A Step-By-Step Guide On How To Clean A Toilet

Which part of your house do you hate cleaning the most? Mine is the toilet! The most used seat in the house and the least appealing at the same time! 

Cleaner in red rubber gloves cleaning toilet.

It’s a task, though, that we shouldn’t put off. In fact, it’s the place we should clean regularly and with high priority. There are so many harmful bacteria and germs that are hosted in a toilet, which can lead to illnesses that we shouldn’t neglect. But, beyond the health impact, who wants to have a dirty toilet? It’s your “porcelain throne”, so treat it as a throne!

Cleaning the toilet isn’t so difficult. You neither have to be a cleaning expert nor use your elbow grease to make it sparkling. It needs some extra attention, the right products and tools on hand and a cleaning routine. And in this guide, you will find all the necessary information about the perfect toilet cleaning process.

Why do you need to clean your toilet? 

Cleaning the toilet requires wiping the toilet bowl and disinfecting it regularly to prevent illnesses. A toilet hosts bacteria, germs and viruses. As you can understand, a stained toilet is a breeding ground for germs and a source of disease contamination

Apart from that, we all know that it’s particularly satisfying when the toilet is clean, shiny and without stains. Would you sit on a dirty toilet? I don’t think so! 

How often should you clean the toilet?

A toilet hosts bacteria even after a single-use. So, it’s essential to clean it really often to reduce the chances of coming into contact with any harmful bacteria that might lead to sickness. 

The cleaning frequency depends on the traffic a toilet has, whether there are kids or elderlies using it. 

  • Once a week is a right frequency you should keep in mind when cleaning and disinfecting our toilet.
  • But if there’s a sick person in the house, then you should disinfect and clean it every couple of days.
  • For a bathroom family with kids, every three to four days is a good plan!

How to clean the toilet?

Before starting the cleaning process, make sure that you have all the necessary equipment for this task; a pair of rubber gloves, a toilet bowl cleaner, disinfectant spray cleaner, all-purpose cleaner, sponges, rags and kitchen towels.

When it comes to choosing a suitable toilet cleaner, opt for a product that contains bleach, so that you can disinfect and not only remove the stubborn stains. If you choose not to use a commercial cleaner, but instead make your own with white vinegar and baking soda, be sure that you’ve already prepared one. 

Once you have all the needed items, decide if it’s time for a quick or a deep toilet cleaning and you may start.

Quick cleaning

It won’t take you more than 5 minutes. It’s an easy and effective enough process to avoid the grime build up. 

Alcohol sanitiser spray in hand is cleaning into toilet flush handle for disinfecting surface in a home

You’ll need:

  • A pair of rubber gloves
  • An all-purpose cleaner ( you can get a commercial cleaner available at all grocery stores, or you can simply make your own cleaning solution by adding a tablespoon of dish soap to 6 oz of water)
  • A toilet brush
  • A toilet bowl cleaner
  • Cloths / kitchen towels
  • An old toothbrush

Here’s what you should do to clean the toilet quickly.

Extra tip: You better start with the bowl. If any dirty water splashes out of the bowl while cleaning, areas you’ve already cleaned won’t get dirty again. 

  1. Put on your gloves and put the toilet cleaner under the rim of the bowl.
  2. Let it sit for a few minutes to break down any limescale, dirt and bacteria. If you need more details about removing limescale from the toilet, check our guide cleaning tips on how to get rid of limescale in the toilet.
  3. Scrub the bowl using the toilet brush which, by the way, you have to clean that as well. Apply some pressure if needed to remove stains.
  4. Once you’ve finished with the bowl, it’s time to clean the top and bottom lids. Spray all-purpose cleaner from the top down to the bottom. Don’t forget the base of the toilet and the back of the tank
  5. Wipe the toilet with a cloth. Pay some extra attention to the points of contact like the toilet handle and the lids.
  6. Use the toothbrush to scrub the hard-to-reach parts like the hinges.
  7. Flush and hold the brush to rinse it out.
  8. Dry the brush. Leave it under the toilet seat for a minute to dry and put it back into the bowl container. 

Deep cleaning

Deep cleaning it’s more time consuming than the previous quick method, but rest assured that it’s a thorough cleaning process. Through this one, you’ll sanitise and disinfect the entire toilet too. 

Cleaning inside the toilet bowl.

