How to Clean a Toilet Seat with Vinegar: Steps and Alternatives

Are you tired and embarrassed by having stubborn smelly stains on your toilet seat? Your toilet is often exposed to urine, chemicals, and hard water, leading to stains on your seat. While you may religiously clean your toilet every other day or when you notice hard water buildup or stains, it is not enough. Most detergents can only get the dirt off. To get a clean seat, you have to incorporate vinegar into your routine.

Spray toilet paper towels with undiluted or distilled vinegar then use them to wipe the toilet seat before using it. For thorough cleaning, make a paste with white vinegar and baking soda then apply the paste to the toilet seat. Scrub with a soft brush then wipe it with paper towels dipped in vinegar.

When cleaning your toilet, it does not only mean getting rid of the surface dirt and stains and disinfecting germs. Your toilet seat is in a moist area, a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and even mold. Therefore, you must keep your toilet clean always. Vinegar shouldn’t be used to clean black mold, delicate fabrics, natural stone, and steam or laundry iron as it either doesn’t work well or damages the materials.

How to Clean a Toilet Seat with Vinegar

Why clean the toilet seat?

The main reasons for cleaning the toilet seat are hygiene and to prevent infections. If you are the type to clean the whole toilet leaving only the seat dirty, your toilet may not be smelly or breed germs either. However, the stains on your toilet seat say a lot about how much effort you put into your family hygiene and personal hygiene. 

Some parts of the toilet seat, mainly the underside, are often victims of consistent urination and defecation. 

Over time, they build up stains that defy the use of any ordinary detergent and water, becoming extremely difficult to get rid of them. If not, for any other reason, stained toilet seats are an eyesore that you may find hard to ignore with time. This may prompt you even to replace the seat without any cracks. 

This article informs on how to clean a toilet seat, you will save yourself unnecessary costs that would have gone into changing the toilet seat again.

How to clean a toilet seat with vinegar

Before starting the cleaning process, remember to get the essential tools needed to clean your toilet. You probably have these items at home, making the toilet seat cleaning process a convenient DIY bathroom project. Although the best vinegar is industrial vinegar with at least 20% acetic acid, both distilled and white vinegar are effective at removing stains from surfaces.

For this procedure, you need rubber gloves, paper towels, a toilet brush, a bucket, a scratch-free scouring pad, and baking soda, vinegar, Coca-Cola, or bleach.

Step 1: Mix vinegar and baking soda

The first step is to mix 1/4 cup white vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda in a bowl and produce a foamy paste-like vinegar and baking soda foam when combined.

Step 2: Scrub the toilet seat

The next step is to put your brush in your paste and scrub off any urine stains in your toilet seat. After that, rinse the brush with water and scrub more paste into the surface of your toilet seat. Although you can repair a scratched toilet bowl, you should avoid damaging it in the first place.
Finally, allow the paste to sit on the toilet for at least 10 minutes as the combination serves as a natural scouring cleaner that removes stains while deodorizing the surface.

Step 3: Wipe the paste off the toilet seat

The next step is to soak a clean wiping cloth or a scratch-less scouring sponge with water and use it to wipe paste off your toilet seat. Finally, dry the seat with a clean, dry cloth.

Repeat steps 2 and 3 as necessary until you get the desired look.

Step 4: Add deodorant

This final step is not necessary but if you need additional deodorizing, cover the stained area of your toilet seat with any pet odor neutralizer. Allow the neutralizer to sit on the surface of your toilet seat for about half an hour before rinsing off with water. This is because a pet odor neutralizer has enzymes that break down and absorb odor-causing bacteria from urine.

Other methods to clean the toilet seat

If the method used above is not to your preference, we have a couple more that may work better for you.

Hydrogen peroxide

With hydrogen peroxide, the cleaning procedure is as follows:

  1. Spray the inside of your toilet with Hydrogen Peroxide. Make sure to get up under the lip of the toilet.
  2. Pour about 1/2-1 cup into your toilet bowl and let it soak. Next, pull off the lid of your tank and pour 1/2-1 cup in there.
  3. Let the solution sit for at least an hour. After that, you can let it sit overnight in the toilet for extra tough stains.
  4. As usual, scrub clean using your toilet brush and get into the corners. Any buildup of limescale should be dissolved by now.
  5. Now flush and stand back to admire.

