Cleaning the toilet is usually everyone’s least favorite task when tidying up the bathroom. But finding the best toilet cleaner can not only make this daunting chore easier but something you may have to do less often. Options to get rid of those toilet rings seem endless with toilet bowl brushes, liquid cleaners, tablets, and automatic toilet cleaners in gels and tablets. If you want to spend less time scrubbing, it’s essential to get the right products for the job.
Luckily, here in the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab, we’re bathroom cleaning experts. In addition to our advice on how to remove mold, mildew and hard water stains, we test hundreds of cleaning products each year to find the best of the best, including toilet bowl cleaners. In fact, we’ve just spent three weeks testing 12 different toilet cleaning products to find which ones require minimal effort but yield maximum results. We also review the clarity and completeness of the label directions, the need for any safety warnings based on the ingredients and how easy and neat each product is to use. Our top picks for best toilet cleaners to get rid of tough stains and make your bowl sparkle:
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Best overall toilet cleaner
Toilet Bowl Cleaner with Bleach
In our tests, toilet grime disappeared within minutes of applying the Clorox With Bleach toilet bowl cleaner, which meant very little scrubbing to turn the toilet bowl white again. This cleaner contains bleach, so it kills 99.9% of germs and deodorizes the toilet, too. Take note: Because the liquid is light in color, we found it hard to see where it was applied and ended up putting on more to make sure the entire toilet bowl was covered.
- Requires minimal scrubbing
- Easy to apply
- Kills 99.9% of germs
- Hard to see the cleaner in toilet bowl
Best Tablet Toilet Cleaner
Continuous Clean Drop-Ins
In-tank toilet bowl cleaners work by dissolving in the water in the tank and filling the bowl with cleaner after every flush for continuous freshness and to help keep stains from sticking to the sides of the bowl. We found these tablets were easy to drop in the tank but it did take a few flushes to start to see them working. While these tablets were not a substitute for regular deeper cleanings in our tests, they will help cut down on the number of cleanings your toilet needs.
Take note: While the manufacturer claims that the toilet water with these drop-in tablets is not harmful to kids or pets or that the tablets won’t damage plumbing or septic systems, it’s best to be sure pets don’t drink from toilets where any tablets are used and that tablets are only placed in toilets that are flushed regularly so the concentration of cleaner doesn’t build up in the tank and risk damaging the parts.
- Cleans the bowl with every flush
- Safe for septic systems
- Helps keeps toilet cleaner longer
- Not a substitute for regular deep cleanings
Best clinging liquid toilet cleaner
Power Toilet Bowl Cleaner
You’ll never have to wonder where you poured the Lysol Power Toilet Bowl Cleaner. This liquid gel cleaner clung to the bowl and the dark blue color made it easy to see where it was applied. With a little scrubbing, it removed stains and left the toilet bowl sparkling. It kills 99.9% of viruses and bacteria and has an angled neck for easy application under the toilet rim.
- Clings to toilet
- Easy to apply
- Kills 99.9% of viruses and bacteria
- Required more scrubbing than with others
Best toilet cleaning wand
Disposable Toilet Cleaning System
If you don’t like the idea of a used toilet bowl brush laying around, then this Clorox Toilet Wand System is for you. It’s an all-in-one toilet brush preloaded with cleaner, which means no extra cleaner required. In our tests, it was easy to dip the scrub pad in the toilet water to activate the cleaner, and start cleaning. After cleaning it was easy to dispose of the scrub pad by simply pressing the button on the handle and releasing it in the trash. We love that it’s a hands free disposal, but on occasion the cleaning pad did stick to the handle when pushing the button, requiring some extra effort to get it off.
- Disposable scrubbing pad
- Preloaded with cleaner
- Easy to use
Best Toilet Cleaner for Stains
Power Stain Destroyer
You’ll know the Scrubbing Bubbles Power Stain Destroyer is working when it changes from green to blue as it gets rid of limescale and rust. The curved neck on the bottle made it a cinch to apply under the toilet rim and tackle those hard-to-see stains. After letting the cleaner sit for 15 minutes the marks scrubbed away with ease. Stubborn stains may require longer treatment time or re-application. It’s even safe to let the product sit overnight, if needed.
- Easy to apply under rim
- Gets rid of limescale and rust
- May need to clean more than once for stubborn stains
Best automatic toilet cleaner
Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner
This gel cleaner was simple to use and comes in individually wrapped packets to make application and disposable germ-free. Simply dispense one dose of gel so it clings to the inside surface of the bowl where it dissolves slowly to help clean and freshen with each flush. One application lasts up to two weeks. The Click Gels can’t replace the need for a good scrubbing in a toilet that’s already stained; however, they will help reduce the number of cleanings needed and help keep the toilet fresh. The Atlantic Fresh scent was also not overpowering.
- Helps keep toilet clean
- Easy to apply
- Individually wrapped packets are sanitary
- Won’t remove stubborn stains
- Packaging is somewhat wasteful
Best toilet cleaning brush
Good Grips Toilet Brush
Not only does this brush leave your toilet sparkling clean, but it also has angled bristles that are specifically designed to clean under the rim, making the job easier. During testing, it took a few tries to get the hang of using the angled bristles correctly, but the bristles on the head were strong enough to scrub away tough build-up.
After cleaning, the brush was easy to put back in the caddy where the built-in drip tray caught the excess water. It also has ventilated slots for quick drying, so you’re not left with a wet, messy caddy or brush.
- Specially designed bristles to clean under rim
- Comes with built-in ventilated drip tray to help brush dry
Best Toilet Cleaner for Rings
Toilet & Bath Cleaning Stone
The Clorox Toilet & Bath Cleaning makes getting rid of toilet rings a breeze. It’s made of crushed and compressed glass and can scrub away toilet rings without scratching porcelain fixtures. Simply wet the stone and the bowl, then gently scrub the line inside the toilet bowl to loosen and wipe it away. The stones can be used over and over again and gradually wear down over time.
- Removes toilet rings
- Safe to use on porcelain
- Stones wear down over time
What to know when shopping for toilet cleaners
• Type: There’s no one size fits all when it comes to toilet cleaners. While some people may prefer a traditional liquid toilet cleaner and toilet brush, others may like the convenience of a toilet wand with a disposable cleaning head that’s pre-loaded with cleaner. There are also tablets and gels that either go in the toilet tank or attach inside the toilet bowl to help keep your toilet clean in between deep cleanings. Look for cleaners specifically geared towards your toilet problem, for example rust or hard water residue are best taken care of with a cleaner that’s made for rust.
• Ingredients: While certain ingredients, like bleach, are great for removing tough stains and disinfecting the toilet, they may not be the choice for someone who has kids or pets, or does not want to be exposed to a chemical smell. Also, some gels and tablets may be safe for toilet tanks or septic systems while others may not. Be sure the check the labels to ensure the cleaner fits your lifestyle.
• Longevity: The lifespan of toilet cleaners can vary, especially with tablets and gels. Some tablets and gels can last anywhere from a week to a few months. Make sure to read the label for how long these last so you’ll know how frequently you need to replace them
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