How to Clean a Toilet Bowl Properly and Remove Stains

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Cleaning your toilet is an unavoidable chore that needs to be tackled properly from time to time. However, knowing the correct way to clean your toilet bowl can make this chore a breeze and save you on time, money, and materials. 

In this walkthrough, we’ll show you how to properly clean each part of your toilet bowl, as well as tips and tricks on removing various types of stains. Scroll down for our recommended commercial toilet cleaners, and when should you opt for commercial cleaning versus DIY methods.

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Gathering Your Cleaning Supplies

Before you take on the task of scrubbing your toilet bowl clean, you’ll need a few supplies and tools to help you carry out this task. We recommend the following tools and supplies:

  • Set of Powerful Disinfectant Wipes or Spray
  • Sturdy Set of Cleaning Gloves
  • Paper Towels
  • Stellar Commercial or Homemade Toilet Bowl Cleaner (see our recommendations below)
  • Toilet Brush With Stiff Bristles
  • Pumice Stone Stick for Scrubbing
  • Baking Soda Powder

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Cleaning Toilet Bowl: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Clean Toilet Rim

The toilet rim can get pretty dirty with constant exposure to moisture, as well as dirt and waste that passes through the toilet. Use strong cleaning solutions to combat germs that thrive on the rim of the toilet bowl. 

Clean a toilet rim using a disinfectant wipe for regular cleaning, or brush using a stain remover for heavy stains and dirt. A disinfectant cleaner, like bleach, can hit two birds with one stone by cleaning out stains and grime, while disinfecting the surface at the same time.

How to Clean Toilet Seat

Use especially mild products for cleaning the toilet seat, as this is what normally comes in contact with our skin. Avoid using harsh chemical cleaners, and opt instead to go for safe, DIY methods.

Create a safe, homemade cleaner using mild dish soap diluted with water, and use this mixture to wipe the toilet seat clean. Disinfect with 70% rubbing alcohol or any skin-safe disinfectant, and dry. Don’t forget to clean the toilet bowl lid using the same method. 

How to Clean Under Rim of Toilet

Under the rim of the toilet thrives a plethora of bacteria, mold, and viruses that can make you sick. As one of the most overlooked areas in cleaning a toilet, under the rim of a toilet bowl can get particularly nasty. 

Use a gel cleaner to get under the rim of the toilet. A gel cleaner will stick to the surface, allowing the cleaning solution to penetrate deep into dirt and grime. Use a hard-bristled brush to scrub away at the dirt, and rinse out the solution to finish the cleaning process.

Cleaning the Toilet Bowl

As the main component, cleaning the toilet bowl is the most essential part of bathroom upkeep. Constant exposure to waste, coupled with the bathroom’s humid environment, creates the perfect place for bacteria and viruses to multiply. Clean your toilet bowl often to prevent disease and maintain a sparkling clean bathroom.

  1. Begin cleaning by applying a healthy dose of toilet bowl cleaner into the bowl and allow the liquid to soak. If using homemade liquids such as vinegar, use only a cup of the solution, and swirl it around the bowl using a brush.
  1. After the cleaning agent has soaked in, use an all-purpose disinfectant and spray the exterior of the toilet thoroughly. If the exterior is extremely dirty, conduct a preliminary wipe-down using a set of paper towels.
  1. You can now use a scrub or a sponge to clean the exterior of the toilet thoroughly. While you’re scrubbing the toilet, this would also be a good time to clean the base and floor of the area around the toilet. This is because these regions carry a lot of dirt and grime, and cleaning it from time to time is absolutely necessary as well.
  1. After you’ve finished cleaning the exterior thoroughly, you can now use a toilet brush to give the interior of the bowl a scrubbing. This is when the pumice stone will come in handy. Use the rough surface of the pumice stone to get all the dirt out of the interior of the toilet.
  1. Give your toilet a flush to ‘rinse’ it out, and let it dry before using.

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How to Clean a Stained Toilet Bowl

Toilet looking gross? Of all the possible situations to tackle when cleaning the bathroom, a stained toilet bowl has to be the worst. The following guide will help you tackle this challenge effectively, and clear out any type of staining imaginable - from yellowed rings to stubborn stains.

Yellow Stains

Although it may sound gross, yellow stains are actually caused by limestone deposits from hard water used in your toilets. These stains are naturally yellow, but can also have been stained by regular use of the toilet without proper cleaning. 

