In this Guide
So much of what we do on this site is directed at helping people find their perfect toilet. While we always want to think about the long term with a toilet as far as durability and reliability, we don’t often talk about how to take care of a toilet bowl properly.
The key to keeping your toilet looking and smelling clean is to find the best toilet bowl cleaner. There are countless options on the market, from harsh corrosives to the simple baking soda and vinegar approach.
Below, we’ve reviewed three favorites of ours. These top solutions are plant-based, non-toxic, and still highly effective. You can read more about why we suggest avoiding the harsh, toxic, chemical-laden cleaning solutions below!
Mrs. Meyer’s Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Mrs. Meyer’s isn’t the best natural toilet bowl cleaner out there, but it’s the cheapest that works well without too much scrubbing! It’s available pretty much everywhere, and barely any more expensive than the top (crappy) chemical options. It makes toilet stains easy to remove, gets rid of scum, and smells nice and fresh without any artificialness.
Mrs. Meyer’s discloses all the ingredients in their cleaning products. This toilet bowl cleaner’s free of chlorine and solvents, using 98% plant-derived and natural ingredients. Like our other picks, it’s biodegradable when you flush and perfectly safe.
This cleaning solution doesn’t clean quite as well as the Ecover or Seventh Generation, though. Likewise, it’s not quite as natural to flush through the water system. Still, even the least natural of our recommended toilet bowl cleaners doesn’t require a poison control label, and you just need to drink plenty of water and flush it through your system if you manage to ingest some.
Ecover Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Ecover’s toilet bowl cleaner is roughly on par with the Mrs. Meyers as far as natural-ness, but it cleans better. You’ll pay slightly more per bottle, but you’ll also likely use less of it to get the toilet bowl clean. And it requires less scrubbing! We like easy cleaning! This one’s also non-toxic and biodegradable, although you’d still want to be careful not to get it on your skin or eyes (or in your mouth!). It still doesn’t clean toilet stains as well as the Seventh Generation, though.
Seventh Generation Toilet Bowl Cleaner
This Seventh Generation product is by far our favorite for cleaning toilet bowls. Quite frankly, it’s the best in our reviews–in every department! It works like a charm and is the best at lifting even residual toilet bowl stains that have stood up to prior cleanings–minimal scrubbing required. It’s easy to get your cleaning done with this stuff. The clean scent is fresh, all-natural, and not irritating in the least. Everything’s non-toxic and biodegradable to flush away, and we especially like how Seventh Generation explains what all the key cleaning ingredients do on the label. It’s easy for anyone to understand. You’ll pay more for this than for the other toilet bowl cleaners on this page, but the best is well worth it!
Be sure to read this post: Best Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner (2019):If you’re sick of having to clean your toilet bowl, an automatic system can make life a lot easier. Automatic cleaners make it easy to go weeks between intense scrubbing sessions. Check out our top recommendations and complete reviews for more.
Why go all-natural with your toilet bowl cleaner?
Understandably, many people have the urge to go crazy cleaning their toilet bowl. It’s certainly a gross place to be scrubbing, and you want to do the tip-top best possible job. We get it!
However, in writing our reviews, we think it’s important to make consumers aware of how dangerous the average toilet bowl cleaner is, and why they’re not necessary to get your toilet clean of stains and debris in the first place.
Household cleaners, especially those designed for toilets, contain all kinds of toxic chemicals. Part of why they’re so dangerous is the fact that you don’t actually know what’s in half of the products available. Companies aren’t required to disclose cleaner ingredients, so you have no idea what you’re spraying or pouring on stains and down drains in the first place. There’s a reason companies (and paid reviews) hide that information! You’d be very disturbed if you knew what was in your Clorox or Lysol bottle of cleaning gel.
There are all sorts of chemical ingredients used in cleaning solutions, so their detrimental health effects can show up in several different ways. Some produce acute symptoms, like making your eyes water, nostrils burn, or head swim. They can cause chemical burns if they contact your skin, and kill you if you ingest them. Many cleaners are more insidious, and have health consequences that show up over time, causing cancer or respiratory problems. Bleach is a good example of a chemical cleaner that causes both immediate and long-term symptoms. It really isn’t the best thing to have around the house.
The most dangerous chemical toilet cleaners use corrosive agents, which are used in many toilet bowl cleaners and drain clearing products. They cause severe burns on contact, and will damage your respiratory system if you breathe in the fumes. It’s no surprise that they also cause all sorts of problems at the other end of your pipes when they’re flushed down the toilet into a leach field or sewage system.
In fact, the US Geological Survey has found that more than 2/3 of the nation’s streams have detergents and disinfectants floating around, causing some severe problems with wildlife and natural ecosystems (not to mention drinking water!).
There are plenty of other dangerous components in household cleaners, though. Common (so-called “fresh”) fragrance additives have been shown by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health to be respiratory irritants to many people, especially those with asthma or some other preexisting condition. They’re linked to hormone disruption and other long-term consequences as well.
We could go on and on, since there are problems with everything from sudsing agents to the unknown “preservative” ingredients in gel that aren’t fully-disclosed on labels. The point is, these products are extremely harmful and you as a consumer should make an effort to get them out of your home! We don’t recommend anything that has to be labeled with a poison control hotline, and all the cleaning products we suggest are completely safe for the water table.
It’s easy to do just as good a job on stains and the whole system with a natural, plant-based cleaner such as one of our recommendations, too! So, there’s no reason to be using bleach or corrosives, or gross, chemical-laded automatic dispensers on your toilet in the first place. Consumer Reports and other lab testers have consistently found that the natural products are best: they perform comparably to (or even outperform) common chemical agents.
If you want to learn how to clean like a pro, check out this link.
You can find the best reviews of the latest and greatest toilets, including those with the best glazing, over at our homepage!