Ah… Cleaning the toilet. My favorite chore. Just kidding. It has gotten easier now that I’ve found my favorite non-toxic toilet cleaner though.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I could be compensated if you decide to make a purchase. You can read my full disclosure here.
I purchased and tested five different non-toxic toilet cleaners for this article, and my favorite (mostly due to the convenience factor) was Blueland’s, followed closely by Seventh Generation’s. You can read more details about each of them (and the others!) below.
Can You Clean a Toilet without Toilet Bowl Cleaner?
I follow the FlyLady cleaning method and agree with her philosophy that “soap is soap.” When cleaning your toilet, especially if you clean it fairly often (I clean mine every other day!), you can just grab a toilet brush and use almost any soap you have on hand. That means there is absolutely no reason to choose one with harmful chemicals. Choosing a more basic non-toxic soap or all-purpose cleaner to clean your toilet is a safer choice for your health, and it can be great for your budget as well.
That being said, if you have hard water stains, an extra-dirty toilet, or just prefer keeping your toilet cleaner separate from your everywhere-else cleaner, this list will help you out.
The Best Non-Toxic Toilet Cleaners for 2023
I was hesitant to try this toilet cleaner out at first because I wasn’t a fan of some of its ingredients (like limonene). But the more I’ve learned about Blueland, the more I’ve become a fan of its products, including the nontoxic toilet cleaner. I don’t love the scent (I usually buy everything unscented), but I love the convenience factor of dropping in a tablet, scrubbing, and going on with my day.
And the elimination of plastic is always a win for me! I love how Blueland is trying to make the cleaning industry less wasteful by providing its customers with easy refills for bottles they already have at home. It’s kind of pricey, though. If the price was more in line with other toilet cleaners, I would be much more inclined to buy it regularly and recommend it to you.
And the company is very open about the ingredients in its products, which is a breath of freshly unscented air. Full disclosure: Blueland sent me this toilet cleaner to try out, but they did not tell me that I had to include it on this list or otherwise comment on what I could say about it online.
This is one of the few powder toilet cleaners I’ve tried in my life, and I really like it because I can sprinkle it on the toilet, walk away to clean the rest of the bathroom while it foams up, and then scrub it after it’s had a chance to do some cleaning on its own. There’s no scent to it (which is a big plus for me!), and it’s easy to use and find almost anywhere (Amazon, Target, HEB, and other grocery stores).
I purchased mine on Amazon, and the lid came loose in shipment. Powder was spilling out, and some of it got stuck in the lid (which made the container surprisingly difficult to open). That’s certainly not a deal-breaker for me, but I thought it was worth noting.
I really like how few ingredients this one has though (without toxic chemicals). I feel very safe using it, and it’s still in a nicer-looking non-plastic container that I don’t feel weird about leaving out where people can see it.
NOTE: As of July 2023, I can no longer find this product on Amazon. I’ve shared a link to purchase it on Thrive Market below (and if you don’t already have a Thrive Market membership, you can use the link to sign up and get a big discount on your first purchase).
I purchased a bottle of Branch Basics cleaner specifically to try on our toilets, and I really fell in love with it as a whole. I prefer it as an all-purpose cleaning spray because it didn’t do a great job of foaming up in the toilet and allowing me to scrub, but I like that you can buy one bottle and dilute it in different ways to use it however you need to.
We’ve been slowly moving to minimize our home, and I can see how using Branch Basics can help us reduce our cleaning products while being a safer choice for our health.
To use it on toilets, you just have to pour 2 oz of the concentrate into a spray bottle and mix it with 10 oz of water.
It left my toilet clean, but I’m not sure how well it would have done on an ultra-dirty toilet.
Dr. Bronner’s is one of my favorite natural cleaners for pretty much everything. I almost always buy the unscented Hemp Baby soap, and I use it for everything from washing my hands to cleaning my floors… And it also makes a fantastic non-toxic toilet cleaner. It’s made with plant-based ingredients, and a little goes a long way.
You can use Dr. Bronner’s alone by pouring a little bit into the bowl (just make sure to use only a little because it’s highly concentrated!).
If you don’t trust your pouring skills and don’t want to be flushing bubbles for days, you can also mix 1/4 cup with 1 quart of water to make a spray. Sprinkle a little bit of baking soda over your toilet brush, and it will maximize your scrubbing power.
And if you have tough stains, you can mix Dr. Bronner’s with white vinegar, baking soda, and water in a spray bottle for an extra powerful toilet cleaning solution without a single harmful ingredient.
I love using Dr. Bronner’s because it’s so convenient to have one product that can do it all, plus it’s easy to find pretty much anywhere!
I tried this one since it was easy to add to one of my recent Thrive Market orders. The plant-based, biodegradable formula is definitely a plus, and I appreciated that it was safe for septic tanks and didn’t contain any ammonia or chlorine bleach.
However, when I actually used it, I found that the thin, watery consistency was a bit of a challenge. Since it comes in a standard toilet bowl cleaner bottle, it was easy to spill or accidentally use too much because of the runny texture. Not ideal, but definitely not a dealbreaker.
