Cleaning the toilet – it’s a task that many of us approach with trepidation.

The thought of sitting on a toilet for anything other than its intended purpose might strike fear into your heart. But fear not! In this step-by-step guide, I’ll teach you how to clean your toilet properly, efficiently, and effectively.

I didn’t know how to clean a toilet properly until I started a cleaning business. Now, I can tackle this chore swiftly and with confidence. Plus, I’ll introduce you to two essential additions to your toilet cleaning routine that will take it to the next level. Because, let’s face it, we all aspire to elevate our toilet cleaning game!

Tools and Products You’ll Need:

Before you embark on your toilet cleaning journey, gather the following tools and products:


  1. Toilet bowl brush
  2. Miniature scrub brush
  3. Rubber gloves
  4. Paper towels


  1. Toilet bowl cleaner
  2. All-purpose cleaner (you can make your own by mixing dish soap and water)
  3. Enzyme cleaner
  4. Bathroom disinfectant

Step 1: Prepare the Area

First, clear the area around the toilet. Remove everything so that you have full access to the toilet and its surroundings. This step ensures that you can clean every nook and cranny without obstacles in the way.

Step 2: Make Your All-Purpose Cleaner

If you don’t have a commercial all-purpose cleaner, you can easily make your own. Fill a clean spray bottle with water and add a squirt of dish soap. Give it a good shake to mix the two ingredients thoroughly. This homemade all-purpose cleaner is gentle yet effective.

Step 3: Clean the Exterior

Start by spraying the exterior of the toilet generously with your all-purpose cleaner. Ensure that you cover every part of the exterior, including the top and bottom. Let the cleaner sit for a few minutes to lift dirt and grime.

Next, grab some paper towels and begin wiping down the exterior of the toilet. Fold the paper towel in half, start at the top, and work your way down to the bottom. Use the S pattern to ensure you don’t miss a spot. If you notice any particularly dirty areas, especially around the hinges, use your miniature scrub brush for extra cleaning power.

Step 4: Toilet Bowl Cleaning

Now, it’s time to tackle the inside of the toilet bowl. Start by applying toilet bowl cleaner inside the bowl. Ensure that the cleaner reaches all areas, including under the rim.

Use your toilet bowl brush to scrub the bowl thoroughly. Pay special attention to any buildup, stains, or discolorations. Scrub in a swirling motion to remove hard water stains and other residues.

If you notice stains below the waterline, use your toilet bowl brush to push water down into the bowl, allowing better access to those areas.

Step 5: Rinse and Flush

Once you’ve scrubbed the bowl, flush the toilet. This action rinses away the cleaning product and leaves your toilet bowl clean and fresh.

Bonus Steps for an Even Cleaner Toilet:

Step 6: Use an Enzyme Cleaner for Odor Control

If you’re dealing with lingering urine odors, especially around the toilet area, use an enzyme cleaner. Spray it liberally on affected areas, including walls, tiles, cabinetry, and the floor. Allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes, ensuring that the surface remains wet. Then, wipe clean with paper towels. If there’s still an odor, rinse the area with water and a microfiber cloth.

Step 7: Disinfect for Added Peace of Mind

While toilets aren’t necessarily breeding grounds for bacteria, there are times when you might want to disinfect them. If someone in your household is sick, for example, disinfection is crucial. Spray a bathroom disinfectant on the toilet’s surfaces and follow the product’s instructions. Typically, you’ll need to let it sit for a few minutes before wiping it clean.


Cleaning the toilet need not be a daunting task. Armed with the right tools and products, you can efficiently and effectively clean your toilet. Whether you stick to the basic cleaning routine or add the bonus steps for extra freshness, you’ll enjoy a sparkling, odor-free toilet. And remember, cleanliness and hygiene go hand in hand, so take pride in your well-maintained restroom!

Now, let’s address a more lighthearted but pertinent question: When you’re in public, do you sit bare-bottomed on the toilet, or do you line it with toilet paper? Share your toilet habits in the comments below. We’d love to know!

Thanks for reading!

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Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.


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