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toilet cleaning tips

If your family is flush with reasons not to deal with the weekly toilet tune-up, tell them to have a seat and relax. 

Today's disinfecting cleaners make this once tedious task a breeze.

These toilet cleaning tips even work on a toilet that's been neglected for a while. 

Toilet cleaning is a job for the teens and adults in your home, as bathroom cleaners are strong, and when used incorrectly, they can damage surfaces - and kids.

Sanitize the Bowl

Wearing latex or rubber gloves to protect your hands, spray a disinfecting toilet-bowl cleaner around the inside of the bowl and under the rim.

Use a long-handle toilet bowl brush to swish the cleaner around the bowl, under the rim, and as far into the trap as possible.

Or, you can clean with chlorine bleach alone by pouring one-quarter cup of bleach into the bowl; it both whitens and disinfects.

To avoid creating hazardous fumes, don't combine bleach with any bowl cleaner or any other cleaning product.

Be sure to teach your teens this critical safety rule. Get a list of bathroom chores for kids and teens here.

Let the Toilet Cleaning Product Sit

Allow either toilet cleaner to sit for ten full minutes to thoroughly annihilate germs, bacteria, and viruses.

While the disinfectant is doing its job in the bowl, you can begin cleaning the seat and lid (both sides) and the rest of the toilet surface, including around the hinges and the base, which is especially necessary if you have little boys learning to aim.

Spray on a nonabrasive disinfectant (a separate product from the toilet bowl cleaner). Allow this cleaner to chill and kill germs for 10 minutes, too.

Swish the Cleaner Around the Bowl

Moving back to the bowl, swish the cleaner around the bowl, underneath the rim, and as far into the trap as possible, using a long-handled toilet brush.

Then flush the toilet to rinse.

Seat Patrol

toilet cleaning tips

Turning your attention back to the seat area, wipe the seat and the outside of the bowl clean and dry with paper towels.

Paper towels are simplest: no rinsing needed, and no chance of spreading germs if you toss them.

Don't forget to dry the hinge areas and bumpers.

Daily and Weekly Toilet Maintenance

Each week, pour 1 cup of baking soda into the bowl to keep it fresh. And finally, once a month pour a half-gallon of white vinegar into the bowl to keep it ring-free. Let it soak overnight before flushing.

To keep your bowl clean between weekly deep toilet cleanings, pour a half-cup or so of bleach into the potty each morning or evening and let it sit.

This will help keep harmful germs in check. (Never combine bleach with toilet bowl cleaner! The two combined release dangerous fumes.) And, of course, store your bleach out of reach of little hands. If you have pets, make sure the lid is down to avoid accidents.

Each day, also wipe the toilet seat and rim with a disposable disinfecting wipe. (I keep bleach-containing disposable wipes near the kids' potty for quick spot-cleaning during the potty-training process. These wipes are a godsend when a child gets the stomach flu and things get messy there.)

Teach your kids to flush. Period. This is one rule you'll want your kids to follow, especially when they're visiting at friends' homes. This rule can be broken only during seven-year droughts.

A well-mannered boy always puts the seat down after using the toilet. And a clean-minded child, regardless of gender, always puts down the toilet lid before flushing.

Besides being much more pleasant to look at, a closed potty when flushed doesn't send stirred-up, ahem, unpleasantries spiraling into the air where they can land on your sink, counter, or toothbrush. Ugh.

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› 5 Toilet Cleaning Tips