Toilet Bowl Cleaner - what to do? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 05-04-2010, 03:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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In our home we use mostly vinegar and baking soda for cleaning. We have a few natural cleaners, but one thing we are having a hard time getting rid of is toilet bowl cleaner. I cannot stand the chemical smell and literally feel sick after the bathrooms are cleaned, but others in my home feel that we need the strong cleaners because of the germs a toilet collects. There are a lot of natural alternative cleaners, and I'm sure we could even make our own (keep in mind that I am highly allergic to tea tree oil).

What do you do/use for cleaning toilets?
Have you had trouble convincing family members to make the switch? How did you convince them?

Thanks in advance for your help/advice!

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#2 of 21 Old 05-04-2010, 03:33 PM
 
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Honestly? I use whatever old body wash/shampoo/Dr. Bronners-type soap we have around. We usually have a bottle of something or other that someone either tried and didn't like or that a guest left behind, and that's what I use. If someone has a bad GI bug, then I'll occasionally break out the hardcore disinfectant to try to minimize someone else getting it, but that's a once every year or two situation usually. I just clean the toilet every couple of days, and I find that keeps it clean.

To clean the toilet seat/rim/etc. I use a vinegar cleaner with tea tree oil or just soap and water. I don't think the TTO is really necessary; I do it more for scent than disinfecting. I figure I'm not eating off of the toilet, and we all wash our hands afterward, and most germs really don't live that long on dry surfaces anyway.

No one here has said anything about using the natural cleaners, but since I'm the one who cleans the toilets, I'd be surprised if anyone commented! If our toilets looked dirty, then my dh might comment, but I keep them pretty darn clean. For someone who was reluctant, I'd probably suggest giving them something to read about toxic household chemicals and their effects on our endocrine systems. Maybe point out that many, many chemicals are easily absorbed through the skin or by breathing the vapors, and yet companies don't have to test them for safety they would for something that's eaten - and they don't even have to label all the ingredients?
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#3 of 21 Old 05-04-2010, 03:37 PM
 
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I use baking soda. Shake it in and scrub. My toilet bowl always looks clean and pretty. I don't understand? Make a box of wipes for the germophobes and you can make a solution for it with lavender and grapefruit seed extract. See if they use them. heh.
(I also have a sensitivity to TTO)
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#4 of 21 Old 05-04-2010, 03:40 PM
 
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You could consider just reusing the old evil chemical bottles and putting in your own stuff See if anybody notices, I dare them.

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#5 of 21 Old 05-04-2010, 03:41 PM
 
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Just read the title again and realized you specifically asked about the toilet bowl. I'm a little surprised by the germaphobes in your house -- why does the toilet BOWL need to be disinfected? It's not like anything should be touching the inside of the bowl! And unless you disinfect it after each and every use, it's not like it will remain germ free! The second it's used, it will again have germs...
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#6 of 21 Old 05-04-2010, 05:03 PM
 
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My DH is like that, too, so I've let him buy bleach products and scrub it every so often. I have to run the fan, open windows, and air out the downstairs - and I can still smell the chemicals days later, but it's how we have compromised b/c he was complaining about vinegar and seventh generation toilet bowl cleaner not doing a good enough job... except that even with bleach we still have a ring b/c of the hard well water.

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#7 of 21 Old 05-04-2010, 05:54 PM
 
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Ummm, the toilet bowl is the one place I still use the hardest of the hardcore conventional disinfectants.

I don't scrub the bowl as often as I should so when I do, I kill every microbial life form.

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#8 of 21 Old 05-04-2010, 07:18 PM
 
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What, is someone drinking out of the toilet bowl or something? Really, if anything it's the kitchen counter that should be scrubbed more since you DO eat stuff off of it. In all seriousness though, one of the reasons we stopped using the chemical toilet cleaners is because someone was drinking out of our toilet bowl - one of our dogs! And we didn't want him to ingest nasty chemicals.

I usually just scrub with the brush and plain water, but if the toilet is actually visibly dirty I'll pour in some vinegar, scrub, let it sit a bit, scrub again and flush.
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#9 of 21 Old 05-05-2010, 03:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the ideas!!

I think I'm still going to have to do some work convincing, but I honestly don't understand it either...it's not like we're playing in the toilet bowl. With surfaces I've had an easy time convincing because most people don't like the idea of chemicals touching thier skin/food, but I'm the only one who seems to be bothered by the harsh smell of the chemical cleaners. I think I'm just going to make the switch and see what happens. Maybe I'll be able to dig up some articles on toxic household chemicals as someone suggested!

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#10 of 21 Old 05-07-2010, 01:46 PM
 
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I learned a good trick from a book on cleaning - use your toilet brush to "plunge" excess water out of the toilet bowl, it is then easier to get baking on there to scrub. I plunge, sprinkle with baking soda, spray with vinegar, let sit for a few, scrub, and flush.

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#11 of 21 Old 05-07-2010, 03:03 PM
 
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I use baking soda. I put it in, scrub lightly so everything is covered, let sit for a few minutes and then do a hard core scrub. I would imagine if you are doing a hard scrub, that alone should kill most of the germs. Similar to not needing antibacterial soap to kills germs, you just need to do a good job washing your hands.

If you are plunging the water our before hand, maybe you could spray some hydrogen peroxide in the bowl after scrubbing and let it sit for a while. Here is some info on using it to clean.

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#12 of 21 Old 05-07-2010, 04:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ola_ View Post
I usually just scrub with the brush and plain water, but if the toilet is actually visibly dirty I'll pour in some vinegar, scrub, let it sit a bit, scrub again and flush.
This is what I do.

