Cleaning a toilet brush: How to Clean a Toilet the Right Way

How to Clean a Toilet the Right Way

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Photo: Sarah Kobos

No one flushes with excitement when it’s time to clean the toilet, but it’s an unavoidable task if you want to make sure your bathroom looks its best, as well as to keep bacteria from building up inside the bowl (and then spraying out into the rest of your bathroom with every flush).

It takes a bit more time and effort than a casual spray of Gatorade-colored cleaning fluid and a stir with a flimsy brush you grabbed at the corner store to get the porcelain sanitized and sparkling, but with the right tools and a few useful tips, it’s a task you can complete easily enough. Frequent cleaning greatly reduces the ick factor, too, so it’s a chore you should stay on top of.

What you need

Photo: James Austin

  • A toilet brush that’s not past its prime: A good toilet brush lets you get under the lip of the bowl to scrub out grime that you can’t see and covers a wide enough area that it won’t take forever to eliminate the grime on display. Also, make sure your toilet brush hasn’t lingered past its effectiveness: If the bristles are bent or the overall shape of the brush has warped, it’s time for a new one. You should replace a well-maintained and regularly cleaned brush (or brush head) about every six months.
  • Bowl cleaner: A cleanser specifically made for toilet bowls will do the majority of the work to remove bacteria and hard-water buildup. The experts we talked to recommended any cleaner with some form of bleach, but you can find plenty of bleach alternatives, as well. I personally use Lysol Hydrogen Peroxide Toilet Bowl Cleaner.
  • A bucket: To ensure that the entire bowl gets clean, you need to reduce the water level before applying the cleaner. This allows the disinfectant to do its work undiluted. To empty your bowl, quickly pour a half-gallon of water inside, which will trigger the flush action without the tank pouring any new water in to replace it.
  • All purpose cleaner with bleach: The inside of your toilet isn’t the only part of the throne that you should clean regularly. Be sure to wipe down the outside of the bowl, the tank, the toilet seat, and especially the flushing handle. Also disinfect the toilet brush itself after using it. The experts we talked to recommend spraying the brush head with disinfectant, waiting about a minute, and rinsing it with hot water in your tub or shower. (Then, maybe, clean that area well.)
  • Disinfectant wipes, a reusable rag, paper towels, or a sponge: Whatever tool you use to wipe down the exterior of a toilet, make sure it’s either washable, such as a reusable rag, or easily tossed, such as paper towels or disinfectant wipes. If you prefer a sponge, be sure to clean it thoroughly afterward, to separate it from other sponges when you store it, and to keep it dedicated to this one task.
  • Some people may want to use a good set of rubber gloves during this task (and experts we’ve talked to recommend them when working with any product that contains bleach) but I’ve always found them more cumbersome than helpful and prefer to wash my hands thoroughly after I’m finished cleaning.

How long will it take to clean?

Depending on the brand of bowl cleaner you’re using, this project should take only about 15 to 20 minutes. Some cleansers’ instructions recommend letting the solution sit for up to 10 minutes, but you can work on wiping down the exterior parts of the toilet while you let the disinfectant do its job.

Get a really good toilet brush

Photo: Sarah Kobos

There’s more to a toilet brush’s design than most people realize. Although the tool’s main job is to make cleaning your toilet easier—meaning, it has a head that’s shaped to reach all areas of the bowl and bristles that are firm enough to scrub but not flick toilet water (and … other things) everywhere—it should also be convenient and sanitary to store, and easily replaceable.

We like the OXO Good Grips Compact Toilet Brush and Canister. Its handle was comfortable for our testers, the replaceable brush head makes for consistent scrubbing performance, and the clever clamshell stand does a great job of hiding the brush away discreetly when you’re not using it.

Reduce the water level in the bowl

For the toilet bowl cleaner to do its work in sanitizing the porcelain, it needs to be undiluted, so you have to drain the water in the toilet. You have a few ways to accomplish this, but the easiest and quickest I’ve found is to fill a bucket or empty storage bin with about a half-gallon of water and quickly pour it into the toilet, aiming toward the back, where the water leaves the bowl. This step will trigger the flushing action and drain the water out without new water filling in from the tank.

