How to Properly Clean Your Toilet in 4 Steps ... and Don’t Forget No. 2!

by Connelly Bock
cleaning toilet with toilet brush

You don’t need us to tell you how important it is to clean your toilet regularly. Letting your toilet get too dirty can lead to germs and bacteria building up, not to mention stains and stenches. While most homeowners likely appreciate the value of a tidy bowl, they may not know how to properly clean a toilet.

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But rest assured, once you’re finished reading this article, you’ll be flush with tips on the best ways to keep your toilet sparkling, sanitized and scent-free (for a toilet, anyway).

How Often Should You Clean Your Toilet?

We know it may be stating the obvious, but your toilet is a magnet for bacteria and germs that can lead to illness. You can combat these microscopic menaces by regularly cleaning and maintaining the toilets in your household. It’s important to note that, even with regular maintenance, your toilet can pick up bacteria and viruses on its surfaces even after just one use.

Experts recommend you clean your toilet as often as possible, disinfecting surfaces at least every two or three days. Outside of flu season, you may be able to get away with weekly or biweekly cleanings. Even if you don’t deep clean your toilet, you should at least sanitize it using a disinfectant spray on a regular basis.

What Tools and Materials Do You Need?

Before getting started on the cleaning process, you’ll need to be sure that you’re properly equipped to handle the job. Experts recommend keeping a separate set of cleaning implements that you don't use elsewhere in your home.

Here are some of the cleaning supplies you'll want to have at the ready:

  • A bristled scrubbing brush
  • A pair of rubber gloves
  • One or two Scotch-Brite scrub sponges
  • Clorox bleach
  • Toilet bowl cleaner
  • Disinfecting wipes
  • A bottle of Lysol Power Bathroom Cleaner or a comparable product from another brand

How Do You Get Stains Out of Your Toilet Bowl?

When cleaning your toilet, you should start with the bowl, as it’s typically the area that requires the most time and effort. It also requires time for chemicals to fully set in. Experts recommend using a bleach product, as it can disinfect the inside of the toilet in as little as 5 minutes. You should coat the entirety of your toilet bowl, starting underneath the bowl's rim; then, put on your gloves and use your toilet brush to physically scrub the solution into the bowl surface.

If you don't have access to a toilet-bowl-specific disinfectant product, the next best thing is actual, straight-up bleach. Simply measure out half a cup's worth of bleach and pour it into your toilet bowl, then use your toilet brush to scrub it into the bowl and around the underside of the bowl's rim, also allowing at least 5 minutes to pass before you flush it all away.

How Do You Disinfect a Toilet?

When you’re waiting for your toilet bowl cleaner to properly disinfect, you should get started cleaning the rest. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you disinfect your toilet efficiently and effectively:

1. Clean the Exterior

Experts recommend starting at the base of the toilet and working your way up from there. First, spray the bottom of your toilet thoroughly and around the sides. You’ll want to be sure that you spray the small area between the toilet seat and the tank, then work your way up from there to top of the tank.

2. Spray Down Both Sides of the Lid

Beginning with the exterior, spray down the lid of the toilet. Leave the lid up so you can reapply spray if necessary. (The underside of the lid catches a lot of the befouled-toilet-water spray that occurs every time someone flushes — so you’ll want to be sure you get that nice and clean.)

3. Spray Down Both Sides of the Seat

As you may imagine, your toilet seat is a hotbed for germs and bacteria. That’s why it’s important that you disinfect the seat properly. Apply your disinfectant spray to both sides of the seat then lower it back to the closed position when you’re finished.

4. Tackle Tough-to-Reach Spots

While you’re waiting for the disinfectant spray to air dry, get the hard-to-reach (and often forgotten) nooks, crannies and components. For example, the flush handle might be even filthier than the seat.

Keeping your toilet as clean as possible is an important part of your housecleaning regimen that helps keep your family safe from germs and general nastiness. Now, if they could just remember not to leave the seat up ...

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