Buyer's Guide & Information

Best Toilet Bowl Cleaners for a Clean Home

Want a clean and fresh toilet every day? These top brands cover all the ways you can have a consistently white and crisp toilet in your home.

by PlumberAndy

Buyer's Guide & Information

Best Toilet Bowl Cleaners for a Clean Home

Want a clean and fresh toilet every day? These top brands cover all the ways you can have a consistently white and crisp toilet in your home.

by PlumberAndy

by PlumberAndy

Nobody likes cleaning a toilet and the trend for additional bathrooms in our homes these days only multiplies the chore. Someone has to take responsibility for keeping them clean, sparkling and hygienic and it’s probably you, right?

So, if you have to do this irksome but unavoidable job, the trick is to find the right products to tackle the problem with minimum effort and maximum speed. A good toilet cleaner will cut down the amount of labor involved to get the spotless results you’re looking for: less scrubbing and more sparkle is what’s needed!

Clean Bathroom

Of course, it’s not just about the dirt you can see – those hidden germy gremlins are your real target to ensure good home hygiene for you and your family. Read on to find out what type of products are on offer, from gels and sprays to tablets and our selection of the best toilet bowl cleaners.


Types of Toilet Cleaners

In-bowl Cleaners

It’s no surprise that there’s plenty of choice when it comes to in-bowl toilet cleaners. Some people are guided by price and others by performance. Others are loyal purchasers of the same brand come what may, often following in the footsteps of the previous generation, believing that it’s best to ‘stick with what you know’.

You can choose from liquids, gels and sprays which are applied manually, or you can opt for the type that hangs from the rim and clean and deodorize your toilet automatically each time you flush.

In-tank Cleaners

Dropping a bleach tablet into your tank is definitely one of the easiest methods of cleaning your porcelain throne. You just have to drop it in the tank and you get up to 3 months of cleaning power with no scrubbing required. The tablet cleans, sanitizes and deodorizes with each flush.

This all sounds super-convenient, and it is, but you should be aware that regular use of these tablets can cause the seals and valves inside the tank to degrade at a faster rate than normal.

The problem with this is that when a rubber seal gets brittle and cracks the water will run continuously in the toilet until the fault is resolved. That means the cost of calling out a plumber – not to mention all that wasted water.

If you opt for in-bowl cleaning methods instead, you may notice that your tank is gunked up with brown or smelly residue. If that’s the case, then it’s an easy enough job to clean the tank manually a couple of times a year. This guide on housecleaningcentral.com will show you how.

An alternative in-tank cleaning method for your toilet is an automatic system where an assembly clips into the tank. The benefit of this type is that the chemicals are delivered directly into the bowl and don’t sit in the tank so the rubber seals don’t degrade in the same way as with tablet cleaners.

It’s a more expensive option but you’ll have peace of mind at the same time as having a sparkling clean toilet with no, or at least minimal, scrubbing.


Why Are Toilet Cleaners Necessary?

We all know just how quickly a toilet can become really gross. Trust us when we say that your toilet is unlikely ever to look anything like this gallery of horror, showing the grossest toilets ever!

Of course, it’s not just about aesthetics; hygiene is most people’s greatest concern when it comes to toilet cleanliness. And toilet bowl cleaners do that job with a few enthusiastic swishes of the toilet brush. Very little elbow grease is usually required to get exceptional results. 

If your toilet cleaning regime slips a little and you allow the build-up of mineral deposits, stains and/or mold, those areas will become the biggest breeding ground for germs. There are magical products out there, though, which will dissolve even the toughest stains and leave your toilet bowl sparkling clean and smelling fresh. Scroll down to find our top picks. If you're having issues with clogging, using a plunger before cleaning might do the trick. 

Have you ever wondered why porcelain is used all around the world to make toilets? That’s because its smooth surface means there are no imperfections or crevices where particles can get stuck and become a breeding ground for germs. Added to that, porcelain is nonporous, so it’s less susceptible to build up of bacteria than other materials.

The smooth, shiny surface is also easy to clean and it sparkles in a very satisfying way to reflect your hard labor. The best way to keep that sparkling white porcelain looking great is to use a toilet bowl cleaner regularly.


Buyer’s Guide: Toilet Bowl Cleaners

There’s so much choice out there that it can be hard to decide on the right product. Here are a few things to note which may help with your decision but, if you’re pushed for time, you could just scroll down to our selection of the best toilet bowl cleaners. And if your toilet is past saving, read our guide to the best new toilets on the market

Ease of Use/Delivery System

Toilet cleaners are available in four basic forms: squirt bottle, gel/hanger, spray or tablet. It’s worth considering the pros and cons of the different delivery systems. Squirt bottles, especially those with an angled nozzle, are great for getting up and under the rim and directing the product exactly where it’s needed.

Sprays, on the other hand, are quick and easy to apply.

Gel, in-tank and hanger cleaners work with every flush but they lack power and are probably more useful to keep the toilet hygienic and fresh-smelling, for peace of mind, as opposed to truly clean - you’ll still need to get those rubber gloves on from time to time and wield the toilet brush for a deep clean.

Composting Toilet

Ingredients Used

In order to do the tough and important job of cleaning and sanitizing your toilet, it’s no surprise that there are some pretty robust chemical ingredients involved. Hydrochloric acid, chlorine bleach and sodium lauryl sulfate can be found in most products in varying concentrations.

The harsh nature of these chemicals means that you should take the greatest care when handling toilet bowl cleaners – always wear protective gloves and make sure that the space you’re working in is well ventilated.

Eco-friendliness

You’ve probably got the message by now that there are some pretty noxious nasties among the ingredients of toilet bowl cleaners. You may have started wondering if there are any alternative, more planet-friendly (and, frankly, human-friendly) ways of getting this essential job done.

Since the chemicals that enter the sewers from your home ultimately find their way into lakes and rivers which are home to aquatic creatures and often a human playground too, we need to think twice about what goes down those pipes.

If these matters really concern you, the logical step is to have a go at making DIY toilet bowl cleaners. They work well and they’re easy and cheap to make with ingredients that you most likely already have in your cupboards or are easily obtained at your local store.

You’ll find out how to do it here. Best of all, your bathroom will be bursting with the glorious scent of citrus or essential oils instead of chlorine! You can find out more about cleaning your toilets the environmentally friendly way on the Green Living Tips website.

Earth Friendly Eco Friendly

Perhaps you don’t have the time or the inclination to prepare homemade toilet bowl cleaner but still have environmental concerns. The good news is that there are ‘green’ alternatives available commercially which do a great job. You’ll find some recommendations for the best natural toilet bowl cleaner among our reviews below.

And finally, for a bit of fun, did you know you can clean your toilet with Coke? Look at this from Wikihow and why not give it a try? After that, you might pause for a moment and ask yourself the burning question: if it’s powerful enough to clean a toilet, what’s it doing to my insides? We’ll leave you to ponder on that one.

Quality

This is always a primary factor when looking for the most effective toilet bowl cleaner, just as it is in most other things. Whatever product you select from the vast range available, it needs to be super effective and easy-to-use.

Reading our reviews of the best-rated toilet bowl cleaners will give you the confidence that you’re buying the right product for your needs.

Effectiveness (value for money)

Products which appear to be cheaper are, in fact, often diluted to some extent so they are less effective and you need to use more to achieve the sparkling and hygienically clean white porcelain you’re looking for.

We suggest you compare the price of the product with its other features such as quality, performance and user-friendliness before considering the price.


12 Best Toilet Bowl Cleaners Reviewed

1. Lysol Power & Fresh 

Best Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Type

Gel

Cleans

Stains, 99.% of Bacteria & Viruses

Quantity

2 pack

Volume Size

24 oz

Safety

Safe for plumbing systems

Lysol produces a wide range of cleaning products with their ‘clean and fresh’ option being perfectly suited to eliminating any unwanted build-up in and around your toilet bowl.

The Lysol brand has 5 styles of household cleaners with this particular 24 oz bottle having a clinging gel designed to grab ahold of all the nasty leftover stains in your bowl and on the toilet ring.

The chemicals disinfect and kill 99.9% of germs, bacteria and viruses. This is done with the following chemicals:

  • Akyl (C14, C12, C16)
  • Dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride 0.49%
  • Octyl decyl dimethyl ammonium chloride 0.37%
  • Didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride 0.22%
  • Dioctyl dimethyl ammonium chloride 0.14%

We also recommend this product as it outdoes its competitors for several other reasons. The ‘country scent’ smell is pleasant without being overpowering. This enables a soft aroma that will not be too harsh for anyone with sensitive noses. It also comes in a 2-pack with 48 oz of gel able to give most people plenty of mileage.

