Cleaning the Inside of Toilet Tanks

Preparing to clean the toilet tank

Cleaning the toilet might not be the most pleasant job, but it's one that certainly needs to be performed often if you want to keep your home as clean and free from bacteria as possible. However, one part of the toilet that rarely gets the cleaning it needs is the inside of the toilet tank. The tank holds the water that's used to flush the toilet, and if it isn't cleaned regularly, it can reduce the life of your toilet and introduce mold into your bathroom.

How to Clean the Inside of a Toilet Tank

Tools and Materials

  • White vinegar
  • Bristle brush
  • Disinfectant cleaner
  • Rubber gloves

Preparation: Flush Twice and Turn Off the Water Supply

Flush the toilet two times to filter the standing water out of the tank and then wait for the tank to fill back up with fresh water. Locate the water supply shut-off valve and turn the valve clockwise to turn off the toilet's water supply line.

The water shut-off valve is usually located near the floor behind the toilet. Locate the water line that is connected to the bottom of the toilet tank and follow it. The shut-off valve will be located at the other end of the water supply hose.

Cleaning Step 1: Vinegar Soak

Put on the rubber gloves and remove the lid on the toilet tank. The lid is heavy yet delicate, so place it carefully on a towel where it will be out of the way. Pour white vinegar directly into the tank until the water line is about an inch below the top of the tank. Allow the vinegar to sit in the tank for five minutes so it can start breaking down any built-up mineral deposits. Flush the toilet after the five-minute vinegar soak. Some water will usually remain inside the tank.

Cleaning Step 2: Disinfect and Scrub

Spray the inside of the toilet tank with disinfectant cleaner and let it sit for about ten minutes so the cleaning agent can kill off any bacteria that might be living inside of the tank. Scrub the walls and bottom of the tank using the bristle brush. Try to avoid banging into or dislodging any working parts while scrubbing.

Spray the disinfectant cleaner on the underside of the tank lid and scrub it with the brush. Rinse the cleaning agent off of the tank lid.

Cleaning Step 3: Rinse the Inside of the Tank

Turn the water shut-off valve back on by turning the knob counterclockwise until the valve meets resistance. Water should now be entering the toilet tank and it will shut off automatically once the tank is filled. Flush the toilet and let the tank fill back up with water, and then flush it again to rinse the disinfectant cleaner from the tank thoroughly. Return the lid to the top of the tank and make sure it is seated properly.

Products for Making the Job Easier

Adding a bleach tablet to the inside of the tank can help extend the time between cleanings, but if doing so, it is important to place the tablet away from the rubber gaskets inside the tank to prevent the bleach from breaking down the rubber too quickly. Popular brands of bleach tablets include:

Cleaning the inside of a toilet tanks is an easy job that only takes about a half an hour to complete, yet it can make a big difference in the amount of bacteria that exists in a bathroom. Add this simple task to your bathroom cleaning regimen, and your toilet will be spic and span inside and out.

Clean the Toilet Tank Regularly

The inside of a toilet tank should be cleaned at least twice a year to maintain cleanliness and to prevent hard minerals from building up on and deteriorating the seals and working parts. If the toilet is one that is not used that frequently, such as in a powder room or a basement, then the interior of the tank should be cleaned more often because the standing water could be subject to mold growth.

Cleaning the Inside of Toilet Tanks