The Ultimate Guide to Cleaning a Toilet

Updated on December 15, 2022 by Joseph D. Nielson

Table of Contents

Your home is full of important rooms, each with its own unique purpose. There’s the kitchen, also known as the heart of the home. Your bedrooms offer a peaceful escape. Living rooms are a gathering place for friends and family to enjoy. Last but certainly not least is your bathrooms.

Your bathrooms, and more specifically your toilets, are an essential part of the home. The key to make your bathroom look spotless is to regularly clean your toilet bowl and tank to ensure your family and welcomed guests feel comfortable entering the space.

In this guide, we’ll help you learn the right tricks to sanitize your home like a pro, starting with one of the most important rooms in your home — the bathroom, and more specifically, your toilet. Read on to learn about our toilet cleaning hacks and tips for efficient toilet cleaning.

Why is it Important to Learn How to Clean a Toilet?

Learning how to clean a toilet tank and bowl is an essential part of home maintenance and should be regularly carried out to ensure this important piece of the home is both sanitary and inviting for homeowners and guests.

There are several benefits and advantages to learning how to clean a toilet in your home, including:

Eliminating Bacteria

It’s no secret a bathroom is one of the dirtiest spots in the house, which is why regular maintenance and cleaning your toilet is essential for a healthy household. Cleaning your toilet bowl and tank with either a baking soda and vinegar solution or a bleached-based product is the most effective way to eliminate bacteria that can accumulate in your bathroom.

Grout Mold

In the majority of bathrooms, tile is the most commonly used material for dawning floors, backsplashes, and shower interiors. While tile is often easy to clean, grout mold can accumulate if you’re unable to regularly clean in between your tiles, especially around your toilet where we’re less likely to clean.

Cleaning out bathroom mold is fairly simple, although it’s important to ensure the products you’re using won’t damage the existing tile. Ensure you’re wearing protective gloves and safety glasses to protect your eyes from potential splashback. If you’re looking for a more natural solution, distilled vinegar is a great cleaning agent that won’t discolor the tiles around your toilet, shower, and anywhere else in your bathroom.

Removing Stains

Stains can build up on any surface if left unattended for too long, and the same goes for the toilets in your home. Understanding how to clean a toilet bowl is crucial to keeping this key piece of your home clean, bacteria-free, and looking presentable for family and guests.

To remove stains effectively, you can either choose the DIY route which will involve mixing baking soda and vinegar or, if you’re looking for a heavy-duty option, professional-grade cleaners can be found at your local hardware store.

Common Toilet Stains

Calcium Build-Up

Over time, white-colored or rusty deposits can accumulate in your toilet bowl and can stain the lower bowl known as calcium build-up. It’s often the side effect of water that is rich in minerals and when they accumulate, they form a chalky rim that is both unappealing and unhygienic.


If you’ve noticed dark brown or red stains in and around your toilet, you’ve likely accumulated rust. Rust often indicates high levels of iron in the water which may not pose any health risks to your family but could be the result of older pipes that may need replacing.

Hard Water

Hard water is one of the most common issues homeowners face and can affect multiple surfaces in the home, particularly in areas such as showers and toilet bowls. Hard water contains a significant amount of dissolved minerals including magnesium and calcium and is one of the most ​​important duties when cleaning a bathroom. Eliminating hard water spots ensures your toilets are equally sanitary and inviting.

How to Clean a Stained Toilet: Products & Tips

Understanding how to clean a stained toilet is the first step to protecting the health and well-being of your family and welcomed guests. With our ​​tips on how to keep your home fresh, you can ensure each bathroom in your home is spotless and bacteria-free, using these effective tools and tips.

Baking Soda & Vinegar

If you’re looking for a simple, DIY-style alternative to strong, chemical-based cleaners then baking soda and vinegar are your go-to. These two ingredients — which you’ll find at any supermarket — can help you learn how to clean a badly stained toilet with ease.

The first step is adding a cup of vinegar to your toilet bowl and mixing it with a toilet brush before letting it sit for approximately one minute. Next, add a cup of baking soda followed by another one to two cups of vinegar which will create a fizzing action. This should sit for 10 minutes. Using your toilet brush, ensure you scrub any stains and reach every corner of the toilet bowl, especially any stains above the waterline. After letting this sit for 30 minutes, conduct one final scrub to ensure you’ve reached every stain before flushing the toilet and rinsing the solution away.

Bleached-Based Cleaner

If you’re looking for something stronger, a bleached-based cleaner will do the trick. Bleach is a powerful addition to any cleaning product and is helpful when you’re learning how to clean a very stained toilet bowl. When looking for store-bought products, look for products that are specifically designed for your toilet bowl. While you can mix your own bleach solution, you may find it easier to purchase a ready-made solution so you don’t have to worry about adding too much bleach.

Drill Brush

While this tool isn’t used inside a toilet, a drill brush can help clean your tiles around the tank itself. Grout and dirt can build up in between your tiles and this type of brush is powered and designed to effectively get rid of stubborn stains. Our drill brush reviews can help you find the right product for your home and budget.

