How to clean a toilet: top tips for easy and efficient cleaning

Learn how to clean a toilet for fresh and odour free results in a matter of minutes – this is the easiest approach we've tried

how to clean a toilet: traditional bathroom with patterned monochrome floor, light bluie walls and brick wall
(Image credit: Matt Clayton)

Knowing how to clean a toilet effectively is pretty essential. But, it's fair to say that cleaning the toilet is that job that no-one wants to do... Whether you’re house proud or not, it will always be at the bottom (sorry) of your housework to-do list. 

However, if you know a few little tricks, what can seem like a gross job will be over as quickly and as efficiently as possible. And if you keep on top of it, the job won't seem as overwhelming. Keep scrolling for the most effective way to keep your toilet sparkling, from banishing stains to finding out how to remove limescale.

For the best toilet cleaners for the job, head over to our buyer's guide. We've also got more cleaning hacks and tips on our hub page. 

How to clean a toilet

To clean your toilet effectively, we'd recommend making sure you have the following essentials:

How to remove stains from your toilet

Always read the cleaning product instructions before you start cleaning your toilet, taking appropriate safety measures such as wearing rubber gloves.

1. Lift up the toilet seat and squirt your toilet cleaner around the rim and the sides. A strong bleach based cleaner is great to tackle germs, but if your toilet is covered in limescale stains you’ll need a cleaner with limescale-fighting properties such as Domestos Zero Toilet Limescale Remover.

2. Next scrub your toilet with the toilet brush making sure the cleaning solution reaches every nook and cranny, including the u-bend.

3. Leave your toilet cleaner of choice to work for approximately 20–30 minutes. 

4. After the allocated time give the toilet one more scrub with the toilet brush to loosen any particularly stubborn stains.

5. Flush the toilet and voila!

How to clean a toilet using cola

What to know how to clean a toilet without using store bought cleaning products? Well did you know you can clean your toilet with a can of Coca Cola? It is very quick and very simple.

1. Firstly, pour the can of coke around the rim of the toilet’s bowl so it flows over the various stains around the inside.

2. Let the coke sit for at least an hour. For extra tough stains, you can let the Coke sit overnight in the toilet.

3. Scrub clean using your toilet brush as normal, really getting into the corners. 

4. Any build-up of limescale should be dissolved by the phosphoric acid in the coke. Now just flush and stand back to admire (and wonder what it does to your teeth)!

Check out more of these nifty cleaning hacks that don't use cleaning products.

How to clean a toilet using vinegar

Whether you’re doing a weekly clean or cleaning after weeks of dirt and grime build up, vinegar can clean your toilet easily. The acidity in vinegar kills germs, bacteria and mould on contact. Make sure you use white distilled vinegar as the brown colour in apple cider vinegar could stain your toilet.

Simply fill a clean spray bottle with white vinegar, spray on targeted areas and leave to work for 10 minutes, or overnight if you wish.

Finally, scrub your toilet with your toilet brush – the mess will come off easily after being soaked in vinegar.

For more ways on cleaning with vinegar head to our guide. 

How to clean a toilet cistern

Did you know bacteria can grow inside your water tank, especially if you live in an area with hard water? Dirt, grime and bacteria can cause bad smells, corrode the gaskets and even plug up your toilet, so it’s important to keep the inside of your toilet and the water in it clean.

1. If your tank is grungy and dirty, you need to drain all the water out before you begin. First shut off the water by closing the valve located on the bottom of the toilet near the back wall.

2. Then disinfect the inside of the tank by spraying it with toilet cleaner or a bleach spray. Let the disinfectant sit for 20 mins.

3. Remove dirt and grime from the corners, crevices and along the walls of the toilet tank using your toilet brush.

4. For extremely dirty tanks spray a bleach spray all around inside, leave for 20 minutes and then run a gallon of plain cold water through the tank, flush until all of the bleach has been flushed through the toilet and the tank is empty.

5. Drop a cleaning product tablet inside your tank to keep in clean.

How to clean a toilet seat

It’s important to clean the top and the bottom of your toilet seat regularly to stop germs from lurking.

You can use an eco-friendly multi-purpose cleaner with a damp cloth or cream cleaner on an old toothbrush. After spraying on your cleaner of choice, rinse and wipe clean with a wet cloth.

It’s important no moisture is left on the toilet seat or the hinges so finish by drying both with a soft dry cloth.

To clean toilet seat stains:

For any yellow or brown stains on the seat use a mix of bicarbonate of soda and water.

Mix three tablespoons of bicarb with six tablespoons of warm water in a small bowl. When it forms a paste smear this mixture onto the stained areas and leave for 15 to 20 minutes. Scrub with a toothbrush or sourer and rinse well with warm water.

How to get rid of limescale in a toilet and a u-bend

Our favourite eco remedy? Yes, white vinegar around the limescale-encrusted bowl and rim, left overnight, scubbed with a toilet brush, then flushed. Our top product? HG Professional Limescale Remover. You can use it diluted, or neat, depending on the severity of the problem. Apply with a sponge (wear gloves), leave for a few minutes then wipe off or rinse with water.

This tip will also work if you want to remove limescale from the u-bend. However to reach the more tricky areas you might have to pop on some gloves and use a small brush that will fit down the u-bend and just scrub scrub scrub. 

How to keep your toilet clean

  • Drop an in-cistern cleaner block into your tank to release disinfectant with every flush.
  • Use your toilet brush whenever needed and leave some bathroom cleaner with added disinfectant in the bottom of your toilet brush holder
  • Use a toilet mat around the toilet to prevent any spills collecting at the base – wash this mat in the washing machine every couple of days.
  • People rarely wash their hands before flushing the toilet so the handle is an area that collects a lot of bacteria. Clean the handle with an all-purpose bathroom cleaner and wipe dry with toilet roll.

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