How to clean toilets?

The Ultimate Guide to Cleaning a Toilet

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The toilet is one of the most-used seats in your home and-no surprise-one of the ickiest. But it doesn’t take tons of time or loads of elbow grease to get that porcelain throne sparkling clean. Here’s your no-fail, no-germ-left-behind guide to getting the job done.

Gather Your Supplies

Trust us, you don’t want to stop mid-task to search for a pumice stone. Instead, have all of your tools within arm’s reach, perhaps organized in a handy bucket.

  • disinfecting spray and wipes (like those from Seventh Generation)
  • paper towels
  • a sturdy pair of cleaning gloves (Melissa Maker, author of “Clean My Space,” is a fan of the cuffed kind that guarantee yucky runoff won’t hit your wrists)
  • a toilet bowl cleaner. You can DIY your own with salt, oxygen bleach, and baking soda or white vinegar and baking soda (see below). Or opt for a store-bought brand that uses hydrogen peroxide or oxygen bleach for its cleaning muscle, such as Lysol or Greenworks
  • tiff-bristle toilet brush
  • pumice stone on a stick, such as Pumie

Make the Outside Sparkle

When cleaning the commode, most people tend to focus on (dread?) the bowl’s interior-but every inch deserves attention, says Donna Smallin Kuper, certified house cleaning technician and author at Grab that disinfecting spray and liberally spritz the entire exterior of the toilet, including harder to reach areas like the back of the base and the underside of the seat. Also spritz the walls behind and beside the toilet. A University of Arizona microbiologist found that, with each flush, bathroom particles can launch into the air like a fireworks display before settling onto nearby surfaces (blech). That makes the floor and walls around the toilet prime spots for microscopic splatter.

Then-and here’s a crucial step-let the cleaner sit for at least five minutes. “So many people spray and then immediately wipe away, but you have to give the cleaners time to do their thing,” says Maker. While you’re waiting, move on to the toilet’s interior.

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Clean the Inside

“A lot of super-strong toilet cleaners are so harsh because they then get diluted when you put them into a toilet bowl full of water,” says Leslie Reichert, green-cleaning coach and author of “The Joy of Green Cleaning.” She recommends draining the water out and then applying the cleaning solution.

“If you get the water out of toilet, you can use a milder cleaner with the same squeaky-clean results,” she says. Plus, you get a better clean with less work. It’s easier than it sounds: Simply turn the water valve at the base of the toilet off, flush once, and you’re good to go.

Reichert mixes her own big batches of toilet bowl cleaner using 1 cup table salt, 1 cup baking soda, and 1 cup oxygen bleach (such as OxiClean). When it’s time to tidy the bathroom, she grabs her container and sprinkles the toilet bowl liberally. “The baking soda removes any gunky build-up, the salt is a natural abrasive for scrubbing, and the oxygen bleach cleans and disinfects,” she says.

Smallin Kuper prefers to pour one cup of baking soda and one cup of distilled white vinegar directly into the toilet bowl, for similar sanitized-and-sparkling results. If you’d rather a store-bought solution, look for brands that rely on hydrogen peroxide or oxygen bleach, rather than chlorine bleach, which can be a lung irritant. If you rather stick with chlorine bleach, make sure to prop open a window and wear gloves when using.

Whichever toilet bowl cleaner you prefer, use generously and remember to apply some under the bowl’s rim. Then, while you’re waiting 5 to 10 minutes for those suds to fully work, turn your attention back to the toilet’s exterior.

Wipe it Down

“I’m not usually a fan of disposable products, but wiping down the toilet is one task where durable paper towels are ideal,” says Maker. And while you might be tempted to use a wet cloth, when it comes to a disinfectant spay, water isn’t necessary. Using a paper towel, wipe the disinfectant off the toilet’s exterior, working from the top to the bottom. Don’t forget to run a clean paper towel over walls and then floor surrounding the toilet as well. “Especially if you live with men or have guests with bad aim, you’ll be amazed at how yellow and dirty your paper towel gets,” says Smallin Kuper. Toss those paper towels straight in the trash rather than letting them pile up nearby.

Scrub Out Stains

Grab a stiff-bristled toilet brush to scrub the bowl’s interior and under the rim. If you notice a rust-colored ring in the bowl’s interior, the culprit is likely minerals in your water system. Cleaning experts agree the surefire way to attack such stains is with a pumice stone. Opt for a stone on a stick, so your hands don’t have to get too close to the toilet bowl. A few swipes with the pumice stone should do the trick-and don’t worry, the pumice, a softer stone, won’t scratch the porcelain surface. Turn the toilet’s water back on, then flush to rinse the bowl.

Sanitize Your Tools

Prop the wet toilet brush under the seat cover and pour bleach or cleaning solution over its business end, into the toilet bowl. Let sit for a minute, then rinse with a pitcher of water. Clean the brush’s canister by filling it with warm, soapy water; you can dump it right in the toilet, too. Resist the urge to stick the damp brush back in the canister and be done with it, says Maker. Instead, you want to let the brush air out completely before putting it away, to ensure you’re not encouraging bacteria growth.

Once the toilet’s clean, you’ll probably want to peel off your gloves lickety-split. But before you do, head for the sink and give your gloved hands a good scrubbing with soap and hot water. “It’s the best way to make sure you don’t get your hands dirty and get every inch of the gloves clean,” says Maker. Hang or prop them up to fully dry before putting them away. Then give yourself a high five-your toilet couldn’t be cleaner!

Now, watch as Martha share what she keeps in her bathroom cleaning bucket:

Whether you call it “the can” or “the commode,” a toilet by any name can stink.

Despite being the most popular seat in the house, the toilet rarely gets the cleaning it deserves. Who better to teach us the right way to clean it than Leslie Reichert? The Queen of the Throne specialized in bathrooms when she ran her cleaning business.

Find out how you should really be cleaning your toilet

April 26, 201601:00

RELATED: Start scrubbing and dusting! Spring clean with these room-by-room tips

“I’ve cleaned over 11,000 toilets in my life,” she admits, and now she’s teaching us her ways.

/ Iriana Shiyan

The tools:

  • Reichert’s basic toilet bowl cleaning powder: 1 cup borax, 1 cup baking soda or soda crystals, 1 cup salt, 6 drops tea tree oil for disinfecting. Mix dry ingredients with tea tree oil. (While Reichert recommends natural cleaning products, regular cleanser can be substituted.)
  • Pumice stone
  • Toilet brush with an under-the-rim brush on the tip
  • Large microfiber cloth, folded into eighths
  • Scrubby sponge

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How to clean inside the toilet bowl

Once a week: For a thorough weekly cleaning, turn off the water to the toilet and flush so all the water empties out of the bowl. Sprinkle the toilet cleaning powder into the toilet bowl and, wearing gloves, scrub the bowl and under the rim using a scrubby sponge. Add 1 cup of distilled white vinegar to the toilet after scrubbing with the powder. Allow this to sit for an hour, if possible, before turning on the water and flushing. Now you have one clean toilet!

Daily: To extend the effects of the weekly cleaning, swish the toilet bowl every day using plain water and a toilet brush. This is a maintenance tip only. It doesn’t replace the weekly cleaning regimen.

Does your toilet have more rings than a punk rocker? Remove stains and rings using a pumice stone. (Nothing does it better once you get over being up close and personal with a toilet.) Do this chore during the once-a-week cleaning when the bowl is empty. Wearing your rubber gloves, sprinkle toilet cleaning powder on the stains/rings, then use the pumice stone and a little bit of elbow grease to scrub them away.

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How to clean the outside of the toilet

Every week, clean the entire outside of the toilet. Using a damp microfiber cloth that’s been folded into eighths, start wiping at the top of the tank and work down. You’ll be using only an eighth of the cloth at a time. Wipe in this order, folding to a fresh portion of the cloth after each step:

  1. Flusher handle and the tops and sides of the tank
  2. Top and inside of the toilet lid
  3. Top of the toilet seat, then the underside-porcelain area between the tank and the toilet seat where the bolts are. Urine often collects there. Continue cleaning the top and inside of the porcelain rim-outside of the bowl and the base

Technically, the floor around the toilet is not the toilet, but we all know what lurks there. (If you have boys in the house, you know what I mean.) There are products on the market (enzyme-based Urine Off and probiotic-based Chrisal) that consume urine from surfaces and eradicate the odor. These work best on fresh urine spills as opposed to a year’s worth of urine build-up.

Toilet tank: When slime is obvious in the toilet tank, it’s time to clean it. According to Doyle James, president of Mr. Rooter Plumbing, the best way to clean it is: drain the tank by turning off the water valve below the tank and flushing the toilet. Apply an all-purpose cleaner, like Reichert’s DIY version, to the inside of the tank. Let this sit for 10-15 minutes before scrubbing with a toilet brush, old toothbrush or scrubby sponge. Turn water on and flush.

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Cleaning the tools of the trade — like the toilet brush

Because of the bacteria involved, Reichert says bathroom cleaning cloths should go straight into the washer. Wash separately in hot water and detergent after each use. Do not add fabric softener, it ruins microfiber. Air dry.

Toilet brush and holder: Every two weeks, mix 2 ounces of distilled white vinegar, a few drops of tea tree oil and a few drops of essential oil, like lemongrass or lavender. Pour some on the toilet brush and add the rest to the brush holder to keep it smelling fresh. Replace this mixture every two weeks.

To clean the toilet plunger (as needed, of course), let it sit a few minutes in the toilet with the cleaning solution. Rinse. Dry it by lifting the plunger out of the water. Keep it suspended over the toilet but out of the water by closing the toilet seat on top of the plunger handle. When the plunger is dry, it’s ready to be stored.

This article was originally published April 26, 2016.

How to Remove Toilet Bowl Stains

  • Vinegar – If you’re sick and tired of cleaning your bowl with harsh abrasives and strong smelling cleansers, try the vinegar solution. One method is to place three cups of vinegar into the toilet bowl and scrub the stains with a toilet brush. The other method is to put the vinegar into a spray bottle, drain the toilet bowl and spray the vinegar directly onto the stains
  • Bleach – Bleach is a very strong cleaning agent. Place a half a cup of dry bleach powder into the toilet bowl and let it sit there for a couple of hours. When you see the stains have disappeared flush away the bleach.
  • Borax Powder – Borax powder is a very powerful cleaning agent that’s not found in a supermarket, but in a hardware store. Shut the water supply to the toilet tank and empty the bowl by flushing it once. Sprinkle the powder directly on the stains and rub them with a toilet brush. After scrubbing, let the powder sit for thirty minutes. Then reconnect the water supply to the tank and flush the toilet.
  • Trisodium Phosphate – Add 1 tablespoon of trisodium phosphate to 1 gallon (3.8 liters) of warm water and mix well. Soak a cloth on the solution and use it to rub the stain clean .

How to Clean a Toilet

Clean your toilet so it’s fit for royalty. They do call it a “porcelain throne,” after all! Follow these five steps for cleaning dirty toilet bowls to remove toilet rings, stains and funky smells – quickly and efficiently!

