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Haley's Cleaning Hints — Toilet Treatment

Here are tips for a tidier toilet from Graham and Rosemary Haley. Toilet-Ring Tricks:


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  • Pour a cup or two of white vinegar into the toilet bowl, let it sit overnight, then brush well and flush.

  • A good maintenance cleaner for your toilet bowl is ordinary baking soda. It also helps with those toilet odors.

  • Another solution you might want to try is pouring a can of cola into the bowl. Leave to sit overnight if possible. Brush well the next day. [Editor's note: cola contains small quantities of phosphoric acid that will dissolve mineral deposits on your bowl]
Toilet Rust Stains
  • Fine sandpaper or a pumice stone [used wet] will usually remove really bad rust stains.
Toilet-Rim Tip
  • Make sure you put your cleaner on a stiff-bristled toilet brush and get it right under the rim. Otherwise the holes there that release the water will tend to clog up
Toilet Warning
  • I don't believe in cleaning a toilet with bleach. If you forget and use a cleaner that has ammonia in it, as soon as the ammonia mixes with any bleach residue, you could get very toxic fumes. Think about it: urine has some ammonia in it too. I'm staying away from bleach in my toilet!
Toilet-Level Tip
  • Take a bucketful of water and throw the contents into the toilet bowl before you start cleaning it. This actually forces the water level down in the toilet bowl and allows you to access those bowl rings, etc., easier. 
Toilet-Plunger Tip
  • It's a good idea to rub some ordinary automotive grease or petroleum jelly around the rim of your rubber toilet plunger. This helps provide a good seal for your plunger when it comes time to unclog your toilet.
Toilet-Brush Off
  • Keep all those ugly bacteria off your toilet brush by swishing it around in a 50/50 solution of bleach and water every couple of weeks or so. Don't forget to rinse it off thoroughly with soap and water afterward and don't clean it with a cleaner that contains ammonia.

  • We prefer to use the brushes that have a plastic bristle core rather than a metal wire core. The plastic is less likely to mark the surface of your toilet bowl.
Vacation Tip
  • It's usually not a good idea to leave any toilet cleaner in the toilet bowl while you're away from home ... even for a weekend. The cleaner sitting in the water may harm the surface of the toilet bowl if it is left on too long.

  • What you can do, though, is stretch a sheet of plastic cling wrap over the bowl and leave it on while you're away from home. This will help stop the water evaporating too quickly and will keep the water level constant, which, in turn, helps keep the toilet rings away.

Adapted and reprinted by arrangement with New American Library, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., from Haley's Cleaning Hints by Graham Haley and Rosemary Haley. Copyright © 2000 by 3H Productions, Inc.

Haley's Cleaning Hints — Toilet Treatment:  Created on December 17th, 2005.  Last Modified on January 21st, 2014


About Graham and Rosemary Haley

Graham and Rosemary HaleyFor more than ten years, Graham and Rosemary Haley have shared their simple, inexpensive secrets for solving household tasks through TV and radio shows, books, magazine and newspaper columns, cartoon strips, and live appearances. The Haley's Hints TV Show is now seen across four continents — North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.