Skip to Content

What is the Easiest Way to Clean a Toilet Tank?

What is the Easiest Way to Clean a Toilet Tank?

You might be cleaning your toilet bowl and other parts of your bathroom regularly; however, when last did you show the toilet tank some love? The toilet tank holds the water that flushes everything down; its lid keeps any bacterial contamination, mineral build-up, and dirt out of sight. Still, it rarely gets the attention it deserves.

Even if you don’t clean the toilet tank regularly, you should understand that bacterial contamination, dirt, and mineral build-up could lead to bowl staining and corrosion of the metal parts in the tank. Most homeowners usually know that there’s a problem when these two things happen.

Cleaning your toilet tank regularly has some advantages, such as improved bathroom smell and extension of the life of your toilet and its parts. Here is how to clean a toilet tank to keep it clean and fresh:

Are You Supposed to Clean Your Toilet Tank?

You probably didn’t know, but you are supposed to clean your toilet tank regularly. Experts suggest that you should clean the toilet tank at least twice a year to avoid rust, grime, toilet tank mold, and mildew. Additionally, cleaning the toilet tank regularly could prevent a build-up of minerals, which could damage parts of the toilet.

Failure to clean the tank as recommended could lead to corrosion of the toilet’s components and a foul smell in the bathroom. The best thing is that cleaning a toilet tank is not complicated, and you can use readily available materials.

How Often Should I Clean My Toilet Tank?

You should clean your toilet tank as often as possible; however, if you have a tight schedule, you can opt to clean it at least twice a year as recommended by experts.

How to Clean Your Toilet Tank With Vinegar

Vinegar is a natural and inexpensive cleaner that eliminates mildew and dissolves toilet tank rust. If you have decided to use white vinegar to clean your toilet tank, choose the basic white vinegar or distilled over the colored variety because colored vinegar could stain your toilet.

It is best to have another bathroom available when cleaning with vinegar because you will need to allow the vinegar to sit in the tank for at least twelve hours.

What You Need

  • White vinegar (3 to 7 gallons depending on the state of your toilet)
  • Sponge
  • Rubber gloves
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Bristle scrub brush
  • Old towel

Procedure: How to Clean a Toilet Tank Without Draining

  1. Wear your rubber gloves
  2. Remove the toilet tank cover, and place it gently on an old towel on the floor.
  3. Pour white vinegar into the toilet tank without draining out the water. Stop at least an inch below the top rim.
  4. Allow the vinegar solution to sit for at least 12 hours. This will deposit any mildew, rust, and mineral deposits.
  5. Remove the vinegar from the tank by flushing the toilet severally.
  6. Shut off the water valve that is usually located around the base of the tank.
  7. Flush the toilet severally until the tank is empty.
  8. Clean the inside of the toilet tank’s wall using the bristle scrub brush. This procedure will eliminate mineral build-up and gunk.
  9. Use a sponge to wipe down the metal parts to eliminate any rust.
  10. Spray an all-purpose cleaner onto the inside walls if the toilet tank walls still look dirty. Choose an all-purpose cleaner that is safe to use on the toilet tank, plastics, and metals. Let the cleaner sit for at least five minutes, then scrub the walls with a scrub brush.
  11. Repeat the process as needed if the toilet tank does not become clean.
  12. Turn on the water, flush the toilet, and confirm that the water is clear in the bowl and the tank.
  13. Replace the tank cover.

If your toilet tank has a foul smell or a lot of stains, you will need to get the water out before pouring vinegar into the tank. You will have to turn the water valve off and flush the toilet severally until the tank is empty.

Once the tank is empty, fill it with vinegar, and let it sit for at least 12 or 13 hours. Continue with step 5 above once the time lapses.