  1. Begin by applying toilet cleaner to the bowl, and allow it to soak. If you’re using vinegar in place of toilet cleaner, simply pour a cup into the bowl. Quickly swish the cleaner around the bowl with a brush.
  2. While the cleaner soaks in, spray the exterior of the toilet with an all-purpose disinfectant. If the toilet is extra dirty, give it a preliminary wipe-down with paper towels and toss them in the trash.
  3. Next, use a scrub sponge to clean the exterior of the toilet. Pay attention the base and floor around the toilet while you’re there. If you have a modern toilet with a quick-disconnect toilet seat, remove the seat and clean it separately.
  4. Once the exterior is clean, use a toilet brush to clean the bowl. If you have hard water rings or stains, use a pumice stone to remove these.
  5. You know the area underneath the rim where water pours out? Since this is out of sight, many people don’t scrub it. Don’t ignore this area! Use your brush or sponge to clean the underside of the rim.

Best Way to Clean a Toilet

We get it. It’s a toilet. Not many people enjoy cleaning toilets. But like most household care, cleaning your toilet regularly will make the process even easier next time. Regular toilet cleaning also eliminates harmful bacteria and ugly mineral or soil buildup. With more than 30 years of toilet scrubbing experience, Molly Maid pros have found that the best way to clean a toilet is fast and efficiently. To do that, always have the right supplies on hand.

Toilet Cleaning Supplies

Keep these supplies in a tote or bucket to separate them from the rest of your cleaning supplies. It’s not a good idea to clean the sink with the toilet sponge or wash dishes with the same rubber gloves.

Remove Toilet Stains with a Commercial Toilet Cleaner

This method is split into two parts with a 30 minute rest in-between – just enough time to put your feet up and enjoy a nice cup of tea.

Part 1 – Prepare the loo and tackle stains (6-7 minutes)

  1. Put on your rubber gloves, lift up the toilet seat, and squirt your toilet cleaner around the rim and the sides. A bleach based cleaner like Domestos Thick Bleach is great for tackling germs in the toilet bowl, but if your dirty toilet is covered in limescale stains then choose a cleaner with limescale-fighting properties. Remember to follow the instructions on your product’s label.
  2. Next scrub the toilet with the toilet brush making sure the cleaning solution reaches every nook and cranny of the toilet, including the u-bend.
  3. Then, leave the toilet cleaner to get to work for about 30 minutes. Put your feet up and have a cup of tea, or clean another area in the bathroom, like the shower!

Part 2 – Give it a final scrub and rinse (3-4 minutes)

After you’ve allowed the solution to sit for 30 minutes you can complete the final few minutes of your 10-minute toilet cleaning task!

  1. Give the toilet one more scrub to loosen any particularly stubborn stains.
  2. Flush the toilet and stand back and admire your now sparkling clean toilet.

How To: Clean a Toilet Tank


If the last time you got the bathroom sparkling did not fully mask a foul odor or required a concentrated effort to remove brown rust stains from the rim of your toilet bowl, your job may not be done. Don’t kick yourself yet for missing a spot, because this one often goes overlooked: the toilet tank. Its lid keeps any dirt, bacterial contamination, and mineral build-up out-of-sight until you need to lift it off to reach in and stop the toilet from running manually or assess the parts for some other repair. These poor conditions can also cause the metal parts in your toilet tank to corrode and lead to bowl staining—most homeowner’s first clue of a problem.

By cleaning your toilet tank regularly—twice a year, at least—you may extend the life of your toilet and all of its parts, freshen your bathroom’s smell, and save yourself some elbow grease the next time you sanitize your toilet bowl. Everyone wins! So what are you waiting for? Knock out one job quickly and keep it fresh following this guide on how to clean a toilet tank.


MATERIALS AND TOOLS Available on Amazon
– White vinegar (optional)
– Rubber gloves
– Disinfectant housecleaner
– Scrub brush with long handle
– Sponge
– Natural toilet tank cleaner (optional)


  • STEP 1
    First, empty the tank. To do this, locate the water valve (the “tap” valve on the wall behind or near the base of the toilet) and shut it off. Then, lift the lid from the tank so that you can eyeball the water level inside and flush the toilet until it drains completely. Depending on your flow rate, this may require two or three flushes.
  • STEP 2
    Assess the condition of your tank. If you’re only looking at surface grime and dirt, that’s a straightforward cleaning job that a bit of scrubbing should mitigate. Move on to Step 3.

    If, however, you see a discoloration from mineral deposits and residue built up at the bottom of the tank and ascending the walls, opt for a more forceful method: vinegar. This all-natural all-star is a great line of defense against mold and mildew, hard water deposits, and more. You’ll need enough vinegar to fill the tank up to the overflow valve, which could mean as many as three gallons depending on the size of your tank. (Fortunately, at roughly $3 a gallon, it’s not as expensive as it sounds!) Pour in the vinegar and let it sit for 12 hours without flushing. When ready to get cleaning, flush the vinegar out. Again, this may take two or three flushes.

  • STEP 3
    Wearing rubber gloves, spray the tank interior generously—along the walls and the bottom—with your preferred disinfectant cleaner. Do your best to direct the spray away from metal parts, in case there are corrosive additives that could react with metal. (Bleach, for instance, is very corrosive.)

    Check the label for the dwell time recommended by the manufacturer. Generally, you’ll let the disinfectant sit for 10 to 15 minutes.

