The Unappreciated Importance of Regular Toilet Cleaning

This post may contain affiliate links which means I get commissions for purchases. Sponsored posts will always be clearly disclosed. Privacy Policy

Dear Home Ec 101,

I have a 9 month old baby girl and as she is becoming more mobile, it is becoming a lot more important to me to keep things really clean. She loves crawling into the bathroom and playing with those little plastic screw covers at the base of the toilet and as much as I try to wipe down that area it is never really free of grime and hair.

I am trying to train my husband to keep the bathroom door closed, but that may be a lost cause and I, of course, pick her up and take her out of there when she does find her way in there, but I would like to get that area cleaner anyway and then I wouldn’t feel like I have to disinfect her whole body if she escapes me and spends some quality time with her new favorite toy!!

Do you have any suggestions for getting the base of the toilet clean and keeping it that way? Thank you so much for any suggestions you may have!

Playing in the Potty

toilet cleaning

Heather says:

First of all congratulations, you’re about to enter the most harrowing phase of parenting, the toddler years. Once they hit three years, you can probably take a deep breath and maybe, just maybe a short nap. From now until that point your child is on a mission to road test your child proofing.

Learn more: How To Clean A Bath Mat After The Toilet Overflow

Before you worry about how clean the base of the toilet is, please get a toilet lid lock. Yes it’s a pain. Yes, it’s one more thing to have to clean. The household toilet is actually a drowning hazard, especially so during the cruising months where infants and toddlers don’t have strong necks. Barring that, get a GOOD child resistant lock for the door or if you can’t find one of those, a hook and eye up where only adults can reach can keep your kiddo out of the bathroom and two small drill holes are easy peasy to patch in a couple years.

Cleaning toilets is one of those adulthood sucks kind of things. It’s not fun and there’s no big reward for having a clean toilet.  Most of you know that I rarely recommend convenience products. This is one of those rare exceptions.

Learn more: How To Clean Up After A Toilet Overflows

Each morning, sweep the bathroom. Due to the temperature of your cold water, toilets often sweat. The hair and other bathroom gook likes to stick to the damp surface. If you are diligent in getting the hair and random fuzz balls out of the bathroom there is less stuff to stick to the base of the toilet, in general.

Put the lid down when you flush. Every time you flush the toilet some of the funk in the toilet is splashed, in very tiny particles, into the air where it hangs out until it finds place to land, usually onto the toilet itself, but some can drift a few feet away. Keep your toothbrushes in the medicine cabinet, folks.

When men pee¹ they splash. The splashed liquid is a combination of urine and water which wipes up easily, if taken care of immediately, but if allowed to evaporate the ammonium salts left behind leave a nice little treat referred to as urine scale. Nice.

The best way to keep this from building up and becoming a nice, sticky germ ridden place is a regular wipe down.

Learn moreHow To Clean A Very Dirty Toilet 

You could keep a spray bottle of diluted vinegar and a collection of rags to wipe down the toilet each morning. You don’t have to do a super thorough cleaning, just a wipe down of the lid, underside of the lid, seat, under side of the seat, rim, and base. Since you’ve swept, there shouldn’t be a coating of hair to make this any more than a quick wipe.

Since you have a soon-to-be busy toddler to protect from herself, I highly suggest the disposable wipes. I recently picked up some Clorox Green Works  Compostable² wipes from Target just to see how well they worked -do you appreciate my level of commitment to you guys- and I was impressed. They work well and there’s a lower level of guilt with these than other disposable wipes.

bathroom cleaning
Tips to keep your bathroom squeaky clean!

Seventh Generation also has a similar product², but I haven’t tried it and I’m not sure if the Seventh Generation Wipes are compostable or not; additionally the chemical in these wipes is a potential irritant (this isn’t a big deal, but if you have sensitive skin, you may be better off with the alternative).

I’m sorry there’s no magic way to keep your toilet sparkling clean. Regular maintenance is your best bet. Sweep, wipe, go.

Learn more: How To Get Hard Water Deposits Out Of A Toilet

I promise, your child won’t be fascinated with toilet forever. As soon as they are potty trained the porcelain throne loses much of its appeal.

Send your questions to

¹Urinate really didn’t sound any better and all I can think of is the Little Johnny Joke – Urinate. Teacher, you’re an eight, but if you . . .

²Affiliate link

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Sharing is caring!

7 thoughts on “The Unappreciated Importance of Regular Toilet Cleaning”

  1. I don't even bother with a rag. I have a bottle of vinegar spray in the bathroom – I spritz and wipe the bolt covers, the back area with the hinges, the seat and the handle with a wad of toilet paper and then flush. It takes about 5 seconds- but with 4 boys (and 3 girls) using it I have to keep up with it every day.

  2. I use a similar technique to MileHiMama – flushable wipes that we have available for our almost-4-yr-old who is using the big potty exclusively now (and "wiping" himself). A quick wipedown whenever I think of it gets the worst of the gunk off (even when done without the disinfecting powers of vinegar), then the wipe gets flushed. I don't know how that compares in "green" terms to compostable wipes, but it sure seems less icky to me.

  3. If you have forced air heat, you can often close the vent in the bathroom to minimize the dust. I've never found it to get cold, most are pretty small rooms as it is. This helps keep the dust/hair/dander down, too.

  4. Not too long ago, I caught my son and his friend having a sword fight with (ack!) toilet brushes which we kept in the handy-dandy little caddy behind the toilets. Those have now gone away, thank you very much. For a while we tried the flushable cleaners but they really don't clean as well. As much as I hate to use disposable stuff too, I keep a container of Scrubbing Bubbles flushable wipes under the counter for the "splashes"

  5. Actually, the best way to avoid “urine scale” from the splashed pee + water is to teach the boys (of all ages) to pee like a civilized human being:

    Maybe making them (big or small) clean the toilet will convince them it’s easier / better to sit.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.