When it comes to cleaning your bathroom, there are lots of surfaces to clean and disinfect. Lots of people leave the toilet cleaning to bubbles that scrub or bleach with noxious fumes. We’re here to tell you how to clean a toilet the way professionals do.

How often the bathroom, including the toilet, should be cleaned depends on how many people use it, their ages, and their comfort level. If children use the bathroom in your house, it likely needs to be cleaned weekly. And the toilet should be cleaned daily if someone is ill (and after each use if the illness is contagious).

Cleaning, which is removing dirt with ordinary soaps or detergents, is the best frontline defense against infectious germs in our homes. Disinfectants and sanitizers are helpful as a reinforcement for cleaning, but not a substitute for it.

A properly and regularly cleaned bathroom provides a healthier home environment. Our bodies are the source of many of the germs, both good and bad. Because of its moist environment that are contained there, the bathroom is an especially fertile place for germs to grow.

How to Clean Your Toilet the Right Way

The first rule of thumb when cleaning your toilet is to avoid abrasive cleaners that can damage the toilet. If you’ve got tough stains that call for something more than just elbow grease, go with a mild abrasive like Barkeepers Friend, Bon Ami, or Soft Scrub, and always follow the cleaner’s directions, especially concerning contact time for disinfectants.

Clean the inside of the toilet first.

1. Use your toilet brush to push as much water down into the drain as you can to at least lower the water level to expose the water line.
2. Sprinkle or squirt your chosen toilet cleaner in and around the inside of the toilet bowl.
3. Apply the toilet cleaner to your toilet brush, too, if you wish, and starting high in the bowl right under the rim, start scrubbing.
– Use either a circular or back and forth motion, start under the rim (pay particular attention here!) and work your way around the bowl and down in a systematic manner so you don’t miss any areas.
– Be sure to scrub down into the drain.
4. Flush the toilet and let the water flow through the toilet brush, too.
5. Shake any extra water from the brush and put it away.

Next, clean the outside of the toilet.

The procedure here is to wipe from the top of the toilet to the bottom with a cleaner and disinfectant.
1. Start at the top of the tank and clean down, making sure to clean the handle as you go.
2. When you get to the toilet seat, lift both the seat and the lid and spray the cleaner/disinfectant under the seat.
3. Lower the seat and spray the top of the seat.
4. Spray the underside of the lid.
5. Lower the lid and spray the top of the lid and the area between the lid and the tank.

Now clean the toilet in the opposite order in which you sprayed.

1. Wipe the area between the lid and the tank, using an old toothbrush or grout brush to thoroughly scrub the toilet seat hinges. Wipe the area dry with a dry clean cloth.
2. Wipe the top lid and dry it.
3. Lift the lid and clean the underside of the lid, using the brush around the hinges and bumpers, then dry it.
4. Clean the top of the toilet seat, utilizing the brush where needed, and dry.
5. Lift the seat and clean its underside, using the brush where needed, and dry with a clean cloth.

Now we are back to the porcelain of the toilet bowl. Spray the rim of the toilet bowl and wipe it dry, touching up the hinge area as you clean. Next, grab a new cleaning cloth and spray your cleaner/disinfectant into it, then wipe the front and back of the toilet all the way to the floor.

Lots of people skip the next step, but it really is important. Rinse the grout brush, spray it with the cleaner/disinfectant, and use it around the plastic caps and especially where the toilet meets the floor. Next, wipe the dust off the water lines and knobs behind the toilet. While you’re down there, spray the floor around the toilet and, using a clean cloth, wipe it clean, then use a dry cloth to wipe it dry.

While you may be tempted to skip some steps, following the procedure above will ensure a clean, disinfected toilet every time, leading to a fresher smelling bathroom and a healthier home.