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How To Make A Naturally Disinfecting Toilet Bowl Cleaner

How To Make A Naturally Disinfecting Toilet Bowl Cleaner | Growing Up Herbal | A simple DIY toilet bowl cleaner that will naturally disinfect nasty toilet bowls.

If you love making your own natural cleaners, but you’re sick and tired of them being way too complicated or expensive to make, stick around… you’ll love the one I have for you today.

It only uses 3 simple ingredients.

The Problem Is Over-Complicated Natural Cleaners

I love making my own natural cleaners, but I also like keeping them simple and not overdoing it.

There are a thousand DIY recipes out there for cleaning every household thing under the sun… many of which are over-complicated and way too expensive to make if you ask me.

I’m a busy woman, and I don’t have time to make complicated natural household cleaners every 2 months.  Since I like to keep everything in my life as simple as possible, I’ve chosen to do the same thing with the natural cleaners found under my kitchen sink. I have a limited amount of space there, and I don’t want to drag out 20 different cleaners when it’s time for me to clean my house when I really only need 5.

In-Depth Recipes DO NOT Mean Better Cleaning

Just because a natural cleaning recipe uses more ingredients or because it has more steps involved does not mean it’s a better cleaner than one that doesn’t.

As far as I’m concerned, there are only 3 reasons why a person would choose to make homemade natural cleaners in the first place.

  1. To use products in our homes that are better for our health
  2. To save money
  3. To clean our homes

Using a complicated recipe does not make your cleaner healthier for you, it definitely doesn’t make it cheaper, and it doesn’t even make it clean better. Even the simplest natural cleaning ingredients are known as disinfectants. Not to mention topping them off with essential oils that are also anti-microbial!

So let me say it again… simple cleaners work just as well as complicated, in-depth cleaners do. Plus they save you time, money, and sanity. Or maybe I’m the only one they drive crazy!

Let’s Choose To Keep It Simple

A little while ago, I was talking about natural cleaning over on my Facebook page (there’s always a great conversation going on over there) and as I was trying to find some new cleaning recipes to share, I realized that many of you are like me… busy moms that want cleaning recipes that are simple and effective… but unfortunately I was having a really hard time coming up with some good ones that I could share!

So let me just say here… I’m going to try my darnedest to only put recipes up on this blog that I would personally use and aren’t difficult or too expensive to make. Okay? They will be healthy. They’ll save you money. They’ll definitely clean and be natural. And of course… they’ll save you time, and I think you’ll love them.

So on to the first one!!

How To Make A Naturally Disinfecting Toilet Bowl Cleaner

How To Make A Naturally Disinfecting Toilet Bowl Cleaner - GrowingUpHerbal.com

You’ll need:

  • baking soda
  • white vinegar (20% – used only for cleaning… or weed killing) (here and here are two online options)
  • disinfecting essential oil blend – here, here, and here are some of my favorites

Directions:

  1. Take 1 cup of baking soda and place it in a glass bowl.
  2. Drop 50 drops of your essential oil blend into the baking soda. Remember, this is to be disinfecting your toilet bowl so it has to be STRONG… toilet bowls are nasty!
  3. Use a wooden spoon or a pestle to blend the oils into the baking soda.
  4. When all the oil clumps are broken up, put your blend in a glass jar to store.

To Use:

Before cleaning your toilet, it’s important to turn the water off at the back of your toilet then flush it to remove all water from the bowl. Next, sprinkle 1 TBSP of your mix around your toilet bowl and give it a good scrub with a toilet brush. Feel free to let this sit while you clean something else in your bathroom. After a few minutes, pour 8 TBSP of 20% vinegar around your toilet bowl. It will fizz and foam as the baking soda and vinegar react. Grab your toilet bowl cleaning wand and give the toilet an extra scrub or two so the vinegar can touch as much as the bowl surface as possible. Let this sit for 10-15 minutes before turning your water back on and flushing the toilet once more.

But Wait! Doesn’t Baking Soda & Vinegar Neutralize One Other?

