Toilets deserve to be cleaned too, which is why toilet fizzies were invented in the first place. Essentially a bath bomb for your porcelain throne, toilet fizzies fizz up in toilet water, then release their active ingredients. The goal of fizzies is to deodorize, remove stains, and disinfect—with no scrubbing necessary. But did you know that even the “greenest” of toilet cleaners can sometimes hide harmful chemicals?
Most toilet bowl cleaners contain two nasty ingredients: hydrochloric acid and chlorine bleach. While hydrochloric acid only scores a 2-3 on the Environmental Working Group, the inorganic acid definitely poses some health concerns. The purpose of hydrochloric acid is to adjust pH levels; it also works as a buffer. Currently, there is incomplete evidence as to whether hydrochloric acid is linked to the development of cancer thanks to data gaps.
However, hydrochloric acid is noted as an occupational hazard, classified as expected to be toxic or harmful and classified as a medium human health priority (by Environment Canada Domestic Substance List), and categorized under limited evidence of both sense organ toxicity and gastrointestinal or liver toxicity (by US EPA, Air Risk Information Support Center). In short, hydrochloric acid can burn the skin and irritate both lungs and eyes.
As for chlorine bleach, it is also a skin irritant. If it gets in the eyes, it can cause severe irritation, as well as conjunctivitis and potentially permanent damage to the corneas. If ingested, chlorine bleach can burn the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and the gastrointestinal tract. In the event that large quantities are ingested, bleach can cause diarrhea, inflammation, and intestinal bleeding. Extreme cases may see low blood pressure and cardiovascular collapse.
Some brands that use either of these ingredients include Febreze, Lysol, and Zep Acid. For a full list of which products contain hydrochloric acid, check here. For a full list of which products contain bleach, check here.
Now that you know all about the toxic risks of conventional toilet bowl cleaners, let’s switch gears to the solution. Making your own toilet fizzies at home is one of the most effective ways to guarantee that your toilet bowl cleaner stays nontoxic and therefore, unharmful.
Ready to start making your own nontoxic toilet fizzies at home? The following recipe contains natural, nontoxic ingredients that can be bought in bulk or plastic-free. It contains none of the aforementioned harsh chemicals that double as skin, eye, and lung irritants.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 3/4 cup baking soda
- 1/2 cup citric acid
- Lemon or orange essential oil
- Zest of either one lemon or one orange
To make your own nontoxic toilet fizzies, combine the baking soda, citric acid, and citrus zest in a bowl. Add 25 drops of either essential oil, then stir to combine. In total you’ll need to add 1-2 tablespoons of water, but you’ll want to add the water to the dry ingredients a half teaspoon at a time to ensure the mixture holds together. It should be damp, not soaked, or else it will begin to prematurely fizz.
Add the mixture to a mold, taking care to press out all the air bubbles. The mold should then go in the freezer for at least two hours, but it can also be left in there overnight as well. Store in an airtight container. To use, pop one fizzie into the toilet, let it do its thing, scrub your toilet as normal, and then flush.
This recipe was paraphrased from the blog Greenify Me. To check out the full recipe, click here.
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