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As a homeowner, you have probably found yourself in situations where you’ve had to switch up the cleaners you’re using, like using hand soap for dishes and vice versa. Another big switch that some people make is using toilet cleaners on bathtubs and sinks. You may argue that most bathroom and kitchen cleaners should work interchangeably because they feature similar active ingredients, such as detergents for cutting grease, bleach for killing bacteria, and abrasive agents for scrubbing off built-up dirt.
However, is it safe to use toilet bowl cleaner on your sink? The short answer is “no” because the toilet cleaner contains toxic properties like bleach and hydrochloric acid, which are meant to counter the stubborn stains and germs specifically found on toilet bowls. These ingredients will damage your sink in the long run.
The rest of this article will delve deeper into this topic, giving reasons why you should not use toilet cleaners on your sink or bathtub, alternatives to use when you’re out of your usual products, and address other related questions.
Why You Should Avoid Toilet Cleaners on Sinks
As already mentioned, toilet bowl cleaners are made with strong abrasives, bleach, and other ingredients that work perfectly for the removal of toilet bowl stains but are not ideal for the kitchen or bathroom sink.
To understand better why you should not use toilet cleaner on a sink, let’s look at the ingredients found in most toilet bowl cleaners.
Ingredients in Toilet Bowl Cleaners
The major ingredients used in making toilet cleaners are bleach and hydrochloric acid. Below, we discuss these ingredients in detail to help you understand what makes them suitable for the toilet bowl and not suitable for other surfaces like sinks and bathtubs.
Toilet cleaners contain a strong bleaching agent, which works well in whitening the toilet bowl while killing the bacteria. This property attracts most homeowners into the idea of using the cleaner for the sink as well.
While you will definitely get the anticipated results, bleach forms a harmful compound if ingested. Thus, for your health, avoid using toilet cleaners on sinks or any other surfaces where you may run the risk of potentially ingesting this harmful substance.
- Hydrochloric Acid
The hydrochloric acid in toilet cleaners is responsible for the removal of stains and the sparkling after-glow. This acid is highly corrosive, and it can cause skin burns if not carefully handled. Additionally, just like the bleach, it should also not be inhaled as it can harm the eyes and lungs.
How Will Toilet Cleaner Damage the Kitchen Sink?
Most kitchen sinks are made using stainless steel that is treated to have premium rust-resistant properties. With the material being so resilient, most homeowners assume that a toilet bowl cleaner will not do any damage, but we are here to debunk that myth.
The hydrochloric formula used in toilet cleaners has a harsh effect on stainless steel. The strong abrasives will leave scratch marks with repeated use. The marks may not be visible immediately, but they will eventually ruin the sink.
Additionally, the bleach, which is very clearly harmful to the human body, will also accumulate in the sink and cause contamination, eventually finding its way to your skin or other sensitives through doing the dishes.
What About the Bathtub? Can You Use Toilet Cleaner to Clean the Bathtub?
Given the components of the toilet cleaners, it should also be obvious that it should not be used on the bathtub. If you use it, it will get you the desired cleaning results: the stains and debris will be gone. However, the eventual damage to your tub may be irreversible, not to mention the risk of health concerns stemming from taking a bath in a tub that could retain some of these harsh chemicals on its surfaces.
On the bathtub itself, the harsh toilet bowl cleaning ingredients are capable of ruining the color and look of the tub in general. Usually, tubs are made of tile and porcelain, and these will eventually get discolored. Additionally, the smooth finish of your tub will also be affected by the acidic formula in the cleaner and be eaten away by the harsh acids and abrasives.
What Are the Alternatives for Toilet Bowl Cleaners?
It is undeniable that most of us have at one point used a toilet bowl cleaner on either the sink or the bathtub. And, of course, the cleaner yielded the desired results: the surface became sparkling clean.
The good news is that it is not too late to stop this practice. Below, we give some of the alternatives that you can use on your sinks and tubs instead of having to use toilet bowl cleaners when you’ve run out of your usual cleaning products.
Most homeowners like to work with commercial cleaners, but a homemade cleaner will work quite the same on sinks, bathtubs, and other surfaces.
Vinegar is one of the most effective acidic elements that you will find at home. It is mild on surfaces but very efficient in the removal of stains and odors.
All you need to do is mix a little bit of vinegar with a liter of water in a bowl or container. (A plastic spray bottle is also a very useful and convenient option.) You can also add a small amount of essential anti-microbial oils for killing germs and leaving behind a pleasant smell.
Another option is using a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. This combination can cause overflow and should only be used in sinks and tubs, but it is guaranteed to remove tough stains and built-up debris on surfaces. It’s also a great option for cleaning out stained tea pots and coffee mugs.
Another commonly used mixture can also do the trick. All you have to do is mix 1 tablespoon of liquid dishwashing soap with a half cup of white vinegar/lime extract and one cup of clean water in the right proportions. Once your mixture is ready, spread it evenly on your sink or bathtub and let it rest for a few minutes before rinsing it off using clean water.
Apart from these homemade solutions, you can also use a store-bought cleaner intended for the sink or bathtub. Normally, these are made using such mild ingredients that they will not cause any scratches nor discolor your surfaces, and they are far less likely to cause any health-related issues.
What can you clean with toilet cleaners apart from the toilet bowl?
Even though we have ruled out the use of toilet bowl cleaners on sinks and bathtubs, you can still find other cleaning tasks in which it may be reasonable to use these products.
For example, you can use it to clean your trash bins/cans. All you have to do is mix it with a little water to dilute it, then use a brush to clean the bin. While you’re at it, be sure to put on gloves to avoid touching the solution or ingesting it in any way as it may cause a health hazard.
Can you use bleach on a sink?
Bleach is usually very corrosive, therefore It must be used with precaution. It comes in handy when your top priority is killing germs. However, if you have to use it on a sink, you have to dilute it properly, especially for use on the white porcelain sinks.
Diluting the mixture reduces the abrasiveness and the chances of discoloration. While using a diluted bleach mixture, be sure that you do not let the solution rest for too long on the sink. Also, take care that you rinse it off thoroughly using a lot of water so you will be certain not to leave any residue behind.