How to Clean a Toilet Bowl and Tank | Get Rid of Mold, Hard Water Stains, Mildew, Rust

How to Clean a Toilet

dirty toilet and supplies for cleaning a toilet

When was the last time you gave your toilet a real cleaning treatment? A quick scrub of the toilet brush with cleaner doesn't count. There is a fair chance it's been a long while. If you haven't done it, it's probably because nobody taught you how to clean a toilet, but lucky for you, the PlumbersStock experts are here to help. Whether you need to clean the bowl or the tank or both, it's a job that you might be able to complete with household items on hand.

How to Clean a Toilet Tank

  1. Drain the tank by shutting the supply valve and flushing the toilet.
  2. If there is no discoloration or mineral buildup, go ahead and skip to step 3. If there is discoloration, you need to clean with distilled white vinegar. Fill the tank to just below the overflow valve and let it sit for 12 hours. Then, flush it a few times to clear all the vinegar out.
  3. Use a standard disinfectant spray and a brush to clean the inside of the tank and its components. It's probably a good idea to dilute the spray when cleaning the metal parts so that they won't corrode.
  4. Turn the water valve back on and allow it to fill. 

Cleaning Toilet Bowl Stains

There are four kinds of toilet bowl stains: hard water, rust, mildew, and mold. If you have mold, you may want to leave it to the experts because of the toxicity. However, you may be able to handle all four types of stains with household remedies.

How to Get Rid of Mold or Mildew in Toilet Bowl

how to get rid of mold in toilet bowl rim
  1. Pour 1 cup of white vinegar into the toilet bowl and 1 cup of vinegar into the toilet tank.
  2. Sprinkle baking soda inside the tank and bowl. Use a brush to get the vinegar/baking soda cocktail up under the rim and all around.
  3. Let it sit for an hour.
  4. Scrub and make sure to use a lot of elbow grease.
  5. Let it sit another 15 minutes, then flush.

It's a good idea to add vinegar to your tank a couple of times a week as follow-up treatments. If this vinegar and baking soda method doesn't work, then you can try bleach.

Make a solution that is 10 parts water and 1 part bleach. It's probably easiest to use a spray bottle and brush to clean the bowl and tank with it. Once again, you can do follow-up treatments a couple of times a week with 1 cup of undiluted bleach in the tank.

How to Clean Hard Water Stains from Toilet

  1. Add 1 cup of vinegar to the bowl and mix it around with the brush.
  2. Then, add 1 cup of baking soda.
  3. Add 2 more cups of vinegar. Let it bubble up for about 10 minutes. For best results, the stains should be completely submerged in your concoction. If not, swish it around periodically to make sure it's working on the stain.
  4. Scrub the stains out using your toilet brush.
  5. Let it sit another 30 minutes or so. Repeat scrubbing, as needed.
  6. Flush the toilet!

If that doesn't get the job done, try it again, but this time replace the first two steps with the simple step of adding 1/4 cup of borax.

How to Clean Toilet Siphons

None of the above may be working to clean the siphons properly. In case you don't know what the siphons are, they are the holes up under the rim where the flushing water enters the bowl. Here's a trick that may get the job done.

  1. Put vinegar in the tank.
  2. Make sure the bowl is dry just under the rim, and then apply duct tape securely all around that area, creating a seal on the siphons as best as you can.
  3. Then flush the toilet.
  4. Let it sit like this overnight.
  5. Remove the duct tape and brush and flush.

Removing Rust Stains from Toilets

Once again, the trick is to use vinegar and baking soda. This will work on porcelain, and it will work on stainless steel. Spray with vinegar, sprinkle with baking soda, and then scrub with a crinkled piece of tin foil. It's that easy!

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Related resources:
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Learn How to Plunge a Toilet
Use a Snake Tool
How to Stop a Toilet Overflow
How to Turn Off Water to Toilet
Unclogging a Toilet without a Plunger

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