One of the more unpleasant housekeeping chores is cleaning the toilet bowl. It’s a place where very few people want to venture. Automatic bowl cleaners can make this chore a bit easier and a lot more sanitary. They reduce the time and effort required to keep the bowl clean and bright. With several options on the market, you need to use care to find an effective option that works for your household.
So, which is the best automatic toilet bowl cleaner?“
What Is an Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner?
The standard method for cleaning a toilet bowl is to apply a cleanser, then use a brush to scrub the interior. Flushing removes the cleanser and the debris. The problem with this method is that it has to be done frequently to keep the bowl clean. Plus, with hard water, scrubbing may not be enough to remove rust stains or toilet rings.
Automatic toilet bowl cleaners remove, or at least minimize, the need to scrub the toilet manually. All of them release cleansers automatically, usually due to the act of flushing the toilet. How they dispense and how they work differ from one product to another.
Many of these cleaners go into the toilet tank. Tablets sit at the bottom of the tank, releasing cleaning chemicals over a period of time as they gradually dissolve. Another option is to sit a container of cleanser in the bottom of the tank. The water slowly dissolves the container’s cleansers. When it’s empty, it’s just a matter of replacing the container and disposing of it.
A smaller number of automatic toilet bowl cleaners avoid releasing chemicals into the tank. Instead, the cleanser gets deposited in the overflow tube and flushes directly into the bowl. These systems usually use replaceable cartridges filled with cleaner.
Another common option is applying a gel to the inside of the toilet bowl. With each toilet flush, the water flows over the cleanser dispensing it throughout the bowl. These cleansers usually need to be replaced every week or two.
No matter what automatic toilet bowl cleaner you choose, make sure it works for your toilet and household needs. `
How to Select an Effective Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Automatic bowl cleaners use a variety of methods for cleaning the toilet. Some are drop-in tablets. Others use a gel or liquid. Some involve installing parts inside the tank. When comparing each method, you need to consider several common elements:
Many lower-cost products do an effective job. Higher priced options may use safer chemicals and include extra features. You need to find a price point that you can afford, while getting a product that does what you want it to do.
These automatic cleaners use a variety of chemicals. Some are more caustic or toxic than others. If your home has older pipes or is on a septic system, you need to be careful with what ingredients you flush through the system.
How well does it work. If it doesn’t clean the bowl effectively, it’s not a good choice. Some automatic bowl cleaners work to keep the bowl clean between scrubs. Others keep the bowl clean enough to minimize or eliminate the need for scrubbing.
Ease of installation
If the system requires installing parts in the tank or on the toilet, it should be easy and straightforward. It should come with clear instructions that work on most toilet models. If the installation requires extra parts, they should be included in the installation kit.
Ease of use/refill
Application of the product or refilling it should require minimal effort and time.
Some automatic bowl cleaners come in tablet form. Others come as a gel or liquid.
Antibacterial and disinfecting
Toilets are breeding grounds for millions of potentially harmful microorganisms. The bowl cleaner needs to include both antibacterial and disinfecting ingredients.
Limescale and hard water
An effective cleaner needs to have ingredients to handle limescale and toilet rings, in addition to being antibacterial and disinfecting.
The chemicals used in the cleaner should have a neutral or pleasant smell. It should not have a chemical smell or a strong bleach smell.
Some of these cleaners last longer than others. The longer the product lasts, the better.
How easy is it to find product refills. If the product is hard to find, it isn’t a good long-term solution.
What Are the Advantages of Using an Automatic Bowl Cleaner?
Many people in the market for an automatic bowl cleaner want a more convenient and effective solution to the manual scrubbing method. Here is a list of advantages you will get when using an automatic cleaning solution.
- Makes it easy to keep the toilets clean all the time. There’s no biofilm or mold build-up between scrubs.
- Kills harmful germs to protect your family. The microorganisms found in a toilet bowl can be toxic to humans and pets.
- Eliminates bad odors. Bacteria and human waste leave behind unpleasant odors. An effective automatic bowl cleaning system keeps the bathroom smelling fresher all the time.
- Keeps bowl clean and sparkling. There’s no buildup anywhere in the bowl. It looks good at midnight or when you have guests over.