The shape of the bottle also allows for hard-to-reach places in your toilet to be accessed without losing pressure when squeezing. While made for porcelain, we found it works well on most surfaces.

The only downside is that this product is exclusively available for Amazon Prime members. Being discounted well below in-store prices - this is a great reason to sign up for Prime if you haven’t already.

Pros
  • Strong chemical balance
  • Light pleasant odor
  • Angled bottle for easy use
  • Value for money
Cons
  • Only available with membership
  • More products needed for total cleaning purposes

2. Lime-A-Way Liquid 

Best Leave In Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Type

Gel

Cleans

Lime, calcium, rust stains – even below waterline

Quantity

4 & 12 pack available

Volume Size

24 oz

Safety

Safe for plumbing systems

If you live in a hard water area, you’ll probably have struggled to find a toilet bowl cleaner which resolves the build-up of limescale effectively. This is the best toilet bowl cleaner for hard water stains that we’ve found.

And it’s not just for limescale build-up. It matters not if it’s rust, calcium build-up or lime that’s the problem, Lime-A-Way will tackle them all.

Its very thick gel formula is designed to be left in the bowl for about 10 minutes. All you need to do then is give it a good scrub and, hey presto, a quick flush will reveal a clean and shiny strain-free toilet. Because it’s not the greenest of products, we’d suggest using it when needed and not as a part of your daily/weekly cleaning program.

As a reviewer on familyrated.com said: ‘This is the only thing that will remove hard water stains from my toilet bowl. It has a nice clean scent that really cleans the bowl well.’

One point worth making is that Lime-A-Way is designed to tackle limescale and other stains but not bacteria, so your toilet will need sanitizing with another product to keep it hygienic.

Pros
  • Dissolves hard water stains quickly and thoroughly
  • No scrubbing needed
  • Angled head to deliver where it’s needed
  • Clings to the bowl while it’s working
Cons
  • Toxic ingredients
  • Protective gloves and mask required
  • Does not sanitize
  • Not recommended for use more than once a week due to strong chemicals

3. Fluidmaster’s Flush ‘n Sparkle Automatic 

Best In Tank Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Type

Cartridge

Cleans

Automatically

Quantity

1

Volume Size

NA – In tank

Safety

Safe for plumbing systems

If you’ve got better things to do than scrub toilets (and let’s face it, most of us have), then the chances are that you favor automatic toilet cleaning tablets which you just drop into your tank and they do the work for you.

That’s fine and dandy except that any plumber will tell you that there’s nothing more destructive to the seals and valves in your tank than these drop-in bleach tablets. If you use them consistently you’ll find sooner or later that you have an expensive call-out for your plumber to replace the degraded parts.

Before you reach for the toilet brush and resort to the old fashioned squirt and scrub method, we have good news – the Flush ‘n Sparkle automatic toilet bowl cleaning system is the answer to your needs. It works by putting a cleaning solution directly into the overflow tube of the flush valve which is delivered into the bowl when you flush.

The sensitive parts in your tank never come into direct contact with the chemicals, eliminating the need for those costly plumber’s visits. One cleaning solution cartridge lasts for up to three months and it takes less than a minute to replace the cartridge.

It really IS that simple to take all the hassle out of toilet cleaning. If you’d like to see how this highly-rated product works and how it attaches inside the tank.

Pros
  • Easy to fit
  • Lasts up to 3 months
  • Replacement cartridges available
  • Blue or clear options
  • No more scrubbing
Cons
  • Contains chlorine – not child or pet safe when in toilet bowl
  • Not ideal for toilets which are rarely flushed like guest bathrooms

4. Zep Acidic 

Best Stain Removal Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Type

Liquid Gel

Cleans

Organic and hard water stains and rust

Quantity

1

Volume Size

32 oz

Safety

Safe for plumbing systems

If you live in a hard water area and find that it’s impossible to remove hard water residue no matter how much you scrub, this product from Zep is the answer you’ve been searching for. Zep uses the power of acid to break down the limescale and other stains like rust or any build-up of organic stains.

