Most people don’t like to spend their free time scrubbing a toilet – especially with an efficient cleaner. Options for toilet cleaners are plentiful, so how do you choose the right one for you?
We’ve done the research so you don’t have to – keep reading to understand considerations when choosing a cleaner plus some of our favorites!
Table of Contents
- Our Top Bowl Cleaner Picks
- Types of Toilet Bowl Cleaners
- Comparison of the Best Toilet Bowl Cleaners in 2022
- Reviews of the Top 8 Toilet Bowl Cleaners
- #1. Automatic Bowl Cleaners
- #2. Tablet Bowl Cleaners
- #3. Eco-Friendly Cleaners
- #4. Liquid Squirt Cleaners
- #5. Gel-Based Cleaners
- #6. Toilet Bowl Hanger Cleaners
- #7. Heavy-Duty Bowl Cleaner for Hard Water Stains
- #8. Bleach-Free Spray Cleaners
- Buyers Guide – Features and Highlights
- Toilet Bowl Cleaner Ingredients
- All-in-One Cleaning Products
- Additional Product Recommendations
- Chemical Composition
- Final Thoughts
Our Top Bowl Cleaner Picks
|💧||Clorox Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner|
|💧||Seventh Generation Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaner|
|💧||Runner Up||Clorox Disinfecting Bathroom Cleaner|
|💧||Most Convenient||Fluidmaster Flush ‘N’ Sparkle|
Types of Toilet Bowl Cleaners
There are four main types of toilet bowl cleaners to consider. You’ll apply each one differently, so the choice of which to use depends on your personal preferences. Let’s check them out:
Like many other household cleaners, this type of toilet cleaner comes in a bottle with an easy spray nozzle. To use a spray bowl cleaner, spray the inside and outside of your toilet bowl directly. Then, simply wait a couple of minutes and then wipe the outside of the bowl and flush one or two times.
These types of cleaners can usually be found in most households. They come in a bottle that’s similar to spray cleaners, but instead, they use a squirt nozzle. To clean, you should use them similar to spray bowl cleaner. First, squirt the cleaner on the outside of the bowl. Then, squirt the cleaner inside and use an old toothbrush to scrub the surface. Let the cleaner sit inside of the bowl while you wipe down the outside of the bowl and behind the toilet. After a few minutes, flush once or twice to finish cleaning the inside of the bowl.
Gel cleaners usually come in a small package for one-time use. You simply need to squeeze all the content into the bowl and that’s it! Most gel cleaners will provide freshness with every flush for around two weeks. This style is one of the simplest toilet bowl cleaners available, but it won’t always offer the same deep cleaning that a spray or squirt bowl cleaner will.
Talking about ease of use, tablet bowl cleaners are another convenient option. Basically, all you need to do is to throw the tablet into the toilet tank and perform a flush. The cleaner will then work its way through the toilet on its own. Like gel bowl cleaners, this is a very easy option, although it may not clean as deeply as other options.
Comparison of the Best Toilet Bowl Cleaners in 2022Table could not be displayed.
Reviews of the Top 8 Toilet Bowl Cleaners
Here are 8 different types of toilet bowl cleaner types you should learn more about.
#1. Automatic Bowl Cleaners
Few people want to make scrubbing toilet bowls a weekly routine. An automatic toilet bowl cleaner might be your safest bet to eliminate the hands-on approach. A good automatic cleaner requires no scrubbing or wiping. An automatic toilet bowl cleaner is also non-damaging to the tank or the plumbing.
#2. Tablet Bowl Cleaners
Most people choose tablets over liquid cleaners because they don’t require any hands-on scrubbing. To qualify for the title of best tablet, the product needs to accomplish three things: it has to clean and sanitize the bowl with each flush, it also has to be long-lasting, and it has to cause little to no damage to the tank’s interior.
