Clean your toilet bowl the natural way with this homemade toilet bowl powder cleaner! The recipe is ready in 5 minutes and uses simple materials, essential oils + a secret ingredient. The DIY toilet bowl powder works just as well as the store-bought cleaners and smells even better.
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Natural toilet cleaning powder
Cleaning toilets isn’t anyone’s favorite task, but it has to be done! After all, a dingy toilet bowl is gross to look at and can harbor bacteria and viruses.
This homemade toilet bowl powder cleaner makes that dreaded chore easier and will leave your toilet squeaky clean – without any harsh chemicals.
Making toilet cleaning powder couldn’t be easier, and it works just like the store-bought stuff. Except it smells better, is made with natural, biodegradable materials, and is septic tank safe.
If you prefer a liquid formula, give our homemade toilet bowl gel a try.
Reasons to make toilet bowl powder cleaner
- Squeaky clean toilets: The powder toilet cleaner offers deep cleaning. The product effectively fights limescale, urine scale, stubborn dirt, and unpleasant odors.
- Natural ingredients: Natural ingredients like citric acid, baking soda, and essential oils make the product safe for your home and the environment.
- Non–toxic: This cleaner is free of harmful chemicals like chlorine bleach, phosphates, phosphonates, parabens, phthalates, and artificial fragrances.
- Environment friendly: All materials are biodegradable and don’t threaten aquatic life.
- No plastic waste: Commercial toilet bowl cleaners are offered in plastic bottles, which add up over time. Making your own toilet bowl cleaner allows you to cut back on plastic waste and reduce your plastic footprint.
- Septic safe: The formula is septic safe because it’s free of chlorine bleach and made with ingredients that biodegrade and won’t damage the ecosystem in the tank.
Let’s get to the ingredients we need to make toilet powder cleaner. This is just a short overview. I explain the role of each component in more detail in the FAQ section below. To see the full ingredient amounts, scroll to the how-to box at the end of the post.
- Citric acid is the main component in this DIY toilet bowl cleaner. It dissolves limescale, removes dirt, and disinfects, leaving the toilet bowl clean and sanitized.
- Baking soda and soda ash are needed to activate the citric acid and provide an additional cleaning action.
- SLSA (sodium lauryl sulfoacetate) is a powder cleaner made from coconut oil and boosts the overall cleaning power. As a surfactant, SLSA lowers the surface tension between the toilet bowl and any debris, helping dirt come off and not resettling.
- Sodium gluconate is the naturally occurring sodium salt of gluconic acid. The ingredient acts as a chelating agent and rinse aid to ensure that everything can be flushed out. Sodium gluconate also helps to prevent new hard water deposits and debris from sticking to the toilet bowl.
- Probiotic powder (optional): Probiotics are “good bacteria” and the secret sauce in this cleaner. The spores are activated by water and can help to break down organic deposits and remove odor-causing bacteria.
- Essential oils (optional) provide a fresh, clean scent. If you prefer an unscented cleaner, simply skip the oils.
Essential oil blends for toilet bowl cleaner powder
You can scent your toilet bowl powder naturally with essential oils, and I have a few fresh-smelling recipes for you. Making homemade cleaners is a great way to use up expired essential oils that might go to waste otherwise.
- Minty Fresh: 137 drops peppermint + 70 drops lemongrass + 30 drops tea tree
- Clean Home: 100 drops lavender + 60 drops lemon + 25 drops patchouli
- Citrus Air: 110 drops grapefruit + 50 drops lime + 25 drops rosemary
- Blooming Meadow: 110 drops geranium + 65 drops lime + 40 drops spearmint
The oils are purely for scent and don’t contribute to the cleaning effect. If you prefer an unscented product, simply omit them. Without EOs, the toilet powder is scentless, which is excellent for those with a sensitive nose.
How to make toilet bowl powder cleaner
If you thought the materials list was simple, wait until you see the instructions! With three simple steps, your toilet bowl powder cleaner will be ready for action.