  1. You can combat yellow stains with an effective DIY ingredient: Vinegar. Vinegar’s acidic properties can dissolve and clear out the lime scale that causes yellow stains. Simply add in a cup of vinegar and allow it to sit.
  1. Brush away the remaining grime, and flush the toilet to ‘rinse’ out the vinegar. Disinfect the toilet and allow it to dry completely before using.

Toilet Rings

Brown or black rings circling the bowl of your toilet? Those toilet rings are the work of iron oxide, better known as rust, and can be an unsightly thing to see when cleaning your bathroom.

  1. To remove toilet rings, create a stellar cleaning spray using ¾ cup of borax, and 1 cup of distilled vinegar. Apply the solution to the toilet bowl, focusing on the rings and other stains.
  1. Let the mixture sit for 1 hour. Brush away the toilet rings and flush the toilet to ‘rinse’ it out.

Stubborn/Tough Stains

Sometimes, no matter what you use and how hard you scrub, that stain is there to stay. But don’t lose hope. We’ll teach you a clever hack on how to get rid of even the toughest stains.

  1. Bleach does wonders for more than just whitening our clothes, it also disinfects, lifts, and removes stains in even the toughest spots. To clean stubborn stains using bleach, grab a commercial bleach gel, or make your own, and apply liberally to stained areas.
  1. Allow the bleach gel to sit for 10-15 minutes before scrubbing away at the loosened stain. Flush the toilet to rinse it out.

Make Your Own: Place 4 tablespoons of cornstarch into a pot with 2 cups of water. Heat on the stove until the mixture is a thick slurry. Remove from heat, add in 6 tablespoons of bleach, and transfer to a bottle with a spout tip.

Hard Water Stains

Surprisingly, Coca-Cola provides a quick fix for those hard water stains! Coca-cola has citric acid, carbonic acid, and phosphoric acid that softens trace minerals and lifts them away.

  1. Pour warm Coca-Cola into your toilet bowl, making sure to get the soda around the inside of the bowl, and under the rim. 
  1. Leave the solution to work its magic for two hours or up to overnight for best results. Afterwards, use a toilet brush to scrub away loosened stains. Make sure to also flush the toilet and repeat this step if necessary.

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How to Disinfect a Toilet Bowl

A toilet bowl doesn’t just have to be clean, it has to be rid of the germs and bacteria we don’t physically see. Disinfecting your toilet bowl is another step to a healthier home life.

  1. Utilize a special disinfectant made for bathrooms for this process. A quality brand such as Lysol All-Purpose Cleaner is effective in disinfecting all surfaces, including heavily-grimed areas like toilets.
  1. Allow the disinfectant to sit for at least 10-30 minutes in order to eliminate all the bacteria and germs. The longer you let the solution stay and sit on the surface, the better.
  1. In order to maximize the effectiveness of the cleaner, make sure to use a disinfectant wipe on the surface of the toilet before using the spray.
  1. Start disinfecting the toilet by focusing on the exterior first. Begin with the base of the toilet and make your way up to the lid. Make sure to spray plenty of disinfectant underneath the toilet and on the sides as well. Also cover the region between the tank and the toilet seat.
  1. Next, you can spray both sides of the lid, beginning with the exterior first. This is because you’ll need to leave the lid up to re-apply the spray. 
  1. Finish spraying both the sides of the seat completely, after which you can lower the toilet seat back on the toilet. As you wait for the disinfectant to dry, focus on other areas of the toilet. This includes the flush handle as well. 
  1. After you complete spraying the entire toilet, allow the disinfectant to sit for at least 10 minutes. Now, you can use the paper towels or a clean sponge to wipe the surface down and remove all signs of condensation.
  1. Flush the toilet one last time and you’re done!

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How Often Should You Clean the Toilet Bowl?

Toilet bowls require regular maintenance, as they are used frequently and are in contact with a lot of waste. Ideally, you should be cleaning your toilet bowl every day. Using solutions you can let sit to do the cleaning for you is a time-efficient way of disinfecting your toilet, or simply brushing the inside of your toilet bowl and under the rim can already help keep it clean. 

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5 Best Toilet Bowl Cleaners 2021

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The Throne Needs Cleaning

The porcelain throne of a home is one product that’s constantly under use. As this is a permanent germ-risk situation, it pays to always flush the toilet and clean the whole area thoroughly from time to time. 

We are hopeful that these toilet cleaning steps and tips will allow you to do exactly this and ensure that the throne is left sparkling for every user at home!

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