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How to clean a toilet tank | What plumbers recommend

Did you know you are supposed to clean your toilet tank twice a year?

You should clean your toilet tank at least twice a year to avoid the build-up of minerals, rust, and slime. Cleaning helps prevent stains, odor, and damage. Which of course means you won’t have to make any repairs to the inside of your tank any time soon.

Keep reading about different ways to clean your toilet tank, what to look for, and what to avoid.

What is the easiest way to clean a toilet tank?

There are a few ways to clean a toilet tank. Some require more effort than others. But we’ve found that:

The easiest way to clean a toilet tank is to let the tank soak overnight in an equal mixture of water and white vinegar. After that, you should turn off the water supply to the toilet. Then, empty the tank by flushing it. Lastly, you should grab an old toothbrush and scrub everything covered in mineral deposits, slime, or limescale.

After that you should turn on the water supply and let the tank refill. Flush a few times to get rid of the vinegar and debris you scrubbed off. That’s it!

Alternatively, you can skip the soaking over night part and just let it sit for a few minutes and then scrub.

Let’s break it down in an easier format!

Materials to needed to clean a toilet tank:

  1. Rubber gloves
    • Hygiene is important when working with a toilet
  2. White vinegar
  3. Scrub brush and/or old toothbrush
    • Use a larger scrub brush to clean the tank itself and use an old toothbrush to carefully clean parts of the flush and fill valve
  4. Measuring cups
    • To measure the amount of vinegar and water
  5. Baking soda (optionally)
    • You can make a paste out of white vinegar, water and baking soda and use it as a gentle scrub

How to clean a toilet tank step by step:

  1. Turn Off the Water Supply
    • Locate the water shut-off valve behind or beside the toilet and turn it off to stop the flow of water into the tank. Flush the toilet to remove as much water from the tank as possible.
  2. Create a Cleaning Solution
    • Mix a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar in a spray bottle. This mixture will help break down stains, mineral deposits, and bacteria inside the tank.
  3. Apply the Cleaning Solution
    • Spray the vinegar and water mixture generously inside the toilet tank, covering all interior surfaces. Focus on areas with visible stains or mineral buildup. Allow the solution to sit for about 10-15 minutes to loosen dirt and grime.
  4. Step 5: Scrub and Clean
    • Put on your rubber gloves and use a scrub brush or an old toothbrush to scrub away the loosened stains and deposits. For stubborn spots, you can sprinkle some baking soda onto the brush to create a mild abrasive paste. Scrub all the interior surfaces of the tank until they appear clean.
  5. Step 6: Rinse and Restore Water Supply
    • Turn the water supply back on by reopening the shut-off valve. Flush the toilet several times to rinse the tank thoroughly. This will remove any remaining cleaning solution and debris.
  6. Wipe Dry
    • Use a towel or rag to wipe down the exterior of the tank and any surrounding areas to ensure everything is clean and dry.

This is considered the easiest way as the soaking part does most of the job for you. If you are unable to scrub without any extra help, you should mix equal parts of white vinegar with water.

Put a bit of baking soda on an old toothbrush and spritz a bit of the mixture on there. Now use the paste to gently scrub.

Should you clean a toilet tank?

It is advisable to clean a toilet tank twice a year. Although not much maintenance is needed, grime, mineral deposits, and bacteria gather within the tank over time affecting the functunality of the flushing mechanisms. Therefore you should clean a toilet tank. At least twice a year.

Cleaning the tank helps prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and fungi that can grow in the presence of stagnant water. These microorganisms can lead to unpleasant odors and potentially affect the overall hygiene of your bathroom.

Secondly, a clean tank can extend the lifespan of your toilet’s working parts. Sediments and mineral deposits from hard water can build up in the tank and cause damage to the flushing mechanism, leading to costly repairs or replacements down the line.

Here you can get an insight into the rates plumbers offer.

Also, if you have never cleaned your tank before don’t worry when you see a questionable color. Sometimes the inside of the tank will look brown. This is most likely because of the high iron in the water.

A mixture of white vinegar and water will do the trick.

So, cleaning a toilet tank will:

  • Give you a cleaner-looking tank on the inside
    • Not that your guests will look in there but it’s nice to know it’s clean in case you have to be in there
  • Prevent damage to the flushing mechanism
  • Prevent unpleasant odor

What do plumbers recommend to clean toilet tank

Most plumbers recommend to clean your toilet tank twice a year.

Plumbers typically recommend using a mixture of white vinegar and water to break down mineral deposits, stains, and bacteria. The acidic properties of white vinegar help dissolve grime and sanitize the tank. They advice againt using any bleach in the toilet tank.

Plumbers generally discourage the use of bleach in a toilet tank because bleach is a strong chemical that can damage the rubber and plastic components inside the tank, such as the flapper valve and seals.

Over time, exposure to bleach may cause these parts to deteriorate, leading to leaks and costly repairs. Using the white vinegar and water method is great beacause it is cost-effective and also very important: environmentally friendly

How to clean toilet tank with coke

We personally wouldn’t recommend cleaning with coca-cola as there are many parts in the toilet tank’s flushing mechanism in which the coke can get trapped. Once you can’t rinse of the coke it becomes sticky. This is a great place for gunk to stick on to.

You can however try the coke technique when cleaning your toilet bowl which you can read about here.

How to clean a toilet tank without scrubbing

To clean a toilet tank without scrubbing you need to add 3 cups of vinegar to the tank and let it sit overnight. After that, simply flush 2-3 times to rinse out the tank. Be sure not to flush too fast because the tank needs a few seconds to fill up again.

However, the no-scrubbing method only works when there is minimal deposit and slime on the inside. If you’re cleaning your time for the first time ever, we advise you to inspect everything and do a scrub.

After that, you can apply the no-scrubbing method. But keep inspecting every time you do this just to be sure.

Toilet tank cleaners used for maintenance

In addition to cleaning the tank, you can also use special tablets, cleaners and solutions. However some plumbers don’t recommend this as they might contain aggressive ingredients. That’s why, if you decide to use any ready-made products, always read the ingredients.

Here is a great brand of toilet tank cleaners (according to reviews):

Got some questions about toilet tank cleaning you need to have answered straight to the point?

Here you go:

How to clean toilet tank without draining

If you want to clean your toilet tank without draining the tank, simply pour in some white vinegar. Let this soak for a few minutes. Next, grab an old toothbrush, optionally sprinkle some baking soda on top and start scrubbing. After your done, flush a few times to get rid of the loosened gunk.

How do you clean build up in the toilet tank

To clean build up in the toilet tank simply mix an equal amount of water with an equal amount of white vinegar. Pour it in the tank and let it sit overnight. Then, shut off the water supply and empty the tank by flushing. Scrub the inside of the tank and it’s parts (gently) to clean any build up. Turn on te water supply and flush a few times.

How to clean my toilet tank with vinegar and baking soda

To clean your toilet tank with vinegar and baking soda mix an equal amounts of water and white vinegar. Wetten a brush in this mixture and sprinkle some baking soda on top. Now you can use this paste to scrub inside your toilet tank, cleaning any build up sediment.

Disclaimer: is not responsible for any damage caused to your toilet and surroundings by (wrongly) interpreting information found on this site. Please seek custom advice from a professional to evaluate your current situation.

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