Toilet Cleaning 101: A Brush-Up Course

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toilet cleaning A dear commenter named Amy asked this:

I searched the site and could not find exactly how a toilet cleaning is done. Besides the obvious – Outside first: top, sides, bottom then  Inside: scrub.  I have read you can use toilet bowl cleaner, diluted to clean the whole toilet. One must wear gloves of course. Please advise. Thanks so much!


retrochick.JPGIvy says:

I suppose everybody’s toilet cleaning method differs, but here’s what I do. I always start with the toilet bowl cleaner, putting it in the bowl and just letting it soak. Then I clean the outside – sides, bottom, top, etc. of the toilet with a 50-50 vinegar/water mix. From there, I use the toilet brush to clean the inside of the bowl. Exciting, I know.

bathroom cleaning
Tips to keep your bathroom squeaky clean!

The thing about using toilet bowl cleaner diluted is that it is really very expensive. I buy the good stuff – I feel like it works better than anything else I’ve tried. But the thing that works the best for the outside cleanup is definitely the vinegar and water mix. Especially for the price.

Okay, Home Eccers, your turn: how do you clean your toilet?

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21 thoughts on “Toilet Cleaning 101: A Brush-Up Course”

  1. Oh, I guess I do it backwards. Our toilet gets a LOT of use, so I try to wipe it down every day.

    I squirt Chlorox Clean-up inside, then swish with a brush.

    Then I do the seat and lid, wiping with toilet paper.

    Then I squirt and wipe the outside, also with toilet paper.

    Then I flush the whole mess.

    (And after I ran out of Chlorox clean-up, I just made my own bleach solution w. a squirt of dish soap, reusing the squirt bottle. Off the shelf squirt bottles couldn’t handle the bleach and melted, but my Chlorox bottle is going strong after a year!)

    • Be careful mixing dish soap and bleach – some soaps even carry a warning against it. Some of them contain – I think it’s ammonia – which can make toxic fumes if mixed with bleach.

      Let’s be careful out there 🙂

  2. I keep my brush soaking in homemade Windex-type cleaner and every day I give the bowl a quick scrub. Then I spray the outside with homemade Windex and wipe it down with a paper towel, then I do the underside of the lid, the seat, underside of seat and the rim.

    The homemade cleaner contains alcohol, Dawn, and ammonia, so I feel it disinfects with the best of them. I do this routine daily and never have to do anything more to my toilet.

  3. I try to avoid cleaning any toilets until I can see a hard water ring, or company comes over. Luckily, its usually the first option (hard water rings are horrible to clean).

    I do spray and wipe the outside and back of the seat and lid regularly with an all purpose cleaner though. Boys, no matter the age, always seem to splatter or drip every time they visit the loo.

  4. I put the toilet cleaner in the bowl and let it sit, and then I take a dry rage and wipe the outside of the toilet to get the cat hair off (it clings like glue since moisture from the shower condenses on the toilet every day). Then I spray the toilet with cleaner and wipe the outside and the seat, lid, etc with a damp rag. I do all this once a week (there are only two of us here), but will occasionally use a Clorox wipe during the week if things look icky.

  5. I do not buy commercial toilet bowl cleaners. I use vinegar, borax, baking soda and a small amount of Dawn dishwashing liquid mixed with water to clean the toilet bowls and the outside of the toilets and the seats. Hard water scale is scrubbed with a paste of borax and water.

  6. I use toilet bowl cleaner from the 99 cent store I have found that it works just as good as anything else. The toilet gets an in depth cleaning on Monday (thats bathroom cleaning day) and is wiped down with antibactirial wipes and has a toilet brush with cleaner used on the inside of it everyday. I am very picky about my toilet…can’t even use a public restroom without almost fainting. I am sure it does not need to be done this often but I like it and it only takes a minute or 2 in the morning.

    For the in depth cleanings I use bleach and scrub it all down with a towel I start from top to bottom on the outside and then remove the seat, soak it and clean the inside. I also use this time to scrub the floor behind and around the toilet to make sure it is clean.