#3. Eco-Friendly Cleaners
It’s tough to make an efficient eco-friendly bowl cleaner. Most biodegradable formulas are septic safe and contain little to no dangerous chemicals. But is that enough to also clean your toilet? One such product comes with a good balance between the use of natural ingredients and the ability to clean and sanitize the toilet bowl.
#4. Liquid Squirt Cleaners
What makes a liquid cleaner the best? It’s usually about finding the right balance between bottle design, viscosity, and effectiveness. How long a bottle lasts is also important as it determines if the product is cost-effective or expensive. However, a good cleaner is not always the priciest one.
✓ Lysol Clean & Fresh Toilet Bowl Cleaner
#5. Gel-Based Cleaners
Gel-based solutions for toilet bowls are more about maintenance than deep cleaning. They aren’t usually enough to prevent stains and kill all bacteria but are good products to pair with other cleaners. Gel cleaners don’t damage the insides of the tank and don’t interact with other cleaning solutions.
So, what characteristics constitute the best product in this category? It should have a pleasant scent since it will be noticed with each flush. Having the consistency to last at least a week is also important. This gives the gel the ability to disperse enough to clean with every flush.
✓ Lysol Click Gel Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner
#6. Toilet Bowl Hanger Cleaners
Sometimes you can’t go wrong with the classics. Toilet bowl hanger cleaners are some of the oldest scrub-free designs. They can last a long time because of cage protection. They usually work at maximum efficiency when placed near the back of the bowl.
✓ Lysol No Mess
#7. Heavy-Duty Bowl Cleaner for Hard Water Stains
Sometimes the natural or scrub-free approach just doesn’t cut it. Factors such as water quality and frequency of toilet use can render regular household cleaners ineffective. Luckily there are heavy-duty toilet bowl cleaners that can make any stain disappear. In this category, anything other than dissolving the toughest deposits should be considered a bonus, not a mandatory feature.
✓ Lime-A-Way Liquid Toilet Bowl Cleaner
#8. Bleach-Free Spray Cleaners
Liquid cleaning solutions are supposed to be easy to apply around the toilet bowl. While spray bottles are harder to point under the waterline, they do provide full bowl coverage quickly. The dispersal rate is superior to any pouring/squirt bottle.
What makes the best spray toilet bowl cleaner? Apart from being easy to apply, it also helps when you can use the formula in other places in the bathroom. That means it’s less toxic than your typical toilet cleaning products.
Buyers Guide – Features and Highlights
Here’s a list of eight considerations when picking the right toilet bowl cleaner.
To make sure that the cleaner you intend to buy is effective, always check the reviews online. People who already used the product can tell what sort of results the cleaner produced, such as how much scrubbing is required.
Like with any other product, you should always consider the longevity of the toilet bowl cleaner that you intend to buy as the lifespan of these products can vary. For example, tablets and gels can last between a week and a couple of months, so you should always check the label. If the product lasts for a week or two, you will need to buy it frequently, which can increase costs.
✓ Ease of Use
Before buying, read the label on the product to see how exactly you should use it. Most products require that you flush the toilet, apply the cleaner around the bowl, leave it for some time, and then scrub. However, it’s not the same rule for all products.
Toilet bowl cleaners come in a variety of fragrances. For example, you can choose between lemon, citrus, sandalwood, eucalyptus, and many more. Some people find their smell can be very strong, so make sure to choose one that sounds good to you.
Most toilet bowl cleaners will only be able to remove stains. However, if you pay a few more bucks, you will get one that also disinfects, which improves the hygiene of your toilet by killing viruses and bacteria in addition to removing stains.
Design is important because it directly affects the ease of use. For example, some cleaners come in a bottle with an angled neck, which allows you to spray under the rim, accessing hard-to-reach spots where various bacteria can gather. Buying cleaners with smarter design will make your life easier when using those products.
✓ Safety for Septic Systems
You should know that not all cleaners are good for septic systems. These systems contain specific microorganisms that help remove excess solid particles. However, if the chemicals kill those good bacteria along with the bad bacteria, it will result in a greater generation of sediments, which can lead to more time spent on septic maintenance. .
