The purpose of a toilet bowl cleaner is to remove dirt, mineral deposits, and other particles that may stick to the inside of your pipes leading from your toilets through your home’s plumbing system. What these cleaning products do is break down any organic matter on contact so you don’t have to scrub hard with chemicals that are harmful to humans. However, toilet bowl cleaners aren’t good for the shower.
You should not use toilet bowl cleaners to clean the shower since they’re corrosive and emit dangerous fumes and hence too harsh for shower surfaces such as floors, doors and walls. If you must use the toilet cleaners, protect yourself and rinse them off the surfaces immediately after cleaning.
How do toilet bowl cleaners work?
Toilet bowl cleaners such as Lysol remove dirt and oils from the toilet since they have hydrochloric acid and bleach as two of the main active ingredients. These ingredients are the key to removing stains and discoloration from your toilet. While Lysol is EPA-approved, it’s still not safe for use on tubs.
Hydrochloric acid loosens dirt by breaking down its molecules while bleach removes color in order to give it back a clean white look.
Toilet bowl cleaners come in liquid form with varying degrees of strength for different kinds of cleaning jobs. The most common strength is the low or medium concentration that targets general staining on surfaces such as toilets, sinks, and bathtubs. If you need something stronger then you can find higher concentrations as well that attack tough grime like rusting metal fixtures.
These ingredients, however, pose a danger to the users and the shower surfaces hence the need to refrain from using toilet bowl cleaners to clean the shower area. The main active ingredients and their uses and effects are discussed below:
1. Hydrochloric acid
The hydrochloric acid in toilet bowl cleaners is very strong and can ruin your bathtub if you use it to clean the shower.
Toilet bowls are made of porcelain that’s resistant to hydrochloric acid. However, bathroom surfaces aren’t made of acid-resistant materials and can easily get damaged. Some bathtubs, for example, are made of plastic materials that easily get damaged by acid when used in the cleaning process.
Hydrochloric acid is also corrosive to human beings and can cause burns if it comes in contact with the skin. It also emits fumes that can be harmful to one’s lungs and throat.
Toilet bowl cleaners also have bleach in them, which is a potential hazard to your health. Bleach can cause skin irritations and respiratory problems when inhaled or touched. This also means that bleach will damage most items it comes into contact with while cleaning the toilet such as bathtubs or sinks.
Bleach may not be good for you either since people who work around bleach often develop serious illnesses like asthma and cancer of the nose and throat.
Bleach is used in whitening and killing germs on toilet surfaces. Like hydrochloric acid, it can be too strong for cleaning shower surfaces such as bathtubs and shower floors.
The next time you need to clean your shower, use a cleaner made specifically for showers or bathroom surfaces – not toilet bowl cleaners. This is because using toilet bowl cleaner in the shower could cause damage to the surfaces and harm to the user.
Toilet bowl cleaner ruined bathtub
Harsh ingredients in toilet bowl cleaners coupled with the lack of a protective porcelain layer on most bathtubs mean that toilet bowl cleaners are likely to damage the surface of your bathtub.
Most toilet cleaners work by being applied to the chosen surface, left for at least 15 minutes before scrubbing the surface and rinsing it off. This time is long enough for the bleach and hydrochloric acid in the toilet cleaner to corrode the surface of the bathtub.
For this reason, if you must use toilet cleaners to clean surfaces in the shower, don’t let the cleaners stay on the surface for long. Instead, apply it on the surface, clean it and rinse it away immediately.
Can toilet bowl cleaner kill you?
Toilet bowl cleaners can kill you if swallowed or from their toxic fumes. Bleach and hydrochloric acid are both harsh and poisonous when ingested into the body. Also, they emit fumes when mixed with other substances or on their own.
The larger amount of toilet bowl cleaner used in cleaning a bathroom leads to more fumes than what you have when cleaning a toilet bowl. This increases the level of danger to the user.
You should thus turn on the fan, open the windows, wear gloves and generally protect yourself when working with toilet bowl cleaners.
What can I use to clean my shower?
Now that you can’t use toilet bowl cleaners for your bathroom, what can you use? Cleaning your shower stall depends on the type of surface you’re cleaning.
A lot of people think they can use toilet bowl cleaners to clean their entire bathroom, but that’s not the case. Toilet bowl cleaners are just for your toilet because they contain harsh chemicals and bleach. You don’t want those things in your shower or bathtub because then they will start breaking down the surfaces of the tile and fixtures.
Instead, you should use natural products like vinegar (it deodorizes too) or water mixed with a little bit of essential oils-lavender works really well.
You could also hit up some plants around your house for some good old-fashioned green cleaning power. For example, lemon balm leaves work wonders on stains. Besides that, thyme has antibacterial properties. And if all else fails? You can resort to scrubbing with a brush and some soap.
Clean your bathroom with white vinegar and baking soda in the following steps:
- Pour half a cup of baking soda in a mixing bowl.
- Add a cup of white vinegar and mix well.
- Spread it on the floor with a sponge or rag, scrubbing as you go.
- Let it sit for five minutes without disturbing it (the heat from your fingers can undo its effectiveness).
- Rinse off with warm water before letting it dry naturally. Repeat the process in other places like toilets, showers, sinks, countertops and faucets. Just don’t forget to wash down surfaces that are hard-to reach (like grout lines).
This mixture won’t harm your bathroom surfaces as it’s mild in nature when compared to toilet bowl cleaners. Repeat it every week to keep your shower clean at all times.
You can use white vinegar and baking soda as a paste to clean the grout much better than you would if you used a liquid mixture of the two. Simply add vinegar to a bowl of baking soda while stirring until you make a consistent paste.
Another option for your shower is using all-purpose shower cleaners meant for shower surfaces such as Bio Clean. You can combine them with an extendable tub and tile scrubber which eliminates the need to kneel to clean the shower surfaces.
For grout, use acid-free grout cleaners to clean the grout at least once every week. While each one has its own instructions, you generally clean grout by applying the grout cleaner, waiting for 15 minutes then scrubbing it before rinsing with water.
Remove rough bathtub stains by making a paste with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide in the ratio of 2:1 (2 parts baking soda, 1 part hydrogen peroxide). Scrub the stain then cover it for 45 minutes with the paste before rinsing it off.
Clean rust stains on bathtubs with the following steps:
- Apply Borax powder on the area with rust.
- Rub a cut lemon on the surface of the rusted area to form a paste.
- Wait for an hour then rinse it off with water.
In conclusion, you should not use toilet bowl cleaners to clean your shower since they can damage the surfaces and even cause health problems for the user. If you have to use them, provide enough ventilation and always protect yourself. Also, don’t let the toilet cleaner sit on the shower surfaces for long. Instead, apply it while scrubbing the surface then immediately rinse it off. You shouldn’t use a toilet bowl cleaner on the shower more than twice a year to avoid damages.