Coca-Cola, vinegar, baby oil. It’s an ingredient list that sounds like something bored kids might concoct on a rainy day. But these are just a few of the surprising products you can use to keep your toilet clean and in tip-top shape. What’s more, repurposing common household items like these not only saves money, but helps cut down on harsh cleaning products that can be harmful to your family and the environment.
It may sound like an urban legend, but plenty of folks swear that Coke dissolves toilet rust rings. Here’s how: Pour a full can around the rim so that it fully coats the bowl, then let it sit for at least an hour to allow the acids in the soda to break down the stains. Scrub with a toilet brush, then flush. If this isn’t effective, it may be time for Tip #2.
A pumice stone is another unexpected but effective way to get rid of that persistent ring inside the bowl. Always start by soaking the pumice in warm water — the stone and the toilet surface should always be wet to avoid scratches. Gently scrub the stain until it’s gone, and then flush the toilet to rinse.
Most people reach for bleach to obliterate toilet germs and stains. However, plain old white vinegar is not only an effective cleaner, but also safer than chlorine bleach. To eliminate hard water stains, soak toilet paper in vinegar and place directly on top of the stain. Let the vinegar-soaked paper sit overnight. The next morning, flush to rinse and the stains should be gone.
Hydrogen peroxide is a safe and effective germ fighter. To disinfect your toilet, pour ½ cup of hydrogen peroxide into the bowl, let stand for 30 minutes, and then flush to rinse.
To fix a clogged toilet without chemicals, fill a medium saucepan with water and bring it to a boil. Carefully pour the boiling water directly into the toilet bowl to dissolve the clog.
I was amazed when I saw the shining results of baby oil applied to chrome fixtures. You can polish up your toilet handle — not to mention your faucets and showerhead — with just a few drops on a clean, soft cloth. Then, apply a few more drops to the toilet tank and toilet bowl and buff until the porcelain gleams.
If your toilet isn’t a newer model with water-saving features, there’s an easy way to save money and cut back on wasted water. Fill an empty 1-liter plastic bottle with an inch or two of sand and then add water to the top. Screw on the lid and place the bottle inside your toilet tank, safely away from the operating mechanisms. The bottle will help reduce water usage with every flush.
Keep your toilet seat hardware rust-free by coating the bolts and screws with clear nail polish. This will also prevent the seat from shifting around, since the screws will be less likely to loosen.