The toilet seat should be clean again.


Coca-Cola is used to clean the seat seat as follows:

  1. Pour the Coke around the rim of the toilet’s bowl, flowing over the various stains around the inside.
  2. Let the it sit for at least an hour. You can let the Coke sit overnight in the toilet for extra tough stains.
  3. As usual, scrub clean using your toilet brush and get into the corners. The phosphoric acid should dissolve any buildup of limescale in the Coke.
  4. Flush and stand back to admire.

The toilet seat and the toilet as a whole should be clean as new.

Baking soda paste

Use baking soda and warm water paste to eliminate stains from your toilet seat and create a sparkling clean appearance as follows:

  1. Get any germ-killing cleaner and apply it to the surface of the toilet seat and allow it to sit for at least 10 minutes before wiping off with a wet towel.
  2. Measure a quarter cup of baking soda and pour it into a bucket. Add a cup of warm water and steer to form a paste. Smear the paste on the stained surfaces and leave it to sit for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Scrub the seat with a scouring sponge or a toilet brush in a circular motion. Sprinkle water occasionally to keep it damp.
  4. Add your paste to the stained area and scrub until the stain disappears. Rinse with clean water and towel-dry it.
  5. Apply the disinfectant or spray to the surface again and wipe off with a damp paper towel. 

Your toilet seat will be sparkling with a fresh smell.


Bleach is an excellent disinfectant and is particularly recommended for cleaning the toilet seat as follows:

  1. Pour ¼ cup of the bleach into a container.
  2. Lift your lid and carefully pour the measured bleach to the edge of the seat and the toilet bowl. Wipe off any spills on the floor with a rag or towel.
  3. Fill your bucket with water and add 1/3 of the remaining bleach to form a solution.
  4. Remove or apply the mixture to your toilet seat and allow it to soak for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Scrub the seat with a brush until all the stains fade away.
  6. Repeat the process until all stains disappear.
  7. Rinse and towel-dry the seat cover.
  8. Carefully replace it on the toilet seat.

Be careful when using bleach since it can release dangerous fumes when mixed with other chemicals.

Bleach-free cleaner

A bleach-free cleaner helps clean the toilet but without the effects of bleach as follows:

  1. Take your 1/2 cup of vinegar and mix it with 1/3 baking soda to form a paste.
  2. Apply the mixture to your toilet seat and let it sit for about 10 minutes.
  3. Take your brush and scrub the mixture.
  4. Rinse with cold water.

If you are not satisfied with the results, repeat the previous step until necessary.

How to clean other parts of the toilet

Other than the toilet seat. The other parts include:

The toilet seat

Before you start to clean the toilet seat, always ensure the room is well ventilated by opening all doors and windows and, if possible, turning on a fan. This creates a good airflow. Follow these steps:

  1. The first step is to spread either the bleach or non-bleach spray solution on and under the seat and the lid. Then, leave it to sit for 10 minutes. 
  2. Then scrub the seat down with a clean scratchless sponge. If the stains aren’t coming off quickly, repeat as many times as necessary. 
  3. Rinse the solution with cold water.

Repeat the process until you get satisfactory results.

The toilet bowl

Using a bowl cleaner, this cleanser specifically made for toilet bowls will do most of the work to remove bacteria and hard-water buildup. In case you lack one, I recommend any cleaner with some form of bleach or other bleach alternatives as well. The steps are as follows:

  1. Start from the top of the bowl under the rim and apply around the circle, letting the cleaner drain down the sides. If you’re trying to avoid more stubborn stains, let the disinfectant rest for 10 minutes.
  2. Using your brush, scrub and make sure you’re lifting any particularly stuck bits of gunk from the surface, avoid splatter by keeping the brush’s head inside the bowl while you work. Make sure to get under the lip and also down into the drain. 
  3. Finally, it’s time to rinse. Luckily, toilets have a built-in feature for this where you flush, always close the lid to avoid plumes.