Yes. I know that baking soda and vinegar neutralize one another, but that’s only in certain amounts. The amounts listed in this recipe calls for more vinegar which means your toilet water will be slightly acidic in the end… not neutral. Now, if you choose to skimp on the vinegar part and say, only use 4 TBSP., then yes, you will have neutralized your baking soda. The point being… use what’s recommended. And feel free to double-check my math. I’m no math whiz, but I think I’m pretty close on these measurements.

Now, I know you’re thinking that the 20% vinegar is expensive, and you’re wondering if you can use the 5% vinegar that your grocery store sells because it’s cheaper, right? Right.

So, yes. You can use 5% vinegar, but you’ll need to use 33 TBSP of 5% vinegar as opposed to the 8 TBSP. of 20% vinegar. Here’s how that breaks down, use-wise and cost-wise.

You will get 35 uses out of the 20% vinegar which comes out to cost $.71 per use if you purchase the single gallon of vinegar in the link above. You will get 8 uses out of the 5% vinegar which can cost between $5 and $10 depending on the brand you buy and comes out to cost $.63 – $.1.25 per use.

The choice is yours.

How It Works To Clean Your Toilet

Below are some of the ways that this recipe works to clean your toilet. 

  • The baking soda gives you a little bit extra abrasiveness that helps to scrub the gunk away. It also helps to deodorize your toilet somewhat.
  • The white vinegar is said to be effective at killing 90% of mold and 99.9% of certain bacteria. However, this is when vinegar is sprayed directly on the surface you want to disinfect… not mixed with water, which is why I recommend turning your water off when disinfecting your toilet in this way. Also, I’m not sure what percentage of acetic acid these statistics are referring to. Common household vinegar is around 5%, but the recipe above calls for 20% which is the strongest I’ve seen available.
  • The baking soda reacting with the vinegar produces a foaming reaction that can help to loosen dirt and grime.
  • The essential oils, depending upon the oils you use, help to reduce the bacteria count in your toilet and make your toilet smell nice for a short while. There have been a good number of studies done on the antimicrobial properties of certain essential oils so this will be where the majority of the disinfecting comes from.

So there you have it. Three ingredients. Simple and uncomplicated. Oh yeah… and it cleans well.

Enjoy!

What do you use to clean your toilets that are natural?

Looking for more natural cleaners? Check this out –> 42 DIY Recipes To Keep Your Home Naturally Clean and Why I’m Trading In My Homemade Natural Cleaners For Something Simpler!

Post updated January 2019.

87 thoughts on “How To Make A Naturally Disinfecting Toilet Bowl Cleaner”

  1. I am SO excited to make this and see if it works! Nothing I have found or made has been effective so far. Thanks for the recipe! Looking forward to trying it!

        1. Yes they do smell good, but they’re mainly for their antiseptic properties. Baking soda and vinegar go a long way at cleaning, but I wanted some essential oils that would help coat cut down on the germs as well. Thanks for your comment Deb!

      1. This sounded great until I looked up 20 vinegar on the internet and read that any vinegar over 11% can burn your skin and damage your eyes so it’s important to wear goggles and obviously gloves when using.

  2. I have wanted to find an all natural toilet cleaner that does not smell so strong of chemicals. This one is GREAT! I Made some up the other day and used it and it works wonderful!!!! It is so simple to make too.Thank you for sharing it.

    I have been enjoying coming to your blog now that I found it on BHS.
    Plus it is fun to find someone else that has the same last name! You don’t hear it very much.:)

    1. I know!!! I always think that when I see you on the GUH FB page and about how our last name isn’t that common. Anyway, glad the cleaner worked well for you! Thanks for your comment!

  3. I made this cleaner and it was able to diminish a ring that is in my toilet because of our water. Store bought cleaner, even magic eraser, hasn’t broken down this ring! Thanks for the recipe!

