How to clean a toilet with Zero Waste.

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Julie Julie
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How to clean a toilet with Zero Waste.

I'm running low on my toilet bowl cleaner so it's getting to be about time to replace it. I was looking at the packaging and thinking of what to do. I love that these specific cleaners have the angled neck to get under the rim and I love that the soap is kind of thick so it sticks to the sides of the bowl. Disinfecting the toilet is probably a silly thing to do but I was raised to think that every surface in the house should be super clean. It's going to take some getting used to!

Anyway, I figured I should open the discussion and see what solutions you all had for cleaning in the bathroom. Which cleaner should I use? Are there any non-plastic toilet cleaning brushes? Do you even bother with them? How do you deal with grime under the rim? Probably a silly question, but is all of this safe for my septic system? Please, discuss.
Jay Jay
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Re: How to clean a toilet with Zero Waste.

This post was updated on .
REALLY GOOD question.
For years I've used Dawn, scrubbing with a silver impregnated nylon brush, for the bowl. I can't imagine using a natural bristle brush, because of the germ factor. It'd be a perfect environment for them to grow and multiply.
I used to use bleach at the end, until my brain clicked on. But "sanitizing" a toilet bowl now seems a bit of an oxymoron to me. But the rims/seat?? Cloth, hmmm? Spray, soak, then TP to wipe? Housekeepers use rags, but then wash them with bleach; and just use the same comet-like cleaner, used elsewhere in the home, sprinkled on the brush and bowl. They're trained to keep all cleaning supplies in a portable carrier, so no "specialty" products, and USE gloves.
I like Method's AntiBac, but that's so not ZW.... as is Dawn, i guess.

Maybe will try concentrated castile, with a Vodka chaser:-))
Could use Vodka to soak a brush, also. Gotta think outside the box!
Thanks for posing the question, would definitely like to hear others' ideas.
Jay Jay
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Re: How to clean a toilet with Zero Waste.

This post was updated on .
The other thought is prevention. FlyLady tenet! Swish the bowl, daily if you have to. Then the actual cleaning chore becomes minimal.
silkyhorse silkyhorse
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Re: How to clean a toilet with Zero Waste.

In reply to this post by Julie
If you already own a toilet brush, I would think buying a new "natural" or "non-plastic" brush would be anti-zero waste. :)  
Jay Jay
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Re: How to clean a toilet with Zero Waste.

In reply to this post by Julie
If you wanted a specific product, there is this:
http://www.seventhgeneration.com/Toilet-Bowl-Cleaner
Sandra Sandra
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Re: How to clean a toilet with Zero Waste.

For cleaner, I've been using baking soda to scrub, followed by a spray of vinegar. The foaming action you get from combining the two ingredients helps reach the crevices the brush can't get at and seems to satisfy my need for "sanitizing." Previously, I used the Seventh Generation cleaner, which works just fine, too. I'm now thinking I could have saved the container for its angled spout and refilled it with castile soap multi-purpose cleaner.

The Container Store carries a variety of stainless steel toilet brush handles/holder sets. The brush itself is still made of plastic but is replaceable. I make sure to thoroughly rinse the brush after use and give it a good couple of sprays with the vinegar to prevent germ build-up. Wonder where Jay got the silver impregnated brush.  
Jay Jay
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Re: How to clean a toilet with Zero Waste.

The brush is made by Vileda and got it at a local Andronicos. Not there anymore, and when looked online, the only references to the "silver ion" technology + Vileda seemed to be either the UK, Australia or Canada. Don't have a clue why.
Julie Julie
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Re: How to clean a toilet with Zero Waste.

In reply to this post by Sandra
Great ideas!! I was surfing the web last night and stumbled upon a tip that suggested you could clean the toilet and remove stains by dumping (sorry couldn't resist) a cup of baking soda and a gallon of hot water in the toilet, then leaving it all day (for instance while at work). By the time you get home the job is done and you just flush. Never tried it. I wonder if it would work... How much is baking soda, BTW? I haven't switched to using it as a scrubber so I haven't run out of my supply...
Jay Jay
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Re: How to clean a toilet with Zero Waste.

Don't totally get the theory, maybe to make it really alkaline, to "remove stains", or actual cleaning? Probably obvious, but if you do use the hot water, you want to pour slowly, assuming the idea is to completely fill the bowl. Pour fast and you trigger a flush cycle. For cleaning if you pour fast you could follow with vinegar spray and have an interesting fizz.
Baking soda is really cheap, usually available in bulk.

Swish daily with a brush that reaches under the rim and shouldn't have to work so hard. Takes seconds.

A pumice stone can get rid of mineral calcifications without scratching porcelain. Use precautions to guard against any contamination issues.
Karin Karin
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Re: How to clean a toilet with Zero Waste.

I pour about a cup of white vinegar into the toilet bowl, clean the rest of the bathroom, then swish/scrub the toilet brush around the toilet bowl and under the rim. Rinse the brush during the flush and let it air-dry. So true about the more often you clean it, the less potent the cleaner needs to be.