If you have a septic system, you should buy products that contain natural components, such as citric acid, which kills bad bacteria but does no harm to good microorganisms. Additionally, some chemicals that are not harmful to good bacteria – for example, sodium percarbonate (the main ingredient in all OxiClean toilet bowl cleaners) are safe for septic systems.
✓ Pratical Uses
Before buying one, you should clarify why exactly you need it. Is it for removing rust, or decreasing the frequency of manual cleaning? For example, chlorine-based cleaners are good for bleaching and removing bad odors, but are not as effective for removing rust and rust stains. Instead, you should get a product with sodium hydro sulfate to target rust.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner Ingredients
Another way to differentiate between different types of toilet bowl cleaners is the ingredients used within the cleaners. There are a few different common options:
You might have noticed that some toilet bowl cleaners come with an “eco-friendly” label. These eco-friendly ingredients are good for two reasons. First, they won’t do any short or long-term damage to your bowl and your pipes. Secondly, they are safe for the environment, which many people look for with their products.
Bleach, Chlorine, and Ammonia
By comparison, you might also notice that these chemicals are some highly common ingredients in many toilet bowl cleaners because they’re all highly effective when cleaning. For example, bleach not only cleans the toilet bowl but even helps clean the plumbing system when flushed. However, using too much bleach can damage the porcelain over time and cause irreparable damage, so it’s important to limit the use of bleach cleaners.
Similarly, both chlorine and ammonia can help clean but also come with some risks. For example, chlorine and ammonia are both usually found in tablet bowl cleaners. However, since the tablet might sit for a month or longer in your toilet tank, chlorine and ammonia can cause damage over time. Use of these products might even void the warranty, so before using tablet cleaners with chlorine or ammonia, be sure to check the warranty.
As an alternative to purchasing cleaners, some people prefer to clean the toilet bowl with homemade ingredients. Although it might not be as effective as buying a commercial toilet bowl cleaner, homemade options can do the job quite well. However, you should be careful when using homemade cleaners.
For example, hydrochloric acid can clean the bowl perfectly, but it’s highly toxic and can be dangerous for pets and children. It’s also dangerous if you accidentally inhale its fumes.
On the other hand, you can also use lemon juice, white vinegar, baking soda, and borax. These ingredients are excellent for cleaning the bowl and won’t do any harm to your toilet, even after prolonged use. Ultimately, if you’re interested in using homemade ingredients to make your own cleaner, be careful when using any chemical ingredients, and do your research before using any new product.
All-in-One Cleaning Products
When it comes to toilet cleaners, if you’re short on time, it can be very helpful to use a multi-purpose cleaning product. From deep clean solutions to stain removal, here are some top products to consider:
Deep Cleaning Solutions
Deep cleaning solutions are an excellent choice if you haven’t maintained your toilet in a while, or if you have stubborn marks that just won’t go. Furthermore, most solutions available at stores are not only made for toilet cleaning, but for the whole bathroom, so you can use them to complete a deep clean of the whole room. Additionally, these solutions are quite simple to use – you just have to pour some liquid into the bowl, scrub with a toilet brush or old toothbrush, wait a few minutes and then flush to clear.
Make Your Own Deep Cleaning Solution
If you want to do a deep clean but would rather make your own deep cleaning solution at home, the process is actually quite simple. To start, you’ll want to gather a few main ingredients:
- Baking soda
- Disinfecting essential oils, such as lemon, peppermint, or eucalyptus
- Glass jar
- Wooden spoon
Then, combine two cups of baking soda and one teaspoon of the essentials oil into a glass jar. Make sure to use a glass jar, because oils can react with metal or plastic. Then, use the wooden spoon to mix the ingredients, breaking any clumps that you find. Once fully combined, you can store the mixture in an airtight glass jar.
To use, add 5 parts of mixture and 1 part vinegar to your toilet bowl. You will notice that the mixture begins to fizz as it reacts with vinegar. However, if there is no fizzing, your mixture might be too old, and you may need to start again with a fresh batch. Once the fizzing stops, use a toilet brush to scrub the bowl. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes, then flush.
