Updated at: 06-07-2022 - By: Helen Skeates

Keeping your home clean and sanitary requires that you clean your toilet bowl on a regular basis. If you’re seeking to avoid harsh chemicals like bleach, there are a lot of fantastic products out there to help you get the job done, but the sheer amount of options might be intimidating.

If you don’t want to utilize a home remedy or make your own toilet bowl cleaner, keep reading to find out how to choose the best toilet bowl cleaner for your family’s needs and to see which of the best solutions available today we recommend.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Toilet Bowl Cleaner


There are gels, pills, and cartridges of toilet bowl cleaners available on the market nowadays.

  • Cleaners in the form of capsules are easier to use and less time-consuming: Disinfect and clean the toilet by simply dropping or adhering to the toilet rim. If you use tank tablets, be aware that they may include caustic chemicals (like bleach) that might deteriorate the rubber seals in your toilet over time. Gel capsules, which stick to the bowl’s inner lip, are preferable.
  • In addition to elbow grease, gel cleansers require a toilet brush that must be sanitized on a regular basis. While they may be less potent, today’s modified gels nevertheless deliver the same results (see the section on formulas below for more details).
  • Automatic cleaners have an applicator that attaches to the toilet bowl and cleans with each flush. Most require a reapplication every 8-12 weeks, which is handy but time-consuming.
  • Most traditional toilet bowl cleaners use a chemical solution in the form of concentrates or sprays, which may be purchased online or at your local supermarket. For these concentrated cleaners, you must dilute them with water before using them in a spray bottle, unlike most toilet bowl cleaners. A scrubbing brush is used to remove stubborn stains from the bowl and the rim of the toilet.
  • All-in-one toilet cleaning systems come with a brush, cleanser, and storage. The wand or brush contains the toilet cleaner, so there is no need for a separate powder or spray prior to scrubbing.
  • Brushes, on the other hand, are a more hands-on method of removing stubborn stains and germs from surfaces. The form and quality of the scrubbing head are just as important as the brushes themselves. When it comes to cleaning the inside of a toilet bowl, many common toilet brush designs are insufficient. If you’re going to spend money on a cleaning equipment, make sure it’s well-made and durable.
  • Cartridges of the newer generation can be attached directly to the flushing system and the flow pipe. It’s a breeze to install and has numerous advantages, such as less chance of damage, a deeper clean, and ingredients that are more environmentally friendly.


For many people, toilet cleansers represent a significant source of chemical exposure, and as a result, they are reluctant to use them. Bleach, for example, is an example. A typical element in liquid and capsule toilet cleansers is bleach, which kills bacteria and removes stains, but it is by no means mild. Lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide can be used instead of bleach as a disinfectant (oxygen bleach).

The 5 Best Toilet Bowl Cleaners (2022 Review) - This Old House

Cleaners for the bathroom contain substances that disinfect, remove stains and odors, kill bacteria, and deodorize the toilet. There are advantages and disadvantages to using a natural or synthetic toilet cleaning.

  • A chemical cleaner’s constituents include hydrochloric acid and chlorine bleach, which are both made from synthetic materials. Corrosion qualities of hydrochloric acid help remove stubborn stains. To inhibit the transmission of germs and viruses, chlorine bleach is a whitening and disinfecting chemical. If you decide to use either ingredient, make sure you do so in a well-ventilated environment and use gloves and eye protection.
  • Citric acid, baking soda, vinegar, and essential oils are commonly used in natural cleansers to remove toilet stains. Sodium bicarbonate and citric acid have scouring capabilities that can help remove certain stains. Disinfectants like vinegar and aromatic oils are commonly utilized. A natural toilet cleaner is the way to go if you’re allergic to harsh chemicals or just want to do your part to help the environment.

Cleaning Power

Disinfectant and bleaching capabilities are common in toilet cleaners, however certain components are more potent than others. A highly powerful disinfection and whitening agent, chlorine bleach can be harsh on the skin, lungs, and eyes and must be used in an area that is well-ventilated.

