How to Clean a Toilet

You might think you know how to clean a toilet...but are you doing it the right way? This is the most effective method.

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It may be one of your least favorite jobs, but there’s no getting around it—the toilet must be cleaned (at least weekly!). We’re here to show you how to do it quickly and efficiently so your toilet is sparkling clean, sanitized and ready for guests to use.

When you’re done with the toilet, finish the whole room. Here’s how to clean your bathroom, step by step (with a printable checklist!).

How to Clean a Toilet

  • Step 1: Squirt toilet bowl cleaner inside the toilet, coating the whole bowl and under the rim.
  • Step 2: Let the cleaner sit for 10 minutes to work its magic. While it sits, tackle the exterior of the toilet.
  • Step 3: Fill the bathroom sink or a bucket with hot water (about a gallon), then add 1/2 cup of bleach.
  • Step 4: Dip a microfiber cloth in the bleach and water mixture and squeeze out excess.
  • Step 5: Use the damp cloth to wipe down the exterior of the toilet from top to bottom, cleaning the seat and lid last (and don’t forget the handle!).
  • Step 6: Spray Clorox Bathroom Cleaner wherever you see extra buildup, like at the bottom of the toilet or on the seat bolts (many toilets have covers that pop off so you can thoroughly clean the attachments). Let the product sit, then wipe or scrub as needed.
  • Step 7: Go back to the interior of the toilet bowl where you left cleaner to sit, scrub with a toilet brush, and flush.

How to Remove Hard Water Stains

If your toilet always has a gray ring marking the water line, you probably have hard water. It can be extremely hard to remove and won’t come off with regular toilet brush scrubbing. Instead, you’ll need a secret weapon: a Pumie Scouring Stick.

This abrasive pumice stone stick scrubs away the hard water ring, without scratching the ceramic bowl. Once you use it, you’ll never go back! First wet the stick, then rub the edge of the stick on the hard water line with back and forth strokes. The paste buildup helps to clean and polish. Once the ring is gone, flush to rinse away paste and residue.

The Cleaning Tools Pros Use

  • Toilet Bowl Cleaner with Bleach: A clinging gel that kills 99.9% of bacteria.
  • Toilet Brush: The genius design of this crescent-shaped brush is great for reaching under the rim.
  • Microfiber Cloths: These won’t stain from bleach, and will smoothly wipe all the nooks and crannies on the exterior of your toilet.
  • Clorox Bathroom Cleaner: Sometimes you need to spray a cleaning product on toilet build-up and let it sit for a few minutes before you wipe.
  • Pumie Scouring Stick: The most effective tool for hard water stains.

Erica Young
Erica is a cleaning and home décor expert. She knows exactly how to tidy a filthy kitchen and straighten out a mixed-up pantry! When she's not writing you'll find her organizing a closet, buying more bins she doesn't need or bingeing her latest TV show obsession.