When cleaning their homes, most homemakers look for ways to cut down on certain onerous or unpleasant tasks such as cleaning and sanitizing toilets. When it comes to cleaning toilets, it may even seem smart to just drop a pool chlorine tablet in the toilet tank. After all, chlorine tablets contain chlorine, which is an effective disinfectant and cleaner. Unfortunately, pool chlorine tablets have far too much chlorine to use in toilets and can even damage them.
Pool chlorine tablets typically come in 3-inch sizes and contain about 90 percent chlorine by volume. Most toilet bowl cleaners, when they have chlorine in them at all, use a chloride type and at less than 2 percent strength. A single pool chlorine tablet can deliver more than 5 parts per million (ppm) of chlorine in a 10,000-gallon pool. In a 2-gallon toilet tank, adding a pool chlorine tablet would make a corrosive soup out of a toilet's tank and bowl water.
In high enough levels, the chlorine in a pool chlorine tablet placed into a toilet tank will begin eating away at rubber gaskets and other parts, reports the website Pool Center. Chlorine is alkaline and therefore corrosive. A pool chlorine tablet in a toilet tank, therefore, would begin to degrade rubber, plastic and metal parts.
Placing a pool chlorine tablet meant to disinfect a 10,000-gallon swimming pool into a 2-gallon toilet tank would create extreme chlorine odors. In fact, chlorine odors emanating from a toilet could be strong enough to make a home's atmosphere extremely unattractive. A gallon of bleach is about 5.25 percent chlorine by volume, and even its odor can be too strong for some users. Imagine a 2-gallon toilet tank with far more chlorine strength than gallon-sized bleach.
When cleaning toilets, it's best to go with cleaners and disinfectants specifically meant to handle such tasks. Pool chlorine tablets aren't meant to be used for toilet tanks and bowls, no matter how small those tablets are. Instead, use automatic toilet bowl cleaner tablets, available from several manufacturers. Also, a non-toxic homemade cleaner composed of 1/4 cup of baking soda and 1 cup of vinegar poured into the toilet bowl is a much safer cleaner than pool chlorine tablets.
- In the Swim: 3-Inch Chlorine Tablets
- Earth Easy: Non-Toxic Home Cleaning--Toilet Bowl Cleaner
- County of Sarasota, Florida: Water System Disinfection Procedure
- Pool Center: Chlorine Chemistry--Tablets
- Toiletology: How to REALLY Clean a Toilet
- "Planet Green"; Make Your Own Toilet...Baking Soda; Elizabeth Seward; Sept. 12, 2008
Tony Guerra served more than 20 years in the U.S. Navy. He also spent seven years as an airline operations manager. Guerra is a former realtor, real-estate salesperson, associate broker and real-estate education instructor. He holds a master's degree in management and a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies.