toilet

Nobody actually wants to clean the toilet. After all, it’s the place where you do your business. Where you answer the call of nature. Where you…well, you get the point. Nothing pretty ever happens there. And, if you don’t give your toilet a good scrub down every so often, the situation can get…grim. Toilet bowl rings. Odor. Dust and such stuck to the surface. In these stinky times, it can be tempting to turn to chemical cleaning concoctions in the hopes of squashing any nasty germs and bacteria. Don’t risk it!

Skip the chemicals

Most conventional toilet cleaners contain hundreds of toxic chemicals, such as chlorine bleach and hydrochloric acid. The effects of these chemicals when used for cleaning can range from eye, skin and respiratory irritation to far worse. Many conventional toilet cleaners warn that their products are fatal if swallowed and they advise users to wear rubber gloves to avoid touching them. Makes you wonder what sort of toxic sludge is in them, doesn’t it?

Just take a look at the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning for a general look at the ingredients in conventional toilet cleaners. When you search “toilet cleaner” 68 products pop up, 44 percent of which earned an “F” rating. Many of these contain such scary ingredients as sodium hypochlorite, which is an asthmagen and can have negative developmental, endocrine and reproductive effects. Or, there’s glyoxal, which is suspected of causing genetic defects. And, those are just a couple of the ingredients that the companies actually disclose. Besides their potential affects on your health, also remember that if you use these cleaners you flush that stuff down the toilet and back into the environment.

All natural cleaning

Toilets aren’t really as dirty as we assume. Toilet seats actually contain fewer germs and bacteria than your kitchen, computer keyboard and cell phone. You don’t need chemicals to get your toilet clean. Instead, clean your toilet with au natural ingredients. Grab the rubber gloves. The face mask. Whatever you need to get through it. These nontoxic toilet cleaners will make your porcelain throne sparkle, and you won’t have to worry about doing harm to your health or to the environment.

Toilet All-Purpose Cleaner

1 part water
1 part white vinegar
10 drops essential oil (try eucalyptus, peppermint or tea tree)

Mix the ingredients together in a spray bottle. Then, use this all-purpose cleaner to clean the exterior of your toilet with a rag or sponge. The essential oil will mask the strong smell of the vinegar and also provide an antibacterial boost. (Although, even the smell of vinegar is probably preferable to whatever odor is coming from your toilet.) You can also use this all purpose spray to clean your entire bathroom.

Toilet Bowl Scrub

1 cup baking soda
2 cups white vinegar
Squeeze of lemon

Pour the baking soda into the toilet. Follow it with the vinegar and a squeeze of lemon. The baking soda and vinegar will create a foamy chemical reaction. Use a toilet brush to scrub away any toilet rings and other gunk. The lemon will add a nice, fresh scent.

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image: Kirsten Hudson