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How to clean and descale a toilet cistern

Not sure how to descale or clean a toilet cistern? Keep your toilet in tip-top condition with our handy guide.


Clean toilet tank with ornaments

 Key steps

  1. Put on protective gloves and clothing.
  2. Remove the lid and lower the water level.
  3. Descale the cistern before cleaning.
  4. Let the cleaning solution sit for stubborn deposits.
  5. Rinse and refill.

When it comes to cleaning your toilet, the cistern often gets overlooked. That’s largely because not a lot of attention goes towards limescale in a toilet cistern, as opposed keeping the pan and exterior clean. But it’s always good practice to regularly descale a toilet cistern so that it works efficiently. Here’s how to clean a toilet tank.

The best way to remove limescale in a toilet cistern is to let the solution sit for up to 12 hours. That will give it plenty of time to break down deposits and make it easier to clean.

Removing limescale in a toilet cistern

In the long run, knowing how to descale a toilet cistern can extend the life and efficiency of your toilet, so it’s well worth doing. And once you’ve learned how to remove limescale from a toilet cistern it’ll be easier the next time you do it. Follow this step-by-step guide for great results:

  1. Put on protective gloves and old clothing before you start.
  2. Remove the lid from your toilet cistern.
  3. Lower the level of water – either by turning off the water supply to the toilet or adjusting the float height valve.
  4. Pour cleaning solution into your cistern – you can use a specialist cleaner like citric acid, or try vinegar if you want a more natural approach.
  5. Make sure the solution covers the limescale, and leave for at least half an hour (or longer if you can).
  6. Scrub thoroughly, rinse and repeat as necessary.
  7. It’s a good idea to descale a toilet cistern on a weekly basis to prevent limescale from building back up.

How to clean a toilet cistern after descaling

Once you’ve got rid of the limescale you can move onto cleaning the cistern itself. This will help get rid of bacteria and remove nasty odours. Cleaning your cistern follows a similar plan to descaling, but shouldn’t take as long. Here’s how:

  1. As with the descaling, make sure you’ve got gloves and old clothing on.
  2. Make a mix of three parts vinegar to one part water.
  3. Pour into a spray bottle and aim at marked areas. Scrub them first before working on the rest of the toilet tank.
  4. If you encounter really stubborn stains, you can fill the tank. Let the solution sit for around 10 minutes before scrubbing to remove dirt and grime.
  5. Flush the solution through and then fill with cold water.
  6. Flush again to rinse everything off and then refill the cistern.

There you have it, an easy-to-follow guide to how to clean and descale a toilet cistern. Once you’ve done it the first time, the next time will be really straightforward. With regular cleaning you can keep your toilet in great shape and make sure it works well long term.


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Originally published