Apply disinfectant to the inside of the bowl

Photo: James Austin

Start at the top of the bowl under the rim and apply around the circle, letting the cleaner drain down the sides. Some cleaners come in bottles with an angled spout that makes this task a bit easier, but squeezing out the fluid still requires quite a bit of hand strength. If that’s an issue for you, aerosol sprays might make this step a bit easier. If you’re trying to get rid of more stubborn stains, let the disinfectant rest for up to 10 minutes.

Scrub thoroughly and rinse

Photo: James Austin

Using your brush, scrub firmly to make sure you’re lifting any particularly stuck bits of gunk from the surface, but to avoid splatter, keep the brush’s head inside the bowl as you work. Be sure to get under the lip and down into the drain. Then it’s time to rinse, and luckily toilets have a built-in feature for this—just flush! (And as is the case any time you flush, be sure to close the lid beforehand to avoid a “toilet plume.”)

Wipe down the exterior

Using either disinfecting wipes or a combination of disinfecting spray and a rag, paper towels, or a sponge (that you reserve just for this task), wipe down all of the external surfaces of the toilet, paying special attention to any areas you touch regularly such as the seat and the flushing handle. You can also use an old toothbrush to scrub hard-to-reach places like the toilet seat hinge, but make sure to mark the utensil clearly for its purpose and keep it far away from any other toothbrush in the house to avoid any confusion during your morning routine.

Disinfect the brush and brush holder

Photo: Sarah Kobos

When you’re done with the toilet brush, spritz the head with disinfecting spray, let it sit for a minute, and then rinse it with just hot water in the bathtub or shower. Also, be sure to spray down the toilet brush basin with your disinfectant to make sure nothing festers inside the nooks and crannies there.

Things to avoid

We don’t recommend using tank additives, those tablets or discs that can turn your toilet water so blue, it looks like a Smurf is slowly decomposing in your tank. These discs seem like an easy and maintenance-free option, as they’re designed to be dropped into the tank, where they dissolve over time, spreading disinfectant around the toilet bowl with every flush. But according to James Walsh, vice president of product management for toilet manufacturer American Standard, the reality is more complicated. “We do not recommend using in-tank cleaners because they will void your warranty,” he told us during an interview. “They will attack the working tank trim in the tank itself.” Basically, such tablets turn all the standing water in the tank into a caustic liquid, which can warp the rubber components required to keep the flushing mechanisms functioning. Over time this can lead to leaks and occasionally prevent the toilet from flushing entirely.

We also don’t recommend using disposable toilet-cleaning wands, which are an environmentally wasteful (and expensive) way to get the job done. In addition, we’ve found that toilet brushes with silicone bristles are too soft to scrub well.

Cleaning a toilet is an unappealing task, but if you make a regular routine of it, the work becomes much lighter. As someone who has been told, “Your apartment seemed really clean, except your bathroom looked gross,” I’ve learned the value of staying on top of this particularly crappy chore.

Meet your guide

James Austin

James Austin is an associate staff writer currently covering games and hobbies, but he’s also worked on just about everything Wirecutter covers—from board games to umbrellas—and after being here for a few years he has gained approximate knowledge of many things. In his free time he enjoys taking photos, running D&D, and volunteering for a youth robotics competition.

Further reading

  • Small Bathroom Ideas

    by Alex Arpaia and Dorie Chevlen

    After 20 hours researching dozens of organizing solutions, we recommend these items to maximize storage and keep small bathrooms clutter-free.

  • The Best Toilet Paper

    by Nancy Redd

    Using terrible toilet paper is a bummer. We meticulously compared 36 types to find sustainable and traditional options that are tops for any bottom.

  • The Best Bathroom Rugs and Bath Mats

    by Alex Arpaia

    A good bath mat can keep you from slipping and add some pizzazz to your bathroom. These three durable and comfortable options will work for a variety of styles.

Wirecutter is the product recommendation service from The New York Times. Our journalists combine independent research with (occasionally) over-the-top testing so you can make quick and confident buying decisions. Whether it’s finding great products or discovering helpful advice, we’ll help you get it right (the first time).

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Cleaning a Toilet Brush and Holder


Making sure your bathroom is clean is an important step when keeping your household
hygienic and germ-free. We (usually) remember to keep on top of cleaning items such as the toilet, the shower, and the bathroom floor, but an item that often gets forgotten is the toilet brush. It may not be the most glamourous job, but it’s important to know how to clean toilet brushes and how to clean toilet brush holders thoroughly and effectively, as well as knowing how to disinfect toilet brushes to avoid spreading any nasty germs that may be lurking.

