How to Clean a Toilet Properly

How to Clean a Toilet Properly

Believe it or not, our toilets can actually be one of the cleanest things in our bathrooms; according to a study carried out in 2011 by NSF International, our toothbrush holders can harbor the largest amount of viral bacteria, germs and mold in our bathroom. But 27% of the toilet seats involved in the study (as well as 14% of the toilet handles) contained alarming amounts of mold, yeast and germs, which shows that many people do not clean their toilets. correctly. Although you can clean or wipe your toilet often, the best way to get rid of germs and viruses is to disinfect them.

How to Clean a Toilet Properly
How to Clean a Toilet Properly

Carolyn Forte, Director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab, says that many people neglect to read the instructions on their cleaning products – and do not realize that they have to leave the surfaces of the toilet wet with cleaning agent for a while to kill germs entirely. “Yes, a product can claim that it kills 99% of germs and bacteria. But it has to stay wet to be effective, and if you use it for a few seconds, it won’t be effective,” says Forte. .

Charles Gerba, Ph.D., professor of epidemiology and bio-statistics in the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Arizona, discovered that only one flush could send E. coli bacteria in the air (and on the toilet itself) where they can float in the air flow for up to six hours, according to a study published in the journal Applied microbiology. Research notes that it is unclear whether this airborne bacteria could pose the same risk as other sources of germs, but Gerba says Good Housekeeping viruses in general can live on surfaces like your toilet for a few hours to a few days. “Most cold and flu viruses survive from hours to 9 days, [depending] about temperature and relative humidity, “he says.

Below, Forte shares tips for disinfecting all the dirtiest surfaces in the toilet, as well as a few tips for keeping the rest of your bathroom as clean as possible.

How do you properly clean the toilet?

Before you begin, you will need to be well equipped for the job. Forte says she recommends people keep a separate set of cleaning tools that aren’t used on other surfaces in the house. Although she says that there are a multitude of bathroom cleaners that homeowners can use, she recommends the following list of supplies based on the clear instructions for each product that indicate the timelines for proper disinfection of toilet surfaces.

  • A bristle scrub brush (can be stored in a separate holder in your bathroom)
  • A pair of rubber gloves
  • One or two Scotch-Brite scouring sponges
  • One gallon of Clorox bleach, regular variety (can be used throughout the home)
  • A bottle of Clorox bowl cleaner with bleach
  • A pack of disinfectant wipes of your choice
  • A bottle of Lysol Power bathroom cleaner


How to disinfect the toilet - How to clean your toilet

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How do you clean a stained toilet bowl?

When cleaning your toilet, you should always start with the toilet bowl first, says Forte. You can use commercially available products to clean and disinfect germs in the toilet bowl, but Forte recommends taking a bottle of Clorox toilet cleaner that contains bleach, as the product claims it can disinfect the inside the toilet in just five minutes. Using the Clorox product, Forte says you should coat your entire bowl starting under the rim of the bowl: Then put on your gloves and use your brush to physically clean the solution in your toilet bowl. “Make sure you scrub well with the cleaner inside your bowl, if possible the toilet and under the rim of the bowl,” she explains. “Then you’ll want to let everything sit for five minutes and rinse everything off.”

If you don’t have access to a specific toilet bowl disinfectant, the best thing to do is bleach itself, says Forte. Simply measure half a cup of bleach and pour it into your toilet bowl, using your brush to scrub them in the bowl and under the rim of the bowl, also letting five minutes pass before to rinse everything.

A step-by-step guide to disinfecting toilets:

While you wait for your toilet bowl cleaner to be properly sanitized, you can start cleaning the rest of the dresser. Use a specific bathroom disinfectant: Forte recommends Lysol’s powerful bathroom cleaner because it clearly indicates how long you will need to leave the surface wet to neutralize common viruses and bacteria: 10 minutes.

An important note: Forte says that disinfectants do not really neutralize germs unless the surface has been previously cleaned of any surface scum or debris. This means that you will have to pass once quickly on your toilet with a disinfectant wipe (or any disinfectant) before applying another coat of disinfectant spray. You will need to remove all bodily fluids, such as vomit, before applying your disinfectant spray for it to be truly effective, says Forte.

    1. Start outside your toilet. You can go back from its foundation to the cover itself. Spray carefully under your toilet and on the sides of the dresser, says Forte. Make sure to spray the small area between the toilet seat and the tank, and reassemble the tank and above the tank itself.
    2. so spray on both sides of the lid, starting from the outside, as you will need to leave the cover in place to reapply if necessary.
    3. Next, carefully spray both sides of the toilet seatand lower it to the top of the bowl when you’re done.
    4. While you wait for the disinfectant to air dry, tackle difficult spots known to harbor more germs. Example: the toilet flush handle, which can be even dirtier than the seat itself, according to the NSF International study. You can spray it specifically and make sure it is wet for at least five minutes before it air dries. Alternatively, especially between cleaning sessions, you can use a disinfectant wipe to vigorously rub the handle before allowing it to air dry.


After 10 minutes, take a clean sponge or clean paper towels to wipe off any condensation, making sure each surface is dry. Also, don’t forget to flush the toilet if you haven’t already done so!

How to clean the toilet - disinfect your toilet

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How often should I clean my toilet?

Disinfecting your toilet can help reduce the risk of coming into contact with threatening germs in your home, especially if a family member is sick and cannot be quarantined on their own premises. But it is important to understand that even after just one use, the toilets could again harbor bacteria and viruses on their surfaces.

Forte says you should try to clean your toilet as often as possible, but full disinfection should take place every two to three days if someone is sick at your place. Outside the flu season, once a week – or every two weeks, depending on how often you use the bathroom – should be enough.

While you don’t have to worry about it every time you sanitize or sanitize your toilet, Forte says you should also take time into account when sanitizing your cleaning supplies. A toilet scrub brush can grow mold on its own if left in an aqueous medium, so Forte says you should clean it regularly after you’ve finished scrubbing the toilet bowl and toilet surfaces. Spray it thoroughly with a disinfectant spray and allow it to air dry by placing it between the toilet seat and the bowl itself (letting the wash head hang over the water in the bowl) . For your gloves, sponges or any other rubber-based or porous cleaning product, you can ensure that they do not contain germs by soaking them in water impregnated with bleach and drying them with water. afterwards.

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