So let’s tackle one of the least romantic parts of housecleaning – toilet bowls. I don’t need to tell you that these can get icky, especially if you have boys in the house. (I love my boys to pieces, but they do – well – miss.) Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds and Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile soap are both powerful enough to cleanse a commode.
Honestly, my conventional toilet cleaner was one of my last conventional products to give up. There was something so confident and reassuring about the thick, beautiful blue gel with its minty fresh scent. However, let’s just take a look at each of those features. The reason it’s so thick is that it is supposed to cling to the insides of your toilet without dispersing in the water. At the risk of stating the obvious, that means that it doesn’t disperse readily in water. This means that if the gel goes down your pipes, it’s going to be in clumps. It also means that if you or a little one gets it on your skin, it will cling and burn. Next, I’ve already tackled conventional fragrance in my blog post, Changing the Smell of Clean, and the dye for the color is another melting pot where manufacturers can hide nasties. Furthermore, toilet bowl cleaners are needlessly intense. They are meant to disinfect the filthiest of toilets and then some with next to no effort from the user. The cleaner then goes down your pipes and either into area water sources or, if you’re like me, into your septic tank and ultimately back yard. Then what? It doesn’t just vanish. Conventional stuff doesn’t even break down readily. It’ll be there long after you’ve stopped thinking about it.
Keep in mind what I’ve said about how things get clean: chemically, manually, or thermally. If you just try to clean with one of these means – let’s say chemically, what you use is going to have to be really, really strong. However, if you use an alternative cleaning method that combines the chemical (for this purpose, please accept that Sal Suds and soaps are technically chemicals, just not bad ones) along with the mechanical (i.e. your scrubbing) plus a little bit of time for the cleaner to sit and work, you’ll end up with just as clean of a toilet with no risk.
One of my favorite resources, the Environmental Working Group, gives over 56% of commercially available toilet bowl cleaners an “F” for safety – and some of these “F’s” have the word “Natural” in their name. I’m sorry to pop any bubbles with that one.
What You’ll Need to Clean the Toilet
Either my Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds All-Purpose Spray or my Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile All-Purpose Spray with added pure essential tea tree oil (1/2 tsp. or 50 drops, which is a little more than what I normally use around the house).
A high quality plastic toilet brush (metal can scratch the enamel on the toilet and cause rust)
- Turn off your toilet water. There is a knob on the wall underneath the toilet. It turns. Turn it clockwise until you can’t (don’t wrench it). The water is now off.
- Flush the toilet. This will drain the water out of your bowl. You might need to do this twice.
- Spray down the inside of the toilet bowl thoroughly with either the Sal Suds spray or the Castile soap spray. While you’re at it, spray down the outside of the toilet, too, just not as thoroughly or else you’ll have lots of drips on your floors.
- Let it sit for 10 minutes. Perhaps clean the rest of the bathroom or just sit
- Sprinkle baking soda on your scrub brush (while holding it over the toilet bowl).
- Scrub the toilet bowl thoroughly, making sure to get under the rim of the toilet bowl which is where minerals build up. If you sprayed the outside of the toilet bowl, wipe it down with a microfiber cloth.
- Turn the water back on. Let the tank fill with water.
- Flush the toilet.
A Precaution: Undiluted Sal Suds is about the same consistency as conventional toilet bowl cleaner. However, do not use it as such. If you coat the inside of your toilet bowl with undiluted Sal Suds, you will have a toilet bowl of bubbles for a week. If you have a toddler who already loves to play in the toilet, this will not help.