To remove stains, toilet cleansers may use natural or synthetic acids. Acids are commonly included in cleaning products. The more acidic the bowl cleanser, the more corrosive it is, but the more effective it is. Because of this, acid-based cleaners should only be used to remove stains and dirt from hard-to-reach areas.


In order to keep your toilet germ-free, a gel cleaning must be applied weekly. Capsules reduce the amount of time it takes to sterilize the toilet water for up to a year. Cartridge systems are an excellent way to maintain the toilet free of germs for up to three months.


A toilet bowl cleaner’s aroma might make it more enjoyable to use, even if it is only a cosmetic feature. Floral, woody and citrus scents are added to the bowl cleanser to enhance the product and to transmit the aroma of a clean toilet. Asthma patients and others who are allergic to fragrances should look for natural alternatives.

Ease of Use

For one of the least-desired housekeeping tasks, choose a tool that’s simple to use so you can get the job done quickly and thoroughly. Spray or squeeze bottles make it the most convenient to use liquid cleaners. The use of disposable scouring pads in toilet cleaning systems also reduces the amount of time it takes to clean the toilet. It takes longer to apply powders and gel discs.

Our Top Picks

The sort of water you use, the form you want, and the amount of time you have to commit to cleaning will all factor into your decision on the best toilet cleaner. Because of the following list, you’ll have no problem finding a great toilet bowl cleaning for your home.

Lysol Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner

  • Type: Automatic
  • Formula: Chemical
  • Odorless: No


  • No-bleach formula
  • 99.9% of germs are eliminated
  • An 8-week course
  • EWG gave it a “B” rating.


  • It poses a health hazard when misused.

Clorox Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner Tablet 6 Pack

  • Type: Automatic
  • Formula: Chemical
  • Odorless: No


  • Bleach-infused; destroys 99.9% of germs
  • The removal of unpleasant odors and stains
  • For three months.
  • Six pills are included.


  • Bleach odor is noticeable.

Fluidmaster Flush ‘n Sparkle Cleaning System

  • Type: Automatic/cartridge
  • Formula: Chemical
  • Odorless: Yes


  • Environmentally friendly as well as simple to use
  • For three months.
  • There is a non-bleach variant available.


  • Non-EWG certified
  • Cartridge replacements can be purchased separately.

Iron OUT Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner

  • Type: Capsules
  • Formula: Chemical
  • Odorless: Yes


  • Removes stubborn water stains, rust, and mold.
  • Safe to use in a septic tank or toilet
  • For the duration of 45 days.
  • The 6-tablet package is included; two-pack and 24-pack options are also available.


  • Not for odor control purposes
  • To be used with bleach is not recommended.

Better Life Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaner

  • Type: Gel
  • Formula: Natural
  • Odorless: No


  • There will be no synthetic chemicals, perfumes, petroleum solvents, or phosphates used in this product.
  • Packages that decompose easily
  • Ingredients that are antimicrobial
  • EWG’s assessment of your performance.


  • After applying, the skin must be thoroughly soaked and scrubbed.

Clorox ToiletWand Disposable Toilet Cleaning System

  • Type of system:
  • Formula: Chemical
  • Odorless: Yes


  • Wand, scrubbers and storage caddy included.
  • Bleach cleaning solution is included in this product.
  • a broad variety of potential applications
  • 16 scrubbing pads are included.


  • Scrubbing brushes are wasteful and unfriendly to the environment.

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simplehuman Toilet Brush With Caddy

  • Type: Brush
  • Formula: Natural
  • Odorless: Yes


  • Replaceable bristles
  • Conveniently sized
  • Stainless steel structure and stiff bristles
  • There’s Caddy, too.


  • According to several users, this model gets stained with time.
  • It’s possible that the handle isn’t particularly ergonomic.

CLR PRO Calcium, Lime and Rust Remover

  • Type: Liquid
  • Formula: Chemical
  • Odorless: No


  • Hard water deposits, lime and soap scum can all be removed with this product.
  • Adaptable; may be used on a variety of surfaces.
  • The Safer Choice Program of the EPA has approved this product.
  • Toxic substances are not used.