How to Clean a Toilet Tank With Baking Soda

If you don’t have another bathroom or twelve hours to allow the vinegar solution to do its magic, then you can incorporate baking soda into the toilet tank cleaning process. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Drain the water out of the tank
  2. Add a cup of white distilled vinegar, ½ cup of baking soda, and two tablespoons of an all-purpose cleaner.
  3. Use a toilet brush to swish the solution around.
  4. Scrub down the bottom and sides.
  5. Let the solution sit for at least an hour.
  6. Give the tank another good scrub to get rid of toilet tank mold, rust, and algae.
  7. Turn on the water, and flush out the tank severally.
  8. Repeat the process as needed.
  9. Gently throw the lid back on, and enjoy a clean and fresh smelling bathroom.

How to Clean a Toilet Tank With Coke

You probably love the refreshing taste of Coca-Cola; however, did you know that you can use this fizzy drink to clean the inside of a toilet tank? Here is how to do it to ensure that the tank is spotless:

  1. First, drain the water out of the tank.
  2. Next, pour a whole can of Coca-Cola into the tank and let carbonation take care of any stains for you.
  3. Leave the soda in the tank overnight.
  4. Use a toilet brush to scrub.
  5. Turn on the water, and flush the fizz away.
  6. Repeat the process if need be.

What Is the Best Commercial Cleaner for Your Toilet Tank?

You might want to use a commercial cleaner to clean your toilet tank, and that is okay. However, when choosing a commercial cleaner, select one that is safe to use on the tank, plastics, and metals.

You can use the Hurriclean – HC-MO48 Deluxe to clean your toilet tank. The new and improved product has a larger volume, which means more chemical reactions with water. This chemical reaction produces a powerful cyclonic foaming action that removes scum, build-up, and rust marks.

It also has citric acid, which gives it more power when cleaning your toilet tank. The citric acid also leaves your bathroom smelling clean and fresh.

Can You Put Bleach in the Toilet Tank to Clean It?

Bleach can help keep a toilet clean and leave it smell-free; hence, most people consider using it when cleaning their bathrooms. However, it is perfect for cleaning your toilet tank?  Here are the pros and cons of putting bleach in your toilet tank:

Advantages of Putting Bleach in a Toilet Tank

These are the main advantages of putting bleach in a toilet tank:

It Removes Stains

Bleach is an excellent stain remover; hence, it can make your old dirty toilet tank look new and sparkling. In addition, people opt to use bleach for cleaning kitchens, bathrooms, and floors because it quickly eliminates grime, dirt, and mildew.

Bleach Kills Bacteria

One of the main advantages of using bleach in your toilet tank is that it kills bacteria. Bacteria is a problem in most toilets because it builds up, creates a nasty slime, and produces a variety of health problems.

Bleach Neutralizes Odors

Although bleach has a powerful smell, it neutralizes and overpowers other smells. You can handle bleach smell compared to the odors brought by bacteria.

It Can Clear Clogs

Bleach can get your toilet working like new because of its bacteria-killing powers. Protein and bacteria build-ups in pipes often reduce water flow; however, bleach can quickly reverse this.

Disadvantages of Putting Bleach in a Toilet Tank

Although using bleach in a toilet tank has several advantages, it also has some cons. Here are some of the cons:

Bleach Is not Eco-Friendly

One of the most significant disadvantages of bleach is that it’s not eco-friendly. You can experiment with this by pouring bleach into a houseplant or on your lawn and seeing what happens. The greenery will die in less than an hour.

It Has Toxic Fumes That Can Harm Humans and Animals

Bleach is also harmful to humans and the environment. You can get sick quickly if you inhale too many bleach fumes or absorb bleach through your skin.

Cleaning your toilet tank using bleach is a fast and easy way of ensuring that you eradicate mold and bacteria. Additionally, when you flush the bleach from the tank to the bowl, it disinfects and cleans it.

You can use bleach when cleaning your toilet tank but be sure to wear gloves and a mask to avoid inhaling or absorbing toxic fumes.

How to Clean Toilet Tank Mold and Prevent It From Re-growing

If you have ever lifted the lid of your toilet tank and found it covered in mold, then you probably understand how annoying that is. Mold lives and thrives where there is moisture, a food source, and optimal temperature. All these conditions make your bathroom a perfect place for mold growth.

