No one likes to clean the toilet. While other household tasks allow us to keep our distance from dirt and grime, scrubbing the bathroom requires getting up close and personal with one of the grossest places in the home. To make this chore easier, it’s helpful to tackle it with an efficient game plan so you can complete it quickly. If you don’t have one yet, fear not. We asked cleaning experts how to clean the toilet and keep it sparkling. Read on for their number one tip—plus, their cleaning tutorial from start to finish.
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Cleaning your toilet regularly is key to maintaining a hygienic home. “Doing so minimizes the build-up of germs and bacteria that can be detrimental to your health—especially if you’ve got small kids or immunocompromised people who live in your household,” says Diana Rodriguez-Zaba, president of Chicago-based home and business cleaning company ServiceMaster.
That said, you’ll want to clean the toilet at least once a week, suggests Rodriguez-Zaba. If you’re short on time and can’t complete an in-depth clean, simply scrub the inside of the toilet with a commercial toilet bowl cleaner for one minute and wipe down the seat and other parts of the toilet with a disinfecting wipe. This will keep your toilet nicely maintained so you never have to expend too much effort scrubbing old stains.
There’s one household item that several of our cleaning experts recommended for keeping your toilet sparkling clean: hydrogen peroxide. You can use this product to disinfect your toilet in between deep cleans and for scrubbing stubborn stains.
Hydrogen peroxide is best used in between deep cleanings as a disinfectant. It’s a great alternative to bleach and kills bacteria, fungi, and viruses, according to the Cleveland Clinic. “Simply spray your toilet bowl with hydrogen peroxide and let it sit for a few minutes before flushing to maintain cleanliness and freshness,” says Leanne Stapf, chief operating officer and cleaning expert with The Cleaning Authority. Wipe with a microfiber cloth or paper towel for an instant refresh.
For tough stains, you’ll need to let things sit longer. Rodriguez-Zaba recommends adding around 1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide to the toilet bowl and using a bowl brush to evenly distribute the solution around the toilet. Let the hydrogen peroxide sit for 30 minutes and then flush.
For deep clean days, this method will help you get your toilet sparkling clean, says Adriana Aziz, operations manager for the home cleaning service MaidForYou. First, add 1/4 cup of borax into the toilet and swish it around using water and your toilet brush. Then, add a cup of vinegar and let the solution sit for 20 minutes.
While the solution sits, use a disinfectant spray on the other parts of your toilet. “This includes the toilet seat and cistern,” says Aziz. “Don’t forget to clean underneath the toilet seat, as this is one of the dirtiest areas of the toilet.” Once the borax and vinegar have had time to sit, use a toilet brush to scrub the inside of the bowl. Flush the toilet and it should be sparkling clean.
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After you’re done scrubbing your toilet, you might be tempted to put away your supplies and get out of cleaning mode. Not so fast! Rodriguez-Zaba notes you’ll want to set your brush aside to care for it properly (and hygienically). “The biggest mistake I see is people scrubbing their bowl and putting the brush right back in its holder,” she says. “This will eventually make the brush very grimy and gross because it will be submerged in stagnant water that’s full of bacteria.” Instead, allow the brush to air dry by propping it between the toilet and toilet seat for about an hour. That way, you’ll have a sparkling clean toilet and toilet brush—so each clean can be just as effective as the last.
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