People use just about anything to clean their toilets, including the strongest sanitizers they can get their hands on — like bleach. After all, the only thing that matters is keeping the toilet perfectly clean.
But is it a good idea to pour bleach down the toilet?
The answer is: Yes, you can pour bleach down the toilet.
However, you have to be careful because it can quickly react with other substances and create toxic fumes. Always read product guidelines and follow the manufacturer’s instructions before using bleach.
It’s also important to keep in mind that this substance serves as a reliable cleaning solution, but it won’t be good for unclogging a bathroom drain.
Can You Pour Bleach Down The Toilet?
Yes, you can pour bleach down the toilet, but it’s safer to use a different sanitizer. If you go with the bleach, keep in mind the recommended dilution ratio of 1:16 — it means mixing every cup of bleach with one gallon of water.
How Does Bleach Work?
Bleach is a chemical that kills germs and helps remove rust stains.
It breaks down into two parts: chlorine and hydrogen. Chlorine is the disinfectant that kills bacteria, while hydrogen bleaches the stain and whitens the porcelain.
Bleach needs moisture to work as a disinfectant. It takes 10 minutes for standard bleach to react with stains. After that, you need to scrub off what remains manually.
How to Use Bleach to Clean Your Toilet
You need to be cautious when using bleach for toilet cleaning — it can remove stains, but it cannot unclog your toilet.
Bleach isn’t a clog-dissolving product, so you should not use it to clean the outlet drain. It will only add to the waste and form an even bigger clog.
Follow these steps for maximum efficiency and personal safety:
Step 1: Prepare the Tools
Before cleaning your toilet, you should prepare the tools. You need a toilet brush, gloves, a bucket filled with water, a measuring cup, and bleach.
Step 2: Follow Safety Measures
The key task is to protect your health, so remember to follow safety measures. Avoid all interactions with your skin, eyes, mouth, and nose.
- Wear goggles to prevent bleach droplets from going into your eyes
- Put a mouth cover on to avoid breathing in bleach fumes
- Make sure to wear rubber gloves
- Turn on the bathroom’s exhaust fan to collect fumes
- After cleaning, immediately wash your hands
Step 3: Dilute the Bleach With Water
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest mixing 1 cup of bleach (8 ounces or 240 milliliters) with 1 gallon of water (3.8 liters).
According to the CDC, this solution is perfect for mold growth on hard surfaces such as toilet bowls, floors, stoves, and sinks.
Step 4: Wipe Down the Toilet to Remove Traces of Waste
Before you pour the bleach mixture into your toilet, scrub it down with the toilet brush to remove any signs of urine or other waste. You could also use a brush or rag.
This is a critical step because bleach strongly reacts with uric acid, releasing highly toxic gases as a byproduct. If you don’t feel comfortable using bleach, opt for a safer product like Iron Out.
Step 5: Pour the Bleach Solution Into the Toilet
Pour the entire bleach mixture into your toilet, but don’t flush yet. Remember that chlorine bleach takes 10 to 15 minutes to break down stains and disinfect the bowl.
Step 6: Scrub the Toilet Bowl
After 15 minutes, scrub the bowl with a brush to remove stains and whatever remains. Scrub long enough to remove the bleach traces, too.
Step 7: Flush the Toilet Several Times
Now, flush the toilet at least four or five times to rinse away all residues.
Step 8: Clean Up
After that, remember to throw away all the used gloves and rags in a sealed plastic bag. If you have protective gear — such as goggles and a mouth cover — thoroughly wash them with water and soap.
Of course, remember to wash your hands as well.
Bleach Cannot Unclog Drains
Contrary to popular belief, a diluted bleach solution cannot breach clogs and toilet waste in your drains.
You’ll need a different product to make a no-clog toilet.
Bleach can even damage your pipes by adding to the clogs — as it won’t break the clogs down, it will only add to the debris.
Besides that, homes with an independent septic system shouldn’t use bleach for cleaning. It kills good bacteria in the septic waste tank, which leads to the formation of harmful parasites.
This, in turn, allows solid waste to build up much quicker and flood the septic tank.
The Dangers of Using Bleach for Cleaning
When bleach mixes with a variety of substances, it becomes toxic to humans and animals. That’s why we do not recommend using it for cleaning your toilet.
Bleach can react with many substances in a bathroom, such as ammonia from urine. This can produce toxic fumes and chlorine gas, so it’s better to use alternative sanitizers such as Lysol Cling Gel.
Other solutions and detergents are milder, and they don’t pose the same threat to your health or your toilet.
How to Get Rid of Bleach
If you still have bleach at home, we can give you a few tips on how to dispose of it.
1. Use All of It
The easiest way out is to use all you have left. Make sure to mix it with enough water and flush it down the toilet.
2. Give It to Someone
If you have a friend or family member who wants to clean their toilet, you can give them your bleach. Just make sure you inform them about the possible dangers of cleaning with bleach, and urge them to dispose of it properly.
3. Throw Away an Empty Container
Check with your local recycling center if you can recycle your bleach container. If so, separate it from glass, plastic, and aluminum containers.
Since bleach is not the most suitable solution for cleaning toilets, you should try its alternatives. There are many other items you can use to clean the bowl, and they are not harmful like bleach.
Vinegar is a traditional option that works well. Pour two cups of white vinegar into the toilet bowl, allowing it to soak for 10 minutes.
Then, go in and scrub it with a brush and flush to rinse once more. This will help you get rid of toilet stains and strong odors in your bathroom.
Lemon juice is an excellent cleaner — and it also smells wonderful. Mix two lemons worth of juice with two cups of baking soda. Put it into the toilet and let it soak for five minutes before scrubbing.
Toilet Bowl Cleaners
Commercial products such as Seventh Generation Toilet Bowl Cleaner do an excellent job, as well. Manufacturers fine-tune commercial products to clean the bowl without damaging it.
They also don’t pose a risk to your health as much as bleach.
Castile soap consists of olive oil — without any dangerous chemicals — and you can use it instead of bleach. Mix it with some soap and water, and then feel free to scrub your toilet as well as the entire bathroom.
The Bottom Line
Bleach is often the first thing homeowners think to use to clean their toilet, but it’s not a perfect solution. And, while you can pour bleach down the bowl, we recommend using alternatives like commercial toilet bowl cleaners, detergents, or even vinegar.
If you still want to use bleach, remember to mix it in water, to use rubber gloves, and to protect your eyes and mouth.
That, and when you’re done scrubbing the stains off the toilet bowl, flush it a few times to eliminate the last remnants of waste and bleach.
Does bleach damage toilet bowls?
Yes. Undiluted bleach can damage your toilet if you don’t use it correctly. Make sure to create a good mixture of bleach and water before pouring it down the toilet.
How frequently should you put bleach down the toilet?
We don’t recommend pouring it down the toilet more than once a week. Using pure bleach more than that can damage the toilet bowl — especially if you don’t dilute it in water.
Can I leave bleach in the toilet overnight?
It’s enough to leave bleach in the toilet bowl for 15 minutes. Anything more than that is unnecessary, and it may damage the toilet.