- Cleans with each flush. Instead of hard scrubbing once or twice a week, the cleaner does the job every time someone flushes.
- Prevents rust stains, lime scale, and toilet rings. Hard water is filled with minerals that cause lime buildup in the toilet. It can also contain large amounts of iron, which can leave rust behind.
- Saves time, since there’s no need to scrub the toilet. Shortens the time you spend cleaning the bathroom.
- Effective alternative to manual scrubbing. It does the hard work for you.
- Keeps your hands away from the toilet water. You don’t have to risk splashes or splatters.
- Affordable way to protect yourself and your family. The bowl is continuously clean and sanitized.
Precautions When Using an Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Today’s automatic toilet bowl cleaners are formulated to be as safe as possible. However, they do contain chemicals that could be harmful. To avoid problems, there are certain precautions you should take when dealing with the cleansers:
- Use safety gloves when handling tablets or refilling gels or liquids. This will prevent accidental exposure to harmful ingredients.
- Wash hands and lower arms after handling tablets, gels, or liquids.
- If the product comes in contact with the skin, flush it with water. If it gets in the eye, flush immediately. Seek medical attention if symptoms don’t go away. If someone swallows the product, drink several glasses of water and seek immediate medical attention.
- For products that contain bleach, do not use other products that contain ammonia in the tank or bowl. Hazardous gases may occur.
- Keep children and pets away from the toilet bowl. Some cleaners contain harsh chemicals that should not come in contact with the skin or eyes. These chemicals could be harmful if ingested.
- Place empty product containers in the trash, in a place where kids and pets cannot get to them.
Always refer to and follow the manufacturer’s safety guidelines for proper product use and safety precautions.
The Lysol Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner uses single disposable applicators for applying gel to the side of the bowl. The buyer needs to remove the cover and press the cleaner against the inside of the bowl. Then, pull the applicator off and dispose of it. The product is supposed to last 7 days before it needs to be replaced. It is bleach free, so it’s good for use by those who are chlorine sensitive. The gel comes in different scents including citrus, ocean breeze, and lavender. Like other Lysol products, it kills up to 99.9% of germs in the bowl. Each box includes four single use applicators. Buyers can get multiple boxes in a single order.
- Easy to apply gel to bowl
- Disposable applicator keeps hands away from cleanser chemicals
- Offers a pleasant scent that keeps the bathroom and toilet smelling fresh
- Cleans toilet by spreading cleanser with each flush of water over the gel
- Bleach-free formula
- Price is affordable when broken down by each 7-day application
- Product lasts only 7 days with normal use
- Scent can be overwhelming when first applied
- User must place hand in toilet bowl to apply product
- Some scents are harder to find than others
- Does not clean as well as other options
iWash Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner Natural Disinfectant Scrub-Free Automatic Bathroom and Tank Cleaning System
The iWash Automatic Bowl Cleaner uses a proprietary plant formula to remove limescale, urine smell, and rust stains. Its active biological enzyme ingredients break down waste and naturally disinfect the bowl. The lavender scent is light and not overwhelming. The formula is safe for all types of pipes and septic systems. Installation is simple. Open the bottle and sit it at the bottom of the tank. It releases the same amount of cleaner with each flush. The water in the bowl has a pleasant blue color. Each bottle will last for up to 90 days or 900 flushes.
- Easy to setup, flush the toilet and set the bottle in bottom of tank
- Uses natural ingredients to clean and disinfect, with citric acid being a primary ingredient
- Available in a pleasant light lavender scent
- Lasts for 900 flushes or 90 days, whichever comes first
- Cost effective when compared to length of use and price
- With natural ingredients, safe for all pipes and septic systems
- Does not require placing hands in or near toilet bowl
- Bottle is hidden from view
- Product must be placed away from the valve and under 2 inches of water for consistent release
- Scent can be undetectable in larger tanks
- Product may leave long-lasting blue tint on bowl surface
- Available in only one scent
- May need to scrub toilet occasionally to keep ring from forming
The Blue Ribbon 120 Day Automatic Bowl Cleaner prevents stains and rust from building up in the toilet. It’s effective against hard water. The container sits in the bottom of the toilet tank. It has holes in the lid that allow the product to dispense in the water. It contains chlorine bleach to keep the bowl sanitary and clean with every flush. The formula is safe for pipes and septic systems. It requires no scrubbing to remove toilet rings, limescale, and rust stains. With normal use, one container can last 120 days or more. Use can be prolonged by exposing only a part of the holes at the top of the container.