Clean the toilet bowl at least once every week for the best results.

The toilet tank

While most folks focus and give the weekly bowl love, how often do you clean your toilet tank? Logic states that the toilet water used to flush your bowl can only be as clean as the tank. Below are simple steps for cleaning your toilet tank with vinegar.

Step 1: Empty the tank

The first step is to empty the tank by locating the water valve on the wall behind or near the toilet’s base and shut it off. Then, lift the lid from the tank and flush the toilet until it drains completely. Depending on your flow rate, this may require two to three flushes.

Step 2: Inspect the tank for dirt

Assess the condition of your tank if its surface has grime and dirt. That’s a straightforward job that a bit of scrubbing should get rid of. Then, move on to Step 3.

If you have discoloration from mineral deposits and residue built up at the bottom of the tank and walls, opt for a more forceful method: Vinegar – this great all-natural defense against mold, mildew, and hard water deposits.
It would help if you had enough vinegar to fill the tank up to your overflow valve, which could mean up to 3 gallons depending on the size of your tank, and let it sit for at least half a day (12 hours) without flushing. Then, when you’re ready to get cleaning, flush the vinegar out, this may take two or three flushes.

Step 3: Spray the tank with disinfectant

While wearing rubber gloves, spray the tank interior generously with your preferred disinfectant cleaner. Direct the spray away from metal parts if corrosive additives could react with metal. Check the label for the “siting” time recommended by the manufacturer. Generally, let the disinfectant sit for 10 to 15 minutes.

Step 4: Scrub the tank

Grab a scrub brush, preferably a long, narrow one with medium bristles and a shape that allows you to scour all the corners and the bottom of the tank. After the waiting time is up, scrub thoroughly to remove all grime and buildup. Apply additional cleaner if needed.

Step 5 (optional): Carry out maintenance

While the lid is off, consider whether your toilet needs maintenance such a push button toilet problems. If your toilet has been functioning fine, carry on.

Step 6: Clean the tank

The next step is to clean all the working parts in the tank.

Step 7: Flush the tank severally

Turn the water on and let the tank fill. Flush it a couple of times. Does the tank seem clean enough to you? If not, drain the tank again as you did in Step 1, then repeat Steps 3 through 6. When content with your toilet tank’s sparkling clean is, turn the valve back on and fill it.

The toilet handle

Clean the toilet handle as follows:

  1. Spray the toilet handle with Hydrogen Peroxide. This will disinfect it. 
  2. The next step is to take a sponge, dip it in water and scrub the handle of any deposits.
  3. Rinse off with cold water and let it dry to prevent any corrosion.

Repeat until you get satisfactory results.

How to keep the toilet seat clean

The truth is that toilets get dirty quickly, but here are a few tricks you can apply to ensure your toilet stays clean for longer. 

  1. The first hack is to give it an overnight vinegar treatment. Soak overnight with white vinegar will block off your siphon jets. The main trick is to trap the vinegar where all that grime is concentrated. Let the vinegar work its magic overnight, and your toilet bowl will always be sparkling clean every morning. 
  2. The second tip is to pour some toilet cleaner into the tank as part of your routine cleaning. Drop a dissolving tablet into the tank or a couple of ounces of detergent. The cleaner will run into the bowl every time you flush, killing bacteria and eliminating residue while also helping break down mineral deposits in the siphon jets.
  3. You can also treat your toilet with baking soda sprinkle some after everyone has gone to sleep at the end of the day. Use the toilet brush to get it above the water line and leave it overnight with a closed lid. Just flush the deposits in the morning.
  4. Avoid toilet clogs by only flushing flushable items. For example, some toilet seat covers aren’t flushable and should thus be kept away from the toilet drain.
  5. Lastly, use an automatic toilet bowl cleaner. It helps clean your toilet automatically from the inside out with every flush. This eliminates and prevents the growth of any bacteria and hard water stains while also prolonging the time your toilet stays clean.

With these tips, your toilet and toilet seat in particular will remain clean at all times. Besides looking good, it also prevents germs which can lead to infections and other issues in the home.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *