How To Clean A Toilet Tank And Maintain It?

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Last Updated on October 3, 2022 by acechapman

Although your toilet tank might be hidden from view, it doesn’t mean that it is clean. Have you ever lifted the lid of your toilet tank to see the disgusting mess? You’re not the only one.

Your dirty toilet tank may not be what you think. Most likely, hard water is responsible for the majority of the buildup. While installing a water softener may solve the problem over the long term, it is possible to learn how to clean your toilet tank in the proper way.

Toilet tanks can also be a breeding ground for bacteria and fungal diseases. If the toilet isn’t flushed frequently, it can cause mildew and mold growth. Sensitive people to mold can become ill. If you notice a reddish-colored ring around your water line, it could be Serratia marcescens, which feeds on phosphorus-rich soaps and excrement. This bacteria can cause pneumonia, wound infections, or urinary tract infections.

Why is my toilet tank so filthy?

Not cleaning your toilet tank regularly can cause murky water. However, there may be more serious issues.


If there is brown water in your toilet tank, it could indicate that your pipes are rusting. Or, iron might be in your water, if you have hard water. This can cause water to turn a metallic color. While iron isn’t a problem by itself, its presence can promote the growth of bacteria.


Mold could be detected in toilet tank water that has a green tint. It can also be detected by pink or white specks. You can clean the odd moldy spot with protective equipment such as gloves or a mask, but if it becomes too severe you might need to call a mold expert to remove it.

Cloudy Water

Cloudy water is likely to indicate a high level of minerals in your water. This could be due to hard water at home. The minerals in hard water can cause stains and damage to the flush valves by passing from the tank to it. To keep hard minerals away, you might consider installing a water softener or cleaning the toilet with vinegar.

how to clean a toilet tank

How to clean the toilet tank

Before you begin to clean the tank, make sure you have rubber gloves on.

Open the tank and inspect it

Regular inspection of your toilet tank should be done at least twice per year as part of good toilet maintenance. Check the tank’s rim for dirt or mold. You can determine if you are able to clean the tank as planned or if you need to repair any damaged components (like that toilet flapper).

Turn off the water

To clean your toilet tank you must empty out the accumulated water. Are you unsure how to shut off the toilet water? It’s easy. Locate the water valve for your toilet. It will be located near the base of the toilet or on the wall directly behind it. To stop water from leaking into your toilet, turn the valve counterclockwise. Then flush the toilet until it is empty. This may take several flushes.

Ways to clean the toilet tank

There are many ways to clean your toilet tank. However, vinegar is the best way to treat the mineral and mold buildup caused by hard water.

Vinegar Soak Method

  • You should fill the tank with between 3-7 gallons of white vinegar. Be sure to use the white version, as it can stain.
  • Don’t go beyond the tank’s fill line. This is usually 1 inch below the top of the rim.
  • Allow the vinegar to sit for between 12-24 hours.
  • It may take several flushes to get rid of vinegar.
  • Use baking soda or another all-purpose cleaner to cover the tank’s interior. Make sure it doesn’t contain bleach, as this can cause corrosion of metal parts within the tank.
  • Use a scrub brush to remove any debris. Repeat if necessary.

You can also use vinegar and baking soda to scrub your skin quickly if you don’t have the time.

Vinegar and Baking Soda Cleanse

  • In the empty tank, add 2 tablespoons of dish soap, 1 cup vinegar, and 1/2 cup baking soda.
  • Use a long, narrow brush to distribute the mixture all over the tank.
  • You can use the same brush to scrub the sides of the tank and the bottom.
  • Allow it to sit for 60 minutes.
  • Remove any debris and repeat the process as needed.

You can clean the tank by following the instructions. Next, turn on the water supply. Rotate the valve clockwise and flush the toilet to refill the tank with water. Spot clean any soapy or scummy spots that may remain. If your toilet tank needs to be refilled after three flushes, don’t panic.

Use Disinfectant Cleaner to Cleanse

The vinegar should be flushed out of the tank after the tank has been soaked for at least one hour. Use the same steps for the disinfectant cleaner. To remove the loose grime, use a long-handled toothbrush. Use a sponge to clean the components. Turn on the water valve to flush out all grime.

You can choose to not use water, dish soap, vinegar, or water. However, you should be careful about the cleaner you choose. Some abrasives could cause damage to your toilet due to the tank’s internal components. Use a toilet tank cleaner tablet or commercial cleanser that is specifically designed for toilet tanks.

how to clean a toilet tank

How often should you clean a toilet tank?

At a minimum, you should clean your toilet tank at least twice a year. It would be better to clean your toilet tank every quarter, but you could also inspect it once a year to determine if the problem is worsening.

Regularly cleaning the toilet tank with a toilet cleaner will prevent any buildup of germs and mildew, resist bad odors and keep all components of the toilet working properly.

How to maintain a toilet tank?

Regular maintenance can prevent small problems from growing into big ones and will make it easier to schedule cleaning sessions.

Purchase a Hard Water Softener

If you don’t want to make tank cleaning part of your daily housekeeping chores, it is worth testing your water for any potential problems. You can purchase a hard water test kit at most hardware stores and online. Because hard water is high in minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, it can cause buildup. A hard water softener can be purchased and installed by a plumber near you. This will soften your water, and make it easier to clean in the future.

Add Vinegar To Your Toilet Tank

You can keep your toilet tank clean by filling it with vinegar once a month. This is a simplified version of the more involved cleaning methods described above. Fill the tank with vinegar and leave it for a night. The vinegar will kill germs and dissolve mineral deposits.

Check Your Toilet Tank

Make sure to inspect your toilet tank every time you clean it. You might notice that your toilet isn’t flushing as it should.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the water from the toilet clean?

The water in your tank should be clean. However, there is a possibility of water crossing after every flush. The toilet bowl is another matter. Even clean seats can be contaminated with germs and other harmful substances that are stuck to the toilet bowl lining. This will likely happen after a flush.

It is best to assume that the water coming out of the toilet can only be used for its intended purpose.

What happens if there are green or brown stains on my toilet tank?

You may see green or brown stains on your toilet tank due to mineral and hard water buildup. The lime buildup is usually indicated by stains that turn green or brown. To clean the problem, you can use the above methods or consider installing a water softening system.

Wrapping up

A professional should be contacted if you notice recurring mold growth in your toilet bowls or if the mold has spread into other areas of your bathroom. Mold can quickly spread in damp areas like bathrooms if it is not treated. To prevent more damage, it is important to treat a mold problem as soon as possible. A regular cleaning schedule can help you avoid having to call a professional.

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