Cleaning toilets the green way

There are opportunities to lead a greener life throughout the entire house, including in the bathroom. Here are some helpful hints on how you can clean your toilet in an environment-friendly way.

Cleaning toilets the green way

Clean toilet, clean environment

Toilet cleaning may not be particularly fun, but at least you can do it in an eco-friendly way.

  • Don't put anything except for human waste and biodegradable toilet paper down a toilet. Anything else can either block the drain or pollute the environment.
  • Put the toilet lid down before flushing the cistern if your toilet is in the bathroom. Otherwise you risk getting fine mist particles of toilet water all over the room, including your toothbrush.
  • Avoid using commercial toilet cleaning products. Many use strong acids and some use toxic chemicals such as para-dichlorobenzene.
  • Clean the inside of the toilet bowl by sprinkling the dampened surface with 250 grams (one cup) of borax and then spraying it with 50 millilitres (1/4 cup) of vinegar. Let it sit for an hour or two to give the solution time to work, then scrub with a long-handled brush and flush to rinse.
  • To remove a stubborn toilet bowl ring, apply a paste of borax and lemon juice. Leave overnight, scrub well and flush.
  • Use any general cleaner such as a colourless, scent-free dish-washing liquid or soap solution to clean the outside of the toilet bowl and the toilet seat.
  • Burn off the smell of toilet odours with an aromatherapy oil burner or candle, or simply light a match. These odours are not harmful, so an open window is generally enough to clear the air.
  • Clean out the toilet cistern every now and then if you use grey water as it can get a bit smelly. To empty the cistern, turn off the control valve on the inlet pipe, then flush the toilet. Once the cistern has emptied, it won't refill, allowing you to clean the inside.
  • Add a few drops of pine oil or tea tree oil to the toilet bowl for extra disinfectant power.

Alternative natural disinfectants

Why use commercial cleaning products containing harsh chemicals when there are natural alternatives with effective disinfectant capabilities, such as those listed below?

  • Borax: Kills bacteria and deodorizes. Mix with hot water and vinegar or lemon juice to get rid of stubborn stains in toilet bowls. You can also use borax instead of bleach to combat recurring mould.
  • Lemon juice: An effective and pleasant-smelling alternative to bleach, lemon juice is useful as a mould-inhibitor and disinfectant. For stubborn mildew stains on shower curtains, rub with lemon juice and dry in the sun.
  • Salt: Dissolve salt in water to use as a mild disinfectant in kitchens and bathrooms. Salt is good for cleaning surfaces that require a gentle abrasive, and it mixes well with vinegar and water as a surface cleaner.
  • Soap: Washes away bacteria and is an important part of basic sanitation. Pure soap flakes are available in supermarkets or you can make your own by grating a bar of pure soap.
  • Tea tree and eucalyptus oils: Strong but pleasant-smelling, these oils are economical to use as you need just a few drops. You can add them to hot water when wiping down surfaces.

Rather than shelling out lots of money for strong commercial cleaners, give these eco-friendly cleaning practices a try. You'll soon discover that spotless toilets and fresh-smelling bathrooms are attainable using natural products found around the house.

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