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I’ve talked a lot about how to clean toilets over the past ten years and I feel like I have finally figured out the best method for how to safely and naturally clean a toilet. Here’s the thing – toilets can be difficult to clean and they’re really not fun to clean. So the way I see it, let’s figure out the best possible way to naturally clean those toilets so they stay clean for the week and are easy to clean when the next Monday rolls around (Monday is bathrooms day). If you have any questions about cleaning a toilet, read all the way through for my favorite tools, toilet brush, tips and tricks, and DIY recipes – this post has it all! I also made a little video for you that you’ll find at the bottom of the post.
HOW TO CLEAN A TOILET
First things first, let’s talk about HOW to clean a toilet properly. This is the process I follow and I believe it’s the best way to efficiently and effectively clean a toilet:
EXTERIOR – everything but the bowl
- Spray thoroughly with your favorite bathroom cleaner – I use the recipe below or the new Clean Mama All-Purpose Spray. Spray the top, back, the handle, the seat, under the seat, the base – where it meets the floor, basically every single part of the toilet.
- Let the cleaner sit for 10 minutes to clean and disinfect the surfaces.
- Start at the top and wipe down to the base of the toilet. Use a fresh cloth (I use microfiber cleaning cloths) for every toilet and do not use this cloth on any other surfaces.
Quick Tip: Hydrogen Peroxide is a great disinfectant but I clean everything first and then if anything needs disinfecting, I’ll spray with Hydrogen Peroxide. Why do I do it this way? Hydrogen Peroxide is an incredible disinfectant but I find that it doesn’t have the same cleaning power as an all-purpose spray.
INTERIOR – the toilet bowl
- I’ve found that a quick squirt of castile soap around the edges and in the bowl works as well or better than conventional toilet bowl cleaner. Just squirt, scrub, and flush. If you need to use toilet bowl cleaner, this one by Seventh Generation is a safe choice and rated ‘A’ on EWG.org.
- If you need a little scrubbing action you can sprinkle a little Bathroom Scrub (same as my Nightly Sink Scrub recipe) or just a little bit of baking soda and scrub away.
THE TOILET BRUSH
It took me awhile to come back around to the toilet brush but in doing so, I have a couple tips and tricks that got me back on the toilet brush train. If you’ve been following me for awhile you probably have heard me talking about how toilet brushes gross me out and how I prefer a disposable toilet brush even though they aren’t the most eco-friendly or safe option. One of my hangups has been that I caught one of my little ones playing with the toilet brush years ago and that kind of sealed the deal of us being a no toilet brush family. Now that the kids are older and not into playing with toilet brushes anymore, I decided to go back and revisit toilet brushes.
I chose the OXO Good Grips Hideaway Compact Toilet Brush + Holder for a few reasons:
- it’s compact
- it stays open when the brush is out (no touching the holder)
- the brush can be replaced
- it’s small and unobtrusive
HERE’S HOW I USE OUR TOILET BRUSHES AND AVOID THE GROSS OUT FACTOR:
- Each bathroom has a toilet brush (except for the powder room).
- Use your cleaner of choice – I like castile soap alone or if the toilet needs a bit of whitening, I sprinkle in a little Oxygen Whitener – let the cleaner sit for a couple minutes.
- Scrub thoroughly and flush. Repeat if necessary.
- Flush again and rinse the toilet brush in the clean toilet water.
- Put the toilet brush under the toilet seat. The toilet seat will hold the brush in place to allow it to dry.
- Spray the brush thoroughly with hydrogen peroxide to disinfect.
- Allow the brush to drip dry before returning to the holder.
That’s it! I do a thorough BUT speed cleaning of the bathrooms every Monday (grab the free printable here) as part of my cleaning routine. I find that this maintenance is key to keeping the toilets clean all week long.
THE TOILET SEAT
If you have gross toilet seat that is difficult to clean or if it has stains on it that you can’t remove, I recommend replacing the toilet seat. I like this one for kids’ toilets/bathrooms. Instead of having to clean around the hinges and screws, the toilet seat actually lifts up so that you can easily wipe around the hinges and screws. It also is slow-closing to prevent finger pinching and slamming. (Please note that you need to check the size of your toilet before purchasing a toilet seat.)
TOILET BOWL RINGS
One of the most common bathroom cleaning questions I receive is in regards to the annoying ring that tends to develop in toilet bowls. Toilet bowl rings are the result of hard water and mineral deposits that develop from standing water in the bowl. No amount of scrubbing and cleaners will remove this buildup. The best solution to this is a pumice stone. Pumice is a natural volcanic rock that does a superior job at removing surface stains in toilet bowls without scratching the surface. Thankfully, it is easy to find one that has a handle so that you don’t need to stick your hand in the toilet bowl in order to get the job done. Simply rub the pumice around the interior of your toilet bowl where the ring is and that’s it! It couldn’t be much easier. The Pumie is a pumice stone specifically designed to clean your toilet rings and stains. You can use any pumice stone, but I like that this one has a handle and is designed specifically for toilet cleaning.
RESIDUE AROUND THE TOILET
For those of you with little boys (or big boys) these tips are for you. Let’s face it – a lot of boys have a hard time aiming and hitting the bowl when they go to the bathroom. The result is not pretty and it seems as though no matter how hard you may wipe and wash, there tends to be a residual odor that is left behind. I get asked for my recommendation on how to eliminate this annoying situation and ‘that smell’ weekly and I am happy to give my first hand recommendations.
First of all, as annoying as it can be, do your best to wipe up drips and drops sooner rather than later – this can be taught, I’m not necessarily recommending that you do this. It doesn’t take long for tile grout to get permeated and this makes it harder to eliminate the odor. Make sure when you spray your cleaner you’re spraying at the base of the toilet where it meets the floor and let it sit. Then make sure you’re pushing your cloth or paper towel under that so you are collecting the cleaner and removing anything that might have traveled under there.
REMOVE TOUGH STAINS WITH NO EFFORT
Some of you may already discovered this because it’s on the packaging but did you know that you can add a scoop or two of my Oxygen Whitener to a stained toilet bowl and just let it sit overnight? Give it a little scrub in the morning and your stains are gone!
FAVORITE DIY TOILET CLEANING RECIPES
DIY TOILET BOWL BOMBS
This is a fun DIY for freshening up a toilet and adding a little scrubbing action to the cleaning of the toilet.
2 cups baking soda
1/3 cup citric acid
2 tablespoons hydrogen peroxide
15 drops lemon essential oil
5 drops peppermint essential oil
silicone ice cube tray
mason jar – I used two
I have all the ingredients in these and most of my DIY recipes in my Amazon shop here – look for the DIY cleaning section.
Find the full how-to with step by step images in this post.
LAVENDER AND LEMON BATHROOM DISINFECTING SPRAY:
Gather these simple ingredients (this recipe can easily be cut in half if you don’t want to mix up a whole batch). Pour the ingredients into a spray bottle – here’s my favorite glass spray bottle. Shake, spray, and wipe.
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup vodka (excellent germ-killing properties)
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 15 drops of your favorite essential oils – I like Lavender + Lemon
Vinegar is not safe on stone surfaces – if you have marble or granite in your bathroom you’ll want to use my Stone Cleaner the recipe is in my all-new Cleaning Recipe Labels in the shop and there’s a Bathroom Label Kit. Perfect for bathroom cleaning!
If you liked this post, check out my post on how I put together a bathroom cleaning caddy.