Deep down, nearly every homeowner is afraid they’re not cleaning their toilet the “right” way. Who among us hasn’t had that niggling thought in the back of our heads as we scrub: “if mom could see the way we’re doing this, she’d yell at us.”

At least part of the reason improper toilet cleaning is anxiety-inducing is because the stakes feel high. Everyone wants their toilet to be really clean, because it’s not fun to imagine the alternatives. Well, you don’t have to worry anymore. The experts at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® of Dallas combined our collective commode wisdom to come up with the best toilet cleaning routine we could muster. Here it is, step by step:

What You’ll Need 

  • A toilet brush
  • Rubber gloves
  • Eye protection (goggles, glasses, etc.)
  • Toilet bowl cleaner
  • Cleaner for outside the bowl
  • Paper towels, cloths, or anti-bacterial wipes

Prep Work

Pre-step 1: Prep thy working area

Before you start cleaning, move everything off of and away from the toilet. Make sure the floor around where you’ll be cleaning is dry, clean, and cleared off. Lay something down to catch excess water or spills.

Loathe as we are to acknowledge them, splashes happen, and they could either ruin your stuff or worse, make you slip.

Pre-step 2: Prep thyself

Before you start cleaning, wash your hands and put on your rubber gloves and protective eye wear.

If you’re concerned about splashing, consider wearing a rubber apron or at least some clothes you don’t mind getting dirty. Don’t clean your toilet in bare feet.

The Process 

Step 1: Flush the toilet and apply cleaning solution

Flush the toilet with the lid down. When the flush finishes, add your toilet bowl cleaner to the toilet bowl as the tank refills it with water.

The best way to apply toilet cleaner to the bowl is to slip the solution’s nozzle under the upper rim of the toilet. Squirt into the falling water. Add solution continuously in a circular fashion until it looks like you’ve hit all the spots you need to clean. Don’t start scrubbing yet! Leave it to soak for awhile. We’ll come back to it later.

Step 2: Spray down the exterior of the toilet with your outside cleaner

Spray down the entire outside of the toilet with your exterior cleaner. Make sure you’re thorough: put the lid down and spray from the top of the tank to the very bottom of the base. Hit the sides, too.

As soon as you’re done spraying, use your paper towels to wipe the toilet from top to bottom. If you find a really dirty place, spray it down with more cleaner. Switch out towels frequently, so you’re not just wiping dirt from one section to another.

Step 3: Clean the toilet seat 

Remember: the seat is where people actually come into contact with the toilet, so you should clean it especially thoroughly.

Spray plenty of your exterior cleaner onto the underside of the toilet’s lid, the top and bottom of the seat itself, and the outer rim where the lid sits.

Step 4: Scrub the inside of the toilet bowl

We told you we’d get back to the bowl! Start by scrubbing directly under the rim, where you initially added the cleaner. Scrub at a fast pace, but not too hard. Work your way down into the bowl. Check each section to make sure you cleaned effectively.

When you’ve finished with the rest of the bowl, scrub down the drain at the bottom. Work the toilet brush up and down in a corkscrew fashion, and try to angle it to get as far down as possible.

Step 5: Flush the toilet and inspect

When you’re finished, remove the brush, close the lid, and flush the toilet. Check the bowl to make sure you’re satisfied with your cleaning, and watch to make sure the tank fills the bowl properly.

Wipe down the exterior of the toilet with dry paper towels and double check for any areas you missed.  

Step 6: Post-Op Cleaning

When the toilet sparkles, all that’s left is cleaning up any messes you’ve made. Put the toilet brush and cleaning supplies away, take off your gloves and eyewear, wash your hands, and mop down any spills or splashes. You’re done!

Right now, you’re probably thinking “that’s it?! There’s no secret plumbing juice or pipe access I should be using? This is too easy!” That’s exactly right–it is easy. Cleaning out a toilet shouldn’t take a long time and it shouldn’t be difficult.

Just follow these steps, and you never have to worry about whether or not you’re a Real Grown-Up ever again! …at least, not while you’re cleaning toilets. The rest of the time, you’re on your own. Except for when it comes to plumbing, of course. You’ve always got Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® of Dallas for that.