  • STEP 4
    Grab a scrub brush! Some how-tos recommend using your go-to toilet brush for cleaning the inside of the toilet tank, but, considering the cleaning job they do on a regular basis, we recommend using a new scrub brush. (Then, you won’t accidentally introduce other contaminants from previous dirty jobs to the tank.) It should be a long, narrow scrub brush with medium-to-firm bristles and a shape that allows you to scour corners and the bottom of the tank.

    After the wait time is up, scrub thoroughly—into corners, around fixtures, all over the bottom—to remove all grime and/or build-up. Apply additional cleaner as necessary.

  • STEP 5 (optional)
    While you have the lid off, consider whether your toilet needs any maintenance. If your toilet has been operating less than optimally, now is a good time to replace any parts that might need replacing, like the flapper.

    If your toilet has been functioning fine, though, carry on to Step 6.

  • STEP 6
    Clean all the working parts in the tank. Instead of spraying them directly and dousing the metal parts with a cleaner that may or may not be corrosive, dilute it first. Simply soak a sponge with clean, warm water and spray some cleaner onto the sponge itself. Then, wipe down the ball float, flapper, and other toilet tank workings with the diluted disinfectant. Rinse and re-soak the sponge as needed.
  • STEP 7
    Turn the water back on and let the tank fill. Flush it a couple times. Does the tank seem clean enough to you? If not, drain the tank once more as you did in Step 1 again, then repeat Steps 3 through 6 again.

    When happy with how sparkling clean your toilet tank is, turn the valve back on, fill it, and then it’s business as usual!

  • Photo:


    To keep life simpler in the future, here are some steps to keep the tank in a better state of cleanliness day in and day out.

  • Consider putting tank tablets in the toilet. These can keep mildew, minerals, and contaminants at a minimum. Be careful not to buy tank tablets that contain bleach, as it is known to corrode metal. Do your homework and read online reviews thoroughly before purchasing any. To reduce the use of chemicals in the home and the risk of damage, keep in mind that tablets marketed as “natural” or “chemical-free” may be best suited for the job.
  • If you’re not using tablets, drain your toilet tank and fill with vinegar (as in Step 2) on a more regular basis. The vinegar kills mildew and dissolves mineral deposit build-up before it becomes a problem. Simply leave it in there overnight and flush it out the next morning.
  • You might hear suggestion a monthly cleaning regiment for toilet tanks, but we think twice yearly will suffice for small households with more than one toilet shared by the family. Situation dictates maintenance needs, though. If you have hard water, mineral deposits may build up more quickly. If the toilet is located in a high-traffic area, whether in a home with a big family or your place of business, the heavier use will require more frequent cleaning too. Lift the tank lid to inspect it every two weeks, and then you’ll know what kind of cleaning cycle your toilet might need. Track your inspections and cleanings on a calendar so you remain on top of things.

How to Clean Toilet Stains

It’s safe to assume that scrubbing the toilet doesn’t appear on anyone’s list of favorite household chores, but cleaning the commode doesn’t have to stink — pun intended. Keeping the bowl stain-free is simple: Set a small amount of time aside every few days to clean, and suddenly the task won’t feel so overwhelming. In fact, you can use a product you already have in your kitchen to help get you started.

Vinegar, one of the most versatile products in your kitchen pantry, offers an economical and effective way to get rid of stubborn toilet stains. Stains are often caused by alkaline deposits, and they can be removed by emptying three cups of vinegar into the pot and scrubbing the bowl with a toilet brush.


Vinegar can also prevent future stains from appearing. Fight rings by pouring up to two cups of white vinegar in the toilet once a month. If stains persist, turn off the water valve and drain the toilet. To do this, turn the shutoff valve clockwise. Once it stops, flush and use a plunger to remove any remaining water from the bowl. Place cloths or extra-strength paper towels soaked in white vinegar around the edges of the toilet bowl, and let them sit for several hours until the stains begin to dissolve. Scrub any remnants away with a nylon toilet brush. Turn the water supply back on and flush once the bowl is clean.

Trisodium phosphate, a heavy-duty cleaning powder that can be found at your local home improvement store, is another great product that can be used to remove tough toilet stains. Measure one gallon of warm water with one tablespoon of trisodium phosphate and mix well. Soak a cloth in the solution and rub stains until they’re gone.

When cleaning with borax powder, first flush the toilet after shutting off the water supply to the tank. When the toilet is empty, sprinkle the powder directly onto stains and scrub the bowl using a toilet brush. Let borax sit for a half hour after scrubbing, and when stains are removed, turn the water supply on and flush.

To clean a toilet with bleach, measure a half cup of dry bleach powder and allow it to sit in the bowl for up to two hours. Flush once you see that stains are removed.

As a last resort, use a pumice stone and a toothbrush to get rid of extreme toilet stains. Keeping one end of the pumice damp, rub the stone across toilet rings, but be sure to do so cautiously. Pumice can easily scratch a toilet bowl, leaving it damaged beyond repair. Once pumice begins to build up on the sides of the toilet bowl, use a toothbrush to gently rub all deposits away.

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I am partnering up with The Maids for this post to bring you some of our best bathroom cleaning tips. As always, all opinions are 100% mine.

Okay guys! We are getting a little down and dirty today. It’s time to talk about one of my least favorite {but most frequent!} cleaning tasks – cleaning the toilet!

As a Mom of two boys with terrible aim and poor toilet flushing abilities {this is seriously one of my biggest pet peeves!}, our toilets require frequent cleaning and disinfecting. Unfortunately, toilet cleaning involves much more than just swirling the toilet brush in the bowl with some cleaner, and often those areas on the outside of the toilet {and surrounding areas!} are the ones that are forgotten in our basic cleaning routines.