I use a rag (folded to the size of a sponge) to clean the rest of the bathroom with baking soda (as a scrubbing cleanser), which rinses clean. I clean the mirrors and faucets last using my all-purpose vinegar/water spray and rag #2. Rag #2 ultimately is the final swipe of everything, as long as I don't get distracted... LOL

I agree with someone above that if you already own a plastic toilet brush, then it seems appropriate to keep using it versus tossing it out just by the virtue of being plastic in order to buy something new.

When I keep up with the toilet, a brush wouldn't really be necessary. A rag would suffice for the daily cleaner. I'm not there, yet. ;)
Julie Julie
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Re: How to clean a toilet with Zero Waste.

In reply to this post by silkyhorse
Good point. ;) luckily my brush is in good condition, but I think it's a good idea to talk about all aspects of toiletbowl cleaning. That way when it does eventually fall apart I'll know what to do. :)
AMY AMY
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Re: How to clean a toilet with Zero Waste.

Here's my list of toilet-related things I've been doing (you know, besides the usual!) for a number of years:

1) Like Bea, I buy recycled paper TP wrapped in paper.  I often special order it (from our wonderful local food co-op) in a case.  It comes in a cardboard box (which has entertained my daughter for days!), and then I stash it away in my two bathrooms and don't have to think about buying it for months at a time!

2) For cleaning, for years I have used Bon Ami powder cleaner which has a short list of natural ingredients.  But it does come in those cardboard shaker thingies.  So I am trying to shift to just baking soda.  

3) I read once that if, after flushing the toilet, there are "streak marks" just pour some baking soda in and let sit for a while (I just leave it till the next flush) -- and unless it is a particularly stubborn streak, they just flush away.

4) I also read once (in Natural Home magazine) that for powerful germ cleaning you could use a combination of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide.  But they shouldn't be mixed together (don't remember why), instead you keep them in two separate spray bottles and spray one, then the other, then rinse/wipe.  

5) So, to clean the inside of the toilet I use Bon Ami or baking soda and my very-old-but-still-good plastic toilet brush.  Then I clean the outside/seat with the vinegar and hydrogen peroxide combo and I just tear off pieces of my recycled toilet paper to wipe the surfaces with and then flush them down.  

6) Also, I always recycle my toilet paper tubes (unless I'm saving them for some craft project), and I've also found occasional uses for the paper wrapping on the toilet paper.  I've used it to wipe my mirrors after spraying with vinegar, for cleaning up other gunky types of things, or as packaging material!
Sandra Sandra
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Re: How to clean a toilet with Zero Waste.

For those searching for a plastic-free toilet brush, there's one at the "Life Without Plastic" website.
Sandra Sandra
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Re: How to clean a toilet with Zero Waste.

Has anyone tried the brushless method that Bea mentions in the blog?  
Shonagh Shonagh
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Re: How to clean a toilet with Zero Waste.

In reply to this post by Julie
To "sanitize" your toilet try using thyme infused vinegar.  Thyme oil is incredibly anti-microbial.  It is the active ingredient in a bunch of new green sanitizers (thymol).  Just infuse thyme in the vinegar as you would for a flavoured vinegar.  This can be used for the seat and top of the toilet bowl.

Link to recipe

I agree with other posters that frequent cleaning is the easiest way to cut down on toxic toilet bowl cleaners.  I usually just use a squirt of soap and a good scrub with my brush.  The seat should be washed well with soap and water periodically rather than just sprayed down with sanitizer.  Not doing so will cause the coating of the seat to break down over time and the seat will need to be replaced.
Constance Constance
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Re: How to clean a toilet with Zero Waste.

My friend owns very successfull green cleaning company.  They use citrus cleaner, microfibre cloths and a pumice stone for hard to remove rings.  
gennarator gennarator
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Re: How to clean a toilet with Zero Waste.

I make my own natural alternative to 'soft scrub' and it works amazingly well!

Homemade Antibacterial Soft Scrub Cleanser:
3/4 cup baking soda (you can add a little more if it seems a little thin after it’s all mixed together.)
1/4 cup castile soap (We use Tea Tree scented Dr. Bronners)
1 Tablespoon water
10-15 drops of tea tree oil
1 Tablespoon vinegar
I store mine in a shampoo bottle I washed out and removed the label from, the squeeze bottle makes cleaning a breeze
Griet Griet
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Re: How to clean a toilet with Zero Waste.

In reply to this post by Sandra
Where can i find this post?
AlexEverette AlexEverette
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Re: How to clean a toilet with Zero Waste.

In reply to this post by Sandra
I've been using vinegar to clean/sanitize my toilet, but I never thought of mixing it with baking soda. This is such a great tip! Thanks, Sandra
Cherry Cherry
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Re: How to clean a toilet with Zero Waste.

In reply to this post by Julie
I am a working mom and have no time to waste by  playing with toilet brushes and cleaners   I have hired a maid from 'Ergo Clean' ( http://www.ergoclean.ca/ ), Canada. They are hired by my husband to clean his office actually . Anyway, they are helping me to keep my home and bathroom clean. Before hiring them, I used to clean with vinegar and baking soda.
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