Ahhh, the toilet. Cleaning it is everyone's least favorite job even though a clean toilet is one of the nicer luxuries in life. Especially if you find yourself face to face with one late one night. Here's how to really really get it clean:
• Goggles (if it's really gross or a public toilet)
• Sponge or Scrubber
• Toilet Brush
• Cleaning Product*
*A note on cleaning products. Some people insist that Vinegar alone is enough to clean every part of the toilet. And though I don't do this, my grandmother did, and many readers do. It's less toxic and the vinegar will help dissolve mineral deposits in the bowl. Check out this post on natural toilet cleaners. No matter what cleaning agent you choose, make sure it's one that is antibacterial. You'll need something for the outside of the toilet and something for the bowl.
1. Start with the Bowl. Most toilet bowl cleaners have a curved neck so that you can squirt the soap up under the rim and let it drip down. (I like to start here so that the soap has some time to sit on the part of the bowl that isn't under water and soften anything that has hardened there.) Use the toilet brush to scrub the whole bowl, making sure that you get the rim and deep into the bottom. Don't flush, just let the soap sit for the next couple of steps.
2. Close the Lid.
3. Spray the Outside. Using whatever cleaner you've decided on (I've been using Murchison Hume's All Natural Bathroom Spray) spray down the outside of the toilet and start wiping down with your sponge, rinsing often using the bathroom sink, scrubbing where necessary and not forgetting the back of the toilet or that bottom part that collects all the hairs and dust (ew, I know).
4. The Rim. Now you're ready for the rim, which is by far the grossest part of the process and one made infinitely worse if you live with men with poor aim. Lift the lid spray the cleanser and wipe. Don't forget to do the underside of the toilet seat. This can be a nasty surprise.
5. The Bowl Finale. Get the toilet brush and give the bowl another scrubbing using the soap that's already been sitting there. Flush. Make sure to rinse the toilet brush as you're flushing (you may need to flush more than once). Hopefully the bowl is clean now. But if it isn't, scrub away.
6. Clean and Maintain. Now your toilet is clean. You can keep it this way longer if you practice some daily maintenance. I like Flylady's no nonsense tip of keeping soapy water in with the toilet brush so that you can just swish it in the bowl every day to keep the gross from building up. You can also use wipes or a sponge to wipe down the top of the toilet every day or every couple of days. If you do these things you can avoid a major overhaul.
Image: Liz's Well-Edited Half of a Durham Duplex House Tour