  4. Great post. This week over on Wildcrafting Wednesdays we’re hosting a special Hygiene Edition and this post would be perfect in the carnival. I’d love it if you would pop over and share this post with our readers.
    http://www.herbanmomma.com

  5. Patricia Panasri

    First of all I love your website! Thank you for sharing this and all your other great posts about natural living! I found your blog a while ago and I’ve been following you here and on FB ever since.
    I have a question about the essential oil blend. I live in Thailand so it’s hard to find these blends. Is it also possible to add the oils individually, because I do have them separately?
    Thank you!

    1. Glad to have you here Patricia, and I’m glad you’re finding a lot of helpful info here on GrowingUpHerbal.com and on my Facebook page! As far as the EOs go in this recipe, you can totally add them in individually… you don’t have to use the blend. That’s just easier for me, but there are times where I like to change it up too so I don’t always use the same oils. Hope that answers your question!

  6. I have been using baking soda and vinegar for a while now- what does the essential oil do? Maybe that’s silly question?? I do have lavendar, which I am thinking I could just add by itself. (Although I think I’ll go ahead and get the Thieves since I’ve heard such great stuff about it :).

    1. Baking soda and vinegar on their own is great, but if you want some extra disinfecting power… the essential oil will give it to you. Theives is great, but lavender also works really well as it has antiseptic properties… and it’s much cheaper than theives. I personally don’t use the expensive EOs in my cleaning products as I seem to go through them much quicker. Hope that helps a bit!

      1. I use thieves for everything. I clean with Thieves Household cleaner which I bottle cap in a 32 oz spray bottle cleans everything in my home. It the only cleaner I need and use.
        But I will be trying your vinegar soda mixture to my THC for my toilet because I need an abrasive for the ring in my toilet that my thieves disinfectant doesn’t remove. The ring was there when I moved in.

        1. I had some rings and stains in the toilets of our last house that seemed to be stuck on, and the baking soda in this cleaner didn’t cut it. It definitely helps for the grime that builds up on a daily/weekly basis, but those tough stains needed a pumice stone to remove them.

  7. Can you please tell me how the oils you recommend are disinfecting? I’m a newbie, learning about oils and their uses.

    Thank you.

    1. Raquel, the company that makes these oils would have more insight for you than I do, but the oils I recommend are blends of individual essential oils. These individual oils are known to have antiseptic properties which is why these are common blends used for cleaning and disinfecting. I don’t know the specifics of each oil… it would take a while to research the chemicals in each oil, but the companies can help with that. Hope that helps some, and thanks for your comment.

      1. Thank you so much. Thank you for also sharing the cleaner recipe. I have such a sensitive nose and with kids with special needs, plus a dog I’m finally realizing the benefits of making your own cleaner.

  8. Thanks for this post! I’m going to try this out soon. Quick question about containers. Is there a particular reason for the glass jars besides being more environmentally friendly? I’m trying to repurpose a plastic air tight canister and thought it would work to store the baking soda and oil mixture. Bonus: built in tablespoon measure!

  9. Hi. I was so excited to try this recipe and when put it in the toilet nothing happened. I was so disappointed. What happened? I was expecting it to fizz at least a little. Is my baking soda to old? I don’t think its more than a year old. Ill keep using it but i was expecting more of a reaction.

    1. How strange… mine always fizzes. You may need to try a bit more baking soda and/or vinegar to get the right amount. Every toilet holds a different amount of water in the bowl so just experiment to see how much of each you need to use. It should most certainly fizz though.

  10. Hi Meagan, I used your receipe and my toilets are clean and bright. Thanks! Do you have a receipe for cleaning a stainless steel sink with natural ingredients?

  11. My thoughts exactly. Why complicate things when they don’t have to be. As the saying goes – keep it simple, stupid. Thank you for the sharing these useful tidbit.

  12. You said add 50 drops essential oil blend. Do you put 50 drops of each individual essential oil or do you put 16-17 of each individual oil? Thank you!! Can’t wait to try this!!

    1. What I normally use is a synergy blend so it’s one oil, and I use 50 drops. If you’re using two or more oils, I’d do 50 drops total. Hope that helps!

        1. Yes, you can use any of the three I linked to separately since they are oil blends. However, if you were gonna blend your own oils (say orange and lemon), you would do 25 drops of each oil. Does that make sense now? I may not have been so clear the first time I responded to you.

