Toilet Cleaning With Dr. Bronner’s

Toilet Cleaning

Every so often I get the joy of sharing subjects very close to my heart. Toilet cleaning is not one of them.  

How to use Dr. Bronner’s products to clean toilets is a common question I get, and hopefully a regular task for all of us.  

As I say in the video, toilet bowl cleaner was the last conventional cleaning product I gave up in my green transition. I liked the color, I liked the smell, I liked the peace of mind. Yeah, it sounds like I was a little too cozy with my toilet bowl cleaner. 

Even though cleaning ingredients don’t have to be listed on a label and rarely are, the required hazard statements you find readily on bowl cleaners give you enough of an idea that this is not-nice stuff. Go ahead and read a few. I’ll wait. 

Eventually, I couldn’t ignore the fact that toilet bowl cleaner is one of the harshest of household cleaners. All it would take is one “Oops” from me, or a kid or a dog getting somewhere they’re not supposed to, which happens, and I’d have a real problem. Plus I have a septic system which relies on helpful bacteria and enzymes to work. Killing them all with bleach is entirely counterproductive. 

Toilet Cleaning Methods 

There is more than one way to do this. Do you prefer Sal Suds? Castile Soap? Pick whichever method, whichever product you like best and gets the task behind you. 

To begin with, if you’d like, turn off the water to the bowl and empty with a flush. This is entirely optional. Many household toilets have a valve at the wall that you can twist. Emptying the bowl lets the cleaner sit on the walls of the bowl without being diluted in the water. 

Method 1: Make an All-Purpose Spray with Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap (1/4 c. [60 mL] in a quart [1 L] of water) or Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds Biodegradable Cleaner (1 Tbsp. [15 mL] in a quart [1 L] of water) with 20 drops Tea Tree essential oil (optional). Spray the bowl thoroughly and brush with a toilet brush. 

Method 2: Squirt a very small amount of the undiluted Castile Soap or an even smaller amount of the Sal Suds directly on to the toilet bowl brush. Brush the bowl thoroughly. 

Boost for Methods 1 or 2: For extra scrubbing, sprinkle baking soda onto your toilet brush before scrubbing. 

Method 3: Science up a batch of GIY Soft Scrub with the Castile Soap. Squirt that around the bowl, under the rim and brush well. 

Whichever method you choose, once you brush the bowl, let cleaner sit there for about 10 minutes for maximum effectiveness. Then give the bowl a final scrub, turn the water back on if you turned it off, and flush. 

Let’s wrap up with a little relevant middle school humor. Welcome to my world. 

The police station toilets were stolen. Investigators have nothing to go on. 

Ok. I’ll stop.  

Why do you never hear a pterodactyl go to the bathroom? Because the P is silent.  

Further reading

Sal Suds cleaner shows >60% biodegradation after 28 days per ISO 14593

Download Now!

Sal Suds Cheat Sheet

Sal Suds, Sal Suds, How do I love thee?


Download Now!

Castile Soap Cheat Sheet

Dilute! Dilute! OK! But how much? Print this guide!


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Autumn B says:

Hi, is there an enzyme cleaner you recommend for cleaning around the outside/surround of the toilet? Or will Sal Suds help with urine odors?

Thank you!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Autumn – Sal Suds with a sprinkle of baking soda do a great job with urine residues. Not only do they remove everything, but baking soda is a great deodorizer. I haven’t explored enzyme cleaners so I’m not a help to you with a recommendation there.

Jody says:

Hi Lisa, could you mix isopropyl alcohol and sal suds to create a cleaner/disinfectant?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Jody- I’m sorry for my delayed response. When disinfecting is needed, the CDC recommends a two-step process of cleaning and then disinfecting, rather than trying to combine both activities into one step. As a mild detergent, Sal Suds effectively cleans surfaces by removing debris and contaminants, but disinfectants, a term regulated by the EPA, chemically destroy pathogens and microorganisms on hard surfaces. Use Sal Suds first, then only when merited, use an antimicrobial from the EPA’s Safer Choice list. Disinfecting should be reserved for times when there is sickness present, or of course in medical facilities. It’s the idea to use the least intensive strategy necessary for the situation and to reserve the more intense measures for circumstances that merit them. This preserves the effectiveness of the intense measures and avoids their potential negative side effects. For my deep dive into how soap works and why it’s all you need, read my article,

Erin says:

HI, is there a particular scented soap to use? I see baby, rose, lavender, etc., & I am unsure of which to use.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Erin, They Castile soaps all have the same soap base and differ only in their essential oils, so you can pick your favorite scent for the task. I often use Tea Tree or Eucalyptus as they both smell so clean and fresh to me.

Donna says:

Hi Lisa. Love how you and your family are keeping the brand going. I want to pour Sal Suds into a container that will be used only for cleaning the toilet bowl. What mixture of Sal Suds, water, and tea tree oil do you recommend? Thanks.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Donna – You would need a very slight concentration for this. I recommend 1 tsp. of Sal Suds in a quart of water. YOu can add 20 drops of tea tree essential oil.

Sherry says:

Hello, I wanted to ask if it is safe to pour some dr. bronner’s castile soap into my toilet if I already use the blue ty d bol liquid that hangs inside the tank? Can they mix safely?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Sherry- I recommend not mixing brand name cleaners. While all of our products are clearly on the label, some ingredients in other brand name products are propriety and there’s no way to know for certain if there would be an interaction.

Jess says:

Hi, can it be used in the toilet tank as well? I want to mix it with some vinegar and baking soda

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Jess- You can put the Sal Suds or Castile in the tank, but I don’t see the benefit of doing this. There isn’t much way that the tank gets dirty, and one flush of the toilet would transfer it all into the bowl anyways. Combining vinegar with baking soda in the tank will cause a fizzy reaction, but this does not have any cleaning powers.

