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TIPS AND TRICKS

Cleaning tips for your toilet to avoid infections

Cleaning a toilet can be a very unappealing chore.

In Summary

•Most urinary tract infections that are not sexually transmitted actually come from dirty toilets and urinals.

•Research suggests that damp hands spread 1,000 times more germs than dry hands.

Cleaning a toilet can be a very unappealing chore.

Believe it or not, there is actually a right way to clean a toilet, and using a proper method will help eliminate bacteria or viruses that may be living there.

Most urinary tract infections that are not sexually transmitted actually come from dirty toilets and urinals, experts told the Star on Wednesday.

"You should clean the toilet at least four times a week with a disinfectant that contains bleach," Kennedy Kimathi, a medical practitioner in Nairobi, advised.

In fact, from the flush handle to the seat, your toilet bowl is covered in harmful bacteria estimated at 3.2 million organisms  per square inch.

Instructions

Step 1

Gather your cleaning supplies first, Kimathi recommends having a clean toilet brush, not more than 6 months old, rubber gloves, toilet cleaner, disinfectant, baking soda and paper towels.

Wear the gloves for extra protection.

Step 2

“Before you start cleaning, put the lid down and give it a flush,” he said.

Research has found that flushing the toilet with the lid open releases germs up to 10 inches above the toilet seat.

“Shutting the lid prevents germs from flying, lowering the risk of exposure. But flushing does not kill the bacteria.”

Step 3

Apply your toilet cleaner to the bowl and toilet rims, followed by the baking soda and let it sit for 5 minutes.

“Baking soda helps prevent hard water stains from building up and it is very good for cleaning and disinfecting,” Kimathi said.

Step 4

As the bowl soaks, close the lid and clean the exterior of the toilet.

“Start from the top of the tank, going down, using a disinfectant and a paper towel; this prevents dripping on clean surfaces,” he advised.

Wipe the toilet seat both inside and out.

Step 5

Kimathi recommends squeezing a bit of toilet cleaner on the brush and then cleaning the bowl from the top, down then into the drain hole.

Doing this for at least 3 minutes, before flushing the bowl with the lid down.

Step 6

Clean the floors with disinfectant and bleach. Damp floors provide an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive.

Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water then dry your hands. Research suggests that damp hands spread 1,000 times more germs than dry hands!

Quick tip*

“Hovering over a toilet is not 100% effective in preventing infections, due to the ‘splashing factor,’” he said.

“In reality, a quick wipe-down of the seat, laying down toilet paper, regular cleaning or using a seat cover is plenty protection.”

But wash your hands thoroughly afterwards with soap and water.