  7. I don’t.
    I tell my daughter to do it. 🙂

    What we use is Comet all around the instide. Do that first and let it set.

    Then, for the rest (and the sink as well) we use Sal Suds from Dr. Bronners, diluted in a spray bottle. It’s good, and the bottle lasts quite a while when diluted for a spray cleaner.

    Then go back and brush up the toilet.
    Also, when a shampoo bottle is empty, I rinse it with a little water and dump it in the toilet brush holder. Then it’s ready for a quick swish between weekly cleaning if I notice it’s gotten icky.

  8. Ivy, I’m wondering if the vinegar/water mix does a good job with the germs?
    Also would this be a good cleaner for the bathroom floor as well?
    Right now, I use antibacterial spray or concetrate on the toilet and on th floor around the toilet (I have a 4 yrold, nuff said ;)) and sometimes if it’s gross, I do the whole floor in this cleaner, otherwise, I use shaklee Basic H on the floor.

  9. Good tips! Does anyone use one of those hang in the bowl or place in the tank cleaning doo-hickeys? I just wonder if they work.

  10. Im a household manager (so pretty much a maid for one family). Every day I use those flushable lysol wipes for the lid and sit, once a week I use the stanard lysol toiliet bowl cleaner and soft scrub on the outside, and the best thing Ive learned is to use a pumice stone once a month for those hard water rings. The pumice stone has been a life saver , i tried everything from vinager crl and lime away…none of them worked but the puice stone works think it will scratch the toliet but its completely safe. Another life saver has been 1 cup rubbing alcohol, 1 tablespoon anomoia, 1 cup water is by far the best mirror/glass cleaner ever. We coudnt find a cleaner that wouldnt leave streaks til we started using this!

  11. I use an environmentally friendly toilet bowl cleaner, which I leave in the bowl to soak, whilst I clean the seat, lid, top and sides with a 50% water, 50% white vinegar and tea-tree oil mixture, I then scrub the bowl with the brush and flush. The 'tea-tree' oil is anti-bacterial, and leaves everything smelling beautifully fresh.

    I use the 'tea-tree' oil mixture, in my kitchen and bathroom. It is BRILLIANT, and very very cost-effective. I would only recommend buying 100% 'tea tree' oil.


  12. The no brush way!

    Pour about 1 cup of household bleach into the bowl.
    Using paper towels (that come in “select-a-size) and tear off 4 half sheets. Place each sheet in bowl, a1/4 of the way into the water, leaving the rest of the paper towel to rest above the water, and lean against the bowl, above the water line.
    The paper will, by capillary action, pull the water in the bowl, with the bleach, up the sides.
    Then just wait. About an hour or so.
    Your done!!

    For tougher stains, after above application, and before flushing, use a spray bottle, dedicated and labeled, with straight bleach, or 1/2 and1/2 (water-bleach) spray paper towels as needed.
    Wait that 1hr. or so. Then flush.

    Works great. No muss, no fuss! No germy brushes

    • if i follow your method, will the toilet be cleaned/disinfected without using a toilet brush, if let the cleaner sit for sufficient amount of time?

  13. For toilets, sinks, tubs, etc., I always use baking soda and vinegar (or a vinegar/water combo). For toilets I sprinkle the soda (one of the huge boxes dedicated only to cleaning) around the inside of the bowl, spray with vinegar, let sit while I work on other bathroom cleaning, and then scrub with a brush. The same process works wonders in the bathtub – especially between tiles. 

  14. hydrocloric acid available at lowes or any do it yourself place kills germs and removes hard water stains they sell it for mortar removal from bricks awesome toilet cleaner

  15. Help! I clean the bathrooms at my church. I’m trying to find a brush or something for cleaning around the bottom of the toilet where it bolts to the floor. I really don’t want to get down on my hands and knees to wipe it by hand! ? There really isn’t enough room anyway.

  16. For a good stain remover use denture cleaners drop one or two in the bowl let it fizz and sit when you go back brushand flush.


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