Traditional toilet cleaner is sprayed or applied around the rim of the toilet bowl to prepare it for scrubbing. These often come in gel, liquid, or powder form. There are certainly still plenty of these toiler cleaners on the market. However, there are also flushable tablets and automatic toilet cleaners that clip on or adhere to the side of the toilet. Choose the right fit for you and your bathroom based on your personal preferences and how frequently you feel the need to clean it.
Buying Guide for Toilet Bowl Cleaners
Why buy toilet bowl cleaner?
You don’t want guests to walk into your bathroom and be greeted by the sight and smell of a dirty toilet. Not to mention that it’s unhygienic not to clean your toilet. Toilet cleaners are chemical solutions that work to sanitize and clear away stains, germs, and debris from the rim and inside of your toilet. They can leave your bathroom smelling and looking its best.
What should you consider in a toilet bowl cleaner?
- Type: Do you want a tablet that sits in the toilet, a clip-on or adhesive that sits on the side, a traditional liquid or gel, or a toilet wand? Each of these types of cleaners comes with its own benefits and drawbacks. Gel and liquid cleaners are generally considered the most effective and require the most hands-on application. Automatic cleaners and tablets clean the toilet every time you flush but don’t always provide a deeper clean. Toilet wands with attached scrubbing pads prevent you from needing to touch the bowl itself while you clean. However, the wand kits tend to be pricier, and many people run through the scrubbing pads quicker than the other options. This makes them more expensive in the long run than other types.
- Convenience: Tablets and automatic cleaners are much easier and quicker to use. All you have to do is stick the automatic cleaner on the side of your toilet bowl or place the tablet inside the bowl, and you’re all set. However, sometimes, they don’t reach the entire bowl and may require supplemental cleaning. Gel and liquid cleaners are strong but take a lot more time and effort since they often have to be sprayed around the bowl, left to sit for 10 to 15 minutes, and then scrubbed off. Toilet wands provide a strong scrub in less time since they don’t need to sit like liquid cleaners, though they still do require more time and elbow grease than tablets or automatic cleaners.
- Main Use: Keep an eye on whether a product’s main use is to disinfect the toilet bowl, remove and prevent stains, or both. Many products will offer both options, but some will only offer one benefit or the other. Check the product guide and label before purchasing to make sure the cleaner fits your needs.
What safety issues do you need to be aware of?
If you have pets that like to drink out of the toilet, it’s important to pick a product that won’t be harmful to them if they drink the water. Some products have bleach or other toxic chemicals; you won’t want these sitting in your toilet if your pet will be drinking the water, even if it’s accidental. Just to be sure to check what it’s in the product you choose to see if it could be harmful if you have pets.
Our Picks for the Best Toilet Bowl Cleaners
Clorox Ultra Clean Toilet Tablets
Get a long-lasting clean at a great price with these cleaning tablets.
Pros: Clorox Ultra Clean Toilet Tablets keep your toilet clean and help prevent stains. They also remove some of the bad smells that your toilet can give off. All it takes is five minutes for these tablets to clean up your toilet, and that cleanliness should last a full four months. With bleach included, these tablets also remove mineral deposits and other stains. They’re also pretty easy to use—just put the tablet in the toilet to get it clean.
Cons: While the clean from the bleach may last a while, so do the blue marks these tablets leave in the toilet. It can be a little frustrating when a cleaning product ends up leaving marks on what it was meant to clean. Even worse, some users found mold starting to appear in their toilet bowls. A gel also tends to form at the bottom of the toilet, which is an issue.
Bottom Line: While there are some issues with these tablets, they do a great job of cleaning up toilets. They even leave a nice smell behind after you use them! So, while some people don’t love the streaks that the tablets can leave behind in the water, if you’re okay with this slight discoloration, this should be a great option.
Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Bowl Cleaning Gel Kit
Keep your bathroom clean on a budget with this toilet bowl cleaner.