If your toilet is in need of a little TLC, here are my top cleaning tips to really deep clean your toilet….

Cleaning the Toilet Bowl
For the most part, I think we are all pretty good at swishing the toilet brush around in the toilet bowl. What we often miss; however, is cleaning the underside of the rim and the siphon jets {these are the holes underneath the rim where the water actually comes out}. If you are starting to notice vertical stains along the sides of your toilet bowl, this is a sign that they need to be cleaned. Often times, toilet brushes can’t quite get up into these spaces, and over time, grime builds up.

To give your toilet bowl a real deep cleaning {without any harsh chemical cleaners}, pour some castille soap down the sides of the toilet and thoroughly scrub all areas of the bowl with a toilet brush. Next add about 1/4 – 1/2 cup of Borax along the sides of the toilet and use your toilet brush to bring up some of the soap mixture from the toilet bowl to form a thicker foam. This should by thick enough that it sticks to the sides of the toilet bowl rather than just sliding down into the water {just add a little more Borax if it is not thick enough}. Use a toothbrush to scrub away any grime around the rim and siphon jets. To get up a little further into the jets, soak a paper towel with the foam and place it around a metal hanger to really get up into the jets. If you are having trouble seeing these you can use a small mirror to get a better view. Allow the foam mixture to sit for 10-15 minutes, give it a final scrub, and flush.

Removing Mineral Build-Up
If you have hard water and significant mineral build up in your toilet that doesn’t come clean with the cleaning method above, you just need to add an additional cleaning step. Start by completely closing off the water supply to the toilet. Next you need to flush the toilet until the bowl no longer fills and then plunge out as much water as possible. If there is still water remaining, use an old towel to soak it up. Once the bowl is empty, add some cleaning vinegar {or regular white vinegar if this is all you have} to the bowl to completely cover any stains. If your stains are more up underneath the rim or along the sides, soak a rag or paper towels in the vinegar and place over stain. Leave overnight and then scrub. If all stains are not removed, you can either repeat the process again or try the same method with a product containing hydrochloric acid {HCL}. Just be sure to follow the safety precautions on the product as this is a much stronger chemical. Also note that bleach SHOULD NOT be used on rust stains as it can actually cause the stain to set.

Cleaning the Toilet Seat Attachments
If you have boys, one of the prime spots for spray is around the toilet seat attachments. For regular cleaning, use a toothbrush and some castille soap to scrub in all of the little grooves, and then wipe awaywith a 50:50 water/vinegar spray and microfiber cloth. Steam cleaners also work amazing for this task and save a lot of time and scrubbing! Once or twice per year, you should also remove the toilet seat to get rid of that grime that seeps underneath. Just flip up the covers and use a screw driver to remove the seat. Give everything a good cleaning with castille soap and replace. Spray with the vinegar spray and use a microfiber cloth to wipe dry. You will likely be amazed at what you find under there! Make sure you also clean along the groove where the tank meets the toilet base- it’s another common place for pee spray to lurk!

Cleaning Around the Toilet
If you can’t seem to get your toilet area smelling clean, chances are it needs some extra cleaning and disinfecting around the base and surrounding areas {including those walls and baseboards!} The quickest and easiest way to tackle these areas is to use a steam cleaner – it’s super effective, gets into all of those little nooks and cracks, and it requires no harsh chemicals. For those of you without a steam cleaner, wipe down the area with castille soap and water using a microfiber cloth. Use a toothbrush to get around the edges of the toilet base and around the knob covers on the base of the toilet. Next, create a paste of baking soda and water {you can also add some essential oil to this to make it smell even better!} and spread this around all of your targeted areas. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes and then wipe away. For extra disinfecting power, you can then wipe down with vinegar. {NOTE: I don’t recommend mixing the vinegar and baking soda together at the same time. While it will create an impressive chemical reaction, you are basically neutralizing each of the components. This takes away their cleaning power and basically results in creating salt.}

For more tips on maintaining a clean bathroom {and the number one tip that every Mom should know!}, check out this post from The Maids. And if anyone has any tricks for improving little boy aim, please let me know! 🙂

If you are looking for more bathroom cleaning and organization ideas, you may enjoy these posts…

How to Deep Clean the Bathroom {with free printable}

Quick and Easy Daily Bathroom Cleaning Tips

How to Clean and Organize the Bathroom

This post may contain affiliate links. Affiliate links come at no extra cost to you. These links allow me to share the products I authentically recommend (and use) and support Live Simply by receiving a small commission.

If you’re enjoying breakfast or lunch right now, I recommend waiting to read this post until after you finish your meal. Today we’re going to get really personal and to talk about the toilet. Not only are we going to talk about the humble toilet, we’re also going to visit my bathroom and look at pictures of my toilet bowl. Our online friendship is about to go to a whole new level! From drinking lattes to cleaning toilets…oh yeah!

Cleaning Versus Disinfecting

To begin our toilet talk, let’s talk about cleaning versus disinfecting, since these are actually two different cleaning actions performed with very different cleaning products.

In my humble cleaning opinion, most of us just need to clean regularly, not disinfect. Cleaning consists of regular home maintenance: dusting, wiping surfaces, using soap to wash our hands, washing and sweeping the floor with hot water and possibly soap, vacuuming, spraying and wiping mirrors and glass, etc. These cleaning tasks are usually performed with water and a natural soap or detergent, like castile soap or Sal Suds, which keep a home from harboring unwanted dust and dirt. Regular cleaning maintenance encourages that “put together” look so many of us desire (a subjective term when you have young children…the struggle is real).

Disinfecting is an activity that’s (generally) done after cleaning and, in my cleaning opinion, needs to be done much less often in the average home. “Disinfecting…refers to killing a high percentage of the germs on a surface or rendering them incapable of reproducing.” (source)

Disinfecting takes care of more than just dirt, grease, or dust. Disinfecting knocks-out the bad germs that can make us ill. I don’t believe disinfecting every surface on a regular basis is essential in the modern-day home. Now when the stomach virus comes knocking, or I cut raw meat on my favorite cutting board, I’m all about using a homemade disinfectant spray.

All that being said, there is one area of the home that I personally believe should be regularly disinfected (and this is where we get all personal with toilet talk and pictures, brace yourself): the hard-working toilet bowl!

How to Clean and Disinfect a Toilet Bowl, Naturally

I have two favorite recipes for cleaning the toilet bowls in my home: a liquid cleaner and a powder cleaner. Both cleaners clean the toilet bowl very well. My choice between which cleaner to make and use is usually just a matter of which ingredients I have on hand, and if I want a long-term storage powder or a short-term storage liquid cleaner. Right now, I’m using the powder cleaner. PS: I’m going to share this recipe, which is from the DIY Natural Cleaning Challenge, below.

Cleaning the toilet bowl with one of my homemade cleaners is as simple as mixing the powder or liquid ingredients, squirting or sprinkling the cleaner on the sides of the toilet bowl, and then letting the cleaner rest in the toilet for a few minutes. Easy peasy! Just think, a homemade cleaner that’s just as easy to use as a store-bought cleaner, but without the mystery ingredients.

Once the cleaner rests for a few minutes, it’s time to scrub! You’re going to need a handy toilet bowl brush to complete this next step. Scrub the cleaner against the toilet bowl sides. Then, flush the toilet. The toilet bowl is now clean (AKA: the dirt and well, you know what else has been removed).

Now it’s time to disinfect. When it comes to naturally disinfecting surfaces, two ingredients work very well: hydrogen peroxide and/or vinegar. In the kitchen, these two disinfectants are a powerhouse when used back to back to disinfect a surface (you should NEVER combine the two ingredients into one cleaner). When it comes to toilet bowl disinfecting, I only use one ingredient: hydrogen peroxide or vinegar. Simply attach a spray nozzle on the hydrogen peroxide bottle or vinegar bottle (if your vinegar bottle is bulk-size, just pour the vinegar into the toilet bowl or pour the vinegar into a separate spray bottle). Then, spray or pour the disinfectant on the sides of the toilet bowl. Let the disinfectant rest for 30 minutes so it can work against germs, then flush!

If you want use vinegar to disinfect your toilet bowl, but hate the smell of vinegar, use the citrus-infused vinegar we made last week (just don’t dilute the vinegar concentrate before pouring or spraying it in the toilet bowl).

Now your toilet bowl is naturally clean and disinfected!

5 from 1 vote

Powder Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Cleaning the toilet bowl with one of my homemade cleaners is as simple as mixing the powder or liquid ingredients, squirting or sprinkling the cleaner on the sides of the toilet bowl, and then letting the cleaner rest in the toilet for a few minutes. Easy peasy

Course Homemade Cuisine Cleaning Keyword Powder Toilet Bowl Cleaner Prep Time 5 minutes Total Time 5 minutes Servings 1 1/2 cups powder Author Kristin Marr


  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup borax
  • 1/2 cup coarse sea salt or kosher, You can find an inexpensive 3lb box at most grocery stores. Don’t waste money and use expensive mineral-rich salt like Himalayan salt, in this recipe.
  • 15 drops grapefruit essential oil or favorite cleaning essential oil
  • 1 lid with holes such as: a mason jar drink top, or a Parmesan cheese topper. Only use this lid when the powder is needed. The top used to store the powder shouldn’t expose the powder to the air.


  1. Combine the ingredients in a storage container.
  2. Clean the toilet bowl: Sprinkle the sides of the toilet bowl. Let the powder rest for 15 minutes, then scrub the toilet with a toilet bowl brush, and flush.
  3. Disinfect the toilet bowl: Spray hydrogen peroxide or vinegar on the sides of the toilet bowl, let the spray rest for 30 minutes, then flush.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Recipe shared from DIY Natural Cleaning Challenge.

More DIYs You May Like:

Citrus-Infused All-Purpose Cleaner

4 Natural Cleaning Ingredients to Avoid Combining

12 Must-Have Ingredients to Clean Your Entire House

Cleaning the toilet isn’t a particularly fun chore to begin with, but it can feel even more arduous when it seems like your toilet never actually stays clean. But unfortunately, that’s what it can feel like for people who live in an area with hard water. Mineral content in the water can form colored deposits in your toilet bowl, making it look dirty even when it was recently cleaned.

Today’s blog post is all about tackling those troublesome mineral deposits. You’ll learn what the source of the problem is, and a couple of simple solutions that will help you fix it! With the help of the tips in today’s post, your toilet cleaning efforts will no longer be in vain! Your toilet bowl will stay shiny and clean for much longer than before. 🙂

Related: The One Thing Your Toilet Needs If You Have Hard Water

Why Does My Toilet Bowl Get Dirty So Quickly?

Having hard water in your toilet isn’t necessarily the root cause of those colored mineral deposits in your toilet bowl (at least not directly). Those deposits are more likely caused by mineral buildup in and around your toilet’s siphon jets.