It took my DH a long time to adjust his thinking on the toilet cleaning thing. Honestly, I did the whole thing slowly. When we met, I already cleaned 75% with only baking soda or vinegar. I had to drop back to about 50% when we got married and lived together. I eased him up until I was pregnant, then I did a waffle thing... If I was cleaning, it was 100% vinegar or baking soda. If he was cleaning, I didn't care what he used. BUT!!!! I would often puke if he used strong chemicals. Also, I stopped buying his favorite cleaners. I found that the only two products he would take the time to go buy himself are toilet bowl cleaner and cleaning wipes for the bathroom. Again, if he was cleaning, I didn't care what he used. If I was cleaning, I cleaned the way I wanted to clean. Everything except the bathroom matched up. I gave it time. He no longer buys nor uses commercial toilet cleaner, but he still buys and uses the wipes. The wipes don't bother me physically, so I let it go. It is only one product and isn't worth the stress, especially since I do the vast majority of the cleaning so a 3-pack of wipes from a bulk store has lasted us 3 years and counting. During those three years, we've really ramped up the rag usage and accessibility. He grabs rags instead of paper towels most of the time now, so he might be willing to forgo the wipes when they run out. We shall see.

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#13 of 21 Old 05-07-2010, 05:30 PM
 
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I figure, if you clean, you clean however you want (save for using chemicals that make others ill).

If someone wants you to use bleach, let them use bleach. If they think they can do a better job than you, let them have at it.

Yes, I practice what I preach. I hate how my DH does the dishes. He wastes so much water it drives me bonkers. I keep my mouth shut, though - or I do the damn dishes myself. (Honestly, sometimes I have to leave the room though, especially when he strikes up a conversation with me and he's just standing there letting gallons of hot water go at full blast - drives me NUTS!!!!!).

Likewise, I would be pretty annoyed if he was telling me I needed to use some product when I'm cleaning the toilet. Hell, I'm cleaning the toilet, count your blessings. If you can do it better, knock yourself out.

What, is somebody actually QUIZZING you about what you use?

My DH doesn't have a clue what I use to clean the toilet.

And no, we don't eat out of the toilet, so I don't see why all the little buggies have to be gone. I just don't see what using bleach is supposed to prevent? I seriously, seriously, seriously doubt I've ever been sick because of a household toilet. In my whole life. And I doubt many people have.

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#14 of 21 Old 05-07-2010, 09:48 PM
 
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You could always use borax. Plunge the water out and pour borax and scrub under the rum and let it sit for a 1/2 hour. Borax is quite toxic though.

Wife to amazing dh, mama to dd 12/08
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#15 of 21 Old 05-08-2010, 11:06 AM
 
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Borax is only mildly toxic.

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#16 of 21 Old 05-11-2010, 05:49 PM
 
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I use borax, both in the bowl ( just plunge, shake, lightly brush to spread, let sit for 30 mind, then brush and flush) and on the solid surfaces. No lingering smells, and I feel like the room is clean. I can't speak to the toxicity of Borax, but it is frequently recommended in "natural" cleaning articles, etc. So I'm pretty comfortable with it. I think it's certainly better than most of the conventional alternatives.

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#17 of 21 Old 05-13-2010, 04:01 PM
 
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I spray it with hydrogen peroxide & vinegar, sprinkle in some baking soda, let it sit for a few minutes, scrub and flush. Its always nice and clean. DH reacts strongly to bleach fumes, so he's on my side there. Plus I do the cleaning, so I use what I want to clean with.

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#18 of 21 Old 05-13-2010, 06:33 PM
 
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Who is cleaning the toilet? If it's you, I'm also on the "clean it with whatever you want" side.

Maybe there is a middle ground? Some cleaners smell worse than others imho - Lysol is one that I can't stand the smell of, but I could tolerate diluted Mr. Clean or Pine Sol. Or maybe that's another option - water down the bottle of chemical cleaner so it's not so awful.

I have a spray bottle of vinegar with some lavender oil mixed in, I spray the surfaces with that and let it sit for a few minutes, then I come back and scrub the inside of the toilet with a Dr. Bronner's SAL suds and wipe down the outside. That smells enough like traditional cleaners (except in a good way) that maybe it would pass muster.

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#19 of 21 Old 05-15-2010, 09:53 AM
 
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I'm a member of the "soap is soap" fraction. I've used some commercial toilet cleaner in the past but for some time now I've cleaned the toilet only with a bit of handsoap (or sometimes I rinse out empty showergel / shampoo bottles) and then a bit of vinegar. (Our Chinese "ayi" uses vinegar, too - for basically everything.)

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#20 of 21 Old 05-15-2010, 02:02 PM
 
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I'm a borax user for the toilet - I'll do a borax soak overnight at least 1x/month or weekly if I'm really on top of things. Other times I use baking soda and seventh generation toilet cleaner (or any other all-purpose cleaner - I just keep toilet cleaners in the bathroom behind the toilet to encourage more frequent cleaning around here).
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#21 of 21 Old 05-18-2010, 07:30 PM
 
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Timely thread for our house...
We have used Bi-O-Kleen soy based toilet scrub for years. (By ‘we’ I mean, I purchase the cleaning products; my husband cleans the bathrooms.) I like many of their products and assumed this one was fine too. My husband told me this week he doesn't like it and wants to switch to a chemical type bowl cleaner. I’ve been looking for an alternative but figure he cleans the bathrooms so well; maybe he should be the one to pick the product. He used to use Lysol wipes but the smell gave me headaches and I complained every time he used them he now uses a natural cleaner or Seventh Gen wipes (which I don’t like either but he was so excited when he brought them home I didn’t want to complain.)

We have tons of baking soda on hand…I will suggest that to him.
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