  • Astringent odour
  • There are no antiseptic properties.

How We Chose the Best Toilet Bowl Cleaners

For the top toilet bowl cleaners, we looked at the kind, ease of use, cleaning power, and longevity of the devices in their respective categories.

Automatic toilet bowl cleaners were found to be the most popular because of their convenience of use, but other options included liquids, gels, cleaning systems, and brushes. To keep them running smoothly, all of the above-mentioned top options require very little labor or upkeep to keep them in great shape.

No matter if you want to do the cleaning yourself or let the product do the work for you, the products on this list can handle a variety of cleaning problems, from limescale to soap scum to rust to stains to hard water deposits and calcium deposits. Finally, the accompanying toilet bowl cleaners are designed to last for weeks at a time, with some lasting for over 12 weeks.

How to Clean a Toilet the Right Way

  • A toilet brush that hasn’t yet reached its expiration date: When you use a decent toilet brush, you can get beneath the bowl’s lip to scrub off filth you can’t see and cover a large enough area to quickly remove the grime you can see. Make sure that your toilet brush hasn’t been sitting around for too long: You should get a new brush if its bristles are bent or its general shape has changed. Brushes (or brush heads) should be replaced every six months if they are well-maintained and routinely cleaned.
  • In order to effectively remove bacteria and hard water deposits from toilet bowls, use a toilet bowl cleaning. Bleach-based cleaners were recommended by the experts we spoke to, but there are lots of other options out there. Lysol Hydrogen Peroxide Toilet Bowl Cleaner is what I use.
  • Before applying the cleaner, you need to lower the water level in the bucket to ensure that the entire bowl is cleaned. Using this method allows the disinfectant to do its job without being diluted by other substances. A half-gallon of water can be poured into your bowl to flush it without the tank filling up with any new water.
  • Surface disinfectant: Cleaning the outside of your toilet is just as important as cleaning the interior. Keep in mind to clean the outside of the toilet bowl as well as the tank, the toilet seat, and the lever for the flush. After using the toilet brush, disinfect it as well. Disinfect the brush head with disinfectant, let it dry, and rinse it with hot water in your tub or shower, according to experts we spoke with. (After that, perhaps thoroughly clean the area.)
  • If you don’t have access to any of the above, use a sponge. Washable rags and paper towels or disinfectant wipes are the best options for wiping off the toilet’s outside, but you can use anything you like. Using a sponge is fine, as long as you clean it completely afterwards, store it apart from other sponges, and only use it for this activity. It’s possible that some individuals prefer to wear rubber gloves when cleaning, but I’ve always found them burdensome and prefer to wash my hands properly afterward.

This task should only take 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the brand of bowl cleaner you’re using. Depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations, you may be able to wipe off the toilet’s exterior while the disinfectant works its magic.

To the uninitiated, a toilet brush’s design is far more complex. Cleaning your toilet should be easier with a tool that has a head designed to reach all areas of the bowl and bristles that are firm enough to scrub without splattering toilet water (and other things) all over the place. However, the tool should also be easy to store and replace because it is designed to make cleaning your toilet easier.

Compact Toilet Brush and Canister by OXO Good Grips Gets High Marks from Us Our testers found the handle to be ergonomic, the brush head to be interchangeable, and the clamshell stand to be a perfect method to hide the brush when not in use.

To ensure that the toilet bowl cleaner does its job of sterilizing the porcelain, you must drain the toilet before using it. In my experience, the fastest and easiest method is to swiftly pour half a gallon of water into the toilet bowl from a bucket or storage bin, aiming for the back of the bowl, where water exits the bowl. The flushing procedure will be started and the water will be drained without any additional water being added to the tank during this step.

Apply the cleanser in a circular motion around the circumference of the bowl, allowing it to flow down the sides as it goes. Using cleansers that come in bottles with an angled nozzle makes this process a little easier, but it still necessitates a lot of hand effort to wring out the liquid. If that’s a problem for you, aerosol sprays could help. Allow the disinfectant to rest for up to 10 minutes if you’re trying to remove very persistent spots.

