How to Clean a Toilet: An Eco-Conscious Guide

5 minute read

Picture this—your toilet is so clean that it sparkles. Yes, that porcelain throne is as shiny and spotless as ever. The best part is, you managed to achieve this gorgeous state of cleanliness with methods and products that don’t contaminate our planet.

Does this sound too good to be true? Well, we have some good news for you. You can clean your toilet and remain eco-conscious.

To start, all you need are some tips on how to clean a toilet without using toxic cleaning chemicals. With a little know-how and the right products, you’ll be able to keep your toilet pristine and help the planet stay clean, all at the same time.

What Is the Best Way to Clean a Toilet?

A sparkling-clean toilet is one of the fastest ways to transform your bathroom from a danger zone into a refreshing, welcoming environment. Don’t worry—we’ll walk you through the steps below. But before you can start, you’ll need some eco-conscious cleaning supplies.

Many toilet cleaning products are designed to banish harmful bacteria and unwelcome smells. However, conventional toilet cleaners often contain harsh chemicals that you don’t want to linger behind or end up in our water systems. Therefore, when navigating how to clean a bathroom, avoid toxic cleaners and opt for safer options instead.

You can use several methods to clean your toilet in a more earth-friendly and health-friendly manner. Plant-powered toilet cleaners like ECOS Toilet Bowl Cleaner are a much better choice. This cleaner’s simple formula is:

  • Readily biodegradable
  • Greywater safe
  • Septic safe
  • Certified by the U.S. EPA’s Safer Choice program1
  • Made using thoughtfully sourced ingredients

Using products that are better for you and the environment is always a smart cleaning choice. Next, let’s look at how you can stay on top of toilet cleaning with a regular routine.

Step 1: Invest In a Good Toilet Brush

Think of your toilet brush as your magic wand. It can reach all of those places in the toilet bowl and under the rim where you can’t see. Toilet brushes are made specifically for scrubbing toilet bowls, and their tough bristles can help remove spots and stains from your dirty toilet. 

The one downside to many toilet brushes is that they’re often made using plastic. Fortunately, more environmentally friendly options for toilet brushes do exist. Choose a toilet bowl brush that is made from biodegradable and compostable materials. Natural toilet brush materials like coconut fiber and bamboo can help you get the job done without the environmental impacts of plastic.

Step 2: Give the Bowl a Regular Full Cleaning Once a Week

A weekly bowl scrubbing to remove excess buildup in your toilet bowl can help you maintain an exceptionally clean toilet in the long term. 

To give your toilet bowl a thorough weekly scrub, we recommend the following steps:

  • Coat the inner part of the toilet bowl with your plant-powered toilet bowl cleaner.
  • Let the product sit for 5–10 minutes.
  • To remove any buildup, use your toilet brush to gently scrub the inside of the bowl.
  • Flush the toilet.
  • Take a step back and admire the sparkle.

A toilet-cleaning tip: Cleaning the bowl is important, but for a deep clean, don’t forget to also scrub beneath the rim. A study in the Journal of Applied Microbiology found that Salmonella could survive in domestic toilets for up to four weeks. Most of the surviving bacteria were found above the water line and beneath the lip of the toilet rim. This means you should make sure you don’t skip these areas when you clean.

Step 3: Use a Safer Disinfectant for the Lid, Seat, and Handle

When we clean our toilets, we sometimes concentrate on the bowl—but the toilet seat and lid deserve just as much TLC. But how often should you clean your bathroom and toilet? Regular toilet cleaning and disinfecting can help you remove unwanted germs and keep the external parts of your toilet shining.

Since you’re cleaning the parts of the toilet that come into direct contact with your skin, you definitely need a bathroom cleaning product that won’t leave behind any chemical residue. ECOS One-Step Disinfectant Cleaner deodorizes and disinfects with the power of hydrogen peroxide. Plus, this cleaning solution can kill 99.9% of germs without chlorine bleach, ammonia, phosphates, and other harsh ingredients—making it better for you, your toilet, and the earth.

To clean and disinfect the outer parts of your toilet, follow these steps:

  • Spray the disinfectant to thoroughly wet each part of the toilet, including the lid, seat, handle, toilet tank, and outside of the bowl.
  • Allow the cleaner to sit for 10 minutes. This wait time allows the disinfectant to work its magic on germs and bacteria.
  • Once the time is up, wipe away the disinfectant with a towel – there’s no need to rinse.

Step 4: Spot Clean as Needed

With an effective weekly cleaning routine, maintaining a spotless toilet can be a cinch. Still, giving that toilet a once-over at least a few times a week can help you prevent buildup and send away odors, making your regular routines even easier. 

To spot-clean and deodorize your toilet bowl, all you need to do is:

  • Spray your disinfectant cleaner to wet any areas of the toilet that need a spot cleaning.
  • Let the product sit for 15-20 seconds to penetrate any tough stains and spots.
  • After the product sits, simply wipe it away.
  • Use the same spray to deodorize the inside of your toilet, letting the product sit for 10 minutes before flushing.

How Do You Clean a Stained Toilet?

Sometimes stains set in before we can act to prevent them. Others can simply happen as a result of lime buildup from the minerals in our water.3 Don’t worry—it’s still possible to remove these tough stains and stay eco-conscious. 

In addition to your safer bathroom cleaners, the key ingredient here to cleaning a stained toilet bowl is a little patience. Yep—letting your cleaner sit for a little longer might be all you need to send those stains away.

Follow these steps to take care of any toilet stains:

  1. Apply your cleaner – If your toilet has some long-lasting, set-in toilet bowl stains, you should begin by using your plant-powered toilet bowl cleaner. Be sure to thoroughly coat areas under the rim and around the bowl.
  2. Let it sit – Leave the cleaner in the dirty toilet for 15–30 minutes. Use that time to tackle the rest of your bathroom, dance like no one’s watching, or take a quick power nap.
  3. Scrub away – Use your toilet brush to scrub away as much of the grime as you can. Scrub carefully, making sure you clean the areas under the rim where you can’t see.
  4. Repeat as needed – Flush and look for any remaining stains. If you still see some stains or other residue, repeat the above steps until they’re gone for good.
  5. Clean the lid and seat – If your toilet seat and lid feature any stubborn stains, follow the same steps above, but with your safer disinfectant or an all-purpose cleaner.

Man rocking out on an air guitar mop

What Should You Look for In Eco-Conscious Toilet Cleaners?

Let’s face it—our toilets are one modern invention that most of us probably wouldn’t want to do without. But when it comes to keeping them clean, unearthing eco-conscious products can be a tricky task. 

Luckily, there are a few things you can look for to find cleaning products you can feel good about

These elements include:4

  • No harsh chemicals – Bleach, ammonia, and phosphates are all on the list of chemicals to avoid, as these can harm our health and the environment. You can achieve the same cleaning results with safer and healthier ingredients, like hydrogen peroxide and citric acid.
  • Fragrance-free (or natural fragrances) – Many of the fragrances in cleaning products contain phthalates, an ingredient that can be toxic to our bodies and our planet’s ecosystems.5 Instead of products with strong chemical fragrances, look for formulas with none at all. You can also find products with more natural scents, such as the cedarwood essential oil and plant-based ingredients in  ECOS Toilet Bowl Cleaner, to add a pleasant scent.
  • Eco-conscious packaging – To minimize your impact, look for products that come in recycled and recyclable materials. For example, the bottles used for ECOS products are made with post-recycled consumer plastic and are fully recyclable.6

Of course, there’s one other shortcut you can use to identify eco-conscious products: look for the Safer Choice label. Developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Safer Choice program certifies products that use ingredients that are safer for human and planetary health and help to reduce our impact on the environment.7

Keep Your Toilet Sparkling Clean with ECOS

With a few more sustainable methods and products, keeping your toilet clean and fresh in a safer way can be a breeze. Plus, you’ll know that every time you sparkle and shine your bathroom, you’ll support your health and our planet.

When you want to keep your home clean and your family safe from harsh chemicals, ECOS plant-powered cleaners are a smart choice.

EPA. Safer Choice.
Journal of Applied Microbiology. Survival of Salmonella in Bathrooms and Toilets in Domestic Homes.
Good Housekeeping. How to Easily Remove Hard Water Stains.
Environmental Working Group. About EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning.
ECOS. The Nasties. 
ECOS. Can conscious cleaning help clean up the earth?