What Are the Active Ingredients in Toilet Cleaners?

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Make sure to clean your toilets.
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Keeping your toilet clean and hygienic is the key to a pleasant bathroom experience. Whether you're treating stains, odors, or just keeping your toilet sanitary, there's always a product with an active ingredient that can help. You can even opt for more natural options if you prefer to clean without harsher ingredients.

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Hydrochloric Acid Toilet Cleaner

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Hydrochloric acid is one of the fastest and most effective ingredients when dealing with really stubborn stains. It can help to dissolve mineral buildup and scale inside your toilet bowl. Hydrochloric acid can also help to unclog drains and pipes.

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This is a very strong ingredient and should always be used with caution. The low pH of hydrochloric acid products can make them corrosive on older plastic pipes, and it should never come into contact with the skin. Make sure you follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully, wear adequate safety equipment including gloves, a mask, and goggles, and keep the bathroom well-ventilated.

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Using Bleach in Toilets

Chlorine bleach is another common ingredient in toilet bowl cleaners. Bleach is a stain remover and a germ killer but, again, is known for being a rather harsh way to clean your toilet bowl. If you're using regular bleach to clean your toilet, it should always be properly diluted (the recommended concentration is 4 teaspoons of 5.25 to 8.25 percent bleach per quart of room temperature water, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), and, again, you must wear proper safety gear.

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It's also essential that you never mix bleach with other cleaning products (particularly ammonia) as it can produce toxic fumes. You can use bleach alongside natural scrubbing agents like baking soda or simple dish soap. Hydrogen peroxide products can be an alternative to those containing bleach, as it's less harsh but can deliver similarly impressive results.

Antibacterial Cleaning Options

Toilets can be a real breeding ground for all manner of germs, so treating them with antibacterial cleaners is essential for good bathroom hygiene. Any antibacterial spray can be used across the lid, seat, and bowl of your toilet.

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Focus the spray especially in the harder-to-reach areas, such as the hinges, where germs can quickly take over. Most antibacterial sprays don't require rinsing afterward and can help protect your toilet from germs after cleaning too.

Natural Toilet Cleaners

If you prefer to go for a natural cleaning option, there are homemade toilet cleaners that can be surprisingly effective. A mixture of vinegar and baking soda is a great, more-natural option for cleaning your toilet.

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You can mix 2 cups of baking soda with 1 teaspoon of a disinfecting essential oil such as tea tree in a storage container. Sprinkle this mixture all over your toilet bowl, scrubbing with a toilet brush. You can then add your cleaning vinegar, which will make the mixture fizz. Scrub the toilet gently with your toilet brush and your baking soda and vinegar cleaner; then let it sit for 15 minutes. Flush your toilet and watch the grime vanish down the drain.

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Another option for homemade toilet bowl cleaner is based around castile soap. Mix 1/3 cup of liquid castile soap, 2 cups of water, and 2 tablespoons of baking soda with around 5 drops of disinfecting essential oil and then apply it to your toilet bowl. Again, use a toilet brush to scrub and give the mixture some time to work before flushing.

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