Fortunately, cleaning a toilet brush and its holder is pretty simple, as household tasks go
– and it’s a natural step to take after you’ve scrubbed the toilet bowl. Not sure how to clean toilet brushes or how to keep a toilet brush holder clean? This simple and easy-to-use guide has you covered.

Regular cleaning with a high-quality bleach product like Domestos will keep your toilet brush and holder protected from germs for longer.

You will need:

  • Bucket or container


How to clean toilet brushes using bleach

When it comes to knowing how to clean toilet bowl brushes, an efficient method is to soak the toilet brush in bleach. Before using this technique, it’s important to remember to read the product label for application instructions, paying particular attention to any safety guidelines – bleach is a powerful product. Before beginning, make sure you have all the necessary tools for how to sanitise toilet brushes and clean them! Then, follow these steps for cleaning a toilet brush.

  1. Fill a bucket

    Use hot water.

  2. Add the bleach

    Add two-three capsules of bleach (see the bottle label for advice on this).

  3. Leave the brush to soak

    Put your toilet brush in the bucket and leave for an hour.

  4. Rinse

    Take the brush out and rinse under hot water.

  5. Place back in the holder

    Once the toilet brush is dry, place it back in the holder.

How to clean toilet brush holders

Now you’ve cleaned your toilet brush, it’s important to clean the holder as well. You can do this while your toilet brush is drying. Follow these steps to help guide you on how to clean toilet brush holders.

  1. Use a disinfectant spray

    Using a disinfectant spray like Domestos Bleach Spray, spritz the inside and outside of the toilet brush holder. Alternatively, soak it in a bleach solution for an hour as in the method above. Just remember to always follow the safety instructions on the product you use.

  2. Leave to drain

    Leave to drain off above the toilet bowl for 10 minutes.

  3. Rinse

    Rinse all over with boiling hot water.

  4. Dry

    Dry the toilet bowl with a cloth or tissue.

  5. Finished!

    Place the toilet brush back in the holder.

The Poll

Which brand of dishwasher tablets do you usually purchase?

0 Votes

How to keep a toilet brush clean and how to keep a toilet brush holder clean

Now you know how to clean toilet brushes and their holders, it’s important to keep them
clean. We recommend cleaning a toilet brush and holder once a week to avoid a
bacteria build-up or every other time you clean the toilet.

Use biocides safely. Always read the label and product information before use.

And there you have it! Who knew cleaning a toilet brush was so easy? For all your bathroom
cleaning tips to keep your house healthy and hygienic, Cleanipedia has you covered.

Originally published

How to clean your bathroom accessories: cleaning tips

When you think of cleaning your bathroom, what comes to your mind besides cleaning the toilet, sink, tub or shower? How about inconspicuous items like a soap dish, toothbrush holder and toilet brush? These items actively attract bacteria, so they need to be cleaned regularly. Below you will find some useful tips and learn how to easily clean these accessories using products and tools that can be found in every home. Remember that when using cleaning products, always wear protective clothing and keep the area well ventilated.

Many bathroom cleaners are also suitable for cleaning accessories such as toilet brushes. But remember to read the instructions on the labels and test the products on a small area of ​​the surface.

How do I clean the toothbrush holder?

Of all the fixtures in your bathroom, keeping your toothbrush holder clean is the most important, because bacteria can easily enter your body through it. This is a good motivation to start cleaning the bathroom! How you clean your toothbrush holder will depend on how it looks: an old glass or a simple metal holder can be washed in the dishwasher once a week, but ceramic toothbrush holders are more difficult to care for.

A special solution designed to clean your mouth and fight bacteria, it’s great for cleaning toothbrush holders. Simply soak the stand in the solution and then rinse. The stand will be like new!

How to clean the soap dish?

Luckily, avoiding buildup of soap residue on your soap dish is quite simple:

  • Buy a soap dish that will drip down the sink.

  • Remove soap residue with one teaspoon each of baking soda and apple cider vinegar.

  • Apply the composition to the soap dish, brush it and then rinse in water.