The materials needed for deep cleaning are:

  • Rubber gloves
  • Warm water
  • A sponge
  • A toilet cleaner
  • A toilet brush
  • A disinfectant spray cleaner
  • Cloth/ paper towels

Then, you need to follow the below steps:

  1. Put on your gloves and wipe down the toilet with a wet sponge soaked into hot water. Wipe everything around the toilet; the tank, the seat, the lid, the base and the exterior of the bowl. 
  2. Then, apply the toilet cleaner to the bowl. Dab it to the rim of the bowl to drip down all the sides of the bowl and finally reach the water.
  3. Use the toilet brush and scrub the bowl. Pay attention to the brown or reddish rust and mineral stains. 
  4. Now dip the brush into the water and keep scrubbing. 
  5. Flush to rinse the brush and the bowl. Keep scrubbing to help water rinse the bowl. 
  6. It’s time to clean the rest of the toilet. Spray bathroom disinfectant cleaner to the entire toilet. Make sure you spray both sides of the seat, the exterior of the toilet and the base
  7. Wipe the cleaner away using a clean cloth.
  8. Don’t forget the handle of the tank. Spray it with the sanitiser and wipe it. 

Cleaning around the toilet

When it comes to cleaning the toilet isn’t enough to just clean the inside of the bowl and the lids. You can’t have a clean toilet if the area around is dirty and full of water stains (and who knows what else). 

Thus, you should also clean the area around the toilet, to be sure that you have the proper toilet cleaning.

The first thing you should do is to remove everything that might block your cleaning process, like tissue boxes, air fresheners and any other decoration. This way you’ll be able to reach even the most well-hidden corners. 

Here’s what you need for cleaning the surrounding area.

  • Gloves
  • A brush
  • A broom
  • Paper towels 
  • A cloth
  • Disinfectant spray cleaner
Woman's hands spraying disinfecting spray on toilet lid.


  1. Put on your gloves. You should never forget those partners in grime!
  2. Once you’ve removed everything near your toilet, rinse the waterproof ones. Use a brush and lightly scrub them. Then wipe them dry with a kitchen towel. You can dust the non-waterproof items using kitchen paper. When you finish, you can put them back.
  3. Now, it’s time to clean the floor around the toilet. Sweep any debris and hairs, especially behind the body of the toilet, which we often forget. 
  4. Spray the floor with the disinfectant cleaner and wipe it with wet kitchen towels or cloth.  

Cleaning the toilet water tank

Your toilet tank needs cleaning as well, and that’s another spot many people forget while cleaning. There are usually mineral compounds due to hard water

Cleaning toilet water tank

To clean the toilet tank, you’re going to need:

  • 4 cups of white vinegar
  • A sponge

For your tank cleaning, you need to:

  1. Pour the vinegar into the tank.
  2. Let it sit for an hour.
  3. Then, turn the water off and flush to drain the tank.
  4. Once the tank it’s empty, use a sponge and scrub the tank walls
  5. Turn the water on, wait for the tank to fill and flush. Do it a couple of times to achieve better tank rinsing. 

Warnings while cleaning the toilet

Along with the cleaning methods, there are some warnings you should take into consideration while cleaning the toilet.

  1. While cleaning the toilet, you should be very careful and protect yourself. Most cleaning products contain bleach and harsh chemicals that might lead to eye or skin irritation. That’s why you should wear eye protection. Beyond your eyes, though, you have to protect your hands as well. Wear rubber or latex gloves, so that your hands don’t come in contact with the chemicals.
  2. Always leave the door and the window open for better ventilation. If there’s no window turn on the bathroom fan
  3. Avoid using many different cleaning products simultaneously, as chemical reactions between them can create unsafe fumes.
  4. It would be best to clean the toilet using paper towels instead of sponges or cloths because you can throw them away after use. Damp sponges are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria to grow. However, if you still insist on using sponges, you should sterilise them after each use. Place the damp sponges into the microwave oven for 30 seconds, and let the heat kill all the bacteria. The same, you should if you use clothes. Wash them right after use in their own load in the highest temperature with whitening. 
  5. Stop using toilet bowl cleaner tablets and disks that drop into the tank or hang inside the toilet’s rim, as they contain chemicals that can damage the porcelain. 
  6. Every time you use a cleaner on your toilet, don’t wipe it. Let it stay on the surface to work effectively. Almost all cleaners need to stay wet to be able to kill the germs. 
  7. Don’t use the cleaning tools (sponges, gloves, cloths, brushes) you use to clean the toilet and clean other surfaces in the house. 
  8. If you choose to use a DIY cleaner containing vinegar, avoid using it with bleach. Combining these two agents will wind up chlorine gas, which is very dangerous for the health in case of inhalation.

It’s vital for your health to keep your toilet clean to avoid the spread of bacteria to the rest of your house. As unappealing as it may seem, it’s something you should frequently do to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

Thus, read the information shared with you in this guide, plan your next cleaning and turn it from an unpleasant chore to a non so time-consuming and with less elbow grease one, at least. 

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