Some molds are more dangerous than others; however, you shouldn’t allow any mold to grow and spread within your house for health reasons. Molds present several health risks, including:

  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Allergic reactions
  • Dizziness
  • Rashes
  • Headaches
  • Asthma attacks
  • Irritation to the nose, skin, eyes, lungs, and throat.
  • Lung infections

It is best to eradicate all molds when you find them. Health experts recommend that using a solution of 1 cup of chlorine bleach to 1 gallon of water or water/detergent solution will help eliminate molds. Although detergent and bleach kill mold, they don’t prevent it from coming back.

If you want to keep mold under control, you should clean regularly and create unfavorable conditions for its growth by providing ventilation, regulating temperature, and lowering humidity.

Cleaning Inside a Toilet Tank That Has Mold

You can use a chlorine bleach solution to clean mold underneath the lid and one that collects above the water line inside the toilet tank.  Here is how to do it:

  • Wear rubber gloves and a mask when working with chlorine bleach. Ensure that you don’t inhale the fumes.
  • Shut off the toilet supply, flush, and fill about half of the tank with bleach solution.
  • Scrub the underside of the lid and the sides of the tank above the waterline using a scrub brush.
  • Rinse the sides of the lid with clean water, turn on the water, and then flush severally to ensure that the tank doesn’t have any residual bleach.

Cleaning Outside the Toilet Tank

If mold is outside the tank, you can still use a bleach solution to clean it. Here is how to do it:

  • Use a long-handled scrubber to wash underneath the tank and between the tank and the wall.
  • Rinse the tank severally using clear water. Bleach odor may prevent you from using the bathroom until you rinse the toilet tank severally.

How to Prevent Mold From Re-growing

You can prevent the re-growing of mold outside the toilet tank by lowering the rate of condensation on the tank. You can reduce condensation by:

  • Equalize the temperature outside and inside the tank by installing an anti-sweat valve on your toilet.
  • Lower the humidity
  • Provide adequate ventilation

Although finding mold in your toilet tank can be an alarming discovery, you can get rid of it easily using the steps above.

How Do I Get the Brown Stuff Out of My Toilet Tank?

Whenever you see brown stuff in the toilet tank or anywhere in your bathroom, it may be an indication of several reasons, including the type of water you have. In addition, you might see stains, settle sediments, or rings in your toilet tank, which indicates that it’s time to clean your toilet tank before the stains become harder to remove.

The stains tend to have a distinct brown color. They may look faded or deeper depending on the severity of the damage the hard water has caused. A deep rusted brown look indicates the presence of manganese deposits, while brown rings indicate calcium and magnesium deposits.

Here are some causes, solutions, and preventative ideas to help keep your toilet tank fresh and free of the brown stuff:

What Causes the Brown Stains in Toilet Tanks?

Brown stains in the toilet tank can be due to several factors; here are some of the popular ones:

Damaged or Old Piping Systems

Hard brown stains in your toilet tank can be due to the kind of piping you have. The sewer and water services in your home are most likely connected through metal pipes; therefore, over time, water passing through the metal pipe might start getting discolored when it picks up some metal elements from the coating of the pipes.

Installing a filter system might help with this problem because it will clean the water before reaching your home and toilet tank. You could also consider replacing the old corroded pipes with PVC pipes.

Manganese/Iron In the Water

If you have hard water in your bathroom, it will leave plenty of mineral deposits in the toilet tank, bowl, underneath the toilet, and behind the tank. In addition, hard water provides perfect conditions for metal pipes to rust quickly, giving off iron sediments, which settle in the water as tiny particles or as a ring.

If the stain is deep brown, it could also indicate the presence of manganese. Manganese is a very reactive metal that might cause brown streaks in the toilet tank.

The best preventative measure for this problem is to have a filtering system to remove the heavy metals from the main water supply.


Electrolysis is a process where different metals get in contact and cause staining. For example, if your house is remodeled and you notice some brown stains in the toilet tank, electrolysis may be the primary cause. Renovated homes can have a mix of several metals from galvanized copper or PEX. When the two metals come in contact with water, they might cause it to become hard; therefore staining the toilet tank.

