How to Clean the Inside of a Toilet Tank With Vinegar

Updated February 25, 2020
Preparing to clean the toilet tank

House cleaning, especially toilet cleaning, is nobody's idea of a good time. While the toilet bowl might get weekly love, do you think about cleaning the toilet tank? The toilet tank holds that water that flushes everything down and doesn't get the love it deserves. Learn how to clean your toilet tank with vinegar to reduce algae, rust and mold.

How to Clean the Toilet Tank

Before you can clean the toilet tank, you need to get the water out. Pouring vinegar in the tank won't get rid of that grime, rust and mold without draining the water first. You'll want to shut off the water valve somewhere around the base of the tank. You'll see the water line under the tank, just follow it until you reach the valve. Then, you'll give it a few good flushes until the tank is completely empty. With an empty tank, it's time to grab your tools.

Woman cleaning a toilet


  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Borax
  • Bristle brush
  • Rubber gloves
  • Dawn dish soap

Vinegar Soak

How much vinegar do you put in the toilet to clean it? The answer is gallons. The vinegar soak is one of the easiest methods that you can use to clean your toilet tank. However, this will require you to have another bathroom available.

  1. Follow water removal.
  2. You'll need about 3-7 gallons of white vinegar.
  3. Fill the tank to the overflow tube.
  4. You want to make sure that you cover any rust, mold or algae that might be in the tank.
  5. Allow the vinegar to sit in the tank for 12 - 13 hours.
  6. Drain the vinegar by flushing.
  7. Use the scrubbing brush to remove any left-over debris.
  8. Add a sprinkle of baking soda for additional scrubbing power.
  9. Turn the water back on.
  10. Rinse the toilet tank a few times by filling and flushing.

Vinegar and Baking Soda Scrub

If you don't have 12 hours to wait for your porcelain goddess, then you can give this quicker method a try. Grab the Dawn, vinegar and baking soda.

  1. Drain the water out of the tank.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of Dawn, a cup of vinegar and ½ cup of baking soda.
  3. Use the toilet brush to swish it around.
  4. Scrub down the sides and bottom.
  5. Let it sit for about an hour.
  6. Give it another good scrub to get any new stuck-on sediment, algae, rust, and mold.
  7. Turn on the water and flush out the tank.
  8. Enjoy your clean and fresh smelling tank.
  9. Throw the lid on, gently, and you are good to go.

Vinegar and Borax

Baking soda isn't the only thing that you can mix with vinegar to get your tank fresh. Borax works too.

  1. Mix 1 cup of borax with 4 cups of vinegar.
  2. Leave a couple of inches of water in the tank.
  3. Add the mixture to the tank.
  4. Take your toilet brush and scrub the inside of the tank.
  5. Let it sit for an hour or two.
  6. Give it another good scrub down, focusing on water-stained areas.
  7. Turn on the water.
  8. Flush out the tank a few times.

Do Not Mix Bleach With Vinegar

When it comes to using vinegar to clean your toilet tank, it's a natural antifungal and antibacterial. It also creates a toxic vapor if mixed with bleach. If you use vinegar to clean your tank, you do not need bleach.

Commercial Tank Cleaners

If you have extremely hard water or a really dirty tank, you might want to bust out some commercial cleaners. However, you do have to be careful of the different parts that are in the toilet. So, you'll want stick to cleaners made for the toilet tank like Instant Power Toilet Tank Cleaners or Hurriclean Tank Cleaner. These can work great if vinegar, baking soda and borax just aren't cutting through the stains.

Cleaning toilet tank

Clean the Toilet Tank Regularly

The inside of a toilet tank should be cleaned at least twice a year to maintain cleanliness and to prevent hard minerals from building up on and deteriorating the seals and working parts. If the toilet is one that is not used that frequently, such as in a powder room or a basement, then the interior of the tank should be cleaned more often because the standing water could be subject to mold growth.

White Vinegar in the Toilet Tank

Cleaning the toilet tank isn't fun. But if you have a little vinegar and a lot of time then you can just let vinegar do all the work. Now that you have the knowledge, it's time to clean your toilet tank. You might even want to add it to your cleaning schedule.

How to Clean the Inside of a Toilet Tank With Vinegar