I personally don’t love the scent and found it a bit overpowering. It doesn’t smell very fresh, but other reviewers seem to really like it, so again, it’s all about personal preference.
When it came to actually cleaning my toilet, I found that it did a decent job overall. It definitely eliminated some stains and odors, but for really tough grime, you might need to use something a bit stronger.
The Harmful Chemicals In Toilet Cleaner
Sulfates. Similar to what you find in other cleaning products (even toothpaste), SLS is added to toilet cleaners to help reduce water stains. However, overtime it can cause skin irritations, along with damage to the eyes if any were to get in.
Hydrochloric Acid. While it’s clear, it sure does put off a terrible smell! Hydrochloric acid is a corrosive also found in fertilizer, dyes, and other textile products. Though it isn’t considered a carcinogen by the EPA, there are known health effects from acute inhalation and chronic exposure has shown negative health issues.
Chlorine Bleach. We all know that distinctive bleach smell. Though bleach does a fantastic job of cleaning, you really have to be careful when using it. This is because we often use different cleaning products at the same time. The fumes from bleach and other cleaners can actually make different toxic gases that can be very harmful.
Fragrances. Just like many other conventional cleaning products on the market, fragrances are often added to toilet cleaners as a desire for the homeowner. They’re unnecessary and can also be quite harmful to our health. Even if you check the ingredients, you won’t know what’s in them because fragrances are protected as a trade secret.
How Do You Clean A Toilet Without Chemicals?
As mentioned previously, you can use pretty much any type of soap or household cleaner to clean your toilet. If you want to clean with natural ingredients, try using a baking soda mixture (DIY recipes below). All you need to do is sprinkle the bowl with baking soda and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Then you can spray it down with white vinegar and scrub with your toilet brush.
But there is also a list of great non-toxic toilet cleaners in this article.
(Because bathroom cleaners are such a hot topic and there aren’t many non-toxic options at the big box stores, check out my article on The Best Non-Toxic Bathroom Cleaner while you’re here.)
If you’re interested in cleaning without harmful chemicals, you may want to check out my honest Norwex review too!
DIY Homemade Toilet Bowl Cleaner
If you’re looking for an eco-friendly and budget-friendly alternative to store-bought toilet cleaners, making your own nontoxic toilet bowl cleaner is a great option. Not only does it save you money, but it’s also better for the environment and your health.
Here’s an easy recipe you can try at home:
- Pour 1 cup of white vinegar into a spray bottle.
- Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the vinegar solution (optional).
- Spray the inside of the toilet bowl with the vinegar solution and let it sit for a few minutes.
- Sprinkle baking soda over the vinegar solution.
- Use a toilet brush to scrub the inside of the bowl, including under the rim.
- Let the solution sit for a few more minutes.
- Flush the toilet to rinse away the solution.
DIY Nontoxic Toilet Bombs
If you prefer the convenience (or that satisfying fizzle) of toilet bombs – like the ones from Blueland, you can try making these DIY nontoxic toilet bombs. These little fizzing bombs are made with baking soda and citric acid, and they’re perfect for keeping your toilet bowl fresh.
Here’s an easy recipe you can try at home:
- In a mixing bowl, combine the baking soda and citric acid.
- In a smaller bowl, mix together the white vinegar and hydrogen peroxide.
- SLOWLY pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture, stirring constantly. (I’m talking very slowly here… You may actually want to use a dropper if you have one on hand. If the liquid is added too quickly, you’re going to have a giant mess on your hands.)
- The mixture should start to clump together and feel slightly damp.
- Using a silicone mold or ice cube tray, press the mixture into the mold, packing it tightly.
- Let the molds sit for at least 6 hours, or until the bombs are completely dry and hardened. I usually let them sit overnight.
- Pop the toilet bombs out of the mold and store them in an airtight container.
To use, simply drop one into the toilet bowl and let it fizz and dissolve. The baking soda and citric acid will help to break down stains and odors, while the hydrogen peroxide and vinegar will disinfect and sanitize. Then take your toilet brush and do a quick swish around the toilet. You can let the mixture sit in there a little longer if you have stains.
That’s it! Both of these DIY natural toilet bowl cleaners are simple, effective, and safe for your family and the environment.
One thing to note is that the DIY toilet cleaners may not be as strong as commercial cleaners, so you may need to clean your toilet more frequently. But the trade-off is worth it for a safer and more sustainable option.
Can You Use Toilet Bowl Cleaner in the Shower?
No, you generally should not use toilet bowl cleaner in your shower. Most commercial toilet bowl cleaners are formulated with harsh chemicals to remove tough stains and mineral buildup from porcelain, which means they can be too harsh for other surfaces like tiles, grout, and fiberglass.
If you’re using a DIY solution like the ones we’ve shared above or have mixed up your own solution with safe ingredients like Dr. Bronner’s soap, then it may be okay to use in the shower. However, it’s always a good idea to test a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it won’t cause any damage before using it more broadly.
Ultimately, it’s best to stick with cleaning solutions that are specifically designed for the surfaces you’re cleaning to avoid any potential harm or damage.