a whole afternoon.

If you have a hard water-stained toilet, don’t bother with scouring pads, cleaners, or a screwdriver. Get a Pumice stick and your job will soon be done. This tool makes very quick work of hard water stains – more time for you to play!

And For The True Neat Freaks

Now that you know how to clean a toilet, who knows? I keep a package of cleaning wipes in the bathroom and give things a “swish” every time I use the toilet. Takes me 10 seconds. Flushable Bathroom Wipes How to Clean a Toilet are a great product if you’re into the little touches like me. They are biodegradable and smell great. Highly recommended for touch-up cleaning!


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Mary Ann

I'm a mom of 3 and spend a good chunk of my time cleaning and organizing our crazy home. My goal is to help people keep their homes tidy in a way that saves them time and money! I hope the resources on this site are a help to you and your family.

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