- Prep. Some of the powdered ingredients are airborne and can irritate the airways if inhaled. I recommend wearing a dusk mask that covers your nose and mouth.
- Mix powders. Add the citric acid, baking soda, washing soda, sodium gluconate, SLSA, and probiotic blend to a large, non-metallic mixing bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until everything is well combined and free of clumps.
- Add scent. Drop your desired essential oil blend on the dry ingredients. Mix well to incorporate the essential oils.
- Store. Transfer the toilet cleaner powder into an airtight storage vessel like a mason jar or glass container. The product needs to be stored sealed and airtight to protect it from moisture and humidity. Otherwise, it will harden.
How to use toiler powder cleaner
This powder toilet cleaner holds a mighty punch. It’s super simple to use and so satisfying to see it bubble up and foam. Here’s what to do:
- Sprinkle. Sprinkle 3 to 4 tablespoons of the powder into the toilet bowl to cover the water.
- Activate. The cleaner will be activated upon contact with water and dissolve into a cleansing foam. Let the cleaner work for 3 to 5 minutes or until it no longer fizzles.
- Brush. Use a toilet brush to scrub the bowl and rim.
- Flush. After giving the toilet bowl a good scrub, flush everything down with a full flush. There might still be some foam left, which is fine. It will dissipate after a few more flushes.
Storage & shelf life
How to store toilet cleaning powder
Keep the toilet bowl cleaner in a tightly sealed container or glass jar and store the product in a cool, dark location like a cupboard or drawer. Make sure the cleaner isn’t exposed to water because humidity can cause the formula to clump and harden.
You can still use the cleaner even if it hardens. Use a butter knife or tablespoon to break it into smaller pieces and drop them into the toilet.
How long will toilet powder cleaner last?
For the best effect, use the product within 1 year. The cleaner can be kept for longer, but the citric acid will begin to lose its potency after 12 months.
What does citric acid do?
Citric acid is a natural and versatile cleaning agent made from lemon juice. It can eliminate bacteria, mildew, and some fungi, making it incredibly effective at cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting.
As a toilet cleaner, citric acid removes build-up, hard water stains, limescale, and bacteria. Being a natural product, citric acid is safe to use, readily biodegrades in water, and has no adverse effects on the environment.
What is the role of SLSA and sodium gluconate?
Both ingredients support the cleaning power of citric acid. Sodium gluconate, a chelating agent, binds the metal ions found in hard water and makes it water-soluble. This ensures that hard water deposits are removed from the toilet and don’t clog pipes.
SLSA is a surfactant, which reduces surface tension and helps release stuck-on gunk from the toilet bowl. The ingredient also ensures that the debris doesn’t just resettle again, but is removed and flushed away.
SLSA is not the same as SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate), a harsh, sulfate-based surfactant. Instead, SLSA is a mild, ECOCERT-approved surfactant.
Why clean with probiotics?
Probiotics are the secret ingredient in this strong toilet bowl cleaner. I have never seen a DIY cleaner list probiotics as an ingredient, but a few companies have developed probiotic cleaners in recent years.
Probiotics consist of “good” bacteria that break down organic dirt and grime and remove germs. These good bacteria linger on after using the cleaner, helping the toilet bowl remain clean for longer.
I used a probiotic supplement because that is the most accessible form of probiotics. Probiotics’ main benefits are that they are all-natural and gentle.
Why use citric acid and baking soda? Aren’t they canceling each other out?
If you’re looking at the ingredient list, you might be wondering why my recipe uses both citric acid (an acid) and baking + washing soda (2 bases). Acids and bases can cancel each other out, but they work alongside each other in this case.
While citric acid provides the bulk of the cleaning action, the sodas are necessary to dissolve the citric acid. If you were to dump in pure citric acid, it would just sink to the bottom of the toilet bowl and take days to dissolve. Not what we want.
The amount of citric acid is also far greater than the amount of the sodas. The citric acid isn’t canceled out and can still do plenty. Even commercial formulas contain both citric acid and soda and still work well.