Can You Clean A Toilet With Bleach?

Bleach is a well-known cleaning and disinfecting agent. It is also a harsh chemical that can damage skin and corrode surfaces if not handled correctly. You may wonder if this harsh chemical can safely clean a porcelain toilet bowl.

You can use bleach to clean your toilet bowl. Before cleaning with bleach, ensure your toilet is flushed. After adding bleach to your toilet bowl, slightly scrub the stains to get the bleach into the area, then let it sit for a few minutes to allow it to work. Flush, then check for more stains.

Even among professionals, opinions vary about using bleach on porcelain. However, many people have been using bleach in their toilets for decades without issue. This article will tell you how to use bleach safely, as well as alternative methods for cleaning that are gentler on your body and your toilet.

Can You Clean a Toilet With Bleach?

While cleaning a toilet with bleach is safe, there are some things you should and shouldn’t do when cleaning with bleach. Here is a list of things to avoid when using bleach on your toilet:

  • Don’t mix bleach with other cleaning products or detergents. This mixture can lead to the formation of harmful gases. Some of these gases might be hazardous when inhaled.  
  • Don’t mix bleach with urine. Urine contains ammonia, which, combined with bleach, creates a toxic gas. Be sure to flush your toilet before adding bleach.
  • Don’t use bleach in your toilet tank. The toilet tank is a rectangular structure behind the toilet bowl. It is where the flusher is attached. Bleach will damage the plumbing parts inside the tank.
  • Don’t use bleach if you have rust stains in your toilet. Bleach will make rust stains worse.

Here are some things that you should do when cleaning with bleach:

  • Use unscented household bleach. 
  • Follow any safety instructions on the bleach bottle. Wear gloves if necessary. As a rule, you should rinse accidental splashes on your skin immediately. 
  • Use bleach in a well-ventilated area. Keep the bathroom door (and window) open and the bathroom fan running when cleaning (if you have one). 
  • Wash your hands after using bleach or bleach products.

What Can I Use Instead of Bleach To Disinfect?

Store-bought toilet cleaners and bathroom cleaners are excellent disinfectants. Disinfectants kill microorganisms like bacteria and viruses. Bleach is a standard disinfectant because it is cheap. It’s advisable to check the label to see if your chosen cleaner is a disinfectant.

What Can I Use Instead of Toilet Cleaner?

You can use liquid dish soap instead of toilet cleaner. Disinfectants, like bleach and toilet cleaners, aren’t the only way to get rid of germs. Other types of cleaners, like dish soap, may not kill all the bacteria but can break up microorganisms and bring them to the surface. 

Cleaning a Toilet With Dish Soap

When cleaning a toilet bowl with liquid dish soap, use a thicker dish soap if possible. Unlike watery dish soaps, thicker soaps will coat the toilet surface better. Coat the toilet bowl with liquid dish soap and scrub with a toilet brush. Let the cleaner sit for a few minutes before flushing.

What Is the Most Hygienic Way To Clean a Toilet?

You can take some steps to reduce contact with germs while cleaning your toilet. Here is a list of suggestions to help keep the cleaning process hygienic:

  • Wear rubber gloves when cleaning.
  • Before removing gloves, wash them with hot water and soap.
  • Use disposable wipes to clean the outside of the toilet.
  • Disinfect the toilet brush handle after use.
  • Disinfect the brush head and let it dry before putting it away.

How Do Professionals Clean Toilets?

For a science-backed clean, here are a couple of toilet-cleaning recipes two cleaning professionals use in their homes.

Here’s a YouTube video that shows how to clean a toilet properly.

Toilet Cleaning Recipe #1

Chemist and cleaning expert Alexis Rochester uses this recipe for tackling dirty toilets. For this recipe, you will need the following:

  • 1/2 cup of concentrated dish soap
  • 2 tablespoons of citric acid (a powdered substance used for cooking and cleaning)
  • 1 cup of water
  • A squeeze bottle

Combine the ingredients in a bowl and transfer the liquid into a squeeze bottle. Spray your toilet bowl and scrub with a toilet brush. Let the solution sit for a few minutes before flushing.

Toilet Cleaning Recipe #2

Green-cleaning coach Leslie Reichert also shares her toilet-cleaning technique. For this recipe, you will need the following:

  • 1 cup of salt
  • 1 cup of baking soda
  • 1 cup of oxygen bleach 

Unlike chlorine bleach, oxygen bleach is nontoxic. Combine the ingredients and then sprinkle the cleaner into your toilet. Scrub with a toilet brush and let it sit before flushing.

Cleaning Tips You Probably Didn’t Know

  • If you have an unused toilet at home, flush it periodically. If left unflushed for a long time, especially in hot weather, sewage in the toilet’s pipes may evaporate. Evaporated sewage does not smell good. Check out this article to learn how to keep an unused toilet clean. 
  • Vinegar alone is not a great bathroom cleaner. When used alone, vinegar can’t remove all dirt or kill germs. It needs the help of other detergents or disinfectants. (But not bleach. Never combine vinegar with bleach!) Vinegar can also corrode surfaces like stone. Before using vinegar as an all-purpose cleaner, check what surfaces it can safely clean.
  • Combining baking soda and vinegar doesn’t always make a good cleaner. During the initial chemical reaction, baking soda and vinegar can loosen dirt and germs. However, once the fizzing stops, it loses its cleaning properties. Combining these substances in a squeeze bottle is pointless for cleaning purposes.

Final Thoughts

There are many ways to clean a toilet. As a disinfectant, bleach is good at killing germs. Alternatively, there are milder cleaning options, such as using non-bleach bathroom cleaners, liquid dish soap, or a host of other cleaning recipes like the ones listed above. 

Should you choose to use bleach, remember to wear gloves and avoid mixing it with other chemicals. You should also open the toilet door and window for proper ventilation.