What To Do When Toilet Not Used For Months: Let’s Make It Usable!

Have you been smelling something nasty in your house lately? Things you can’t quite put your finger on? It’s probably that guest bathroom you haven’t used in god knows how many months.

Don’t worry; it’s perfectly normal for a toilet not used for months to stink up the house. The P-trap dries up, mold grows, and “aromatic residues” solidify overtime to make the air unbreathable.

Luckily, you don’t need to pay the plumber a fortune to fix this nightmare. We’re here to help you with that. We’ll also add a few pointers to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Toilet Not Used For Months- Steps to Make Usable

The unused toilet smell is unbearable. It’s not the most welcoming experience when you walk into your house. Let’s talk about what causes this issue, how to fix it, and how to ensure it doesn’t recur.

Every toilet, sink, and drain has a P-trap behind it. This pipe looks like a horizontal ‘P’ and stores some extra water in the pipe. The trap blocks air from the opposite side of the pipe from reaching your house, like methane and other sewer gases.

Over long periods of disuse, the water in the trap dries up. This situation leads to a direct connection between your bathroom and the sewer. The best-unused toilet maintenance strategy is to flush your toilet regularly: at least once a week.

For those of us with a damp enough restroom, mold might be another concern. It’s not just ugly; it’s also a health hazard. The same goes for bacterial infestations that look like brown stains. These can cause anything from skin diseases to fungal infections.

All of this is what happens when you don’t use a toilet for a long time. So, let’s see how to fix it.

Cleaning Up Your Unused Toilet

You need to be mentally prepared to clean up the stench of death. Have your cleaners and brushes ready. These are the things you need to do by yourself. Easy.

  1. Flush the toilet several times. Don’t skimp here; there should be water in the P-trap.
  2. Turn off the flush tank’s water valve. There can be no water in the toilet bowl after vacation.
  3. Take a bathroom cleaner (a moderate-strength one) and spray the whole toilet with it. Spray every nook and cranny. Leave it wet for five minutes.
  4. Now spray the inside of the toilet bowl with a much stronger cleaner (preferably bleach) thoroughly and leave it like that for five minutes.
  5. Take a toilet brush and clean the bowl as if your life depended on it.
  6. Repeat steps 3 and 4.
  7. Rinse the whole toilet properly.
  8. Turn on the toilet faucet valve and flush the toilet again.

Ensuring Zero Smell

Your toilet is all cleaned up now—no more odor or stains. To ensure this stays that way, you need to take regular care of it.

If you’re usually at home, flush at least once a week (even if you don’t use it). In case you don’t, it’ll start stinking again. For those with children at home, it’s better to flush every day regardless of use.

And if your apartment is empty for months on end, make sure to seal the toilet before you leave. That way, none of the odor escapes. And it’s even better to flush once before you leave.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What happens if the toilet is not used for a long time?

If you don’t use and flush your toilet in months (or years), the P-trap dries up, mold grows, and stains dry. This sticky situation (literally) leads to smells and odors from the sewer creeping up into your house.

How often should you flush an unused toilet?

Ideally, it would be best if you flushed your toilets every day. If a toilet isn’t in use, flushing once a week is also okay. However, the longer you go without flushing, the more the chances are of smells coming.

How do I clean a disgusting toilet?

Bleach. If you have a disgusting toilet, bleach is your best friend. But remember to wear protective gloves when handling this corrosive liquid. It can burn your skin and cause respiratory problems if inhaled.

How do you clean a toilet that’s not used for a long time?

Flush the toilet several times. Empty the tank. Apply cleaner and bleach generously. Then brush the whole toilet. Rinse and repeat and rinse. Flush regularly after the cleaning process.


Whether you’re busy or feeling lazy, that toilet hasn’t seen action for a while. The best treatment for a toilet not used for months is using it. But for when things are dire, we’re here to help.

Our clean-up and maintenance guide is a thorough process making it easy for you to keep your house from becoming a biohazard. You could have called a plumber, but where’s the fun in that?

And if you’re planning on leaving your house unattended for too long, don’t forget to seal the deal (the toilet).

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