7 great ways to keep a toilet clean!

17 Oct

I live in the country and the water where I live is very rusty. If I go away for the weekend when I come home my toilet looks like it hasn’t been cleaned for 40 years. It’s kind of crazy. So I have found myself looking for tips on how to keep a toilet clean without using those blue water chemical tank things. So here is what I have found so far.

  1. Magic erasers! if you put a chunk of a magic eraser in the tank of your toilet it will clean every time you flush. This really works! It actually put a dent in the rust ring with out me even washing the toilet! One problem I had at first was the magic eraser getting caught under the flapper and the toilet continuously running but if you just find the perfect spot to put it in then that won’t happen anymore. I think it’s a great idea to throw a used up magic eraser in there rather than ripping up a new one too.
  2. A small bottle of vinegar! If you poke a hole into a bottle of vinegar and then put the whole bottle into your toilet tank the vinegar will prevent a toilet ring from forming and also use less water with every flush!  (Update: This idea has worked for some but not for others. In the comment section there is a discussion about alternative ideas and possibilites.)
  3. Denture cleaner tabs! If you drop a denture cleaning tab into the toilet before bed and then scrub the toilet in the morning it will be sparkly clean. Alternatively you can drop the denture cleaning tab into the back of the tank if you want it to clean when you flush.
  4. Wet dry sand paper works really well for scrubbing stubborn stains! Do not use this on any of your other bathroom surfaces however as it will scratch the surface.
  5. Baking soda left over night in the bowl will make scrubbing easier in the morning. Baking soda is also a great addition to a septic tank if you have one. It eliminates smell without harming the good bacteria that you want in there.
  6. Borax Works great for cleaning a toilet overnight as well and is also gentle on the environment.
  7. A great way to clean around all of the bolts and the lid is with one of those steam cleaners. The pressure shoots out all of the stuff that gets caught in there and the steam sanitizes without chemicals.

So there you have it tips for battling against rusty water in a toilet. I think that if you are trying to prevent rust build up when you are away for a few days it would be a good idea to add any of the borax, denture cleaner or baking soda before you leave so that they can fight against the stains the whole time you are away.

52 thoughts on “7 great ways to keep a toilet clean!

  1. quick questions about the vinegar bottle in the toilet tank…how exactly do you put it in your tank? i would assume upside down? also is it secured by anything?

    • Just put a hole in it anywhere and then try to find a place to put it where it won’t interfere with the flapper and other important parts of the toilet. It’s best if you can use the smallest bottle possible. Many toilets are different on the inside. My toilet has a little space that can kind of tuck the bottle into to secure it. Energy efficient toilets may not have room unless you can find a smaller bottle. Good luck!

      • My bottle floats. Any idea what to put inside the bottle to keep it down? I don”t want to put in anything that may harm the toilet.

        • I would say make sure that the bottle is full completely and then it shouldn’t float. if this doesn’t work look for a spot in the tank where the bottle won’t interfere with the flapper if it is floating. Good luck!

  2. I filled it completely, but as it empties vinegar into the toilet tank it would happen anyway. In order to keep it out of the way of the flapper it doesn’t have anything to be held down by. How about fish tank rocks to weight the bottle down. I read that somewhere. Would that cause any harm?

    • Sorry that this is so tricky for your toilet. Every toilet is different and I have come across one in my life before that this just wouldn’t work on. Maybe you have that sort of toilet. I wonder if you would have better success if you filled a ziploc bag with vinegar and poked a few holes in that instead. I will keep thinking of solutions for you. Rock may work but I have never tried that. Good luck to you.

  3. The bottle lid must be above the water at one point in order to have the vinegar come out of the bottle. I too do not know how you are suppose to secure it in such a way that when flushed the bottle lid is above the water to allow the vinegar to escape.

      • Marie, I have not actually tested this idea on all of the different types of toilets to see if it is a feasible idea for everyone. As I am getting feed back from people it is seeming more and more like an awkward cleaning solution rather than a helpful one. That is good observation. Thank you for your response.

  4. I have not been able to make this work. Sounds great but??? My bottle won’t stay secure, I’m not entirely sure if its supposed to go up right or upside down anyway. I also tried a zip lock bag with a few holes but it got under the trap. Just am not completely sure how to do this. If anyone does actually do this…please give specifics!!

    • Hi Diana, Thank you for your feed back. I feel terrible that so many people are having such an unsuccessful time with this. Perhaps it really is something that sounds great in theory but is not so wonderful in practice. I was thinking about it today and I came up with two possible solutions. First: I was thinking that if you used a Ziploc you could secure it in place by leaving the zipper part of the bag folded over the back wall of the toilet and then use the lid to secure it there in that spot. The second thought that I had was to get a very small bottle like a hand sanitizer bottle and try with that. I have moved since writing the article and the house I live in now has one of those energy efficient flushing things in the middle so this would never work with this type of toilet. I am going to try to find someone’s toilet to test these ideas on though. Thank you so much for reading and letting me know how my blog is working for you. I hope to find a solution to this somewhat flawed concept soon.

  5. I would imagine that this is referring to the glass bottles of vinegar. However. I don’t even know if you can find them now. The glass should be heavy enough to stay down.

