This review was updated in October 2022 to remove a sold out product and add new toilet bowl cleaner recommendations along with more information about each product.
If you ask pretty much anyone what their most dreaded household task is, cleaning the toilet is always among the top responses, if not number one. It’s an unpleasant task, but certainly a necessary one to keep your home clean and family healthy — and having an effective, fast-working arsenal of toilet bowl cleaning supplies on hand makes the job a lot speedier and easier to do.
In the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab, we know a good bit about bathroom cleaning and what ingredients you need to dissolve the tough soils and stains that are common on bathroom surfaces. In addition to our advice on how to remove mold and mildew and tackle hard water stains, we test hundreds of cleaning products each year to find the best for cleaning the bathroom and every room. In fact, we’ve recently spent weeks testing 27 different toilet cleaning products to find which ones require minimal effort but yield maximum results.
When we test toilet bowl cleaners, we go right to the source — home and office toilets. We assess how easy each cleaner is to use, how well it removes fresh and existing stains and how clean it leaves the bowl overall in the homes of Lab experts and consumer testers. We also review the ingredients, packaging and more. These are the best toilet cleaners to get rid of tough stains and make your bowl sparkle.
Our top picks:
For your cleanest bathroom, consider keeping an assortment that includes a cleaner for stains inside the bowl, like one of our picks below, a sturdy, effective toilet bowl brush and disinfecting wipes for the seat, rim, tank, handle and outer base. As you read through this review, you’ll find more details about all of our toilet bowl cleaner recommendations along with testing images, specifics about how we test, what to consider when buying a toilet bowl cleaner as well as why you should trust Good Housekeeping reviews.
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Best Overall Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Toilet Bowl Cleaner with Bleach
|Cost per oz.||$0.25|
Best Value Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Power Toilet Bowl Cleaner
|Cost per oz.||$0.09|
Best Tablet Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Continuous Clean Drop-Ins
|Cost per oz.||N/A|
Best Toilet Cleaning Wand
Disposable Toilet Cleaning System
|Cost per use||$0.92|
Best Toilet Cleaner for Stains
Power Stain Destroyer
|Cost per oz.||$0.10|
Best Automatic Toilet Cleaner
Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner
|Cost per 2-week application||$0.66|
Best Plastic-Free Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Eco-Strips Toilet Bowl Cleaner
|Cost per use||$1.00|
Best Scented Toilet Bowl Cleaning Wipe
Scentiva Disinfecting Wipes
|Cost per use||$0.10|
Best Toilet Cleaning Brush
Good Grips Toilet Brush
|Cost per oz.||N/A|
How we test toilet bowl cleaners
The best way to test toilet bowl cleaners is to evaluate them on frequently used and naturally-soiled toilet bowl surfaces. To do that, we enlist our Lab experts and consumer testers to take the test products home and scrub away. We ask for feedback about how well and quickly they worked, how easy and pleasant they were to use and the types of stains they removed. We also want to know where they fell short. And, when necessary, we’ve even been known to test products in our office restroom. In the Lab, we also review the clarity and completeness of the label directions, the need for any safety warnings based on the ingredients and how easy and neat each product is to use.
What to know when shopping for toilet cleaners
• Type: When it comes to selecting a cleaner for inside the bowl to tackle hard water rings, rust stains and more, the options are endless and there’s no one size fits all. Thick liquids are formulated to cling to vertical bowl surfaces to coat and dissolve stuck-on stains so they are easier to brush away. While some people may prefer a traditional liquid toilet cleaner and toilet brush, others may like the convenience of a toilet wand with a disposable cleaning head that’s pre-loaded with cleaner. There are also tablets and gels that either go in the toilet tank or attach inside the toilet bowl to help keep your toilet clean in between deep cleanings by dispensing a bit of cleaner with every flush to clean continuously and keep soil from accumulating. Look for cleaners specifically geared toward your toilet problem, for example rust or hard water residue are best taken care of with a cleaner that’s formulated to remove rust.
• Ingredients: While certain ingredients, like bleach, are great for removing tough stains and disinfecting the toilet, they may not be the choice for someone who has kids or pets, or does not want to be exposed to a chemical smell. Also, some gels and tablets may be safe for toilet tanks or septic systems while others may not be recommended. Concentrated cleaners are best used in toilets that are flushed regularly. Be sure to check the labels to ensure the cleaner fits your lifestyle and needs.
• Longevity: The lifespan of toilet cleaners can vary, especially with tablets and gels. Some tablets and gels can last anywhere from a week to a few months. Make sure to read the label for how long these last so you’ll know how frequently you need to replace them.
Why trust Good Housekeeping?
Jamie Kim has over 17 years of experience developing products and researching, reporting on and testing consumer products in the home, cleaning, textiles, media and technology categories. For this story she worked with Carolyn Forte, Executive Director of the GH Cleaning Lab, who has over 40 years of experience testing all types of cleaning products, including toilet bowl cleaners. With three toilets of her own that she cleans weekly, she had plenty of personal experience. Jamie called in and tested a wide variety of toilet bowl cleaners and compared them head-to-head to find the best for this review.
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