Something Fell into the Toilet (Disinfect Guide) Step-by-Step (2023)

Have you ever dropped something in the toilet and had to figure out how to remove, clean and disinfect the item properly? We’ve all been there at least once in our lives.

Therefore, we’re providing a step-by-step guide to proper disinfection of items dropped in the toilet. By following each step closely, you can successfully clean the dropped item.

Table of Contents

  • Disinfecting Item that Fell into Toilet (Step-by-Step)
    • Retrieve Dropped Item
    • Rinsing After Retrieving
    • Using Disinfectant Products
    • Sanitizing With Rubbing Alcohol
    • Boiling Item
  • A Few Words In The End

Disinfecting Item that Fell into Toilet (Step-by-Step)

Something Fell into the Toilet (Disinfect Guide) Step-by-Step (1)

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There are a couple of methods you can use to disinfect the dropped item properly. We’ll outline each option below so you can pick the one that suits your situation best. For many of these, the best method will depend on the item itself – for example, some methods are better for electronic items whereas some are better for more durable objects. For each of these methods, however, the first step is the same – retrieving the item:

Retrieve Dropped Item

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1. Rubber Gloves

Before you even consider disinfecting something that fell in a toilet, it is really important that you protect yourself from all the bacteria your hands are going to be exposed to when reaching into the bowl to retrieve the item. The best way to protect yourself is by wearing rubber gloves. Therefore, it’s best to always keep a pair of rubber gloves in the bathroom in case something like this happens. Still, if you are not in your own home, you may not have a pair readily available. In this situation, you should decide whether the item you dropped in the toilet is worth taking the plunge. Even then, try to protect yourself with a plastic bag, some paper towels, or another option.

2. Retrieve Quickly

Regardless of how protected you are from the bacteria, you should try your best to be as quick as possible when taking the item out of the toilet. Remember to take a very firm grip on the item so you don’t accidentally drop it back in. If the item you are trying to retrieve from the toilet flushes down the drain, there is a very big chance that you will never see it again, so try to grab the item before flushing.

Rinsing After Retrieving

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1. Rinse Under Hot Water

Assuming the item you retrieved from the toilet was non-electronic, you will need to rinse all the toilet water off. If you don’t rinse it thoroughly, there’s a much higher risk of the item staying contaminated from the toilet water. First, turn on the sink and wait for the hot water. The hotter the water is, the better. Next, lather up the infected item with soap and then run it under the hot water until thoroughly cleaned. However, if the item you dropped is electronic and isn’t waterproof, we recommend skipping this step as more water may further damage the item.

2. Wash Your Hands (Do Not Forget)

The whole point is to prevent any type of infection, right? Therefore, even if you had the rubber gloves on, you must still wash your hands thoroughly. Make sure to scrub beneath your fingernails and between the fingers, as these areas are where most bacteria are hiding. Once you have done all this, the item should be clean and ready to use without further risk.

Using Disinfectant Products

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1. Disinfectant Spray

First off, get a chemical disinfectant spray that is potent enough to kill all the bacteria attached to the dirty item. If the item has a solid, smooth surface, you can use a disinfectant wipe to scrub away any bacteria. On the other hand, if the item doesn’t have a smooth surface and has a bunch of irregular angles, use a spray to make sure the disinfectant gets into every part and corner.

2. Let Sit Before Drying

The main mistake most people make is that they rinse off the item right after spraying the disinfectant over it. Instead, let the disinfectant sit for a couple of minutes. It will continue removing bacteria that rest on the surface. After a few minutes, wipe every corner of the item using a dry towel to make sure all the disinfectant is gone. Ideally, you should rinse the item underwater once more and dry it.

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Sanitizing With Rubbing Alcohol

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1. Cotton Balls and Rubbing Alcohol

For this method, you will need a package of cotton balls as well as a bottle of isopropyl alcohol. The isopropyl alcohol, or rubbing alcohol, is a very good way to disinfect more sensitive objects, such as remote controls, smartwatches, cell phones, and other electronics you don’t want to rinse under hot water. Look for isopropyl alcohol with a 70% concentration that doesn’t contain any additives for the best results.

2. Saturate Cotton Ball

To saturate the cotton ball with isopropyl alcohol, remove the cap of the bottle and dip the ball into alcohol. Hold it for a few seconds so the alcohol soaks into the fibers. To get rid of any excess alcohol, shake the cotton ball a few times. Remember not to let the cotton ball get too wet as alcohol could start leaking out and get into sensitive openings of the electronics.

3. Wipe Item

Use the cotton ball you soaked into alcohol to swab the bacteria. Cleaning electronic or other sensitive items this way is ideal as you can eradicate all the bacteria without exposing the items to unnecessary moisture. After you are done cleaning, pat the sensitive item carefully with a clean towel and let it air dry. It shouldn’t take too long as the isopropyl alcohol usually evaporates very quickly.

Boiling Item

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1. Large Pot for Boiling

When it comes to the boiling method, the first step is finding a pot that is big enough for the item. Remember, this method is only recommended if the item is sturdy enough to be submerged in boiling water. After you have found the ideal pot, place it over medium-high heat and wait for the water to start simmering. Once the temperature of the water is high enough, place the infected item into the pot.

2. Submerge Item

Next, lower the infected item into the boiling water using a strainer or tongs. Once submerged, you can leave it immersed for up to 20 minutes. Due to the high temperature, boiling water will get rid of all the bacteria and microbial bugs on the item. Note that if you leave the item too long in the boiling water it could get warped by the high temperature, so keep an eye on the item and the time.

3. Put Aside & Let Dry

Assuming all the microbial bugs and bacteria are destroyed, it is time for you to take the disinfected item out of the water and shake it a little bit. Use a dry, clean towel to wrap the item and let it air dry. If your item has some sort of a cover or a lid, leave it open so the airflow could get into the item and prevent the formation of mildew. Be sure to use a heating pad or other protection when working with the hot pot and boiling water.

A Few Words In The End

All in all, disinfecting an item that you dropped in the toilet can be a piece of cake when you have the necessary equipment and instructions. It is extremely important to disinfect anything that got into contact with all the bacteria that sits in your toilet. Depending on the size, durability, and sensitivity of the item, choose the method that suits your needs best and your item will be good as new in no time!


How do you disinfect something that fell in the toilet? ›

Grab the fallen item from the toilet bowl and quickly rinse and dry it off. Then sanitize it with a chemical disinfectant, like bleach or rubbing alcohol, or by submerging the item in boiling water.

What is the 3 step disinfection process? ›

Three-Step Cleaning and Disinfecting Method

Step 1: CLEAN: Use soap, water and a clean cloth/brush. Scrubbing to clean. Step 2: Rinse: Use clean water and a clean cloth or place under running water. Step 3: Disinfect: Apply chemical following provided directions (strength and contact time) to the surface.

How many steps is a disinfection? ›

The specific cleaning procedure and the substances involved may vary depending on what you're cleaning, but there are generally six stages of cleaning that are important to completely disinfect contaminated surfaces.

What happens if something falls down the toilet? ›

Thankfully, most toilet drains are made to only allow water to pass through, so items will usually get caught in the drain or at the bottom of the toilet. To retrieve the flushed item, you can try fishing the item out of the toilet bowl or drain with your hands, a wire clothing hanger, or a drain snake.

How do you disinfect bathroom surfaces? ›

In the bathroom, it is recommended to first clean with soap and water or a common cleaner and then disinfect with bleach or a disinfectant, such as Multi-Purpouse Disinfectant Bathroom. Toilet: it is recommended to keep a cloth exclusively for cleaning this.


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