One of my favorite low waste ways to clean toilets is with this zero waste toilet cleaner! It is totally plastic-free and can be made with things you may already have on hand. It’s non-toxic, environmentally friendly, and inexpensive.
Our keyword for this recipe is: easy.
These are not toilet bombs for a reason.
Initially, I wanted to create these cute little toilet bombs. I envisioned myself carrying my glass jar to the bathroom, plopping a fizzing toilet bomb in the bowl, and feeling like a zero-waste queen.
But then…I thought about logistics here. Toilet bombs require you to make a mix, mold it, and let it dry for a day or two. Then you have to come back to that earlier product days later to put the molds in the jar.
The odds that I would get distracted somewhere in this process are high. Even if I finish this one time, am I (are you?) willing to commit to making and molding and curing and packaging toilet bombs EVERY time I run out?
Life is already stressful. I only want to start new habits that feel easy.
Making toilet bombs is not easy.
Maybe you’ll think I’m not aiming high enough, but plan for failure. Plan for getting distracted. Keep it as easy, easy, easy as you can.
Future you will be so thankful you kept it easy.
How do you make a homemade toilet bowl cleaner?
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 1/2 cup citric acid
- 25-40 drops of essential oil (Optional; I recommend citrus, mint, and/or woodsy scents)
Simply pour all of the ingredients into a jar and shake very well. That’s it!
You can easily double this recipe and make a larger batch! I find the smaller jar stores better in my Grove cleaning caddy.
Tips about using essential oils
You can add essential oils for extra cleaning power and scent. The oils are totally optional, but many essential oils are naturally cleansing and they add a refreshing scent that makes your bathroom feel squeaky clean.
If you add essential oils, the mixture WILL start to become clumpy and harden up. I recommend adding a leftover silica gel packet or two to absorb the moisture.
One solution: Add only the powders to the jar. When you’re ready to clean, add the essential oils directly to the toilet bowl.
P.S. You can use this zero waste toilet cleaner for other things, too!
How much zero waste toilet cleaner to use per cleaning
I would recommend using about 2 tablespoons. If you don’t have an extra tablespoon to keep in the jar (remember, keep it EASY!), check to see if you have any extra scoops from protein powders, etc. We usually have a couple of random scoops on hand and this 33 cc (about 2.25 tbs) one from our collagen fits perfectly.
This fizzy DIY toilet bowl cleaner cuts the elbow grease.
The most exciting part about this recipe is that it fizzes up in the toilet! A regular liquid or gel toilet cleaner is not nearly that fun.
The mix of citric acid and baking soda fizzes up when it hits the water. When combined in the water, baking soda and citric acid release carbon dioxide which streams out in the form of bubbles. (They also create a trisodium salt called sodium citrate.)
All that fizzing naturally cleans your toilet with less effort. I do recommend using a brush to scrub the toilet lightly as otherwise, the toilet scrub would only clean where the water is and not under the rim.
Bonus – all those bubbles release the scent of the essential oils, making your bathroom smell great!
Free printable label + recipe for our zero waste toilet cleaner
Want to make your jar look extra cute? Tape or Modge Podge this simple label to the top of the jar. It sits at about 3 inches in diameter, which is perfect for wide-mouth mason jar lids.
You could also attach it to the side of the jar. I preferred putting it somewhere that I would touch the least. I’ll touch the ring of the jar often, but not the actual lid nearly as much.
I’ve included two copies of the label and the recipe on the page to maximize the paper. The label itself actually includes the recipe, too!
Get this custom label for your jar!
Stick this cute label on top of your jar so you don’t confuse it with something else. You’ll also get access to our entire free resource library while you’re at it. Talk about a win!
This mixture is multi-purpose!
After I made this mixture, I started to wonder if it would replace a citric acid-based garbage disposal cleaner that I had. After checking the package, I saw that it was basically the same thing!