To avoid spatter, keep the brush’s head within the bowl while you scrub firmly to remove any particularly stubborn particles of filth from the surface. Make sure you go all the way down into the drain, beneath the lip and all. As soon as you get out of the shower, you’ll need to flush the toilet to clean yourself. In order to avoid a “toilet plume,” be sure to close the lid before flushing.

Make sure that you disinfect all of the toilet’s external surfaces, paying specific attention to the seat and flushing handle, using disinfecting wipes or a disinfecting spray and a rag, paper towels, or a sponge that you keep for this purpose. The toilet seat hinge can be cleaned with an old toothbrush, but be sure to clearly label the utensil and store it far away from any other toothbrushes in the house so that you don’t get confused while brushing your teeth in the morning.

Spray the brush head with disinfectant spray, let it sit for a minute, and then rinse it in hot water in the bathtub or shower when you’re done using it. Also, spray your disinfectant into the toilet brush basin to ensure that nothing gets stuck in the crevices.

Tank additives, those tablets or discs that can tint your toilet water so blue that it looks like a Smurf is slowly decomposing in your tank, aren’t recommended by our company. Since these discs are designed to be thrown into the toilet tank and then dissolve over time, disinfection is spread with each flush, they appear to be a convenient and low-maintenance choice. American Standard’s vice president of product management James Walsh says the truth is more convoluted. When we spoke to him, he said, “We do not encourage using in-tank cleaners since they will void your warranty.” “The operating tank trim in the tank itself will be attacked.” It’s important to note that the caustic liquid produced by these tablets can damage the rubber parts necessary to maintain your toilet’s flushing mechanisms working properly. This can cause leaks over time, and the toilet may even stop flushing altogether.

Disposable toilet cleaning wands are another environmentally harmful (and costly) option that we don’t suggest. Toilet brushes with silicone bristles are also too soft to scrub effectively, as we discovered.

When it comes to cleaning a toilet, it’s not a pleasant duty, but if you make it a habit, it gets much easier. When I was told, “Your apartment appeared clean, except for your bathroom,” I realized the importance of keeping up with this task..

Toilet Repairs May be Needed due to In-Tank Cleaners

All homeowners are looking for quick and easy solutions to clean their bathrooms, especially their toilets, due to the soiled nature of these areas. Because of this, many people choose to use the drop-in toilet cleansers, which often contain bleach-chlorine tablets, to clean their toilets. However, despite their seeming simplicity, these tablets can cause more trouble and damage than they are worth.

We don’t recommend using drop-in toilet cleaner pills if you want a clean toilet bowl. In-tank tablets may give your toilet a nice, clean blue color, but they’re actually harming it, and the long-term cost of repairs and replacements much outweighs the convenience of simply putting a tablet in.

A look at how these drop-in tablets came about, why they’re damaging, and what you may do as an alternative is here.

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A Seemingly Simple Solution — Are Toilet Bowl Tablets Actually Safe?

They were first developed in the 1990s as a fast and simple method of cleaning toilets. What’s the harm? A moment of innovation across industries ushered in the 1990s, and it was certain to have a positive impact on home maintenance and the lives of those responsible with keeping it clean.

However, producers of new toilets reported an increase in service calls with the introduction of these in-tank toilet bowl cleansing pills. Upon completing quality inspections, it was determined that chemicals in the drop-in cleaner tablets were causing damage to the toilet tank’s flush valve, flapper, and other components. Homeowners were paying a lot of money to fix their toilets after employing these supposedly simple cleaning methods.

Since bleach tablets are alkaline, this makes logical. When the drop-in tables are in use, many of your toilet’s components and materials corrode because of the high alkaline water. This is why the rubber pieces become brittle and other parts of your toilet start to age prematurely.