Its thick gel formula clings to the bowl to maximize contact time and to produce the best possible results. It’s of a commercial grade which means that it has real power to clean, break down stains and thoroughly sanitize your toilet. Your toilet will be sparkling clean and fragrant again in no time.

Since actions speak louder than words, why not take a look at this YouTube clip to see it in action.

If you find you don’t get the results you’d hoped for, it may be that you’re a little too hasty with scrubbing/washing it off. Be sure to give it time to work its magic.

Pros
  • Highly concentrated and effective
  • Commercial grade product
  • Cuts through organic and hard water stains
  • Deodorizes
Cons
  • Contains acid
  • Not for septic systems

5. Powerhouse Pumice Cleaning Stone

Best Toilet Bowl Cleaner Brush

Type

Brush

Cleans

Hard water, calcium, lime and rust stains

Quantity

2

Volume Size

9” long

Safety

Safe for plumbing and septic systems

If you’re environmentally aware and are looking for chemical-free, non-toxic alternatives to the aggressive chemicals typically used around the home, then you’ll find that the Powerhouse Pumice is an effective and safe tool for cleaning your toilet bowl.

This product is dense synthetic pumice formed from silicon (sand), not the hard, natural pumice formed from lava. It has a gentle abrasive effect on all tough stains like calcium, lime and rust, and your porcelain will be sparkling again in no time.

The pumice molds naturally to the curved shape of your toilet bowl and quickly removes build-up, while the fine abrasive grit prevents deep scratching. You can also use this tool to clean the hard-to-shift baked on residue on Pyrex dishes and BBQs and will be surprised at how effective it is. It doesn’t crumble away as you work like some lesser products might.

"As Angela Fabry, Certified Building Biology Advocate and mother of nine, wrote about pumice cleaning aids: 'I have noticed the durability of the synthetic pumice when it comes to cleaning toilets. The handle is an added bonus for accessibility. After cleaning the toilets I use a DIY Toilet Cleaner Bomb for added benefit.’"

To save you the trouble of searching for a recipe for one of those, you can find one right here.

Pros
  • No harsh chemicals
  • Environmentally safe
  • Suitable for septic systems
  • Safe around children & pets
  • Not just for toilets – cleans BBQs, steel, stone
Cons
  • Elbow grease required
  • Short handle
  • Always test on an inconspicuous area before use
  • Cleans but doesn’t sanitize

6. Better Life 

Best Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Type

Gel

Cleans

Hard to shift build-up like limescale and rust

Quantity

2 pack

Volume Size

24 Ounce

Safety

Safe for plumbing, septic systems

The active ingredients in all of the popular toilet bowl cleaners in the average home contain some heavy-duty chemicals which can be harmful to human health and are detrimental to the environment.

Better Life have produced a whole range of natural household cleaning products which are safer, more environmentally safe and generally more human-kind.

Apart from the obvious health benefits, your home won’t smell unpleasantly clinical as it can when you use standard commercial cleaning products which are full of chlorine - you’ll be basking in wonderful natural scents instead.

Why not swap your regular toilet cleaner for something gentler but still effective? This plant-powered product removes stubborn stains and deodorizes as it cleans and it’s thick so it clings to surfaces for effective cleaning. Better yet, it’s safe for septic systems and won’t do any harm in waterways.

If you’re just starting out on your green living journey or you’re concerned about the effects of all those chemicals in your home environment, greenandgrowing.org have summarized some of the facts about making the switch to natural products and why you should. Jump to this link to find out more.

Pros
  • Natural tea tree & peppermint scent
  • No chemicals
  • Septic safe
  • Non-abrasive
  • Cruelty free
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Powerful odor of tea-tree and peppermint is challenging
  • Some reviewers doubt its effectiveness

7. Method Antibacterial 

Best Eco-Friendly Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Type

Liquid

Cleans

Grime and bacteria

Quantity

2, 6 & 24 Pack available

Volume Size

24 ounces

Safety

Safe for plumbing and septic systems

This powerful germ-buster in a 100% recycled plastic bottle does a great job at cleaning and sanitizing your toilet while making your home smell deliciously fresh and minty.

Banish the smell of harsh chemicals forever and replace it with the zing of spearmint instead. It’s biodegradable and completely non-toxic and yet it still leaves your toilet sparkling clean.

It’s formulated with citric acid for use on hard non-porous surfaces and is effective against 99% of household germs, including influenza A flu virus, staphylococcus aureus, rhinovirus and salmonella enterica.

