Welcome to the seventh installment of a series of special “spring purge” posts. The topic? Environmentally dubious household items that you might want to take a second look at while tackling spring cleaning duties. And when I say “take a second look at,” I mean you should reconsider using and/or replace with a more eco-sensible alternative.
Corrosive, petrochemical-filled toilet bowl cleaners rank with oven cleaners and drain openers as the most hazardous household cleaning solutions. Ingredients in commercial toilet bowl cleaners can include chlorine bleach, ammonia, hydrochloric and sulfuric acids, the potent antibacterial agent triclosan, and even formaldehyde, all health-compromising substances that must be handled with utmost care. That is unless you’re a big fan of painful chemical burns and lung-irritating chemical fumes.
Additionally, many of these ingredients don’t break down easily in the environment, so when they enter water supplies after you clean and flush there’s the potential for some real eco-damage. Ammonia, in particular, is harmful to aquatic life.
Long, not-so-pleasant story short, if you have to pick only a couple of cleaning products to purge, make toilet bowl cleaners one of ‘em. But not so fast ... this doesn't mean that just because you purged your home of chemical toilet cleaners you can neglect cleaning the toilet altogether. That bowl still needs some lovin'. Luckily, there are plenty of safe, nontoxic toilet bowl cleaners on the market from brands such as Seventh Generation, Method, Ecover and Clorox Greenworks. These products can effectively remove rust, hard water stains, and other gunk while leaving your bowl smelling non-artificially fresh.
Do you have a favorite nontoxic toilet bowl cleaner? Or how about a homemade solution?
Cleaning product image: Krikketgirl; MNN homepage photo: belknap/iStockphoto