Jackie says:

LOLOL!!! I needed that this morning. Now I’ll go clean my bathroom…..thanks! 🙂

Deb says:

I found this site because I wanted to confirm I hadn’t made a regrettable mistake by cleaning a toilet using Sal Suds a few days ago. I was too lazy to go upstairs to get the bottle of purchased green toilet cleaner and I thought, why not, Sal Suds is great and it’s the pine scent I like anyway. It did the trick. This will simplify my shopping list, because I don’t see the point in buying pre-diluted products.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Emm- I’m so sorry to hear that and will take the volume of the music into consideration in future videos. I hope you found what you need in the written post.

Green Cleaning Your Bathroom | Going Green with a Bronner Mom says:

[…] I clean toilets a different way every week. Variety is the spice of life, right?   […]

Melissa says:

Is the sal suds all purpose cleaner gentle enough to use as a cleaner on a glazed bathtub?(landlord asked if we could do that)& it’s also strong enough to tackle hard water in the toilet?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Melissa- Sal Suds is gentle enough for a glazed tub. You can mix up an All-Purpose Spray with 1 Tbsp. Sal Suds in a spray bottle with a quart of water. Spray and wipe with a damp cloth. Sal Suds is find to clean hard water build up too. For stubborn stains, sprinkle a little baking soda on a brush for scouring action.

Sal Suds Dilution Cheat Sheet | Going Green with a Bronner Mom says:

[…] Toilet Cleaning with Dr. Bronner’s […]

Dilutions Cheat Sheet for Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap | Going Green with a Bronner Mom says:

[…] Toilet Cleaning with Dr. Bronner’s […]

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Denise – No, Sal Suds is not an enzyme cleaner. It is a mild detergent surfactant – which means it bonds with dirt and grime and carries it away. It doesn’t break down elements as enzymes do.

Jennifer says:

Will this solve the toilet bowl ring, because that just never seems to go away with more eco-friendly products : / Help!!!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Jennifer- Because toilet bowl ring is mineral deposits, go with one of the scrubbing options of either baking soda or GIY Soft Scrub. Let it sit for the full 10 minutes, then scrub again.

Diane Martinson says:

I can see how these three methods work without water in the bowl but what about if you have to leave the water in, wouldn’t the soap get too diluted to work well? Besides tea tree oil is there another essential oil that would disinfect as well?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Diane- If you leave water in the bowl, perhaps use a tad more soap. But because our soaps are very concentrated, they work very well. No other essential oil has the same microbial properties as Tea Tree, but it’s the soap that is really doing the cleaning here. Soap latches onto germs, dirt and grime and washes them away.

Catherine Harper says:

Thanks Lisa. Love these tips. Sal Suds is my go to kitchen and dish soap, and Peppermint Castile Soap replaced all body washes in my shower years ago. Haven’t used them for toilet cleaning but will be trying this for sure!

Brenda says:

Love the video! I’ve been using Sal Suds and tea tree oil for some time now. No more chemicals in our household. Thank you Lisa.

Diane Blanchard says:

Definitely going to try this! I’ve been looking for a safer bath cleaner. Thx Lisa!

Chris says:

Hi Lisa,
Love all you products! My question, is tea tree oil poisonous to dogs. I have four little ones and read where tea tree oil in a diffuser poisoned a pet. Thanks Chris

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Chris- At too high of a concentration, it would very well make a dog ill. But the essential oils in our soaps is 2% – a very small concentration. Our soaps are further diluted when used for housecleaning and then wiped off with a damp cloth. I don’t know about the diffuser, but really strong scents can be impactful to pets.

Kelle L Standley says:

Argggggg, the jokes are baaaaaad! However, I am considering giving up my toilet bowl cleaner for sal suds. Like you, I am also a bit too fond of the hazardous blue chemical goo I buy from the hardware store but have been loath to give it up. I will give sal suds and shot and see how that works out. Thanks again, Lisa.

Beth says:

Hi Lisa! I was wondering if you have ever mixed Sal Suds and hydrogen peroxide, or if that even makes sense from a “green” perspective. I wanted to investigate the addition of hydrogen peroxide for its disinfectant properties. Thanks so much!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Beth – There’s nothing hazardous about mixing Sal Suds and hydrogen peroxide, but hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) so readily doffs that extra oxygen atom and becomes just water. It is that released oxygen atom that is the active ingredient in hydrogen peroxide. However, when mixed with Sal Suds, the oxygen release happens much faster, likely too fast to have as good of an impact as hydrogen peroxide on its own. So I would use them separately. You can use hydrogen peroxide first for its stain fighting ability, or after for its disinfectat ability. Always keep in mind that it is a bleaching agent, so spot test on fabrics first.

(Here is a super long video I made about the reaction between Sal Suds and hydrogen peroxide, which makes the so-called “elephant toothpaste.”

Meinaz says:

I’ve made the soft scrub recipe and like using it. However it dries in the cap and I have to use a toothpick to unclog it each time I use it. I have it in a pull too squirt bottle like dish soap comes in. Think I’ll try the spray you talked about instead. Thank you.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Meinaz- If the soft scrub thickens up, add a few tablespoons of water to thin it out. I’ve also put it in a wide-mouth jar and scooped it out. But you’ll love the All-Purpose Spray – you can use it for countertops, sinks, baseboards and more.

About Lisa Bronner

My grandfather was Dr. Bronner, my family makes soap, and I share ways to use it plus tips on greener living.

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Print Now!

Sal Suds Cheat Sheet

Sal Suds, Sal Suds, How do I love thee?


Print Now!

Castile Soap Cheat Sheet

Dilute! Dilute! OK! But how much? Print this guide!