What Happened to the Works Toilet Bowl Cleaner?

What Happened to the Works Toilet Bowl Cleaner?

At one time, the Works Toilet Bowl Cleaner was an amazing product. For many, it’s the only thing that effectively removes rust stains, loosens stuck-on grime and dissolves unwanted particles in a toilet. But, recently, it’s becoming more difficult to find and its formulation seems different.

So, what happened to the Works Toilet Bowl Cleaner? Because of recent regulations enacted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Works Toilet Bowl Cleaner changed its formula along with some questionable labeling discrepancies. As a result, stores pulled it from their shelves.

While the Works reintroduced their product to the public, it’s not as prevalent as it used to be. What’s more, the formulation of the Works Toilet Bowl cleaner is weaker than it was. This means the quality of the product is different and it has left many loyal customers dismayed, to say the least.

What Changed about the Works Toilet Bowl Cleaner?

The Works Toilet Bowl Cleaner was one of the most popular and favored brands. It was powerful, forcing all toilet funk and gunk to disappear on contact. However, since 2013, the Works changed its toilet bowl cleaner along with what they indicate on the label due to EPA regulations.

At one time, there was 20% hydrogen chloride. This active ingredient worked so beautifully on calcium scale, rust and other difficult stains. Then, it changed to 9.5% hydrogen chloride. However, some consumers claim that, since reintroduction to the market in early 2022, there’s no hydrogen chloride but sulfamic acid.

Why Did the Works Toilet Bowl Cleaner Change Their Formula?

According to an August, 2016 email sent to the Works by a concerned customer, the company decided to change the formulation due to EPA regulations. So, they lowered the hydrogen chloride content from 20% to 9.5%. This made the product much weaker but it could still do a decent job to some degree.

The fact that some people report seeing sulfamic acid on the label rather than hydrogen chloride means the company has made further changes to the product. Alternatively, they could offer varying strengths although they don’t seem to mention this on their website.

However, the massive variations could be due to state regulations rather than company practice. For instance, California has strict laws on the kinds of chemicals companies use in cleaning products.

Why Can’t People Find the Works?

In some areas around the United States, people weren’t able to locate a bottle of the Works during the lockdowns for SARS-COV-2. There’s good reason to believe that there were labeling disputes between the Works and the EPA, as evidenced by two communications: December 20, 2013 and April 20, 2020. Both of these documents are available online through EPA’s website.  

Questionable Labeling

However, the Works Toilet Bowl Cleaner claims several aspects that the US government has discrepancies over. The label claims the product can do things like killing viral pathogens and using keywords like “completely” and “breaks down.”

Because the second communication happened right at the start of the SARS-COV-2 lockdowns, it ironically disappeared from store shelves when people needed it most. The claims of sulfamic acid as the active ingredient only appeared after they re-released the product in January/February 2022.

There is some speculation this could be due to state regulations and laws rather than federal ones. So, even though you can find it on the shelves again, it seems to be even more disappointing than before. Indeed, many unhappy customers are upset at its lack of ability to clean.

What Is the Difference between Hydrogen Chloride and Sulfamic Acid?

Hydrogen chloride is a gaseous chlorine byproduct with great cleaning power on ceramics, metals and porcelain. When it interacts with water, it turns into hydrochloric acid, which is what removes various hard water stains. Therefore, some cleaners advertise hydrogen chloride or hydrochloric acid – both are technically the same thing.

However, this compound does present some dangers in large amounts like breathing it in or encountering skin. Rashes, respiratory problems and irritation are just a few of these. Regardless, the powerful chemical reaction of hydrogen chloride is why people loved it as the active ingredient in the Works Toilet Bowl Cleaner.

Sulfamic acid occurs by treating urea with sulfuric acid and sulfur trioxide, which makes sulfamic acid much weaker. It doesn’t have as strong of cleaning power as hydrogen chloride. But, it is much safer than hydrogen chloride and doesn’t present as many hazards.

Are There Any other Products Comparable to the Old Works Toilet Bowl Cleaner?

If you’re missing the Works Toilet Bowl Cleaner for the product that it used to be, there are a few other brands out there you should consider looking into. Remember, the Works conscientiously chose to change their formula of their own accord. So, there are some toilet bowl cleaners that you can use instead. They list from most to least powerful.

1. Misty Bolex Toilet Bowl ; Urinal Cleaner

One of the strongest cleaners you can find is Misty Bolex Toilet Bowl; Urinal Cleaner, brought to the public by Zep. It’s a concentrate of 23% hydrochloric acid, which means you have to mix it before using. Not only does is compare well to the old Works cleaner, it’s even stronger.

The design of the product intends to deodorize, descale, and annihilate things like grime, mildew, mineral spots, rust, stains and so much more. You can use it on ceramics, metal and enamel, making it ideal for use on toilets.

2. Crew Heavy Duty Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Another powerful toilet bowl-cleaning product with 23% hydrochloric acid is the Heavy Duty Toilet Bowl Cleaner by Crew. Unlike Zep’s Misty Bolex toilet cleaner above, this is ready to use right away; no premixing necessary. This particular cleaner is very effective against bacteria, with an ability to clean, disinfect and deodorize.

The strength and power of this lends itself to institutional use. This is because it’s a broad spectrum disinfectant due to the inorganic ingredients that make up the other 76.95% of the cleaner.

3. SnoBol Extra Strength Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Containing 14.5% hydrogen chloride, Brillo’s SnoBol Extra Strength Toilet Bowl Cleaner is much like what the Works used to be. Even though it doesn’t have the full 20%, you can find it at most dollar and big box stores. It’s nearly a dead ringer, comprising almost all the same elements as the original version of the Works.

It removes mineral, rust and hard water stains while simultaneously disinfecting and deodorizing the toilet. It kills germs and works as an excellent antibacterial agent.

4. Ring King Toilet Ring Remover

The Toilet Ring Remover by Ring King doesn’t have any hydrogen chloride or hydrochloric acid. However, it does contain a large amount of ammonium bifluoride. The reason why it makes this list is because of the overwhelming customer reviews for its ability to be just like how the Works was at one time.

It can remove rust, scale, lime and other mineral stains while also cleaning, disinfecting and deodorizing toilets. But, it’s a little more reliable and versatile. This cleaner can not only go on metal, ceramic and porcelain but it can also handle fiberglass, carpets and plastics.