If you’re still doubtful about using plant power instead of chemical punch, this is what Elizabeth wrote in her 5-star review of this product on influenster.com:

"This stuff smells so good. I wasn’t so sure about mint scented bathroom cleaners but it’s so refreshing and clean smelling. We just recently switched to natural cleaners and this works just as well as Lysol toilet bowl cleaner but without the nasty chemicals."

Pros
  • Non-toxic
  • Antibacterial
  • Biodegradable
  • Safe for septic systems
  • Fresh spearmint scent
  • 100% recycled bottle
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Thin consistency doesn’t cling to porcelain effectively

8. Clorox Toilet Wand 

Disposable toilet bowl cleaner

Type

Wand

Cleans

Surface bacteria

Quantity

1 & 4 pack available

Volume Size

Approx. 10 inches

Safety

Safe for plumbing, septic systems

If you’re looking for a different but effective system for cleaning your toilet and aren’t keen on the idea of storing a germ-riddled toilet brush close to your toilet, then this cleaning kit from Clorox is quite possibly the answer. Once you’ve got it set up and ready to use, it certainly makes it easy to clean and disinfect your toilet.

The kit comes with disposable sponge cleaning heads which attach to the ‘wand’. The heads are pre-loaded with Clorox foaming cleaner to tackle stains and kill germs as you scrub and swish around inside the toilet bowl and below the water-line.

The hexagon shaped sponges are great for getting to those hard-to-reach places like under the rim where bacteria can easily build up.

You can click here if you’d like to know all the ins and outs of using this product from the perspective of the ‘Savvy Cleaner’ on the household cleaning blog site.

When you’re done, the sponge goes into the trash, taking all those germs and viruses with it. It’s simple but effective.

Pros
  • Eliminates need for toilet brush
  • Disposable
  • Hexagon shaped sponge heads for accessing hard-to-reach areas
  • Convenient click/swish/toss process
  • Powerful action against bacteria and viruses
Cons
  • Single-use throw-away product
  • Expensive
  • Need to source refill sponges

9. Scrubbing Bubbles 

Gel Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Type

Gel

Cleans

Sanitizes, deodorizes and prevents build-up of limescale and toilet rings

Quantity

1 dispenser and 12 gel stamps

Volume Size

2.68 oz

Safety

Safe for plumbing and septic systems

Many people think that the clip-on plastic hangers of in-bowl automatic cleaners are pretty gross. And they do seem to hold a magnetic attraction for toddlers!

This product does the same 24/7 job of cleaning, sanitizing and deodorizing your toilet but without the need for a clip. You use the dispenser provided to ‘stamp’ a gel table onto the inside of your toilet bowl, just under the rim, so your hands don’t come into contact with the product or the toilet bowl at all.

Each disc will last up to 7 days (depending on how many times you flush your toilet) and gradually dissolves with each flush. When it’s finished, you just pop another one in its place. It couldn’t be much simpler and it does seem to be effective.

On the Scrubbing Bubbles website, user Working Mom of 7 writes, "Amazing product! I am not usually one to write reviews, but I need this product to stick around. I would literally cry if this were no longer available."

Pros
  • Touch-free application
  • Lasts for up to 7 days
  • Deodorizes and sanitizes your toilet
  • Continuous action
Cons
  • Some reviewers say smell is too strong
  • Deep cleaning still required

10. Mrs Meyer’s Clean Day 

Septic Safe Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Type

Liquid

Cleans

Removes stains, freshens toilet

Quantity

1

Volume Size

24 oz

Safety

Safe for plumbing and septic systems

Although many standard toilet bowl cleaners claim to be septic-safe, the reality is that the harsh chemicals they contain are always going to mess with the delicate balance in your septic tank or composting toilet. You’re likely to have to pump out your system more often and that can get costly.

A natural product is always going to have the edge over a chemical-based product for that reason because it will actively encourage the ‘flora’ inside your tank to flourish and do their job effectively.

Mrs Meyer’s Clean Day toilet bowl cleaner is effective and powerful yet contains only plant-derived chemicals and essential oils, so it will give your septic system the best chance to function properly.

At the same time, your toilet bowl will be thoroughly cleaned and deodorized without any phthalates, chlorine or other harsh chemical ingredients. You can choose between lavender and lemon verbena scents, which will make the job of cleaning your toilet more fragrant and pleasant and make your home smell great, too.

