Although cleaning the toilet is one of the less pleasant chores we have to do, it’s essential for keeping your bathroom hygienic.
However, it can be disheartening when you put your time and energy into cleaning, only for your toilet to be still as stained as it was before you started.
Fortunately, the proper cleaning techniques and products can help your toilet go from an unsightly horror to the pristine toilet we all wish to have in our homes.
Keep reading to learn how to clean a toilet effectively and remove those pesky stains using everyday household products.
How to Clean a Toilet in Six Steps
Although it may seem like there is no right or wrong way to clean a toilet, specific techniques should be used to ensure that any lingering viruses and bacteria are properly eliminated.
By following these six steps, your toilet will be germ-free and gleaming in no time!
Step 1: Clear the area
Before you begin properly cleaning your toilet, it’s important that you remove everything from the area that doesn’t need cleaning.
This includes anything on or around your toilet, including toilet rolls, towels, and beauty supplies.
When cleaning a toilet, there is always the chance that splashes of water or cleaner will cover the surrounding area.
Moving these items out of the way saves you from any excess clean-up later on and potentially unhygienic toilet water splashing on your bathroom products.
Step 2: Disinfect the toilet bowl
The first part of the toilet to clean is the toilet bowl. Before adding your cleaning solution, put on a pair of rubber gloves and flush the toilet.
Pre-flushing helps to protect your hands and will increase the effectiveness of your cleaning solution.
Next, add your cleaner to the toilet bowl. You want to apply it from just below the rim so that it runs into the water below.
This cleaner could be a powder, liquid, or gel-based cleanser, or you can use one of our homemade toilet cleaners that work wonders on tough stains (see below for more details!).
Finally, use your toilet brush to scrub the cleaner into the toilet bowl and leave it to sink in while you move on to the next step.
Step 3: Wipe the exterior of the toilet
While the toilet cleaner is soaking into the bowl, you can start wiping down the outside of the toilet with disinfectant. Start at the top of the tank and slowly work your way down, so you don’t drip any grime onto a surface you’ve already cleaned.
Make sure to get the top of the tank, the toilet handle, and both sides of the lid before moving onto the outside of the toilet bowl. As before, start at the top of the outer bowl and work your way down until you’ve cleaned to the floor.
Step 4: Clean the Toilet Seat
Next, you need to move onto one of the dirtiest bits of the toilet: the toilet seat. This includes the hinges, the top and bottom of the seat, and the rim underneath.
Spray each of these areas thoroughly with your disinfectant and wipe them down with a cloth or sponge until all traces of grime are gone.
Once you’ve properly cleaned the seat, wipe it with water to remove any traces of your disinfectant. You don’t want any chemicals to be left on the part of the toilet that you sit on!
Step 5: Scrub the toilet bowl
Before you finish cleaning your toilet, you need to go back and finish scrubbing the inside of the toilet bowl.
By this point, your cleaner will have soaked adequately into all the dirt and grime, so cleaning should become much easier.
Start by scrubbing under the rim of the toilet seat with a sponge, toilet brush or pumice stone, and then work your way down the bowl.
The drain at the bottom of the bowl may need a little extra scrubbing as this is commonly where stains are found. When it is as clean as possible, flush the toilet with the lid down so that all the dirt is rinsed away.
Step 6: Tackle the water tank (optional)
The last step in cleaning your toilet is to tackle the water tank, also known as the cistern. This doesn’t need to be done every time you clean your bathroom, but we recommend taking a peek inside now and then and giving it a once over if you can spot any limescale build-up or grime.
Start by pouring 1 litre of white vinegar into the tank and allow it to sit for up to 60 minutes. You need to drain your tank by turning off the water and flushing the toilet. With the tank empty, you can easily scrub the tank’s walls with a sponge or toilet brush without any water getting in the way.
Once you’re done, turn your water back on and allow the tank to fill back up. We recommend flushing the toilet several times, so the tank is properly rinsed out.
How to Clean a Badly Stained Toilet Bowl
Sometimes, you may find yourself scrubbing at your toilet bowl for hours and still find the bowl badly stained.
If this is the case, don’t blame yourself. Toilet stains are notoriously hard to clean, and it’s not usually your technique to blame. Instead, you need to change which cleaner you’re using.
See below for our top three natural cleaners for persistent toilet stains:
1. Lemon juice
The first option for tackling those persistent stains is lemon juice. Not only can this dissolve limescale and remove mould, but it will also leave your bathroom smelling sweet and fresh.
To use lemon juice as toilet cleaner, follow these easy steps:
- Mix two parts lemon juice and one part water in a spray bottle
- Spray the inside of the toilet bowl, including the rim
- Give it a quick scrub and leave it to sit for at least 20 minutes
- Scrub the stains using your toilet brush or a sponge
- Close the lid and flush the toilet
2. Hydrogen peroxide
Next up, we have hydrogen peroxide, which is a natural and safe alternative to bleach that can be found for sale online.
This cleaner is fantastic at getting rid of limescale, mould, and persistent stains, and it will also sanitise your toilet so that all the germs are gone.
To use hydrogen peroxide, you need to:
- Pour around 120 ml of hydrogen peroxide into the toilet, ensuring to get it on the sides
- Give the bowl a quick scrub and leave it to soak into the grime for at least 30 minutes
- Vigorously scrub the stains using a toilet brush
- If the stains are still there, add some bicarbonate of soda and scrub again
- Close the toilet lid and flush away the grime
3. White vinegar and bicarbonate of soda
If you’ve been on our site before, it’ll be no surprise that white vinegar and bicarbonate of soda are also on this list.
This combination works wonders on toilet stains but can also be used for many other cleaning jobs around the house.
White vinegar is a great disinfectant, while bicarbonate of soda gets rid of foul odours and is mildly abrasive.
Take note that white vinegar and white wine vinegar are not the same, although both should be able to clean your toilet.
The best method for using vinegar and bicarbonate of soda is as follows:
- Sprinkle the bicarbonate of soda directly onto the stains
- Using a toilet brush, scrub at the stains until the bicarbonate forms a paste
- Let it sit for 10 minutes before pouring in 500 ml of white vinegar
- Close the toilet lid and let the mixture sit for another 30 minutes
- Finally, scrub the inside of the bowl, close the lid, and flush the toilet to rinse
For some really persistent stains, you may need to leave the mixture on overnight before scrubbing.
How Often Should a Toilet be Cleaned?
When we think of toilets, we think of dirt and grime. Nobody likes cleaning them, and they’re commonly associated with germs. But, according to the Mirror, toilets get a bad rep; most chopping boards contain more bacteria per square inch than your toilet seat!
That being said, giving the inside of your toilet bowl a quick wipe around every day is still a good idea to keep the germs and stains at bay.
When it comes to a deep clean, this can be reduced to once a week. Toilet bowls with stubborn stains can be cleaned as and when the stains build up. However, proper weekly cleaning using our method should prevent this from happening!
Hannah is a freelance content writer with a passion for cleaning. She worked her way around Australia by cleaning hostels in exchange for free accommodation and used her cleaning skills to bag her a job as a chalet host for a luxury ski company in France.