Hygiene Maintenance Products
If you want to maintain hygiene in your bathroom instead of deep cleaning, you can find tons of hygiene maintenance products in the market. These are not as strong as deep cleaning solutions but are ideal for regular maintenance. In most cases, you can apply them in the same way as deep cleaning solutions. Basically, you’ll start by pouring the liquid into the bowl, scrubbing, and flushing after 10-15 minutes.
Beyond the quick cleaning step mentioned above, there are a few other products that can help you maintain top toilet hygiene:
- Grout brush; You won’t need this brush every time you clean the toilet, but it’s good to use it a few times a year.
- Rubber gloves: Especially when cleaning the toilet, it’s nice to have a pair of rubber gloves around so you can clean everything without worrying about getting yourself dirty in the process.
- Disinfectant spray: Toilets are prone to bacteria and germs. Therefore, occasionally using a disinfectant spray can significantly improve the hygiene in your bathroom.
- Fresh candle. Not only do candles add to the decor of your bathroom, but they will also help maintain a beautiful smell in your toilet between cleans and even during use.
- Other bathroom cleaning products: Beyond your standard toilet maintenance, it’s a good idea to regularly clean your entire bathroom. Some typical products people will use include glass cleaner for the mirror, a disinfectant for the shower, and standard cleaning spray for the counters and any other surfaces.
Heavy-Duty Stain Removal Products
If you’ve been neglecting your toilet for quite a long time, you might notice some hard stains that have developed in the bowl. These stains are also very common for homes that use hard water, in which case you can buy a water softener for your home to help prevent staining.
When it comes to products to remove your heavy stains, most can be found as tablets. You simply need to put the tablet into the toilet tank, and then the cleaner will slowly dissolve with every flush, lasting up to 45 days. You can also find heavy-duty stain removal powders, which are easy to use and require no scrubbing. Simply put the powder into the bowl, let it sit for 10-15 minutes, then flush. Both of these options will help treat and prevent hard stains in your toilet bowl.
Additional Product Recommendations
If you’re still looking for more cleaner options, check out this video which compares the six best toilet bowl cleaners. All of these cleaners are excellent, with a range of options varying by price, convenience, and performance.
For example, Lime-A-Way is able to clean mildew and mold the quickest but doesn’t provide top-notch performance for other issues, despite the name. However, if you let it sit for at least 20 minutes, it will work a bit better. By comparison, Clorox provides excellent performance to offer the cleanest toilet possible. The other products mentioned are quite similar, so you’ll want to check out the video to hear about each one and each could be best for you.
Take a look at this video about 6 other types of toilet bowl cleaners.
Most toilet bowl cleaners have one or more active components. When buying, you should investigate the most common use and side effects of each component. The active ingredient is what makes them able to disinfect, remove stains, or remove bad odor. In most cases, active ingredients are chlorine, sodium hydroxide, and ammonium hydroxide. When dissolved, they create compounds that help in removing solid particles in water and in removing bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
They also has “buffer” components that maintain a stable pH. For example, if the water’s acidity rises too much, it will cause certain pathogens to appear. On the other hand, if the water’s pH is too low, buffer components will release acid to raise the pH level.
When you know what these components do, you can compare them between different bowl cleaners. By comparing products, you will know how effective a certain product is as well as any possible health risks from prolonged use.
Without a doubt, the best way to keep your toilet clean is to maintain it regularly. However, if you don’t want to spend a ton of time cleaning your toilet, you should consider one of the automatic cleaner products like the Fluidmaster Flush ‘n’ Sparkle. An automatic cleaner will keep your toilet in great shape without requiring a ton of time or effort on your part.
Additionally, when it’s time to deep clean, or if you’re battling hard-to-remove stains, we strongly recommend Lime-A-Way! With these two products, you’ll have a clean toilet every time.