Toilet Bowl Cleaning 101

Everyone strives to have a sparkling clean bathroom just like the ones on TV and in magazines. In today’s culture it’s all about saving time and making things easier for people on the go, but sometimes you sacrifice quality just to shave a few minutes off a task. There are a lot of cleaning products on the market, many designed to make your life easier, but over time these harsh cleaners could also wreak havoc on your toilet. One of the biggest offenders is the drop-in, toilet-cleaning tablet.

The Danger of Drop-In Tablets

Although that beautiful blue color in your toilet may seem like the toilet is being continually cleaned and refreshed, it probably is doing more harm than good. In addition to the danger the harsh chemicals can cause your septic or sewer system, the parts in your toilet tank (the flush valve and flapper in particular) are comprised of plastic or rubberized material that can easily degrade from the effects of these bleach-chlorine tablets. Other parts include gaskets and washers, which are also made of plastic and rubber. The chemicals create a high-alkaline environment in the tank, causing parts corrode and become brittle, eventually breaking down to the point where the toilet cannot perform optimally.

Once these parts begin to fail, toilets may leak or not flush properly. Tablets are even more dangerous when placed in toilets that do not get regular use, and there’s a risk that a tablet will get stuck in the flush valve, preventing the toilet from flushing. Because these tablets are so damaging, some toilet manufacturers are putting warning labels on their products to advise that use of these tablets may void the warranty.

How to properly clean a toilet

It’s easier than you think! And doesn’t require a plethora of cleaning supplies in order to keep it sparkling clean.

First, it’s the bowl that should be cleaned, not the tank. If you need to rid your tank of organisms that build up on the tank walls, you may do so by carefully brushing the walls of the tank with a soft, round-bristle brush and then flushing the tank to let fresh water in. No chemicals should be used. Here are a few steps to get your toilet sparkling clean:

1. First, you’ll want to use a mild household cleanser to clean all around the outside of the toilet.
2. Start with the toilet tank lid and work your way down. Use a tooth brush to thoroughly clean the seat hinges.
3. Use a toilet bowl cleanser like Lysol Liquid Bowl Cleaner or ECOS (or you can make your own) and a toilet brush to clean the inside of the bowl. Be sure to flush the toilet first to wet the walls of the bowl before applying the cleanser. Never let the cleanser sit in the bowl for more than a minute or two.

I’m using drop-in tablets now, what do I do?

Aside from discontinuing the use of these tablets, there’s not much else you can do. If you’re experiencing issues with your toilet, contact a plumbing professional to inspect your toilet and see if all parts are working effectively.
For more helpful tips, visit our Tips & Tricks page.