How to Properly Clean a Toilet

Person Cleaning a Toilet

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Cleaning a toilet can be a very disgusting chore, but at least it's uncomplicated, right? Actually, there is a right way to begin cleaning a toilet. The right way prevents the spread of bacteria and viruses. The right way of cleaning a toilet also saves time and energy. Find out the right way to get your toilet clean.

Remove Everything From Around the Toilet

Cleaning the toilet is a messy job, and there's always the chance of splashing cleaner or toilet water outside of the actual toilet. Prevent extra cleanup by removing all excess items from around the toilet. Don't forget to remove anything on top of the tank to prevent dropping items into the bowl during cleaning.

Flush and Add Cleaning Solution

Flush the toilet with the lid down to prevent splashing or spraying. Add your choice of powdered, liquid, or gel cleanser to the bowl. Try to apply the cleaner as close to the toilet rim as possible to prevent diluted cleanser.

Clean the Exterior of the Toilet

While the cleansing solution soaks into the toilet grime in the bowl, clean the outside of the toilet. Start at the top to prevent dripping on already clean surfaces. Spray the tank, handle, and tank edges with cleaner and wipe down. Next, do the outside lid of the toilet. Finally, wipe down the entire bowl. Start with the sides and front before cleaning the bottom edges of the toilet where it meets the floor.

how to clean a toilet
 Illustration: © The Spruce, 2018

Clean the Toilet Seat

The toilet seat should never be neglected. It is the part of the toilet that comes into actual contact with people, and it needs to be cleaned thoroughly. Raise the seat. Spray the seat, inside lid and the rim of the toilet with cleaner. Wipe down the lid, seat, and hinges at the back of the toilet seat. Some toilets have hinges that will pop open to allow better access for cleaning.

Clean the Inside of the Toilet Bowl

Begin cleaning the bowl from the top down. Always begin scrubbing under the rim first. Look under the rim to get all the stains and grime scrubbed away. Next, scrub the bowl. Finally, scrub the hole at the bottom of the toilet. Flush the toilet with the lid down.

Wipe up Any Drips or Spills

Wipe up any drips of cleanser or water that may have occurred. Put away tools and trash. Replace the items removed in step 1. Enjoy a clean toilet.


  • Wear eye protection when cleaning a toilet. It prevents splatters of toilet water and cleaner. You may also want to use gloves to prevent contact with your hands.
  • Flush the toilet with the seat lid down to prevent splattering and splashing.
  • Do not use sponges when you scrub a toilet. Sponges are a great way to breed bacteria, and there are already enough in the bathroom. Paper towels are great options because they are thrown away. If you use reusable cloths, wash them immediately in their own load in hot water with bleach.

What You Need

  • Goggles or glasses
  • Toilet brush
  • Gloves
  • Cleanser for the inside of the bowl
  • Cleanser for outside of the toilet
  • Paper towels or cloths