Getting a plumber to fix the piping system in your home might be the best solution in this scenario.  

How to Get Rid of the Brown Stuff With Vinegar and Baking Soda

Mixing vinegar and baking soda generate a chemical compound known as carbonic acid, which is quite aggressive on mineral deposits and stains on surfaces. This mixture will be a perfect remedy for the brown stain problem.

What You Need

  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Toilet brush


  1. Drain the water out of the toilet tank
  2. Add one cup of white distilled vinegar and ½ cup of baking soda into the toilet tank.
  3. Use a toilet brush to swish the solution around.
  4. Scrub down the bottom and sides.
  5. Let the solution sit for at least an hour.
  6. Give the tank another good scrub to get rid of the brown stuff.
  7. Turn on the water, and flush out the tank severally.
  8. Repeat the process as needed.

How to Prevent Hard Stains in Your Toilet Tank

You can take some preventative measures to keep your toilet tank free from hard water stains and ensure that it is sparkling clean. Here are some of the steps:

  • First, replace any old pipes early.
  • Check your water’s hardness level to help you pick corrective measures such as a treatment plant or a filter early enough.
  • Clean the toilet tank thoroughly to prevent any mineral build-up.

What Can I Put In My Toilet Tank to Make It Smell Better?

Toilets are designed to eliminate waste; however, they may occasionally accumulate some waste on their own, resulting in an unpleasant odor. In addition, toilet tanks can take on some musty odors; however, instead of finding harsh chemicals to deodorize your toilet tank, you can opt for natural solutions that will leave the tank smelling fresh without damaging it.

You can add vinegar or baking soda to your toilet tank to make it smell better. Here is how you can do it:

What You Need

  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Lemon juice
  • Matches
  • Scented candle
  • String
  • Bristle brush
  • Measuring cups


  • Locate the shutoff valve or the toilet float. You can find the float by removing the tank lid. Additionally, the float sits on the end of a rod and slides up and down in the toilet tank. It’s shaped like a canister or sphere.
  • Stop water from flowing into the toilet by lifting the float out of the water and using some string to tie the float’s arm to the flush handle.
  • Flush your toilet to eliminate water from the tank. A small amount of water will remain at the bottom of the tank.
  • Mix a half cup of white vinegar or baking soda into the water that remained at the bottom of the toilet tank. Vinegar and baking soda provide deodorizing and cleansing benefits without using any harsh chemicals.
  • Let the mixture sit for around twenty minutes, and then scrub the sides of the toilet tank gently using a bristle brush.
  • Restore the water supply to the tank by either placing the float back into the toilet tank or turning the supply valve counter-clockwise.
  • Flush the toilet four times to remove any cleansers from the tank.
  • Light a candle or a match in your bathroom if you want a quick fix for the unpleasant odor. The sulfur smell released from the fire will cover the unpleasant smell temporarily; however, you should consider lighting a scented candle if you want a longer-lasting solution.

How to Keep Mold, Rust, and Dirt off My Toilet Tank

Having a clean toilet tank means longevity of your toilet and a tidy bathroom. Unfortunately, mold, rust, and dirt are the top contributors to a dirty toilet tank. Here is how you can keep them off your toilet tank:

  • Clean the toilet tank regularly: You can clean your toilet tank monthly to keep off dirt and mold; however, if you are a small family with more than one toilet, you can clean the toilet tank at least twice a year.
  • Use vinegar when cleaning the toilet tank: Vinegar is an affordable and readily available solution for your toilet tank cleaning. It eliminates mildew and dissolves mineral build-ups before they become a problem. It is also excellent at cleaning toilet tank rust.
  • If you use hard water, you should deal with mineral build-up regularly. Also, if your toilet is in high-traffic areas, you should clean the tank more frequently.

Check this too: How to Clean a Badly Stained Toilet

You cannot overlook the importance of frequent toilet tank cleaning. Appropriate cleaning of the toilet tank will help eliminate odor and bacterial build-up in the tank. You can choose to use commercial cleaners or natural cleaners, depending on your needs.