Cheap and Green Tips to Keep Your Toilets Clean

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Cleaning toilets is not one of my favorite things to do, but it's something that does have to be done. Personally, I’d still rather clean toilets than iron, though.

Commercial toilet cleaners can cost anywhere from $4 to $6 and if you have more than one bathroom, those costs can add up. I’ve tried just using a brush without cleansers, and while it temporarily does the trick, it doesn’t get rid of odors or stains, and it doesn’t last long. (And you can rinse a dirty plate off with water and while it may look clean, it isn’t).

I let one of our toilets go without cleaning for 6 weeks (one we don’t use often) so that it would get really nasty, which it did, to try out green cleaning methods that not only save you money, but don’t use harsh chemicals.

And boy did it get dirty!

Here’s some great tips on everything to do with toilets…

Three of my favorite green cleaners I can’t live without:

  • Baking soda cleans, deodorizers, and scours.

  • White vinegar cuts grease, removes mildew and odors and most stains.

  • Hydrogen peroxide is an anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-mold and anti-mildew substance…

...making all 3 of these products perfect for cleaning and disinfecting.

Borax is another product you can use, which I personally haven’t tried. It eliminates odors, removes dirt and acts as an antifungal. Make sure you keep it away from kids and pets since it can be harmful if large doses are swallowed.

Hydrogen Peroxide Tip – Simply screw a spray bottle nozzle directly into the brown bottle of hydrogen peroxide. If you do pour it into a spray bottle, make sure you store it where it isn’t exposed to light, which will break it down and then be as effective as just water. There’s a reason it comes in the dark brown bottle.


  • Remove stubborn toilet rings with a paste of lemon juice and borax. Allow to set before scrubbing.

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

  • Sprinkle 1 cup baking soda all around the inside of the bowl. Spray white distilled vinegar into the toilet, making sure to spray up under the rim. You will see the water bubble up. When bubbling has subsided, scrub with a brush.

  • Pour 1 cup white vinegar in bowl and let sit for 30 minutes. Sprinkle baking soda on a toilet brush and then clean.

  • Drop 2 or 3 tablets of denture cleaner into the bowl water. Let stand for 2 to 3 hours and brush well.

  • Pour a can of cola into the bowl. Leave to sit overnight if possible and brush well the next day.

  • A good maintenance cleaner for your toilet bowl is baking soda, which helps with those toilet odors. Just pour a bit in the toilet, let sit for a couple of minutes and then flush, keeping it fresh until your regular cleaning.

TOILET RUST STAINS can be cleaned off with a paste of cream of tartar and hydrogen peroxide. For really bad rust stains, try fine sandpaper or a pumice stone to scrub them away.

When cleaning your toilet, make sure you put cleaner on a stiff bristled toilet brush and get it right under the rim. This will help clean the holes there that release the water, which can clog up.

I personally don’t use bleach when cleaning the toilets. Even though I’m usually the one to clean them, sometimes my husband will do it and if I’m not home, I don’t know what cleaner he might use. If there’s any bleach residue in the bowl and a cleaner with ammonia is added, you can get toxic fumes. And since urine has some ammonia in it too, well, I’d rather be safe than sorry.

To keep hard water deposits from forming in your tank, drop a denture tablet once every 4 to 6 weeks. Leave overnight and then brush and flush.

Here’s one of my FAVORITE tips on getting the toilet bowl clean, which I had read about but never tried (and it seriously works!) Take a bucket of water and throw it (the water, not the bucket) into the toilet bowl before cleaning. This forces the water level down in the toilet bowl and allows you to really be able to clean those bowl rings.


If you rub petroleum jelly around the rim of your rubber toilet plunger, it will help provide a good seal for your plunger for when you get clogs.

Toilet brushes can get nasty. Keep bacteria away by swishing your brush in a 50/50 solution of bleach and water every couple of weeks or so. Rinse it off thoroughly with soap and water afterwards. Of course if you use cleaners that contain ammonia, you might want to skip this, just in case.

Plastic bristled brushes are less likely to scratch the bowl versus metal bristles.

We have a couple of bathrooms upstairs that get used maybe once every couple of months, which causes the water to evaporate and rings to appear. If you have this challenge or are going to be out of town for an extended period, you can stretch a sheet of plastic cling wrap over the bowl and leave it on while you’re away from home (or not using a bathroom.) This will help stop the water evaporating too quickly, which will help keep the toilet rings away.

I used the baking soda and vinegar method which worked great, no heavy scrubbing needed, and it got rid of all those nasty stains and odor! AND it cost me about 15 cents!

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