DIY Toilet Cleaning and Checkups

Twice a year, you should peek into your toilet water tank and check if everything is working properly. If it is moldy, rusty, or dirty, you will need to clean it thoroughly. Water in Arizona is considered “hard water”, meaning that toilets and water fixtures can easily accumulate calcium and lime buildups. Therefore, it is important to clean toilet tanks and toilet bowls thoroughly.

  1. Inspect parts
    Before you start cleaning, there are several things that you should check by opening the tank and observing a normal flush.

    • Check the water level
      Is the water level below the suggested water line or more than 1 inch below the water overflow pipe? If so, you will need to adjust the floater’s arm.
    • Is it clogged?
      If the water does not leave the bowl efficiently, try to unclog it with a plunger or a snake. Of course, there are also other DIY methods to unclog a toilet.
      If the moving parts in the toilet tank look normal, but the flush is weak, you will need to clean your tank because it is likely that the siphons (tiny holes around a toilet rim) or other parts have some buildups.
  2. Drain the tank
    Turn off the water supply valve and flush. That should get rid the water in your tank.
  3. Apply cleaners onto tank surfaces
    Targeting the sides and the bottom of the tank, spray some bathroom cleaning solution or bleach onto the tank surfaces. Then, use a sponge or a brush to scrub away the deposits.
  4. Clean the toilet bowl and clear siphon holes
    After scrubbing your toilet bowl as you normally would, use a bobby pin or a wire hanger to poke through these siphon holes around the rim of the toilet. You might need to get on your knees to take a good look at them since the number of holes varies from model-to-model.
  5. Remove buildup with a vinegar soak
    If your tank has lots of sediments and deposits, pour vinegar into the tank and let it sit for at least 2 hours. This will help to disinfect the tank and break up the deposits in your toilet system. If you have a rubber fill hose, remember to remove it and pour in the vinegar through the hose.

Avoid using strong chemicals, such as Drano and Lime-Away; opt for vinegar or bleach (for tank that has a lot of gunk and sediments) to prevent degrading the plastic parts of your toilet and your plumbing system. Toilet bowl tablets or drop-in cleaners should be avoided because they can erode and damage your toilet parts, such as gaskets and washers.


It is easy to tell when a toilet flushes well, but hard to diagnose the internal failure when a toilet is faulty. If you need to consult a licensed plumber, call 800-368-PROS for a free referral.


How to clean toilet tank thoroughly. Include procedures and steps to how to deep clean it.


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