Can You Use Toilet Bowl Cleaners in the Shower?

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. These cleaning products 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.

Toilet bowl cleaners are suited to small porcelain-based materials and for small areas. You should not use them to clean the shower since they’re corrosive and emit dangerous fumes, 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.

Toilet bowl cleaners have hydrochloric acid and chlorine bleach, which are great for cleaning but very harsh on the skin and the human body. The fumes from the mixture of these ingredients also pose a danger to our respiratory systems. Using toilet cleaners to clean the shower is not a good idea.

Can You Use Toilet Bowl Cleaners in the Shower?

How do toilet bowl cleaners work?

Toilet bowl cleaners such as Lysol remove dirt and oils from the toilet since hydrochloric acid and bleach are 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 unsafe for tubs.

Hydrochloric acid loosens dirt by breaking down its molecules, while bleach removes color to give it 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, you can also find higher concentrations 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. I discuss the main active ingredients in toilet cleaners, their uses, and effects below:

1. Hydrochloric acid

Hydrochloric acid removes tough stains on the porcelain toilet bowl, including the toilet ring. It’s a strong chemical since most of the alternatives don’t work well when it comes to removing tough toilet stains.

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 are easily damaged by acid when used in cleaning. 

The hydrochloric acid in toilet bowl cleaners is very strong and can ruin your bathtub if you use it to clean the shower. It’s also corrosive to humans and can cause burns if it comes into contact with the skin. It also emits fumes that can harm your lungs and throat.

2. Bleach

Toilet bowl cleaners also have bleach in them, which is a potential hazard to your health. Bleach whitens surfaces and kills germs too. However, it’s corrosive to fabrics, rubber, and metals. It’s also nauseating to some people (myself included).

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. It’s not 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.

Toilet bowl cleaners ruined my 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 and left for at least 15 minutes before scrubbing it 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 immediately.

If the bathtub is already damaged, you can repaint or restore your tub’s shine, as I explain in this guide.

Can toilet bowl cleaners 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 when cleaning a toilet bowl. This increases the level of danger to the user. 

You should 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.

Toilet bowl cleaners are just for your toilet because they contain harsh chemicals and bleach. You don’t want them in your shower or bathtub because then they will start breaking down the surfaces of the tile and fixtures.

Instead, use natural products like vinegar to clean and deodorize shower doors or water mixed with some essential oils-lavender works well.

You could also use plants around your house for 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:

  1. Pour half a cup of baking soda into a mixing bowl. 
  2. Add a cup of white vinegar and mix well.
  3. Spread it on the floor with a sponge or rag, scrubbing as you go. 
  4. Let it sit for 5 minutes without disturbing it (the heat from your fingers can undo its effectiveness). 
  5. Rinse off with warm water before letting it dry naturally. Repeat the process in other places like toilets, showers, sinks, countertops, and faucets. 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, eliminating the need to kneel to clean the shower surfaces.

Use acid-free grout cleaners to clean grout at least once weekly. 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 it with water. 

Remove rough bathtub stains by making a paste with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide in a 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:

  1. Apply Borax powder on the area with rust. 
  2. Rub a cut lemon on the surface of the rusty area to form a paste. 
  3. 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 must 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. To avoid damage, you shouldn’t use a toilet bowl cleaner to clean the shower more than twice a year.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use toilet bleach to clean the shower?

Toilet bleach should not be used to clean the shower since it has harsh chemicals that may harm surfaces and your skin. It also produces fumes that can cause respiratory issues. Wear protective gear when using toilet bleach, such as gloves and a gas mask.

What else can you use toilet bowl cleaner for?

You can use your toilet bowl cleaner to clean your bathtub since it helps break down the grime from the surface. It also works faster than bathtub cleaners.

Is it safe to use toilet bowl cleaner on tile grout?

Toilet bowl cleaners are tough on grime and dirt but also on grout sealant. When used on tile grout, it breaks down the grout sealant, damaging the tile floor in the process.

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