Pros: The Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Bowl Cleaning Gel Kit is super handy: just use the dispenser to stick the cleaning gel in the toilet, which cleans the bowl every time you flush. You don’t have to worry about scrubbing or brushing; the cleaner works each time you flush. Plus, each gel unit will last up to 12 days. You can even choose from different fragrances for your toilet: rainshower, citrus, and lavender.
Cons: To make sure it works properly, you’ll need to read the directions! Things can get a little messy if you’re not careful with how you use the dispenser. The smell from the gel can also be a little overpowering. While it does cover up foul smells, it might give you a headache if you’re sensitive to fragrances. There is also the occasional issue with the gel sticking: it will slip off the bowl if not securely attached.
Bottom Line: At this price point, it’s hard to complain about how effective this product is. It will clean your toilet despite some minor issues. This product will also last a decent amount of time since it includes an impressive amount of gel. Give this cleaning gel a try!
Lysol New Day Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner
This product allows for hands-free and hassle-free cleaning.
Pros: The Lysol New Day Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner is perfect for those who don’t want to have to worry about maintenance. Just stick this cleaner on the inside of the toilet bowl and let it get to work. With this cleaner, you can get rid of a toilet ring, prevent stains, and enjoy pleasant fragrances for the whole four weeks that this product is designed to last.
Cons: While the product may be designed to last for weeks at a time, it usually doesn’t last that long. It’s more likely you’ll get a few days of cleaning from each unit. The applicator is also rather small, so your hand will have to get pretty close to the toilet bowl, which can be a problem if you’re a bit squeamish. There’s also the occasional issue with getting the cleaner to stick to the bowl. Make sure you’ve really pressed down to make it stick!
Bottom Line: Hands-free toilet cleaning is pretty much the ideal scenario, and that’s what this product was designed for. All you have to do is get the cleaner onto the toilet bowl. While not everyone loves the smell, and it may not last as long as advertised, it gets the job done keeping your bathroom refreshed.
Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaner
A super-powered cleaning product for your toilet bowl.
Pros: If you’re looking for a toilet cleaner that takes care of practically any mess, the Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaner is the product for you. Spray this liquid cleaner onto the area you want to get clean, let it sit for a bit, then come back and scrub away. It also kills all that unseen bacteria and leaves behind a refreshing smell.
Cons: The liquid doesn’t always cling where you want it to, so you’ll need to spray extra to get all those dirty spots covered. That also means you may need to scrub a bit harder and longer than you might want. The packaging is also a minor issue: you get two bottles with this purchase, and they’re not really wrapped up tightly. There may be minor leaks when they arrive.
Bottom Line: While you may need to use a little elbow grease, this product cleans up most messes you need to take on. It smells good and should last a while. Plus, this product is great for cleaning more than toilets. Use it in the shower or even in the kitchen.
Scrubbing Bubbles Brush Toilet Bowl Cleaning System
A breath of fresh air for your bathroom.
Pros: The Scrubbing Bubbles Brush Toilet Bowl Cleaning System puts all its cleaning power in your hands. Rather than waiting for the water to wash away dirt or putting a cleaning gel into the bowl, you get to clean up your toilet right away with a little scrubbing. Just use the disposable pad to wipe away dirt, then flush that pad down the toilet. It’s a super easy and effective way to clean your toilet. The wand is plenty long, so don’t worry about your hands getting dirty.
Cons: This isn’t the most powerful cleaner: you might need a little extra help to take on the toughest stains. You’ll probably want a different product whenever you need a deep cleanse. The pads also began to dissolve as soon as they touch the water. They’re made to be disposable, but that process sometimes starts a little sooner than you might want.
Bottom Line: This product is easy to use and gets the job done. It’s perfect for a daily clean that helps keep your toilet fresh and your bathroom smelling pleasant. You’ll need to scrub some, but you’ll have a clean toilet if you put the work in.
Finding the right cleaner depends on the work you want to put in. Some products sit in your toilet and use the water to clean the toilet for you; others leave it up to you to scrub and clean the toilet. It really depends on what you’re comfortable with and how much work you want to put in. Most of these products are very affordable, though, so you might even want to try more than one!