Reviewer Elaine said this about Mrs Meyer’s Clean Day Toilet Bowl Cleaner on the Stain Removal 101 site:

"... all her products seem so mild and gentle – I just didn’t think her toilet bowl cleaner would be ‘tough’ enough for my situation. Of course, I loved the lavender scent. And I was amazed that it made the toilet bowl sparkle – and all I did was apply it and WAIT – about 10 minutes later the stains were gone. It even took out some of the deep-seated stains that I thought were there for good. I just swished a toilet brush around once or twice – no scrubbing at all. I don’t see any negatives in this cleaner – it’s just great."

Pros
  • Septic safe
  • Made with essential oils
  • Plant-based
  • Biodegradable
  • Cruelty-free
Cons
  • Not cheap

11. Clorox Tablets with Bleach

Best Drop In Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Type

Tablet

Cleans

Bacteria

Quantity

4 x 2 pack

Volume Size

14 oz

Safety

Safe for plumbing and septic systems

Clorox is one of those old-faithful brands that has been tried and trusted over decades for household cleaning products, especially those for use in challenging environments like the kitchen and the bathroom. This product eliminates the need for scrubbing the toilet, a chore which no one relishes.

All you need to do is to flush the toilet, open the lid and drop a tablet into the tank while the water level is still low. Be careful not to handle the tablet directly. The tablet slowly dissolves over time and it cleans and sanitizes your toilet every single time you flush, giving you peace of mind and filling your bathroom with a fresh scent.

It also prevents those tough limescale and organic stains developing. Depending on how many times the toilet is flushed, the tablet can be effective for up to 3 months.

These tablets win out for convenience but you should be aware that plumbers have noted that the seals and flapper in the tank tend to degrade over time due to constant contact with chlorine bleach. If you’re concerned about this, take a look at this link.

Pros
  • Hands-free cleaning – no scrubbing
  • Keeps toilet sanitized 24/7
  • Works for up to 3 months
  • Kills 99.9% of household bacteria
  • Repels stains
Cons
  • Bleach permanently present in toilet
  • Chemicals degrade seals and valves over time

12. Lysol No Mess 

Best Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Type

Hanging Bowl Cleaner

Cleans

Freshens, cleans and discourages stains

Quantity

8 pack

Volume Size

NA

Safety

Safe for plumbing systems

The fresh scent of these hanging tablets will fill your bathroom with a pleasant fragrance 24/7, which is one of the big benefits of ‘automatic’ cleaners.

This product cleans and deodorizes your toilet with every flush and also gives antimicrobial protection, killing the bacteria which cause bad odors. It also prevents the build-up of limescale and stains.

All you need to do is to clip the hanger over the rim and leave the product to do its job for up to 32 weeks. It’s that simple! You’ll still need to do a deep clean from time to time but not nearly as often and it’ll be a much easier job with less elbow grease required.

The chances are that you’d prefer to spend less time cleaning your toilet and more time doing almost anything else. This product minimizes the amount of labor needed to keep your toilet sparkling clean and your bathroom smelling fresh and fragrant.

Pros
  • No scrubbing required
  • Antimicrobial protection
  • Kills most germs
  • Fresh scent
  • Lasts for up to 32 weeks
Cons
  • Not effective for hard water areas
  • Some people find the smell overpowering

Active Ingredients Used in Cleaning Agents

Hydrochloric Acid

If you’ve ever wondered what’s responsible for cutting through those stains and creating a sparkling finish on your toilet bow, this is it. The problem is that hydrochloric acid is highly corrosive and needs to be handled with the greatest care as it can cause chemical burns.

If it does accidentally splash onto skin, gently wipe it off, flush with water and then cover the area with a cloth moistened with baking soda to neutralize the acid. If it gets into your eyes, flush them with water for 15 minutes and visit your physician.

The vapors should not be inhaled, so good ventilation is essential when you’re using it. Do not breathe hydrochloric acid vapors; use the cleaner in a well-ventilated area. Some people choose to wear a face mask.

Chlorine Bleach

It’s chlorine bleach which whitens and vanquishes those germs from your toilet bowl. Like hydrochloric acid, its vapors shouldn’t be inhaled and good ventilation is important.

