Do Dishwasher Tablets Really Clean Toilets (And Is It Even Safe)?

There's a lot that goes into maintaining a clean bathroom. From fighting soap scum to scrubbing your toilet, it's hard to feel on top of things in a space that gets dirty so quickly. One way homeowners combat an unkempt bathroom is by tossing a dishwasher tablet into the toilet for a quick and easy refresh. Since dishwasher tablets are created to dissolve stubborn stains, the hack proves to be an effective method when you're running out of time, don't have the necessary cleaning products, or are faced with unexpected house guests. This trick involves simply dropping a dishwasher tablet into the toilet, allowing it to dissolve, and then using a toilet brush to scrub off any remaining stains.

We know what you're thinking: Does this toilet cleaning hack actually work? For many home improvement enthusiasts, the short answer is "yes." Using a dishwasher tablet to clean your toilet can seemingly help unclog it, clean the toilet bowl, and even leave a fresh scent in the bathroom. On the other hand, certain homeowners claim the materials that make up your toilet cistern can be damaged with dishwashing liquid. While these users want to be careful not to damage their system, plenty of others have benefitted from the cleaning method with no trouble. The jury is still out on using dishwasher tablets to clean toilets, but if you choose to move forward with this hack, here are some helpful tips.

How to clean your toilet using a dishwasher tablet

Although it's a relatively low-effort hack, cleaning your toilet using a dishwasher tablet requires a bit of preparation. Before dropping in the tablet, boil some hot water to pour into the toilet bowl ahead of it. The hot water will allow the pipes and any potential clogs to be more receptive to the dishwashing tablet, and by taking this precaution, you may be able to prevent any potential issues with your toilet system. Once the hot water has settled for a few minutes, drop one or two dishwashing tablets into the toilet bowl — depending on how dire the situation down there actually is — and watch as the water becomes sudsy.

You can clean the rest of the bathroom while the dishwashing tablet dissolves, but if you choose to do so, ensure that the toilet lid is closed first to prevent your kids or pets from letting their curiosity get the best of them. Once the tablet dissolves fully, use a toilet brush to scrub in and around the bowl (the way you would with a regular for-purpose cleaner). After you've completed scrubbing, flush the toilet. If you're dealing with extremely stubborn stains, you may need to put on some gloves and replace your toilet brush with a fresh tablet, scrubbing away any residual stains. But always finish off by giving your toilet a good flush.

Alternative methods to cleaning your toilet

Besides dishwashing tablets, finding alternative and more natural cleaning methods can help you avoid using harsh chemicals in the bathroom. One method that home improvement enthusiasts swear by is using boric acid (aka Borax) to sanitize and get rid of mold in your toilet. Boric acid — a non-toxic and natural salt — has antiseptic properties, meaning it can be used as both a disinfectant and a cleaning agent. Pouring half a cup of boric acid into your toilet bowl and scrubbing the rim with your toilet brush after waiting around half an hour for it to do its thing can help remove any lingering stains and odors.

Elsewhere, one of the most popular and easy cleaning methods for toilet bowls requires just two cups of vinegar and one cup of baking soda. While baking soda carries antibacterial and antiseptic properties, vinegar is a natural household cleaner that's been touted by enthusiasts for years. By mixing the two, you'll create a fizzy solution that will easily tackle common toilet stains. Simply wait for the solution to stop fizzing then use your toilet brush to spread it around, give it 10 to 15 minutes to break everything down, and finally flush. Now, you should be well-equipped to tackle any future toilet troubles.