  13. Hi there, thanks for the post. Can I leave this in a canister over time? I would like to leave the all-natural cleaning supplies for my cleaning lady. Please let me know. Thanks!

  14. Thanks for this- I love that my bathroom doesn’t smell like bleach anymore! One query though: I found that there was a lot of baking soda mixture left in the bottom of my toilet after scrubbing and flushing…is that normal? Thanks!

    1. Weird… that’s never happened to me. I always dump it in, give it a quick scrub, pour in the vinegar, and scrub one more time. It all flushs down. Maybe just try to scrub that area more to help it not settle??? Sorry I can’t be of more help!

  15. Can this recipe be used commercially. If not do you have the cheapest commercial recipe.
    Is it safe to mix the baking soda and vinegar in the same container for commercial use.

    1. I’m sure you can use this recipe commercially Issah, but no, you can’t premix baking soda and vinegar… it will fizz like crazy! Try it with a little bit and you’ll see what I mean. You’ll need to keep the two parts separate and combine them when you’re ready to use it.

  16. Hi there! I know some people suggest using borax (equal parts baking soda to borax). What do you think about this? What would be the benefit of adding borax? Thanks!

    1. Honestly, I’m not sure. I only know of using borax for brightening whites in homemade laundry detergent and for emulsifying creams and lotions. What do the people who suggest it say? Maybe they use it to give a bit more grit so it scrubs better? I really don’t know. So sorry I couldn’t be of more help.

    1. Well, I think… for a really nasty toilet… I’d probably use some sort of chemical cleaner or bleach to clean it the first time just to be sure it has one good cleaning, and it’s disinfected. I’d be sure to use gloves and not breath in fumes though. After that, I’d be fine using this on it to clean it as a part of a regular cleaning schedule. Hope that answers your question!

  17. I went to clean the loos and had no bowl cleaners! But I found this post and I do have a lot of EO blends left over from my soap making days (baking soda and white vinegar, too). Now both of my WCs smell like a lovely Lavender-Orange-Rosemary blend and both bowls are clean. Yay!

  18. Hi Megan, I tried your recipe today and it didn’t work at all. I don’t know what I did wrong. I poured the baking soda mixture in and then the vinegar and it didn’t bubble at all. I tried adding lots more vinegar and it barely bubbled. I tried cleaning with it anyways and it didn’t get any stains off and it still smelled. Any ideas? Thanks!

    1. That’s so weird Andi. It always works for me. Could your baking soda be old? I really have no clue if it can get old. Anyway, I put 1-2 tablespoons in my toilet water, give the toilet a quick scrub, pour in my vinegar, it fizzes, and I immediately use the toilet brush to clean the toilet. After that, I flush the toilet and the rings are gone and the toilet looks and smells nice and clean… and I have 3 little boys that have a tendency to miss the potty. I’m sorry it’s not working for you. I’d suggest trying it one more time, and if it still doesn’t work, perhaps it’s not the right cleaner for your needs.

  19. Baking soda and vinegar mixed to get her counteract eachother. Rendering them useless. Use one or the other not both together.

    1. They do Leslie when mixed in certain proportions. With this cleaner, there’s more vinegar added so I don’t believe it’s neutralized (at least not to my knowledge). Plus you have the essential oils that get dispersed in the toilet. Ultimately, the goal is to scrub before adding vinegar (so the baking soda helps with some slight abrasion) then once you add the vinegar you get the fizzing that will loosen any grime and help disperse the EOs while you use the toilet brush to scrub away once more. In then end, each ingredient has a separate action… and the disinfecting comes from the extra vinegar and the EOs which help to clean bacteria out of your toilet. Does that make sense?