  • Repeat once a week.

Mini survey

Has the house cleaning process changed during the self-isolation regime?

No, cleaned the same way as before


Yes, cleaned more often


Yes, I have started using disinfectants more often


Yes, I have started cleaning with a vacuum cleaner, special cloths, sponges, etc. more often.


0 vote(s)

How do I clean my toilet brush and toilet brush holder?

To clean your toilet brush and stand well, follow these simple tips:

  1. Rinse the brush and stand with hot water.

  2. Next, soak the brush and stand in a bucket of hot water with bleach or vinegar (about 2 cups per 2 liters of hot water) for an hour. However, when using bleach, be sure to follow label directions carefully and wear protective rubber gloves.

  3. Use dish soap to clean the brush and base. An old dishwashing brush or toothbrush will help to effectively clean the space between the bristles and get rid of old dirt.

  4. Lay the brush and holder on an old clean towel, preferably in a sunny place, to dry.

How to clean a bath curtain?

The bathtub screen is another accessory that can be cleaned with items that are in every home. If your curtain is machine washable, then in order to get rid of mold and mildew, you should put it in the washing machine along with a few towels and turn on the gentle wash. Add half a cup of baking soda during the wash cycle and half a cup of vinegar when rinsing. Then dry the bath curtain naturally (the dryer may damage it). Repeat this procedure regularly to keep your bath curtain looking nice and clean.

  • Regular cleaning of bathroom fittings is essential, but easy to forget when cleaning your shower and sink. You will not neglect cleaning the toilet, so do not forget to pay attention to the brush for cleaning it.

  • Bathroom accessories can be cleaned using common household cleaners or special bathroom products such as Cif.

How to clean the toilet brush from yellowness and rid it of germs

A toilet brush is a necessary attribute of a toilet room, which itself quickly gets dirty, turns yellow, and becomes unaesthetic. There are special industrial tools that allow you to clean the toilet brush. Folk cleaning methods are also known, when improvised means are used: vinegar, soda, salt.

Why clean your toilet brush

A dirty toilet brush lurking in the corner of the bathroom can spoil the impression of the most expensive renovation, sparkling clean tiles and newfangled accessories. Designed to do the dirtiest work, this useful item itself requires regular cleaning and disinfection.

And the point is not only that an unwashed ruff with yellow bristles and particles of dirt lingering in it, by its very sight, evokes a feeling of disgust. There is an unpleasant smell that cannot be interrupted by any fresheners. But the most unpleasant thing is that intestinal bacteria accumulate and multiply between the hairs of the bristles, the most dangerous of which are salmonella and Staphylococcus aureus.

Ruff should be cleaned at least once a month, but preferably every week.

Of course, buying a new brush is easy. This thing is inexpensive, and is sold in any hardware store. Another thing is if the toilet brush is part of the overall interior and it will not be easy to pick up the same one.

Household cleaning products

To clean and disinfect the toilet brush, any commercial toilet cleaner is suitable. Here is a list of the most effective formulations:

  • Cillit Bang – contains oxalic acid and fragrances, quickly cracks down on plaque and lime deposits;
  • Domestos – provides 100% destruction of dangerous microbes and fungi, an excellent disinfectant;
  • Faberlic toilet bowl cleaner – solution does not contain chlorine, the cleaning effect is achieved due to formic and oxalic acids;
  • Sarma is an inexpensive plumbing gel that quickly and effectively removes any dirt;
  • “Toilet Duck 5 in 1” is an inexpensive but very effective remedy.

The main thing before you start cleaning the toilet is not to forget about rubber gloves: all cleaning products contain harmful chemicals, which should not come into contact with the skin of the hands.

There are two ways to wash the toilet brush:

  • Pour enough hot water into the bucket to completely submerge the brush. Dilute the selected cleaning agent and leave the ruff in the solution for 2 hours. Then rinse with running water.
  • Pour the cleaning agent into the toilet bowl and immerse the brush in it for 2-3 hours. This method allows you to wash two things at once: a brush and a toilet bowl.

If there are two toilet rooms in the house, then you can wash both brushes together at the same time.

Folk remedies

There are several ways to clean the cleaning tool from yellowness and remove an unpleasant odor. They use funds that can be found in any household:

  • Pour 2 tbsp.