- Easy to install container, just open it and put in bottom of tank
- Remove stains and keeps bowl clean with each flush
- Bleach keeps bowl clean and sanitary
- Safe for all pipes and septic systems
- Formulated to work in hard water conditions
- Removes limescale and rust stains without scrubbing
- Does not color the water
- Very cost effective for length of use and price
- Keeps bowl clean for several weeks
- Handles well water without any issues
- Has a noticeable bleach smell for a few days after installation
- May not fit in smaller toilet tanks
The NeverScrub Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaning System uses replaceable cartridges of cleanser to keep the bowl clean. The user needs to install the holder to the back of the tank, then attach small hoses to dispense the cleanser when the toilet flushes. no tools are required. The cartridges are simple to pull out and put in. Its formula removes rust stains, mildew, and limescale. One cartridge can last up to three months with regular use. It works with all pipes and septic systems. Ingredients are dispensed into the toilet bowl instead of the tank, minimizing potential damage toilet components.
- Easy to use product that dispenses with each flush
- Works well in hard water conditions
- Does not harm components in the tank or toilet
- Effective against hardwater scale, rust stains, and mildew growth
- Keeps toilet clean for months on a single cartridge
- Water in bowl is clear, not blue
- Treats water in bowl, without affecting water in tank
- Uses bleach to keep bowl clean and sanitary
- Hoses included may not be long enough for certain toilet configurations
- Hoses will not work on some older toilet models
- Difficult to install in double flush toilets
- Can have strong bleach smell right after installation
- Requires a bit of space between back of toilet and wall to hang the holder
Clorox Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner Tablets with Bleach are easy to use. Just flush the toilet and drop the tablet into the far right corner of the tank. That’s it. The tablet slowly dissolves over time, releasing bleach into the tank water. This helps clean and sanitize the bowl with each flush. Each tablet lasts two to three months with normal use. Replace the tablet when it completely dissolves. The chlorine bleach deodorizes the bowl, leaving the bathroom smelling clean. It helps prevent hard water and mineral stains. The formula can kill up to 99.9% of household bacteria. It can also handle hard water and mineral stains with ease.
- Keeps the bowl clean and sanitary for two to three months
- Water is clear, no blue or green color
- Kills most household bacteria
- Works well in hard water homes
- Removes limescale deposits and mineral stains
- Stops mildew growth and removes urine stains
- Good value for the money and length of time each tablet lasts
- Refills are easy to find in stores and online
- Toilet requires no scrubbing, saving time and effort
- Starts working within 5 minutes of putting the tablets in the tank
- Emits strong bleach smell, especially for first few days after installation
- Strong level of bleach may corrode toilet components
- Can cause a ring in the bowl if the toilet is rarely used or flushed
And the Winnter Is…
The Blue Ribbon Value Pak 120 Day Automatic Bowl Cleaner is the best automatic toilet bowl cleaner in our comparison. It is one of the most cost effective options for how long it lasts versus the price.
Installation and replacement is simple. Take the cover off, flush the toilet, and put the container in place. Users can decide to expose all the holes or only a few. This allows you to adjust the level of bleach released at one time. You should use protective gloves when handling the container, but that is recommended for most of the others as well.
In comparison, the NeverScrub Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaning System can be difficult to install on some toilets, especially newer double flush models. The Blue Ribbon container may be too large for smaller tanks.
The product does use bleach to clean and sanitize the bowl. It emits a bleach smell for a few days after installation, but that is usually not overwhelming and dissipates quickly. The Clorox tablets, in comparison, emit a very strong bleach odor that permeates much of the house. With the Blue Ribbon Cleaner, the water in the bowl is clear, with no blue or green apparent.
One of the biggest draws to the Blue Ribbon is the fact that it will clean existing stains in your toilet. Give it a week or two and the stains will be gone or at least a lot less noticeable. It works very well in hard water homes, removing rust stains, and preventing mold and mildew growth.