Cleaning the cistern - Suitable descaling tools and instructions

Cleaning the cistern - Suitable descaling tools and instructions

The cistern collects the water needed to flush the toilet , Depending on where you live, this water contains more or less lime and other dissolved substances. In this way, limescale deposits, which are not only visible in the toilet bowl, but also in the cistern. Also algae, sand and mud can settle in the toilet and cistern. They provide an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. Usually, however, there is a completely different problem when the cistern is too calcified or dirty: Then the water of the flushing often runs permanently, so that a lot of money is wasted. At the latest then it is time to repair the cistern. For this you usually have to do nothing more than to descale it and to clean it thoroughly. In the following guide, we have put together a guide and many tips for you, so that this work is easier for you.

Why do cisterns need to be cleaned at all?

The tap water in Germany usually has an excellent quality. Nevertheless, there are numerous substances in the groundwater from which the tap water is sourced, such as minerals and lime. Depending on the region, even the smallest particles of sand and dirt can be present in the water. The water pipes in-house also affect the drinking water quality. If the pipes are already very corroded, the smallest particles in the water will be released.

In addition, not all components in the waterworks can be filtered out. If you have ever cleaned your faucet, you know how much sand or mud can be in the sieve. You will also notice the white or greyish limescale deposits. They are a good breeding ground for different bacteria. Especially in the cistern, dirt and limescale deposits usually have good chances, because many people are not particularly thorough at cleaning.

Extremely dirty or calcified cisterns can break because valves or gaskets become porous or the float can no longer fulfill its function , At the latest then, there is no way to clean the cistern.

It is best to thoroughly clean the cistern once a year to maintain its functionality and increase its service life.

Suitable means for cleaning and descaling the cistern

You can buy various detergents commercially to clean and decalcify the cistern. There are some special tabs or powders. Some home remedies are also suitable.

Which remedy works best in your case to remove the deposits, but always depends on the degree and type of contamination.

We recommend, for example:

  • vinegar or Essigessenz for light calcification and preventive cleaning
  • Citric acid for medium to heavy soiling and calcification
  • Hydrochloric acid for extremely heavy limescale and dirt deposits

With these home remedies, many DIY enthusiasts have had good experience in the past. If you still decide to buy a product from the retail trade, you should read on the back which dirt it is suitable for.

Step-by-step instructions: How to clean your cistern thoroughly

Before you start with To start the actual cleaning of the flushing cistern, you should check that you have all the materials and tools you need for cleaning and descaling.

  • Cleaner that suits the respective soiling
  • New rubber seals
  • if necessary Hemp if you need to remove the flexible hose or the angle valve
  • Wrench
  • Combination pliers
  • Water pump pliers
  • Copper soft wire brush
  • Water tank
  • Possibly vacuum water suction

Once you have everything ready, you can use the following step-by-step cistern. Clean instructions.

1. Step: Open the cistern

First, remove the cistern lid. Depending on which model it is, it can be placed on the cistern (in plastic models) or placed on the box (in ceramic versions). In addition, turn off the water at the angle valve.

2. Step: Remove the rinse water mechanism

Now remove the complete rinse water mechanism. First, remove the movement arm that connects the inlet valve and float. After that, the float can be removed. The inlet valve is also removed by loosening the nut that secures it to the cistern.

3. Step: Check Seals

Now look at the seals that are under the float and in the cistern valve that has just been removed. Both rubber seals can be dirty and have deposits. Sometimes they are no longer supple and soft, but porous and hard. Then they have to be exchanged. If they are only dirty, it is enough to place them in the water tank.

4. Step: Cleaning and Descaling Components

In the fourth step, the bucket is filled with water and the selected detergent or lime solvent. Pay attention to the correct mixing ratio. The individual parts that you have removed from the cistern should now remain in the detergent for some time to effectively remove the deposits. You can leave the decalcifier in action for a few hours, or preferably overnight.

Reposition the float so that it seals. Then pour water and detergent into the cistern and wait a few hours again. Then clean all elements with the wire brush. Also think of the actual cistern. In case of heavy contamination or deposits, this process may have to be repeated several times.

5. Step: Reinstall everything and close the cistern

Finally, have a look at the seals. They could have become porous by the means used in the cleaning and would have to be replaced in this case. If you have loosened the flex hose, you should also renew the hemp around the outer thread. Only then will he be tight again. Finally, rebuild everything and rinse it out to see if any water runs out or everything works as intended.

Alternative: Clean Cistern Without Detergent

It is also possible to clean the cistern completely without chemical cleaning agents , In this case, you must remove the entire interior and put it in the sink. Afterwards you can use a slotted screwdriver to remove deposits on the filling valve and the bell. Even lime from the basin can be removed with the screwdriver. Thoroughly rinse all items with plenty of water and then reinstall.

This procedure is particularly useful for stubborn dirt and cisterns that have not been cleaned for many years.

If you choose this method You save money because you do not have to buy a separate descaling agent and you do not need a special tool. In addition, the success rate of this type of cleaning is high. However, it is also time-consuming and exhausting. Manual cleaning also risks causing small parts to be lost.


If the water from the cistern runs permanently into the toilet bowl, or if the cistern does not fill up completely after flushing, it may be due to the Cistern is dirty or calcified. Then, for example, the swimmer can not do his job and the functionality is reduced. In these cases, it helps to clean the cistern carefully with a commercial cleaner or a household remedy such as vinegar essence or citric acid.

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