How Chlorine Tablets Ruin Toilets

When dropped into the tank of your toilet, the chlorine cleaning tablet slowly dissolves and the water and caustic elements, such as gaskets and washers, interact with the plastic and rubber parts of the tank. These components are particularly vulnerable to corrosion and wear. Because of the damage produced by the in-tank tablets, toilets eventually leak or fail to flush properly. A tablet’s parts deteriorate more quickly the longer it lies in a tank without being flushed. People leave cleaning tablets in toilet tanks thinking they’re doing a good job, but the cleaning tablets are slowly ruining the toilets they were supposed to clean.

The Fallout From Tablet Damage

The toilet guarantee or warranty will not help you if you have been utilizing these drop-in tablets. In-tank tablet damage is not covered by product warranties, thus toilet manufacturers are now labeling their products with a warning that they “should not be utilized.”

Is there anything else you can do at this point? Regularly cleaning the toilet by hand, in the bowl, using cleaners and a brush is preferable. In the event that you have really hard water, a spray on anti-lime cleanser will assist keep the bowl clean—but do not put cleaners in either your tank or bowl and allow them to sit for any length of time.

Consider the alternatives to these methods of cleaning, which are clearly more hands-on. A drop-in tablet will save you time and money, but you’ll waste a lot of time and money dealing with a prematurely aged toilet.

Other Effects of Drop-In Toilet Tank Cleaning Tablets

Additional than the potential harm these drugs could do to your toilet, there are two other things to be concerned about. To begin with, these toilet tank fresheners and cleaning tablets might become trapped in the flush valve as they dissolve, preventing the toilet from flushing. To keep the bowl from refilling after flushing, these toilet tank cleaning pill chunks that get sucked into small passages can also prevent it from refilling. Due to the damage caused by the in-tank toilet bowl cleaners, you may also notice an increase in your water cost when your toilet is leaking and not filling up properly.

Second, there’s some worry that the cleaners will introduce contaminants into the sewage treatment system that will need to be neutralized.

Have Toilet Tank Cleaning Tablets Damaged Your Toilet? Call Summer’s & Zims When You Need Assistance

Drop-in tablets have been around for a long time. What are your next steps? First and foremost, discontinue their use. Drop-in tablets may have caused some harm to your toilet, but if you stop using them, the degradation and corrosion will be slowed.

If you’re already having problems with your toilet, it’s time to call in the pros. When you call Summers & Zim’s, we’ll send a specialist to inspect your toilets and provide you experienced advice on how to proceed. A toilet replacement may be the most cost-effective solution, or we may recommend some minor repairs. We only ever recommend and do what is in your best interest and the best interest of your house.

You should call us right away if you notice a toilet leak or part-failure in your bathroom.


There are a number of frequently asked questions that can help you narrow down your search for the finest toilet cleaner.

Q: Are toilet bowl cleaners safe?

Cleaners are safe to use if they are applied correctly. Prior to utilizing any cleanser, check to see if it’s safe for the toilet’s surface and for your plumbing system. Check the product’s label to check if it contains any chemicals to which you are allergic or otherwise sensitive. Bleach-based cleaners should be used in a well-ventilated location, and proper safety gear should be used.

Q: How do I keep my toilet clean naturally?

There are a variety of natural toilet cleansers on the market. Citric and lactic acid extracted from plants and essential oils are used in cleaners like Better Life Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaner to remove stains.

Q: What is lime buildup?

Hard water contains calcium and carbonate ions, which result in lime, a white, chalky material. Toilet bowls, taps, bathroom tiles, and washing machines and kettles are all frequent locations for it.

Q: How do I get rid of limescale and soap scum?

Limescale and soap scum can be efficiently removed with a cleaner intended to remove hard water stains, such as CLR PRO Calcium, Lime and Rust Remover. For best results, use a brush, cloth, or sponge to apply the cleanser directly to the stain and allow it to soak for two minutes. Use cold water to quickly rinsing.

Q: Can I use toilet cleaner for other applications?

Using toilet cleaner as a general-purpose bathroom cleanser is a bad idea. Bleach and other disinfecting agents, as well as acids that dissolve limescale and soap scum, are common constituents in these cleaners. It is safe to use these substances in your toilet, but they can harm other surfaces.