The Dirty Glove: Toilet Edition

Cleaning thoroughly, efficiently, and greenly is the name of the game here at the Purple Fig, but we all have those areas of the house that- let’s face it -nobody likes to tackle. What better way to honor those dastardly, dirty crevices then to dedicate a post about how to scrub them until they shine?

Every other month, we’ll walk you through guidelines tailored for each unique mess (greasy stovetop? Moldy tub? Sticky sink?) and lend some valuable tips along the way. So strap on your gloves, because we’re about to clean the most popular appliance in the house: the toilet.

Tools You’ll Need:

Toilet paper

Spray Bottle

Spray Mix  (a blend of water, vinegar, and lemon extract*)


Toilet brush

Understanding the Commode

Toilets are, by far, the most used appliance in the household…thus making it the most dirtied up appliance as well. Combining the frequent use if the bowl, the constantly moistened inside rim, and the porcelain finish that attracts dust like a magnet, the average toilet requires a good scrub at least once every week.

The obvious issue is that…well, it requires you to put your face within inches of the bowl. That notion is understandably unpleasant to most, but simply swiping the top of the tank or swirling a toilet brush around simply isn’t enough to maintain proper cleanliness. Everyone wants a clean bathroom, and once you get the hang of the dirtiest piece de resistance, everything else will be a snap!

Non-Chemical Cleaning

As easy as it is to snap a chemical-based cleaner pod to the inside of your toilet and walk away, this method is not advised and, of course, is not eco-friendly. It only addresses one aspect of the toilet, is potentially harmful to inhale (imagine the dog drinking from that toxic cocktail), and is frankly more expensive than green cleaning.

Diving In

There are many corners and crevices to consider while cleaning the toilet…including some you regularly can’t see. First, take your spray bottle and fill it with water, vinegar, and lemon extract (*the extract is optional, but leaves a wonderful aroma). The ratio of water to vinegar depends on the state of the toilet in question, but half and half is a good gauge. For a less vinegar-laden smell, make it a 3/1 water to vinegar ratio, and/or toss in a couple of squirts of extract.

  1. Mix the bottle ingredients and strap on those gloves. Lift both the lid and the seat.
  2.  Begin in the bowl: spray it generously, making sure to coat under the rim as well. Let it sit for a few minutes.
  3. In the meantime, spray the entire appliance, including the nooks and crannies on the back, sides, and around the bottom “jaw”. While that absorbs, turn your attention back to the bowl.
  4. Grab some toilet paper and fold neatly. Use it to wipe around the inner-rim of the bowl, going over as many times as necessary (this may take a few swipes). Dispose dirty paper as desired: by flushing, trash, or (if the paper is biodegradable) by compost. 
  5. Now wipe under the inner-rim of the bowl, where the water flows from. This is a neglected area of the toilet, where mold accumulates. Wipe until no mold appears on the toilet paper.
  6. Now grab the toilet brush and scrub the inside of the bowl, paying special attention to the (typically pink) ring around the water, under the rim, and inside the dip.
  7. For stubborn pink or orange stains, spray again and repeat the process. For heavy duty stains, turn off the water pressure and flush, leaving the bowl empty. Pour in vinegar and swish it around with the toilet brush, following it with a generous sprinkling of baking soda. After a few minutes of bubbling, pour in a bit more vinegar, scrub with the toilet brush, and turn the water back on. When you flush, there should be a noticeable difference.
  8. Now for the rest of the toilet: Beginning at the base, wipe the porcelain with the toilet paper, being sure to wipe in one fluid direction. (Dust and possible grime should gather with each swipe).
  9. Continue swiping in one direction, collecting dust and stains, until the entire appliance (from tank to base) has been touched. Be sure to pay close attention to the lid and seat pivot, where hair, dust, and grime tends to hide.

And that’s it! Your toilet is as clean as it was the day you had it installed. Maybe even a bit cleaner…