  20. The chemical reaction using baking soda and vinegar are carbon dioxide, water and sodium acetate (a salt). Vinegar cleans on it’s own, although there are better natural cleansers, and baking soda does deodorize. Sodium acetate does nothing to assist in cleaning. I just tried cleaning my toilet with vinegar and baking soda, without the essential oil and it did nothing. I have hard water which leaves minerals on the inside of the bowl, nothing I have found works on these. Since it did nothing, I was prompted to do some research on these products, which made me realize I was wasting my money by combining them. Also, essential oils are too expensive to be putting in the toilet.

    1. Sorry for your trouble Sue. Hard water deposits seem to need extra work… more than what this will do on its own. This is more for cutting down on bacteria with the help of the vinegar and the essential oils. The toilet really needs to be scrubbed before you add the vinegar and then once again after the vinegar is added and if fizzes. As for expensive EOs. I agree… it’s better to use cheaper versions for cleaning. And as I always say, if this particular recipe doesn’t work for you, feel free to find another one that’s better suited for your needs.

    1. Interesting! Is the fizzing and acid in the coke what cleans the toilet? I know it can eat a nail so I’m sure it can clean grim off a toilet.

  21. Meagan, I was just wanting to ask where is the best place, to buy the EO’s? I have never used or bought them before, also what dept. are they in?
    Thank you

  22. Just tried this recipe. My bathroom smells great. I found it worked wonderfully in my bathroom sink. Thanks for the recipe.

    1. Yes! It makes a great soft scrub, and you can use any essential oil scent you’d like. Thanks for sharing, Janet!

  23. i use all these ingredients all the time and they work great. as for the oils, i would only use the most pure oils period, as for them being expensive. a 15 ml bottle of high quality lemon oil is $10, thats like .03 per drop. expensive??? have you looked at the price of toilet bowel cleaners lately. Helloooo. oils are not as expensive as some think. you do not use a lot. you only need a little most times.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Carrie. Citrus EOs are my go-tos for cleaning too. They smell great, they have antimicrobial properties, and they are cheap. Thanks for your comment!

  24. Baking soda and vinegar are often recommended as a toilet bowl cleaner, but the idea that this combo actually cleans your toilet is a myth. Your recipe includes strong essential oils, like tea tree oil, which is great. And, in this case, it’s the only thing in this recipe that’s having any real “cleaning” effect.

    Your method recommends scrubbing with baking soda first, which is mildly abrasive and will help scrub away some grime. When you add the vinegar, you get a lot of fizzing, which gives the impression that it’s working to clean your toilet. It’s true that vinegar has disinfectant properties on it’s own…but not when you mix it with baking soda.

    As everyone knows, when you mix baking soda and vinegar together, you get a lot of fizzing. If you look at the science behind the chemical reaction, you see a base (baking soda) being combined with a weak acid (vinegar). They do not enhance each other. In fact, they actually neutralize each other. What you end up with is water and some salts, neither of which is effective for cleaning your toilet. And it sure won’t sanitize your toilet either, even though many green cleaning recipes will tell you it does. The only thing doing any sanitizing in your recipe is the antibacterial essential oil.

    So, if you want to have fun while cleaning your toilet, go ahead and use the vinegar and baking soda so you can watch it fizz. Once the fun is over, it’s time to actually clean your toilet. If you want to do that inexpensively using only green, non-toxic products, your best bet is to use soap (or dishwashing detergent) plus an anti-bacterial essential oil in the amount you recommended. I personally prefer tea tree oil because it’s anti-bacterial AND antifungal.

    You can find liquid castile soap (such as Dr. Bronner’s) that already has tea tree oil in it, although I generally add more tea tree oil to make it even stronger.

    When it comes to cleaning, nothing beats good old fashioned soap and water!

    Please spread the word that baking soda and vinegar don’t clean and disinfect your toilet! Simply chemistry proves it.

    1. Hey Anna! Thanks for your comment, and you have a very valid, scientific point that is right on. I don’t deny it. However, as I said in one of my comments to another reader (You may have missed it if you didn’t read through all the comments, and I totally don’t blame you! I’ll be adding it to the post ASAP!), baking soda and vinegar counteract one another, creating saltwater, but that’s only when combined in certain proportions (I’m not 100% certain, but I think it’s close to equal portions of baking soda and vinegar). This recipe does not use equal portions, as you can see, and I’ve updated the recipe to call for a vinegar with a higher percentage of acidity.

