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Why put baking soda in your toilet?

Putting baking soda in your toilet is an easy, inexpensive way to help keep your toilet clean, fresh, and prevent buildup. Here’s a look at why you should consider adding this household staple to your toilet maintenance routine.

The Benefits of Baking Soda

Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is a mild base that has many cleaning uses around the home. Some of the top benefits of using baking soda in your toilet include:

  • It helps break down mineral deposits and organic stains.
  • Itneutralizes odors.
  • It’s gentle on most surfaces.
  • It’s inexpensive and readily available.
  • It’s an all-natural cleaning option.

Let’s explore each of these benefits in more detail.

Breaks Down Buildup

Over time, mineral deposits from hard water and tough organic stains from waste can build up in your toilet. These deposits often manifest as scaling, discoloration, yellowing or staining.

Baking soda is mildly abrasive and alkaline, which allows it to break down these deposits without harsh chemicals. The grit from the baking soda provides just enough scrubbing power to lift stains without damaging surfaces.

Eliminates Odors

No one wants to enter a smelly bathroom! Baking soda is great at absorbing and neutralizing odors, rather than just masking them. It helps break down the organic compounds responsible for foul toilet odors.

Additionally, baking soda doesn’t have an added perfume or fragrance. It leaves your toilet smelling clean and fresh, not overly scented.

Safe for Most Surfaces

Many harsh toilet bowl cleaners contain acids, bleaches and other chemicals that can damage surfaces over time. The abrasive scrubs often found in cleaners can also etch and dull finishes.

Baking soda, on the other hand, is safe for most surfaces. It won’t corrode porcelain, discolor chrome or wear down plastics. However, you should still spot test baking soda cleaners in an inconspicuous area first.

Cheap and Readily Available

At only a few dollars per box, baking soda is an extremely affordable cleaning product. It’s also commonly found in the baking aisle of any grocery store.

There’s no need to make a special trip or shop multiple stores when this pantry staple is all you need for a cleaner toilet.

Natural and Non-Toxic

Conventional toilet cleaners often contain harsh ingredients not intended for extended contact with skin. However, baking soda is generally recognized as safe by health agencies. It’s even edible!

For those wanting to use greener, less toxic products, baking soda fits the bill. It’s biodegradable and safer for homes with children or pets.

How Does Baking Soda Clean a Toilet?

Now that we’ve covered the benefits, how does baking soda actually work to clean your toilet?

There are a few key ways baking soda lifts stains and deodorizes:

  • Abrasive action – The coarse texture and grit of baking soda provide gentle scouring to lift stains.
  • Dissolving – Baking soda dissolves in water to form a basic solution that breaks down mineral deposits.
  • Odor neutralization – The alkalinity of baking soda neutralizes acids that form foul odors.
  • Absorption – Baking soda absorbs odors rather than masking them.

Additionally, baking soda is slightly hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs a small amount of water into its crystalline structure. This allows it to stick to surfaces longer for better cleaning action.

How to Use Baking Soda in Your Toilet

There are a couple different ways to harness the cleaning power of baking soda for your toilet:

Baking Soda and Vinegar

One popular toilet cleaning method is to pour a 1/2 cup of baking soda into the toilet bowl, followed by 1 cup of vinegar. The resulting chemical reaction fizzes away at stains while also neutralizing odors.

Let the mixture sit for at least 5 minutes before scrubbing with a toilet brush and flushing. The baking soda and vinegar approach works well for light cleaning and maintenance.

Baking Soda Scouring Paste

For tougher stains, make a scouring paste with baking soda and just a small amount of water. Add just enough water to form a spreadable paste, usually 1-2 tablespoons per 1/2 cup baking soda.

Spread the paste onto stained areas of the toilet bowl and let sit for at least 15 minutes before scrubbing and flushing. The paste acts like a powered cleaner to lift stubborn buildup.

Baking Soda in the Tank

For fresher toilet water and prevention of odors, simply add 1/4 cup baking soda into the tank after each cleaning session. This will gradually dissolve with each flush.

Don’t add too much at once or it can actually cause clogs. Moderation is key for tank use.

Tips for Using Baking Soda on Your Toilet

Follow these tips when using baking soda to clean your toilet for best results:

  • Wear gloves to protect your hands.
  • Allow baking soda mixtures to sit for at least 15 minutes before scrubbing.
  • Use a toilet brush to lift stains after letting baking soda sit.
  • Start with a small amount of baking soda to avoid clogs.
  • Use it weekly to prevent major buildup.
  • Rinse thoroughly after to remove any baking soda residue.
  • Spot test first on a hidden part of the toilet.
  • Reapply paste for tough stains.
  • Let the toilet fully dry before using again.
  • Use a small funnel when adding baking soda to the tank.

What Types of Toilets Can You Use Baking Soda On?

Baking soda is safe for use on virtually all toilet types and materials. Here are some of the most common toilet styles you can clean with baking soda:

Toilet Material Can Use Baking Soda?
Vitreous china porcelain Yes
Plastic Yes
Stainless steel Yes
Marble Yes
Copper Spot test first
Composites Yes

Baking soda is compatible with most toilet materials. The only exception is some polished metal surfaces, like copper, where baking soda can potentially cause etching. Always spot test first.

When Should You Avoid Baking Soda?

While baking soda is safe for most toilets, there are a few instances where other cleaners would be preferable:

  • If you have a toilet with a very delicate antique finish, very harsh stains, or temperamental components, the mild abrasiveness of baking soda could potentially damage surfaces over time with heavy scrubbing.
  • For toilets that get significant mineral buildup from hard water, a toilet cleaner with an acid like citric acid might be better at dissolving deposits.
  • For septic tank systems prone to clogs, limit how much baking soda goes into the tank to avoid backup.
  • If your toilet has rust stains, an oxalic acid-based rust remover would work better than baking soda.

While baking soda is safe for most toilets, there are some situations where a specialized toilet cleaner would be a better choice.

The Benefits of Regularly Cleaning Your Toilet with Baking Soda

Here are some of the benefits you’ll enjoy by making baking soda toilet cleanings part of your regular bathroom routine:

  • Fewer streaks, stains and odors
  • Prevents mineral scale buildup
  • Saves money on harsh chemical cleaners
  • Extends time between tougher scrubbing sessions
  • Keeps the toilet fresh between deep cleanings
  • Maintains the toilet seals and pipes
  • Allows regular cleaning with non-toxic products
  • Easy, safe and effective cleaning

Including baking soda in your regular toilet maintenance helps prevent major cleaning woes down the road. A little effort goes a long way!

The Bottom Line

Baking soda is an inexpensive, effective way to naturally clean and deodorize your toilet. Its abrasive texture lifts stains, while its alkaline base dissolves buildup and neutralizes odors.

Make baking soda part of your regular toilet cleaning routine for a fresher, cleaner bowl. Just sprinkle some baking soda in the bowl or tank, let it sit, give it a scrub, and flush. It’s that easy!

Give baking soda a try as a non-toxic, eco-friendly way to clean your toilet without the harsh chemicals. Your toilet bowl will be cleaner and fresher as a result.