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  8. lysol sells a bottle of blue solution that comes with a hook and is made to hang inside of the tank slowly releasing more solution as the toilet is flushed. they are sold at all the dollar stores and at walmart. this would be a good idea to put the vinegar in. I just pour some back in the tank once a week or so, it really works. Im going to go buy one of these bottles and use it to hang inside of my tank this week.

  9. Wondering if having something acidic like vinegar constantly going through your pipes would hurt them, even if it is pretty diluted?

    • Good question. I don’t think it would be a problem. A person can eat vinegar daily without trouble so probably nothing to worry about. However if it is something that you feel uncomfortable about by all means don’t do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable.

  10. I’ve been looking everywhere and can’t find any info. If I put mr clean floor cleaner in the back of my toilet will that work or how would I go about it?

    • Hi, Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you. It was a really busy weekend! I love this question and I’m glad that you asked. In my opinion and experience it is never a good idea to use anything that foams or creates bubbles for anythig other than its intended use. Which leads me to a story…I once tried to wash a floor with dish soap. It was the only soap in the house at the time and the dog had run through the house with very muddy feet. My good intentions very quickly turned into an episode of “I Love Lucy”. I slipped and slid around on that bubbly floor for about two hours before I had all those bubbles cleaned up. I would avoid adding anything foamy to the toilet tank because the “I love Lucy” episode would be way less fun if all the bubbles were coming out of the toilet! I looked it up and the ingredients in soap that are responsible for bubbles are ammonium lauryl sulfate and sodium dodecyl sulfate (AKA sodium laureth sulfate). I wouldn’t add anything with too many of these ingredients into the back of your toilet. Additionally I think if you pour it right into the back you would have to replace it after each flush because the entire tank empties with each flush. Maybe if you found a way to put it into a slow release contanier it would be a suitable thing for the back of your toilet in very small amounts. Let me know how it works if you do give it a try.

  11. Best solution with the vinegar is to use a mason jar (size depends on your tank). Poke a couple good-sized holes into the top using a hammer and nail, then INVERT the jar (upside down). Depending on your water (hard or soft) and usage, it will need changing out every 2 to 3 weeks. Hope that helps.

    • I did try the magic eraser and I thought that it worked pretty well. I was a little worried that it would get stuck under the flapper but it never did. Eventually it just disolved away or flushed away and was gone.

  12. I’ve also tried the vinegar solution. My toilet not only gets rings, but everything below the water line gets gunk build up. So, every few months, I do the following:
    1. turn the water supply off.
    2. flush the toilet a couple of times to empty the bowl of water
    3. get a car washing sponge (or any other large sponge) and remove any remaining water from the toilet using the sponge and a bucket.
    4. once all the water is removed, fill the toilet bowl with vinegar until it goes slightly over the water line. Leave the vinegar in the bowl for at least 24 hours.
    5. clean the toilet bowl with a washing brush (bristles not made of steel).

    When I’ve done this, usually the toilet bowl pretty well cleans itself and all I have to do is flush the toilet to clean it. However, I usually fill the bowl before I go on vacation so the entire time I’m gone, the bowl is full of vinegar. By the time I get back, all is clean!!!.

    Hope this helps and good luck to all

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  14. THANK YOU for the denture tablet toilet trick! I’ve been using pumice stones on our very stained toilets (not just the ring, the whole bowl) – we have very hard water due to a shallow well. The pumice works well, but the elbow grease they require is tremendous, and if you don’t spend hours scraping you end up with hideous scratched mineral stains that you’d swear is a scratched toilet. HOWEVER, I used the denture tabs, and that softened the mineral deposits enough that I was able to get the entire toilet bowl COMPLETELY WHITE with the pumice in about an hour of hard work. I also started using a rag with the pumice “sand” that is produced as the porcelain causes the stone to break up. They are just like new, and I’ll be adding a tablet to every toilet overnight monthly (or as often as needed) to keep them that way. No more being neck deep in the toilets for an hour each with a pumice stone.

  15. I’ve been using a small empty smuckers jelly jar filled with white vinegar. It’s smaller than a traditional mason jar and holds about 6 ouces of vinegar. Punched holes in the cap with an icepick and turned it upside down in the tank. works great. Quick oven cleaning tip is to put about a cup of ammonia in a small bowl and put it in a cold oven for 24 to 48 hours. Then you can just wipe away the gunk buildup with a damp sponge. Single guy here and I hate to clean so any tips that reduce the amount of work involved is paramount for me. Yeah…..this stuff really works.

  16. I am going to try this today. Very excited. Will this also help to keep my bowl white?—it has a yellow stain that I cannot get rid of. Not even with bleach.

  17. Hey Farm Baby! I think your tips are great. Both toilets are so much cleaner after using the magic erasers, the borax & even the vinegar. as you can see I got carried away. And, you are so right to mention good bacteria in then septic tank. Too many cleansers can ruin the tank & you know you don’t want to go there! Your tips are helping me be a much better “Mr. Clean ” while she & I juggle kids , jobs , cooking & keeping up a clean, shiny house!

    Please keep your site up & Rollin ! You Rock Farm Baby! Dave

  18. I was recently soaking a litter pan in the tub and a just-opened bar of soap got knocked into the litter pan. I didn’t want to use it after it had been dunked, but I hated wasting it, so I put it in the toilet tank to see if it would help with the rust staining. It’s been in there a week, and it has definitely slowed down the staining.

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