      The goal of this recipe is that it needs to be natural, simple, and cheap, and it needs to disinfect the inside of your toilet bowl (as much as a natural cleaner can, that is). In my opinion, it meets that goal. All of the ingredients are natural. Both baking soda and vinegar are cheap, most people already have them in their homes, and they can be used in many other natural cleaners. Next, the baking soda and EO combo not only helps to scrub stains from your toilet (along with the help of a toilet brush), but it helps to deodorize the inside of the toilet and the EOs help with the disinfecting (depending on the oils you use). Lastly, the larger amount of vinegar that’s dumped in does cause the baking soda to fizz which helps loosen dirt a bit, and yes, it is fun to watch, but because there’s more of it, it also helps with the disinfecting somewhat.

      So, you do have a point, and yes, castile soap is a great way to clean the toilet too. In fact, when I’m out of this and don’t feel like making more, that’s what I use. Just a squirt in the bowl, and I scrub away.

      Thanks for doing your part in spreading the word and informing people who are wasting their time and money on something that doesn’t work, but I think that this recipe works well enough. I mean, I’m not swimming in or drinking the water inside of my toilet, and therefore, I’m not as concerned about the bacteria count inside my toilet as I am outside.

      1. Hi! Chemist and professional house cleaner here! I agree with Anna, the baking soda and vinegar mix is just neutralizing (creating water).
        CH3CHO2 + NaCHO3 –> H2O + CO2 + (what you referred to as salt and its just easier to think of it that way)
        The CO2 may appear to be cleaning, but you haven’t explained how? And I cannot think of any reason.

        I do know that you are suggesting people purchase extra strength vinegar only to dilute it to less than 5% instantly by adding baking soda (not to mention a toilet full of water). Add them separately. Baking soda is great for its abrasiveness! Vinegar can be a mild disinfectant, but it also needs dwell time in order to work. This means letting it sit for 5-10 minutes at the highest concentration (consider emptying the water first), allowing it time to kill bacteria and loosen built up minerals.
        If you have that nasty ring around your toilet, I highly recommend buying a pumice stone (there are some specifically for cleaning). It won’t scratch the bowl and the ring will disappear with a little scrubbing.

        1. Hi, Autumn! I’m sorry I’m just now getting to your comment! I agree with what you’ve said about the baking soda and vinegar neutralizing each other and not doing much good as far as cleaning goes. I’ve already addressed that in this post, and that’s why I recommend a stronger vinegar than the typical 5% you can find in most grocery stores. I have updated the post to recommend turning the water off and cleaning the bowl without water. Thanks for your comment and helping me to make this simple, cheap recipe more effective. I appreciate it, and best of luck in your business!

  25. That is such a genius way to clean your toilet naturally! I am in the process of overhauling all my cleaning supplies. Thank you so much for sharing this. I’ve added it to my list of clever cleaning hacks for spring cleaning and linked back to your site :). It’s so important that we clean our homes naturally and not with harsh chemicals! Much love from Melbourne, Katrine x

  26. Love your site! I saw 30% vinegar at Amazon. How many Tbs. would it take using that? Or do you think it’s too strong?

    1. I’m not certain, Debbie. I’d think around 5 TBSP. or so would be sufficient. I doubt it would be too strong though. The idea of using a stronger vinegar is to provide more disinfecting for your toilet.

  27. I LOVE this recipe!! Thank you so much for keeping it simple, it works amazingly without any frills! It took me less than 3 minutes to make (the longest thing was dripping out the essential oils!). I used 25 drops each of orange and tea tree, it smells amazing and is great antiseptic. I’m now excited for my toilet to look a bit dirty again so I have an excuse to bust this stuff out again! Thanks again!!

    PS. Did any one else enjoy the fizzing part as much as me?

    1. You’re welcome, Rosie! I’m glad it was easy and worked well for you! Having a clean toilet is a nice feeling, right? LOL!

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