DIY Household cleaning step 1: the toilet

In keeping with my ‘step by step’ approach, and trying to minimise unnecessary waste, I decided to continue using any commercial products I had and to replace them one by one as they ran out. By chance, the first thing I ran out of was toilet cleaner.

There seem to be a few ideas floating around on the internet about how to clean a toilet with non-toxic DIY ingredients but they all seem to come back to good old vinegar and bicarbonate of soda.

Does anyone else have fond memories of watching or helping your parents unblock drains with vinegar and bicarb as a child? Or was your experience just the volcano science project?

Anyway, this method is slightly different and much less dramatic (sorry), but surprisingly effective.

As you may expect, you need to do a little more scrubbing (nothing beats elbow grease) than when using a heavy-duty commercial product. But, think about what you are using to clean your toilet currently (unless you’re already ahead of me) and where that goes once you flush it away.

So, it’s pretty simple. You will need the following:

  • White vinegar
  • Tea tree essential oil
  • Bicarbonate soda
  • Spray bottle
  • Shaker jar
  • Rice (maybe)

Actually the hardest part about this was sourcing a shaker jar with holes in the lid so I could sprinkle the bicarb easily. I wanted something that would have a cap over the top to stop moisture getting in, but as I couldn’t find one easily I decided to put some dry rice in with the bicarb to hopefully stop it from clumping. A couple of weeks later and it’s still good so maybe it worked.

Fill the spray bottle with white vinegar and add a good 10-20 drops of tea tree essential oil.

To clean the toilet, spray the inside of the bowl with the vinegar/tea tree solution and leave it to sit there for about 5 minutes. Then, sprinkle the bicarb over the top (if you listen carefully you can hear a very slight fizzing sound, which is far from the frothy excitement of those childhood experiences but nonetheless satisfying) and use your toilet brush to scrub straight away.

That reminds me, I haven’t thought of a plastic-free alternative to toilet brushes yet… well, one step at a time!

Now, this worked really well for me for the usual week-to-week stains on the toilet bowl. However, one of our toilets had a longer-term stain from the water itself and I wasn’t able to remove it using this method. So in a future post when I have got around to trying out another more intensive cleaner, I will let you know how I go. In the meantime, enjoy pictures of my toilet. I thought it would be worth showing the before and after. Not perfect, but I thought there was more of a sparkle to it afterwards.

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Before (left) and after (right).

You can also use the vinegar solution to clean the seat and other parts of the toilet rather than using any other spray cleaner.

There you have it. My first home-made household cleaning product. Pretty easy, right?

So, when your toilet cleaner runs out, instead of adding another bottle of it to the shopping list, why not give this method a go instead? It even comes with a built-in 5 minutes of rest while you are waiting for the vinegar to do its thing!

One less toxic product down the drain is one more step towards a more ethical lifestyle.

Live better.