Sometimes when cleaning the house, we run out of our regular detergents and cleaners. Either we forget these items were low or end up surprised because we didn’t know ahead of the cleaning session. So, it’s time to get resourceful so you can finish the job.
One thing many people ask about is, “can you use toilet bowl cleaner in the shower?” Well, it’s possible but using toilet bowl cleaner in your shower isn’t advisable. You have to be careful of the toilet bowl formulation in conjunction with the shower’s materials. They can be hazardous and strip or discolor the finish on your shower.
When in doubt and in a pinch, you may want to opt for something like liquid dish soap instead. This is because most toilet cleaners contain things like bleach and hydrochloric acid. Both of these aren’t good for showers comprising porcelain or delicate laminates.
What Is the Purpose of Toilet Bowl Cleaner?
Manufacturers devise toilet bowl cleaners to remove mineral deposits, oil, dirt, rust and other particles that stick to the inside of the bowl via your home’s plumbing system. These cleaners break down organic matter, which makes cleaning easier.
Even though the EPA approves many brands, it’s still not safe for tubs and showers. The hydrochloric acid and powerful bleach that often comprise most toilet bowl cleaners can be harmful to people, pets and the shower’s materials.
However, not all toilet bowl cleaners are equal and some plant-based ones may be suitable for using in the shower. This would will advertise as being nontoxic, safe and free of harsh chemicals. These products are becoming more available in the market, but they do tend to be a little more expensive.
Why Shouldn’t You Use Toilet Bowl Cleaner in the Shower?
The chemicals that formulate most toilet bowl cleaners are harmful to people and animals. Using them in the shower could cause a reaction to skin, feet, hands and eyes if you fail to rinse it out well enough.
Hydrochloric Acid; Bleach in Toilet Bowl Cleaners
To understand the dangers associated with using toilet bowl cleaners in the shower, you should have a detailed understanding of hydrochloric acid and bleach. These are in most brands of toilet bowl cleaners.
Hydrochloric acid is a very strong chemical compound that removes most organic matter and breaks it down on contact with the toilet. When you use this in your shower, it can ruin enamel, finishes and cause bubbling on the surface of the tub/shower’s materials. This is because it’s corrosive by nature.
Bleach removes discoloration and stains in the toilet while disinfecting it. Even though you may use some bleach for whitening clothes, using it in the form of a toilet bowl cleaner is in excess of what you would use for laundry. The amount of bleach makes it hazardous, causing respiratory issues and skin irritation.
What’s the Best Way to Apply Toilet Bowl Cleaner in the Shower?
If you absolutely have no other means to clean your shower in a pinch, then you can use a bit of toilet bowl cleaner in the shower. Consider the steps below and devise your own plan of action.
1. Consider the Brand
If you have a typical toilet bowl cleaner such as Lysol or Chlorox, you must read the label for the ingredients. At the very least, look for a statement that says “safe on septic tanks.” If the major ingredients listed are bleach and hydrochloric acid, you’ll be scrubbing your shower with it at your own risk.
However, if you have something like Mrs. Meyers or Method, these brands use nontoxic, plant-based chemicals. They do not have bleach or hydrochloric acid yet provide bona fide protection against bacteria while sterilizing your toilet. Therefore, it’s potentially safer to use these in your shower to clean it.
2. Applying the Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Before using any toilet bowl cleaner in your shower, you must first do a patch test in an inconspicuous place. Simply take a bit of the cleaner and let it sit for about five minutes. Rinse it away completely and see what it does to the shower’s surface. If you don’t like what happens, don’t use the toilet bowl cleaner.
If you have a plant-based toilet bowl cleaner, put on your cleaning gloves. Open the bottle and squirt the fluid all inside your shower. Of course, you should remove all shampoo bottles, razors, soap bars and other things from inside of the tub first. You can allow the solution to sit and run down to the bottom if you’d like.
However, if you’re using a standard toilet bowl cleaner, then you might want to consider watering it down before applying it. Simply mix about 1 tablespoon of the solution with four cups of hot water. This will dilute the bleach and reduce the power of the hydrochloric acid to some degree.
3. Scrub the Surface
With a broom, scrub brush or handled shower scrubber, work the solution into the surface of the tub in counterclockwise circles. This is the best way to ensure you remove oil, grime, soap scum, dirt and debris.
4. Rinse Well
Once everything is nice and sparkling clean, rinse every area, nook and cranny well with the showerhead. If you have to, grab a bucket or cup to ensure you get all the walls, grout and corners of the shower. Failing to rinse well may result in disaster later on, so rinse and rinse again.
What Else Can You Use to Clean a Shower?
If you’re out of regular bathroom cleaner and your toilet bowl cleaner isn’t sufficient, there are other things that can clean the shower. If you have borax, lemon, white vinegar and/or baking soda lying around, you’re in luck. Actually, these will be much better than using a toilet bowl cleaner, even if yours is a nontoxic one.
Borax, fresh lemon, white vinegar and baking soda are natural products that clean and deodorize just as well as anything you can find at the store. These are much safer for people and the surface of your shower. You can even give a boost to your DIY cleaning solution with just a few drops of certain essential oils.
For instance, lemon balm works on stains while thyme and rosemary are excellent antibacterial compounds. Lavender is antiviral, lemon disinfects and eucalyptus is anti-microbial. It’s advisable you do your own research on the essential oils you have so you understand what they can do and not do.
White Vinegar; Baking Soda
Vinegar and soda is a classic cleaner that goes back decades. People have relied on this method with excellent results. Simply mix together ½ cup of baking soda with ½ cup of vinegar (and any essential oils) in a cleaning bucket and mix well, allowing it to get bubbly and frothy.
You can either pour this into a clean spray bottle or dump it on the floor of the shower (drain plugged). Use your scrubbing implement to work it around the shower, catching every corner and the walls. Let this sit on the surface for five minutes and then rinse well with warm water.
When you have a very dirty tub or shower caked with rust, borax and lemon is great. You can either use this to spot clean the shower or you can make a mixed solution of these things.
To spot clean, apply borax to the affected area and follow this with rubbing a cut lemon onto it. Ensure a thick paste forms at the location, wait for an hour and then rinse it off with warm water followed by cold water. Repeat this borax-lemon mixture until you achieve the results you want.
As a solution for cleaning the whole shower, mix ¼ cup fresh lemon juice with a ½ cup of borax in a pail or cleaning bucket. Once a paste forms, pour in three cups of hot water and let it thicken for 15 minutes. Rub the formulation all over the walls and floor of the shower, allow this to sit for 30 minutes and rinse with warm water.
Other Potential Cleaners
If you have lemon but no vinegar or borax but no baking soda, don’t worry! You can switch out any one ingredient if you don’t have it on hand. However, you must have an acid (lemon or vinegar) and a base (borax or baking soda) in order for the above-mentioned cleaning solutions to work.
That said, you can use only lemon juice or vinegar to clean the shower. Don’t use any other kind of vinegar but white. You should also use essential oils to accommodate the horrid smell of the vinegar.
When all else fails, you can use some liquid dish soap in your shower. It will clean it effectively while being the least caustic. You will have to use a disinfectant spray to ensure you kill germs, bacteria and other harmful elements from forming on the shower’s surface.