What Happens When You Put Rubbing Alcohol In Your Toilet?

Did you know rubbing alcohol provides an easy and effective way of cleaning your bathroom? You might already realize that it sanitizes, but the substance also evaporates quickly and can disinfect surfaces (chrome, glass, and stainless steel) without leaving streaks, according to Reader's Digest. All you need to do is grab it from the medicine cabinet and wipe down what needs cleansing. But don't use it on items indiscriminately; there are a few rules when applying this germicide. First of all, be careful what you mix with it, as some chemicals don't mingle well together. Ethanol and isopropyl, two properties of rubbing alcohol, for example, form chloroform when mixed with bleach, per Apartment Therapy. Inhaling this is toxic and can cause all sorts of issues with the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system, and may irritate the eyes, skin, or lungs. 

Since alcohol is flammable, you also should avoid any sort of fire when using it. That means no smoking breaks or candles in the bathroom as you clean. The substance's fumes can bring harm as well. If possible, use rubbing alcohol in a well-ventilated space, even opening the room's windows. When cleaning with it use caution on the materials you put it on. Bathroom toilets, counters, mirrors, and sinks usually benefit from an application unless they include areas that are painted, shellacked, varnished, etc. When in doubt, do a test strip.

Rubbing alcohol is good for most bathroom exteriors, but what about simply pouring it into your toilet?

Always remember rubbing alcohol can be hazardous

Household chemicals should never tangle with your septic system, according to Rapid First Plumbing. This includes bleach, ammonia, and rubbing alcohol. If combined together in your pipes, you can create toxic fumes that may poison your home's air. Plus, a septic tank uses good bacteria to help process all that waste. If substances like rubbing alcohol kill the good kind along with the bad, you'll find your septic system might clog or become damaged.

You can often get away with disposing a small amount down the toilet or a drain, advised Hunker, but never any large quantities. You should run warm water while you empty any rubbing alcohol into a drain and a few moments afterward as well. You also want to avoid putting it in any outdoor space near a stormwater drain. Consuming rubbing alcohol is dangerous and can lead to death, according to Healthline, so it's something you don't want in your drinking or ground water.

Instead of using rubbing alcohol for inside of the toilet, try another homespun remedy that won't hurt the environment: vinegar. The Keeper of the Homestead suggested applying the substance on a daily basis to keep it clean and sparkling. For those of you who've neglected their toilet for a bit, try swishing in a gallon of vinegar, then closing the lid, and leaving it to do its magic overnight. Presto, your toilet will look better than ever and you won't pollute anything in the process.