The siphon jets are located underneath the rim of your toilet bowl, and they move clean water from the tank into the toilet bowl every time you flush. But if those jets are surrounded by grimy mineral buildup, they will push some of that into your toilet bowl every time you flush too. So removing the mineral buildup from the jets will help keep your toilet looking much cleaner for longer!

Related: The One Recipe You Need To Keep Your Toilet Clean

How To Clean Your Toilet’s Siphon Jets

The are a couple of methods you can use to remove mineral buildup from your toilet’s siphon jets. If they aren’t too dirty, the first method is a quick and easy way to take care of the problem. If your siphon jets are really grimy, use the second, more powerful cleaning method.

Method #1: Quick Vinegar Soak

You’ll need:

  • Toilet brush
  • Toilet cleaner
  • White vinegar
  • Paper towels
  • Gloves

Grab a few paper towels and soak them in white vinegar. Wring the paper towels out a bit so they are wet, but not soaking. Tuck the vinegar-soaked paper towels underneath the rim of your toilet bowl. Continue adding more soaked paper towels until all of the area underneath the rim is covered.

Leave the toilet alone for a couple of hours, then remove the paper towels. Scrub underneath the rim with a toilet brush and your preferred toilet bowl cleaner, then flush.

Method #2: Overnight Vinegar Soak

If your siphon jets are really grimy, an overnight soak with white vinegar can help immensely. The key is to block off the jets, which traps the vinegar right where all that grime is concentrated so it can start to work its magic. You’ll be amazed at how effectively this simple process works!

You’ll need:

  • Toilet brush
  • Toilet cleaner
  • White vinegar
  • Duct tape
  • Gloves

Step 1: Start by cleaning underneath the rim of your toilet with a toilet brush and your preferred toilet bowl cleaner. Flush to rinse.

Step 2: Turn off the water supply to the toilet, and flush the toilet to empty the tank.

Step 3: Block off the siphon jets using a few pieces of duct tape. (Don’t worry, the tape will come off easily later on.)

Step 4: Pour 1 gallon of white vinegar into your toilet’s tank. Flush the toilet once, then let it sit overnight.

Step 5: In the morning, remove the duct tape from the jets and turn the water supply back on. Flush the toilet once or twice to remove any remaining vinegar and mineral residue.

How To Keep Your Toilet Clean Between Cleanings

Once your siphon jets have been cleared of all that gunk and grime, you can help keep it clean by mixing up a batch of my fizzy toilet freshening “bombs!” Just drop one in the toilet whenever you feel like your toilet could use some freshening up, to keep it looking (and smelling) fresh and clean! Get the simple directions for making my fizzy toilet freshening bombs at the link below.

Related: Clean And Fresh DIY Fizzy Toilet Bombs

Do you struggle with those ugly mineral deposits in your toilet(s)?

Hi, I’m Jillee!

I believe we should all love the place we call home and the life we live there. Since 2011, I’ve been dedicated to making One Good Thing by Jillee a reliable and trustworthy resource for modern homemakers navigating the everyday challenges of running a household. Join me as I share homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make life easier so you can enjoy it more!

Every day I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!


Cleaning Homekeeping

How to Naturally Clean a Toilet

November 11, 2019

I’ve talked a lot about how to clean toilets over the past ten years and I feel like I have finally figured out the best method for how to safely and naturally clean a toilet. Here’s the thing – toilets can be difficult to clean and they’re really not fun to clean. So the way I see it, let’s figure out the best possible way to naturally clean those toilets so they stay clean for the week and are easy to clean when the next Monday rolls around (Monday is bathrooms day). If you have any questions about cleaning a toilet, read all the way through for my favorite tools, toilet brush, tips and tricks, and DIY recipes – this post has it all! I also made a little video for you that you’ll find at the bottom of the post.


First things first, let’s talk about HOW to clean a toilet properly. This is the process I follow and I believe it’s the best way to efficiently and effectively clean a toilet:

EXTERIOR – everything but the bowl

  • Spray thoroughly with your favorite bathroom cleaner – I use the recipe below or the new Clean Mama All-Purpose Spray. Spray the top, back, the handle, the seat, under the seat, the base – where it meets the floor, basically every single part of the toilet.
  • Let the cleaner sit for 10 minutes to clean and disinfect the surfaces.
  • Start at the top and wipe down to the base of the toilet. Use a fresh cloth (I use microfiber cleaning cloths) for every toilet and do not use this cloth on any other surfaces.

Quick Tip: Hydrogen Peroxide is a great disinfectant but I clean everything first and then if anything needs disinfecting, I’ll spray with Hydrogen Peroxide. Why do I do it this way? Hydrogen Peroxide is an incredible disinfectant but I find that it doesn’t have the same cleaning power as an all-purpose spray.

INTERIOR – the toilet bowl

  • I’ve found that a quick squirt of castile soap around the edges and in the bowl works as well or better than conventional toilet bowl cleaner. Just squirt, scrub, and flush. If you need to use toilet bowl cleaner, this one by Seventh Generation is a safe choice and rated ‘A’ on

  • If you need a little scrubbing action you can sprinkle a little Bathroom Scrub (same as my Nightly Sink Scrub recipe) or just a little bit of baking soda and scrub away.


It took me awhile to come back around to the toilet brush but in doing so, I have a couple tips and tricks that got me back on the toilet brush train. If you’ve been following me for awhile you probably have heard me talking about how toilet brushes gross me out and how I prefer a disposable toilet brush even though they aren’t the most eco-friendly or safe option. One of my hangups has been that I caught one of my little ones playing with the toilet brush years ago and that kind of sealed the deal of us being a no toilet brush family. Now that the kids are older and not into playing with toilet brushes anymore, I decided to go back and revisit toilet brushes.

