Proper toilet hygiene is key for protecting us from germs that could make us ill. Did you know that each square inch of toilet seat harbours around 50 bacteria? I’ll let you do the maths… Viruses and bacteria are spread via faecal matter contaminating surfaces that we then come into contact with.
Keeping your toilet scrupulously clean is the obvious answer. Having used the services of Cleaning Industrial Solutions, a specialist cleaning company for commercial and private clients, I learned that touching an unhygienic toilet, toilet seat or flush handle exposes you to potentially harmful germs including:
E.coli is a faecal borne bacterium that is usually found in our intestines and is transmitted via contaminated water or food – but it can also cling to non-porous surfaces. Symptoms include diarrhoea, abdominal cramps and vomiting.
Novovirus is a gastrointestinal virus that causes similar symptoms to E.coli and can be found lingering on toilet seats for up to 2 weeks.
Shigella is a bacterium that is very easily transmitted between people, particularly if you’re less than diligent about washing your hands after you’ve been to the loo. It causes cramping, diarrhoea and gastrointestinal distress – and dysentery!
Streptococcus is a bacterium found on about a third of all toilet seats. You may know it from strep throat infections but it can also cause various contagious skin infections.
Staphylococcus is a bacterium that can cause boils or skin infections. Did you know that MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) can live on your toilet for more than 2 months?
It’s enough to make you reach for the toilet brush and get scrubbing!
Bleach is one solution, obviously, but there are plenty of natural alternatives to bring cleanliness and a fresh shine to your porcelain throne, too. Here are my top choices:
Baking soda is great for cleaning stains from over-used tea and coffee mugs, so why not use it to keep the loo clean, too? Make a paste with Bicarbonate of Soda and water, apply and leave for 15 minutes before flushing.
Vinegar is immensely useful around the house and is a very effective toilet cleaner. Squirt half a litre around the bowl and into the water, leave for a few hours (overnight is a good idea), scrub with a toilet brush and flush. You can pour some into your toilet tank to help banish mould and bacteria building up there too.
Grapefruit and salt
This may sound like a weird combination, but by cutting a grapefruit in half and sprinkling with salt you have a pretty good scourer. Get scrubbing.
Homemade lemon toilet cleaner
Make a paste of 2–3 parts borax and 1 part lemon juice. Apply it to a stained toilet bowl, rim included, and leave for at least an hour, then scrub it off with a toilet brush.
- Alka Seltzer
It may be slightly disturbing to think what this may be doing to our insides, but there you have it – a ‘plink plonk fizz’ and you could have a sparkling toilet bowl. No fuss, no effort, just leave for 15 minutes, then flush.
Used tea bags
Apparently, putting used tea bags down the loo can help get rid of stains. Pop them in the toilet, leave for a few hours, then flush and brush.
Coca Cola is a popular cleaning hack, and that includes toilets. However, be careful if you have hard water stains as it can make those look worse. Otherwise, feel free to pour your Coke down the loo and marvel at the results.
For those who want to avoid the strong lasting odour of heavy duty cleaning products, perhaps this is your best answer. Who’d have thought you could have a minty fresh WC?