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 as far as durability and reliability, we don’t often talk about how to take care of a toilet properly.
The key to keeping your toilet looking and smelling clean is to find a good toilet bowl cleaner. There are countless products on the market, from harsh corrosives to the simple baking soda and vinegar approach.
Below, we’ve reviewed three favorites of ours. These products 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 isn’t the best natural toilet bowl cleaner out there, but it’s the cheapest that works well! It’s available pretty much everywhere, and barely any more expensive than the crappy chemical options. It addresses stains well, gets rid of scum, and smells nice without any artificialness.
Mrs. Meyer’s discloses all the ingredients in their cleaning products. This one’s free of chlorine and solvents, using 98% plant-derived and natural ingredients. Like our other picks, it’s biodegradable and perfectly safe.
This one doesn’t clean quite as well as the Ecover or Seventh Generation, though. Likewise, it’s not quite as natural. Still, even the least natural of our recommendations doesn’t require a poison control label, and you just need to drink plenty of water if you manage to ingest some.
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 job done. 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 as well as the Seventh Generation, though.
This Seventh Generation product is by far our favorite for cleaning toilet bowls. It works like a charm and lifts even residual stains that have stood up to prior cleanings. The scent is all-natural, and not irritating in the least. Everything’s non-toxic and biodegradable, and we especially like how Seventh Generation explains what all the key ingredients do on the label. You’ll pay more for this than for the other solutions on this page, but it’s well worth it!
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 best possible job. We get it!
However, we think it’s important to make consumers aware of how dangerous the average toilet bowl cleaning solution is, and why they’re not necessary in the first place.
Household cleaning solutions, 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 ingredients, so you have no idea what you’re spraying or pouring in the first place. There’s a reason companies hide that information! You’d be very disturbed if you knew what was in your Clorox or Lysol bottle.
There are all sorts of chemical ingredients used in cleaning products, 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 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 product that causes both immediate and long-term symptoms.
The most dangerous chemicals are 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 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 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 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.
You can do just as good a job with a natural, plant-based cleaner such as one of our recommendations, too! So, there’s no reason to be using bleach or corrosives in the first place. Consumer Reports and other lab testers have consistently found that the natural products perform comparably to (or even outperform) common chemical agents.
You can find reviews of the latest and greatest toilets, including those with the best glazing, over at our homepage!