Zero Waste Garbage Disposal Cleaner
To clean your garbage disposal of any gunk or build-up, you’ll first want to run it with a low stream of warm running water for about 1 minute.
Then, turn off the disposal and add 2 tbs of the mixture into your garbage disposal with the water still running. Allow it to fizz up and foam for a minute and then turn the disposal back on. Let it run for another 30 seconds to a minute and you’re done!
Zero Waste Sink Cleaner
If you’re noticing your bathroom sinks are draining slowly or collecting gunk, it’s time for a cleaning!
Close your drain with the stopper, add about an inch or two of water, and put about 2 tbs of the toilet cleaner in the water.
Let it fizz up for a few minutes then come back, scrub the mixture around, and rinse!
How do I make my toilet cleaner eco friendly?
Use eco-friendly ingredients! For a zero-waste toilet cleaner, aim for products you can easily source in bulk without plastic packaging.
Baking soda is easy to source at any local grocer. It’s also inexpensive, versatile, and environmentally friendly, so we always have it on hand for cleaning or baking! Azure Standard also sells it in bulk for easy pick up at your next drop!
Citric acid may be a new ingredient for you! Citric acid is generally regarded as safe by the FDA. It is often found in food products and is a great boost for natural cleaning!
You may already have some in your pantry if you’re a canner. With food-grade citric acid, you can even make your own sour gummies!
You may be able to find citric acid locally, but I’ve typically ordered it online. It is easy to find on Amazon (packaged in plastic) or you can add it to your Azure Standard order (packaged in compostable paper).
Essential oils seem to be available everywhere these days! But, not all essential oils are high-quality. If you’re just buying essential oils for cleaning, then you can easily use the cheap-o low-quality ones. Personally, I only buy oils that are multi-purpose (skincare, diffusing, cleaning) and I try to buy the best quality I can afford.
The essential oil brands we’ve used the most and recommend are:
Mountain Rose Herbs (our favorite company – they sell THE best quality essential oils, carrier oils, butters, herbs, and more all from their zero waste location in Oregon. They are truly doing the work!)
How do I clean a toilet without plastic?
This is the exact question I asked myself before deciding to make my DIY toilet bowl cleaner. How is it that all my other cleaning products could either be made or purchased without plastic?
In addition to my own recipe, here are three more plastic-free toilet cleaner recipes that use several other combinations of common household ingredients!
Personally, I prefer my zero waste toilet cleaner because it is a shelf-stable powder and has a fizzing cleaning power similar to that of baking soda and vinegar without the fuss.
How to remove hard water stains from your toilet
After you fizz your toilet bowl clean, the last thing you want to see is a hard water stain. Don’t worry!
The easiest solution I’ve ever found is to scrub your toilet bowl with a ceramic-safe pumice stone. You simply rub it over the stain and they’ll disappear. Be sure to dip the stone in the water before scouring to ensure a scratch-free surface.
The only con is that the stones come individually wrapped in plastic. As soon as I find a plastic-free alternative, I will share it right away!
Zero Waste Toilet Cleaner
- 1 jar wide mouth pint jars are perfect for this!
- 1 1/2 cup measuring scoop
- 1 serving spoon approximately 2 tbs (we used a leftover protein powder scoop)
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 1/2 cup citric acid
- 25-40 drops essential oils optional
- Add the dry ingredients in the jar. Shake well to combine.
- If using essential oils, add to jar. Shake very well to combine. You may need to stir to combine and the mixture will likely clump up slightly
- Scrape the mixture out with your scoop when needed
- Store a silica gel packet or two in the jar.
- Keep the citric acid & baking soda in a jar. Add the oils directly to the toilet bowl!
Trying to live an eco-friendly life? It can feel overwhelming! There are so many products, strategies, opinions…It’s hard to know where to start.
I’m committed to going plastic-free on my path to becoming zero waste. I’m going to mess up, but I’ll figure it out along the way.
Want to do this eco-friendly thing together? Join my newsletter and I’ll send you a free 30 Day Sustainability Challenge!