I chose the OXO Good Grips Hideaway Compact Toilet Brush + Holder for a few reasons:

  • it’s compact
  • it stays open when the brush is out (no touching the holder)
  • the brush can be replaced
  • it’s small and unobtrusive


  • Each bathroom has a toilet brush (except for the powder room).
  • Use your cleaner of choice – I like castile soap alone or if the toilet needs a bit of whitening, I sprinkle in a little Oxygen Whitener – let the cleaner sit for a couple minutes.
  • Scrub thoroughly and flush. Repeat if necessary.
  • Flush again and rinse the toilet brush in the clean toilet water.
  • Put the toilet brush under the toilet seat. The toilet seat will hold the brush in place to allow it to dry.
  • Spray the brush thoroughly with hydrogen peroxide to disinfect.
  • Allow the brush to drip dry before returning to the holder.

That’s it! I do a thorough BUT speed cleaning of the bathrooms every Monday (grab the free printable here) as part of my cleaning routine. I find that this maintenance is key to keeping the toilets clean all week long.


If you have gross toilet seat that is difficult to clean or if it has stains on it that you can’t remove, I recommend replacing the toilet seat. I like this one for kids’ toilets/bathrooms. Instead of having to clean around the hinges and screws, the toilet seat actually lifts up so that you can easily wipe around the hinges and screws. It also is slow-closing to prevent finger pinching and slamming. (Please note that you need to check the size of your toilet before purchasing a toilet seat.)


One of the most common bathroom cleaning questions I receive is in regards to the annoying ring that tends to develop in toilet bowls. Toilet bowl rings are the result of hard water and mineral deposits that develop from standing water in the bowl. No amount of scrubbing and cleaners will remove this buildup. The best solution to this is a pumice stone. Pumice is a natural volcanic rock that does a superior job at removing surface stains in toilet bowls without scratching the surface. Thankfully, it is easy to find one that has a handle so that you don’t need to stick your hand in the toilet bowl in order to get the job done. Simply rub the pumice around the interior of your toilet bowl where the ring is and that’s it! It couldn’t be much easier. The Pumie is a pumice stone specifically designed to clean your toilet rings and stains. You can use any pumice stone, but I like that this one has a handle and is designed specifically for toilet cleaning.


For those of you with little boys (or big boys) these tips are for you. Let’s face it – a lot of boys have a hard time aiming and hitting the bowl when they go to the bathroom. The result is not pretty and it seems as though no matter how hard you may wipe and wash, there tends to be a residual odor that is left behind. I get asked for my recommendation on how to eliminate this annoying situation and ‘that smell’ weekly and I am happy to give my first hand recommendations.

First of all, as annoying as it can be, do your best to wipe up drips and drops sooner rather than later – this can be taught, I’m not necessarily recommending that you do this. It doesn’t take long for tile grout to get permeated and this makes it harder to eliminate the odor. Make sure when you spray your cleaner you’re spraying at the base of the toilet where it meets the floor and let it sit. Then make sure you’re pushing your cloth or paper towel under that so you are collecting the cleaner and removing anything that might have traveled under there.


Some of you may already discovered this because it’s on the packaging but did you know that you can add a scoop or two of my Oxygen Whitener to a stained toilet bowl and just let it sit overnight? Give it a little scrub in the morning and your stains are gone!



This is a fun DIY for freshening up a toilet and adding a little scrubbing action to the cleaning of the toilet.

2 cups baking soda
1/3 cup citric acid
2 tablespoons hydrogen peroxide
15 drops lemon essential oil
5 drops peppermint essential oil
silicone ice cube tray
mason jar – I used two
I have all the ingredients in these and most of my DIY recipes in my Amazon shop here – look for the DIY cleaning section.

Find the full how-to with step by step images in this post.


Gather these simple ingredients (this recipe can easily be cut in half if you don’t want to mix up a whole batch). Pour the ingredients into a spray bottle – here’s my favorite glass spray bottle. Shake, spray, and wipe.

    • 1/4 cup white vinegar
    • 1/4 cup vodka (excellent germ-killing properties)
    • 1 1/4 cups water
    • 15 drops of your favorite essential oils – I like Lavender + Lemon

Vinegar is not safe on stone surfaces – if you have marble or granite in your bathroom you’ll want to use my Stone Cleaner the recipe is in my all-new Cleaning Recipe Labels in the shop and there’s a Bathroom Label Kit. Perfect for bathroom cleaning!

If you liked this post, check out my post on how I put together a bathroom cleaning caddy.

According to hygiene expert Stephanie C, from Expert Home Tips, many of us are doing it wrong.

RELATED: 9 things you need to know to keep the bathroom clean

The major problem lies within toilet brush usage.

After using your toilet brush to clean the toilet, it’s important to clean it before putting back in the holder. Not doing so, can cause bacteria and germs to spread even further.

“In order to minimise this risk, the toilet brush should be bleached after use to kill germs,” Stephanie said.

Simply, balance the brush over the seat to allow it to dry off and apply a little bleach or disinfectant.

RELATED: The secret to spotless oven racks

Getty Images

Stephanie also suggests closing the lid before flushing as flushing the water can splash across the bathroom and in turn spread more germs.

If the thought of cleaning your toilet fills you with dread, there is a way to put it off a little longer.

Toilet bombs are similar to a bath bomb (but for your toilet), eliminate smells while giving your throne a quick clean – without having to get your hands (or toilet brush) dirty.