It’s also toxic when ingested, so always be sure to flush several times after cleaning your toilet if you have small children or pets who might think drinking the water from the toilet is a good idea – it happens.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

Sodium lauryl sulfate is used as a wetting agent to reduce the surface tension of water to allow cleaners to remove dirt more effectively. It can cause irritation to skin and eyes.

Take precautions when handling products that contain sodium lauryl sulfate. Wear gloves and make sure you do not get the product into your eyes.

Center for Disease Control recommends flushing contacted areas with water and seeking medical attention. Remove contact lenses immediately if the product splashes into your eyes. Sodium lauryl sulfate is toxic to aquatic life when flushed into the environment.

Citric Acid

Citric acid is the good guy on the block in the world of toilet cleaners as it’s a natural product, derived from citrus fruits (oranges and lemons). You’ll find it’s the active ingredient in most ‘natural’ toilet bowl cleaners. Citrus acid works by binding with minerals and helping to remove them from the porcelain.

According to Science Daily, citric acid is ‘an environmentally benign cleaning agent’. Better yet, it smells fresh and zesty – so much more pleasant in your home than those harsh (and often dangerous) chemicals.


Safety Measures: Toilet Bowl Cleaners

Now you’ve read about the potentially toxic nature of these products, you’ll be aware of how important it is to handle them with caution and store them safely out of harm’s way.

Always use protective gloves (it’s a great idea to choose a particular color of gloves for use in the bathroom and a different color for the kitchen to avoid any cross-contamination). Some products advise the use of a mask to stop toxic fumes being inhaled.

We recommend that you always read the label before using any toilet bowl cleaner to prevent any harm arising from use of these dangerous chemicals.

It’s a no-brainer that these potentially harmful substances should be kept well out of reach of children at all times. They are normally sold with child-proof lids but it’s still good practise to keep them out of harm’s way.

Make sure you have good ventilation when you’re using the products as they can give off some pretty noxious fumes which won’t do you any good at all. You may choose to wear a mask to minimize inhalation.

Latex Free Mr. Clean Gloves

Tips for Cleaning Toilets

We could write a long list here but Wikihow has done it so well – with illustrations – that we suggest you click here to find out the most efficient and thorough way of keeping your toilet clean.


Frequently Asked Questions

What necessary precautions should I take when using toilet bowl cleaners?

It’s a good idea to read the label so you know precisely what you’re dealing with. Always use protective gloves, open the window if possible or else keep the door open to the rest of the house. Some people choose to wear a mask when using these potentially toxic products.

How do I install in-tank cleaners?

We would recommend reading the instructions on the label to make sure you install correctly.

Are these cleaning products hazardous to our health?

Potentially, yes. Read our guide to the active ingredients in toilet bowl cleaners above for the whys and wherefores.

How do I know if the toilet cleaner is safe for my septic tank?

On the whole, the general advice is to avoid using standard chemical toilet bowl cleaners for septic systems because the chemicals will destroy the very bacteria in the system whose job it is to break down the contents.

You can easily make your own non-toxic homemade toilet bowl cleaner with a few simple and easy-to-find ingredients. Find some recipes here.

Alternatively, there are some very effective ‘green’ products on the market that contain no bleach, ammonia, hydrochloric acid, phosphates or petroleum-based chemicals that would upset the delicate balance of your septic system.

We’ve included a recommendation for a septic safe toilet bowl cleaner among our product reviews.

What to do if I get toilet cleaner on my skin?

Rinse with water immediately.

How long do these bathroom cleaners last?

This will depend on the quality of the product. On the whole, the less you pay the more you’ll have to use to do the same job, so paying the extra for a premium product could be a smart decision.  


Conclusion

Toilet bowl cleaners are a household essential and they do a great job – a few squirts of the product and a few swirls with a toilet brush and your toilet is restored to pristine white cleanliness. You really do achieve maximum effect with minimum effort and there aren’t many products which can do that.

There are three main things to consider when choosing the best toilet bowl cleaner to suit your needs: how much time you have, how much physical effort you want to give to the task and whether you have any concerns about the heavy-duty chemicals in regular toilet bowl cleaners.

One thing’s for sure and that is you don’t want to spend time trawling through the endless options available. We’ve done the hard work for you, selecting the top-rated standard and eco-friendly products and believe the Lysol power and fresh is the overall best choice.

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