Frequently Asked Questions About How to Clean a Toilet

Why is cleaning your toilet regularly important?

The bathrooms in any home often see the most use out of any other room in the home and over time, dirt, grime, and additional build-ups can occur through daily usage. Regularly cleaning your bathroom is key to maintaining a healthy and inviting restroom.

Your toilets, in particular, are without question essential in your home and require regular stain removal and disinfecting to ensure germs and bacteria are eliminated and the toilet itself is able to function properly for those living in the home and you welcome guests. With regular toilet maintenance, you can flush your fears goodbye.

How to clean toilet stains

Over time, your toilet can procure various stains, water marks, and grime if it’s not properly maintained. Cleaning rust and hard water stains from the toilet tank is crucial to ensuring everyone using your washrooms feels secure and clean.

When it comes to learning how to clean a toilet in your home, there are several options at your disposal.

Baking Soda & Vinegar

Combining baking soda and vinegar is a simple DIY solution that any homeowner can use. Start with two cups of white vinegar and pour around the edges of the bowl, allowing it to settle at the bottom. 

Next, add a few tablespoons of baking soda and ensure it’s all over the bowl. The reaction between the baking soda and vinegar should be a buildup that doesn’t damage the porcelain. 

With a bristle toilet brush or cloth, combine both together into stained areas to loosen and polish the bowl. With a final flush, you’ve successfully cleaned your toilet using affordable supermarket products.

Bleached-Based Products

If you’re looking for a toilet cleaner that doesn’t require any work on your part, a store-bought, bleached-based cleaner is your best option. Ensure you select a product that is specified for toilets and follow the instructions on the packaging for maximum effect.

How to clean a toilet with vinegar

Vinegar is a multi-purpose liquid that can be used for a variety of cleaning solutions including a DIY toilet bowl cleaner and is considered one of the best toilet stain removers for homeowners. Simply add half a cup of vinegar to the bowl and let it stand for five minutes before flushing.

If you’re dealing with hard water, the vinegar may have to sit for upwards of an hour before being scrubbed clean. Lastly, if stains persist, add half a cup of Borax to the water, mix it with your toilet brush and let it soak overnight.

What is the most hygienic way to clean a toilet?

When it comes to cleaning the toilets in your home, approaching it with the most hygienic tools and tricks will ensure your health isn’t compromised.

To clean your toilet the proper way, start with protective gloves and eyewear for potential splashback. Using a disinfectant wipe or a spray and a paper towel, wipe the outside of the tank and bowl, especially on common areas like the handle and the seat.

You can then select the cleaning products that are right for your bathroom, whether you prefer a simple DIY solution or a professional, bleach-based product.

Which products are best for cleaning a toilet?

There are two types of cleaning products you can choose from to rid the toilets in your home of stains and bacteria — store-bought products and DIY solutions.

If your toilets are relatively clean and are free of stains and hard watermarks, a simple mixture of baking soda and vinegar will do the trick. If you’ve noticed rust or stains in the bowl, you may wish to use a bleach-based solution to ensure you can effectively get rid of stubborn marks.

How often should I clean my toilet?

Our bathrooms are one of, if not the most commonly used areas of our homes. It’s important to clean the toilets in your home regularly, which is at least once a week, to ensure they are bacteria-free and inviting for everyone to use.

Is there an eco-friendly way to clean the toilet?

Absolutely! There are plenty of natural, DIY solutions that you can utilize to clean your toilet and the rest of your bathroom without harmful chemicals.

With two simple ingredients, baking soda and vinegar, you can rid your toilet of bacteria, hard watermarks, and other stubborn stains. Start with a half-cup of vinegar and let it sit in the bowl for a minute before adding a half-cup of baking soda and combining it with your toilet brush. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes, and swish the mixture around with your brush, ensuring you’ve gotten under the rim of the bowl and along the sides.

Once everything has been combined, you can simply flush and your toilet looks as good as new.

How to clean a toilet brush

While cleaning the toilet itself is crucial, it’s important not to neglect the tools you use to clean the toilet — specifically, the toilet brush. Your toilet brush holds all of the germs that you’ve eliminated from the bowl and should be disinfected to ensure optimal cleanliness.

When you’ve finished using the brush, spray disinfectant on the head and let it sit for a minute or two before rinsing with hot water, either in your shower or bathtub. Don’t forget the basin where the toilet brush stands to ensure no bacteria is able to linger.


When it comes to cleaning and maintaining the toilets in your home, it’s all about consistency. At Fresh Home Guide, we provide you with the tools and tricks to maintain your home in an easy and efficient way. Our ultimate guide to cleaning your home’s toilets has everything you need to get started.

Joseph and Family
About Joseph D. Nielson

Former journalist and editor for various press groups, I now dedicate my time to reviewing products for the home and family life. When I get time to myself, I enjoy rock climbing, taking my dirt bike for a rip, and most importantly providing my family with the best home possible!