Nobody likes cleaning the toilet; it just isn’t a pleasant job. In fact, it can be downright disgusting, but that’s why it needs to be done. An unclean toilet is very unpleasant to behold, plus it can give off nasty odours and worse still, spread bacteria. This is no state to live in and certainly not something you want guests to see.
Fortunately, cleaning the toilet isn’t hard or even that time consuming, but it is best to do it right. The correct method will prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses and make the whole process faster and easier. Let’s take a look at the things you need and how to clean a stained toilet properly.
You may also be interested in learning how to unblock a toilet without a plunger.
What You Need
Before you get started, there are a few things you need. Using the right tools will really make this job more pleasant and quicker, plus it’s important to do the job right to prevent the spread of disease. The following items will make this task simpler and more hygienic, plus they make a useful kit for all future cleaning.
- Gloves – You should use a dedicated pair of gloves for this job- not the same gloves you use for any other tasks like cleaning the kitchen! This is essential for limiting the spread of bacteria. Buy waterproof, rubber gloves that will keep your hands completely safe.
- Goggles or Glasses – It really can’t hurt to have a pair of basic plastic goggles or glasses for this job. These will prevent any unpleasant splashing from getting in your eyes, both to prevent infection but also because toilet cleaners can be harsh chemicals.
- Toilet Brush – A toilet brush with firm bristles is best, as you really need to scrub to clean the toilet properly. A brush on a short stick can be bought from most supermarkets.
- Toilet Cleaner – A good cleaner is not too hard to find in a supermarket. It should be chlorine bleach or contain bleach, with disinfectant properties. Most are also scented but this is not essential, the key is to disinfect the toilet and remove smell-causing bacteria. Many will also have directions on the bottle to tell you how to clean a stained toilet properly.
- Cloth or Paper Towels – Some towels or a cleaning cloth is ideal for cleaning the outer area of the toilet, which again should be dedicated to this task or disposed of afterwards, not used in any other room.
- Disinfectant Spray or Wipes – A disinfectant spray is perfect for a more thorough cleaning job on the outer area, or any surfaces not easily cleaned in the bowl itself. Wipes can do the same job and are easy to find in local stores.
- Disposable Mouth Cover Masks – For a seriously deep clean, a mouth cover mask will give you a little more protection. The main benefit here is cutting out odours and protecting you from the heady fumes of bleach.
How to Clean the Toilet Bowl
The bowl is almost certainly going to be the main area that needs a good clean. It’s vital to clear this area properly, to prevent build-up of stains and bacteria. A clean toilet bowl will make the bathroom far more pleasant to use and suitable for guests.
- Prepare – Put on your gloves and any other protective clothing for the eye or mouth, such as goggles. It’s very easy to forget! Do this before starting anything to ensure that you get the benefit of their protection. Not only do you want to avoid any contamination from splashing water, but the cleaning chemicals used can be very harsh on skin.
- Apply Cleaner – Most will be designed to be squirted, so you can simply aim the bottle downwards at the bowl and squeeze it to squirt toilet cleaner into the bowl. Remember to cover the entire area, starting up at the rim, which is easy to miss because it isn’t visible, but could be a hotbed for bacteria. Check the instructions on your cleaning fluid, in case it recommends any particular method.
- Scrub – After giving the bleach a minute or two to begin working, the toilet brush comes into play. You should scrub the whole area as thoroughly as possible, but watch out for mineral stains, particularly at water level and down the back where water flows. You can use the water in the bowl to wet your brush and get some suds from the cleaning fluid. Make sure the rim is scrubbed too.
- Flush – Now you simply need to flush the toilet, to wash away any leftover fluid. You can continue to scrub as it flushes, making the most of the flow of fresh water. The water itself will not always rinse away all the dirt. Watch out for splashing when you do this. Finally, you can repeat these steps as often as needed to get the toilet nice and clean.
How to Clean the Toilet Seat and the Outside
Cleaning the toilet seat and the outer areas of the toilet is very important. It’s easy to forget this after cleaning the bowl, which is where stains are most obvious, but bacteria and dirt can build up anywhere. Dust is also an issue for toilet seats.
- Wipe – To begin, it may be worth simply wiping down the seat and toilet with a cloth and hot water, to loosen any dirt. Begin from the cistern and work down, paying attention to the nooks and crannies which rarely get cleaned. When cleaning the seat itself, remember to lift it and clean both sides, as bacteria and stains can accumulate out of sight.
- Disinfect – Use a disinfectant cleaner to properly clean the same areas again. A spray cleaner is simple to use but wipes are a little more direct, as you can tell exactly what has been cleaned. Again, pay attention to the out-of-sight areas. Pay special attention to anything that gets touched, such as the flush button or handle. You may want to wipe down again quickly with a paper towel to remove leftover disinfectant.
How to Clean the Toilet Brush
Cleaning the toilet brush is a vital step that many people leave out, having dealt with the toilet itself and keen to be finished with the job. However, the toilet brush will gather dirt and bacteria in the process of removing it from the toilet, so you don’t want this hanging around and causing more smells.
- Prepare – The easiest way to clean a toilet brush is by letting it soak, so put a little water into small bucket (or the container the brush comes in). Add a little bleach, soap or disinfectant to the water, diluting it, as it does not need to be full strength.
- Soak and Clean – Place the brush in this solution and simply leave it for an hour or so, letting any dirt weaken and fall off. Then, the easiest way to rinse off the brush and leave it clean is to use the toilet itself, running the brush under the toilet flush.
Toilet Cleaning Tips
Here are a few other tips to bear in mind when cleaning the toilet:
Alternative Toilet Cleaners
If you prefer not to use bleach or want to save money, there are other things you can use. Vinegar will remove stains – around 3 cups in the bowl will do the trick. You can also use fizzy cola drinks, which contain acids that kill bacteria and the fizziness will loosen stains. These methods may not defeat bad odours, however.
Avoid Using Sponges
A cloth or disposable tower is preferable to a sponge, as they can gather and retain bacteria. It could be very unsanitary to use a sponge and keep it for future use. If you use a cloth, ensure that it is cleaned afterwards with hot water and bleach, by itself.
Avoid Using a Metal Scourer
A toilet brush or scouring pad should always be plastic, not metal. Metal brushes may offer more scrubbing power, but they are too harsh for the toilet porcelain and will leave scratches. In turn, these scratches will gather dirt and bacteria.
Avoid Using the Brush For the Outer Toilet
Never use the toilet brush to clean other parts of the toilet, as this will only spread bacteria from the bowl to the outside of the toilet. The stiff bristles are likely to spray particles and water onto other surfaces.
After cleaning a toilet, there are several ways to ensure that the air stays fresh. Supermarkets sell simple air fresheners that can be left on a shelf, or discs that stick to the toilet itself and keep it fresh by releasing a cleaning agent with each flush.
Store Cleaners Safely
Toilet cleaning agents contain very strong chemicals, which should be kept out of reach of children and pets at all times. Store them somewhere safe and check the bottles for any special instructions (such as keeping out of direct sunlight).