How to Clean a Toilet Tank with Vinegar and More

Before you start cleaning your toilet tank, you need to find out the right ingredients that do not cause damage. Vinegar is an ideal cleaning agent for it is an antibacterial, free of chemicals, kills germs and mold and also, a less corrosive acid. Its composition is suitable to remove the lime and calcium deposits from your toilet tank.

With the toilet tank still filled with water, pour in white vinegar to fill the tank at least an inch below the top rim of the tank. Allow 12 hours for the vinegar to break down dirt, mold and rust in the toilet tank then flush several times to rinse the toilet tank. You can scrub the tough dirt.

You will notice that a highly concentrated amount of vinegar would be more effective than a more diluted amount. It is also advisable to use clear vinegar as opposed to colored ones to avoid bleaching your toilet tank.

How to Clean a Toilet Tank with Vinegar

How to clean a toilet tank

You first need to protect yourself by putting on protective gloves and a mask to avoid inhaling unhealthy fumes.

With White Vinegar 

For this procedure, you need white vinegar and a soft-bristled brush. Clean your toilet tank with vinegar as follows:

  1. Remove the toilet tank cover to access the water and parts in it.
  2. Pour white vinegar in the toilet tank without flushing the toilet. Make sure it leaves at least an inch from the brim of the toilet tank and covers all parts of the tank.
  3. Soak your tank for about 12 hours in order to have the best results.
  4. Rinse by flushing the toilet several times. 
  5. Using a suitable brush, scrub gently any debris left. For a perfect touch, add baking soda and scrub it gently. Flush your water tank severally to ensure all the vinegar and baking soda are washed off. 
  6. Return the toilet tank cover.
  7. Repeat the procedure if the tank isn’t clean after the first cleaning procedure.

You can clean one toilet tank per day to allow for the 12-hour period for each. Vinegar is versatile since it can also be used to unclog a toilet without a plunger.

With regards to the metallic parts of your toilet tank that may have a rust coat, wipe them gently with a sponge to remove the rust. 

With Vinegar and Baking Soda

You need baking soda and white vinegar for this procedure and follow these steps:

  1. Turn off the shutoff valve to your toilet tank then drain your water tank by flushing the toilet. 
  2. Mix vinegar with baking powder in the ratio of 1:0.5. If you have Dawn soap, add 1 table spoon of it to the tank. 
  3. Scrub the mixture through all the areas of your toilet tank then allow it to settle for 1 hour. Scrub again then wash it off by flushing the water out.

This combination is also good for it gets rid of all the mold, algae and rust from your toilet tank. Even better, you don’t have to soak your tank for 12 hours or so. If you can’t have a dry toilet tank due to a faulty valve, fixing the shutoff valve is quite easy.

With Vinegar and Borax

For this procedure, you need Borax, white vinegar and a soft-bristled brush then follow these steps:

  1. Mix borax with vinegar in the ratio of 1:4. You don’t have to drain all the water out of your tank but, instead, leave some of it then add your mixture to the tank. 
  2. Using your brush, scrub the toilet tank and leave it for about 2 hours then scrub again and rinse. 
  3. Rinse thoroughly to avoid any chances of the mixture corroding your plastic water valves. 

Always use Borax with care since it can be corrosive to your hands. Use a pair of plastic gloves for this reason.

You can also add some amount of tea tree oil together with vinegar into your toilet tank and spray the mixture on to the rusty areas. Allow it to soak for about 5 minutes then add baking soda and brush gently. Then rinse up your toilet tank.

With Commercial Toilet Tank Cleaners 

When it comes to commercial products, you need to be conscious of the parts of your toilet tank and chose those products that do not damage other parts, especially those made of plastic or corrosive materials. 
Also, strictly follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid any eventualities of corrosion of parts of your toilet tank and effects to your health.

The best commercial cleaners for your toilet tank include the following:

1. Hydrogen Peroxide

Pour hydrogen peroxide in a dish then flush the toilet to get rid of all the water in it. Use a brush to apply the hydrogen peroxide on all the parts of the toilet tank then wait for 30 minutes. After that, scrub the inside of the toilet tank then rinse it with warm water. Put on gloves for this procedure since hydrogen peroxide is mildly corrosive. This is an environmentally friendly cleaning agent.

2. Liquid Detergent 

Here, you don’t need to drain your toilet tank as has been with other methods. Simply put the detergent in the water and stir. Allow it to soak for about 3 hours then scrub gently and rinse by flushing.

3. Instant Power Toilet Tank Cleaner

Pour 8 ounces of Instant Power Toilet Tank Cleaner into your tank and allow it to stay as long as possible in the tank. After about 12 hours, flush your tank until all the contents are out. It is effective in removing all stains including rust. This is recommended to be used overnight.

4. Walex TOI-91799 Porta Holding Tank Deodorizer Drops-Ins

Walex TOI-91799 Porta Holding Tank Deodorizer Drop-Ins is a very effective component as it effectively eradicates germs together with any stains or odors. It also has a good scent. It comes in blue color and you simply drop tablets into your tank and use your toilet as usual. Its cleaning effect lasts for 7 days for each tablet.

5. Clorox Automatic Toilet Cleaner Tablets

Clorox Automatic Toilet Cleaner Tablets are very effective and easy to use. You only drop a tablet into to your toilet tank and use your toilet as usual. The tablet dissolves in water and continuously cleans your toilet tank.

6. Iron OUT AT46N Automatic Toilet Tank & Bowl Cleaner

The Iron OUT AT46N Automatic Toilet Tank & Bowl Cleaner has three elements and cleans your toilet tank, bowl while also acting as an air freshener. It’s safe on your toilet components as it does not cause any reaction on the materials. A single tablet can last for about three months.

7. Green Gobbler SEPTIC SAVER Bacteria Enzyme Packs

The Green Gobbler SEPTIC SAVER Bacteria Enzyme Packs are a good cleaning agent for they’re biodegradable. You need to drop it into your tank and flush as usual. A bag of this component can last for about 6 months.

8. Vacplus Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Vacplus Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner cleans both the tank and the bowl of your toilet. It makes a blue color when diluted in water. You put some of it in the toilet tank and flush as usual. It kills germs and has a good scent.

9. Clorox Ultra Clean Toilet Tablets Bleach & Blue

Clorox Ultra Clean Toilet Tablets Bleach & Blue is good on rust stains and mineral deposits. It is in form of tablets and you drop it in your toilet tank and you flush your toilet as usual.  

10. Soft Scrub In-Tank Toilet Cleaner Duo-Cubes

The Soft Scrub In-Tank Toilet Cleaner Duo-Cubes are effective in removing rust and mineral deposits. They also kill germs and eliminate bad odors. It is in form of cubes and you put a cube at a time in the toilet tank and one cube can last for almost one month. You will thereafter use your toilet as usual.

Make sure you read the contents of the toilet tank cleaner before using it to avoid corroding or in any way damaging the parts of your toilet tank. Cleaners that contain bleach can be corrosive and should be avoided. The homemade tank cleaners are safer and they would be better than commercial ones.

How often should you clean the toilet tank?

It is advisable for you to clean your toilet tank at least two times in a year. Note to regularly clean a toilet tank that belongs to a toilet that is not regularly used. This is because there is water staying in the tank for long periods which can cause rapid growth of mold.

Regular cleaning of your toilet tank prevents growth of mold, bacteria and build up minerals that can damage parts of the tank. Bad odours are also prevented by regular cleaning.

How to keep the toilet tank clean

You can keep your tank clean in the following ways:

  • Use commercial cleaners some in the form of tablets that are often dropped into the water tank to prevent the buildup of mold or bacteria. If you need to use these, settle for the ones that do not cause bleach or very reactive chemicals. When it comes to using cleaning tablets, put one in the tank, allow it to dissolve and scrub gently then rinse or as instructed by the manufacturer.
  • Use homemade cleaning tablets that do not corrode any part of your tank. These are the best and you just need to drop them into the toilet tank and flush. You can make them out of baking soda, citric acid, any essential oils, and liquid soap and mix them in warm water. Mix until you get a clamp of your mixture. You can use ice cube tray then allow the tablets to dry. Store them in a cool dry place.
  • Don’t let toilets remain unused for too long since the dirt in the water will settle to the parts if the water remains in the tank for too long without flushing. As such, flush the toilet at least once a week. It also helps prevent the drying up of the P-trap which can make the toilet smelly. This is the same with your shower P-trap as it’ll dry up if not replenished with water.
  • Every month, drain the toilet tank then fill it with white vinegar overnight before flushing it the next morning. 
  • Clean your toilet tank at least once every month with the methods explained above. 

The methods discussed above are ways of keeping your toilet tank clean and free of germs and smelling nice. Make sure you are aware of the pros and cons of each method before settling on any of them. 

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