After receiving the following e-mail: “Good website, but I didn’t see anything about properly cleaning a toilet!”, I invited David Carr, who identifies himself as Carpe Diem – Teacher, Stimulator, Cheerleader for cleaning for health” to enlighten the visitors to Toiletology 101.
David is the marketing/education facilitator for The Powell Company. The Powell Company distributes industrial cleaning products (“Janitor Supplies” in the yellow pages). They carry disinfectant/detergent cleaners and bowl cleaners from Spartan Chemical Company, Toledo, OH as well as their own private label brand. Their products are more concentrated than what the consumer would find on the grocery shelf.
David also teaches an adult education class on the Essentials of Cleaning. It´s an 11-week class, 3 hours per class and participants can receive 3.3 C.E.U.s.
After a brief introduction, David really gets down to business.
Unlike the ads on television, the water line in the toilet bowl should be lowered, and there are at least 4 different ways to accomplish this. A disinfectant or detergent cleaner or bowl cleaner should be applied to a bowl swab and starting under the rim working down, cleaning the bowl. Disinfectant/detergent cleaner should be applied to the outside surfaces including the handle and allowed to remain wet for ten minutes for a total kill of bacteria, fungus and virus.
Flush the toilet, and rinse the outer surfaces. A phosphoric bowl cleaner can be used in toilets with hard water or in extreme hard water conditions where the toilet is not cleaned often (Yuk! :-O) a hydrogen chloride based (muratic acid) can be used. Be care of the “kick back fumes” and dripping it on nylon clothing and carpeting. Now for the nitty gritty…
- Rubber gloves or vinyl work gloves (type worn to wash dishes)
- Eye Protection (usually required in cleaning toilets outside the home)
- Disinfectant/detergent/cleaner (any chemical that calls itself a disinfectant and has an E.P.A number on the label to back-up the claim of being a disinfectant)
- Disposable toweling or launderable cloth
- Bowl Swab (12-inch long plastic handle with a bunny tail material at the end approximately 4-inches in diameter)
- Acid-based bowl cleaner depending on the hardness of water and/or frequency of cleaning
- Citric acid – safest to use but slowest to remove mineral deposits,
- phosphoric acid – safer than hydrochloric acid, won´t smoke chrome.
- Hydrochloric acid is harsh, use only on porcelain with extreme care and only on the worst mineral build-ups. Note: hydrochloric bowl cleaner will “melt” nylon carpet and nylon hose, so be careful.
- Pumice stick
- Small mirror
Two Types of Cleaning
There are two approaches to cleaning a toilet, as there are for any kind of cleaning. There’s cleaning for appearance, in other words, cleaning when something appears dirty. Then there is cleaning for health, which is a higher level of cleaning. Cleaning for health is common sense just as eating correctly, getting enough sleep and exercise. Unfortunately, common sense doesn’t always equal common practice.
Toilet Cleaning Procedure for Cleaning for Health
Before you begin to clean a toilet, gather all needed materials including personal protection equipment such as gloves and eyewear. Using a disinfectant, mixed in a bucket (according to label instructions), spray or wipe down all hard surfaces outside of the bowl … paying close attention to high touch areas like the toilet seat and flush handle. In order to disinfect the surfaces, the surface must remain wet for ten minutes unless the label instructions state otherwise.
After the outside surfaces are wet, lower the waterline in the toilet bowl. Possible ways:
1.) Using a bucket with approximately 1.5 gallons of water, pour into the toilet quickly.
2.) Turn the water to the toilet off and flush the toilet.
3.) Use a toilet plunger and force the water down and out of the trap.
After the water level has been dropped, spray the inside surfaces of the toilet bowl. Again, to totally disinfect the toilet, the surface must remain wet for ten minutes unless stated otherwise on the label.
Toilet Cleaning Procedure for Cleaning for Appearance
Before you begin to clean a toilet, gather all needed materials including personal protection equipment such as gloves and eyewear.
Using a detergent cleaner, mixed in a spray bottle, spray down or wipe down all hard surfaces outside of the bowl paying close attention to high touch areas like the toilet seat and flush handle. In order to disinfect the surfaces, the surface must remain wet for ten minutes unless the label instructions state otherwise.
After the outside surfaces are wet, lower the waterline in the toilet bowl. This can be done in one of several ways (see instructions above).
After the water level has been dropped, apply the acid-base bowl cleaner to your bowl swab. Take the bowl swab and begin swabbing under the rim working down. If there are tough stains on the bowl, a small amount of bowl cleaner may be applied to the stain. Extra bowl cleaner may also be applied to the swab and rested on top of the stain. Hard, stubborn stains can be removed with a pumice stick available from most janitor supply companies. Other tools A small mirror can be used to look under the rim to detect any stubborn stains that may also be contributing to malodors.
A Black Light used in a dark restroom will also show urine salts and missed cleaning in and around toilets as well as urinals. Urine fluoresces a dull yellow under this Black Light. Use the fluorescent type black light, not a screw-in bulb.