How to Keep the Toilet Clean - dummies

By Gill Chilton

Inside the toilet bowl is where the germs gather – in the water and under the seat. Sanitising the toilet is the number-one priority for any cleaning session.

Two words on blockages: panic not. Many times these turn out to be no big problem. Often the double effect of pouring half a bucket (5 litres [1 gallon] or so) of water directly into the bowl at the same time as flushing creates enough impetus to get things moving again.

If that doesn’t work, try

  • Stretching a wire coat hanger into a diagonal, then pushing the hook down the toilet to get at the blockage. If it’s one specific bulky item that’s caused the problem – a child who wanted to see a soft toy float, for example – you’re likely to succeed.

  • Using a plunger to cover the base of the bowl then pump the plunger. To get this to work, you have to be able to create a suction seal around the toilet exit. Unpleasantly, this may mean removing toilet tissue and so on first.

Apply cleaning solution, brush, then flush to rinse. That’s really all it takes to get a clean toilet. Sometimes, however, you may need a few tricks up your sleeve (or down your rubber glove).

Persistence should get everything clean. If the brush bristles aren’t doing the job on hard deposits, tie a soft rag onto the brush, then get rubbing.

Always choose a gel cleaner over a powder. Gel clings to the sides and foams when you’re using the toilet brush, making it easier to scrub stubborn spots.

Cleaning chemicals can ruin toilet seats. Once the plastic has colour spots or the wood is bleached out, it’s time to get a new seat. Next time lift the lid before you squirt liquid cleaner so that the seat doesn’t get splashed on from below.

Some people want to apply cleaner directly so that it sits in a concentrated way over stains. This entails emptying the bowl of water. Look around the toilet to see if you can find a valve that shuts off the water going to the toilet. Shut this off then flush the toilet to empty the water. If your toilet doesn’t have such a valve, try one of these methods:

  • Lift up the cistern lid, and find the ballcock. This large, inflated ball controls how your tank refills with water after each flush. Flush the toilet and watch what it does if you’re not sure. Then get some thick twine and tie down the ballcock so that the tank cannot refill with water.

  • If your toilet doesn’t respond to this, use a bucket to bail out the water from the pan. (For hygiene, tip the water down the outside drain, rather than using the basin.)

When you finish cleaning, disinfect the brush by rinsing it in bleach.

Limescale – the nasty brownish stuff that forms rings in your toilet bowl when you have hard, mineral-rich water – doesn’t build up only in the bowl, The cistern (tank) may get clogged with this too. If you live in a hard-water area, fit an in-cistern cleaner/limescale remover.