can you clean a bathtub with toilet bowl cleaner

Can You Clean a Bathtub with Toilet Bowl Cleaner?

The household cleaning products aisle at your local store likely boasts a range of choices, each promising effective solutions for different cleaning scenarios. While these choices are excellent for specificity, it often brings to mind a question: can a product designed for one purpose be used for another?

While it’s technically possible to clean a bathtub with toilet bowl cleaner, it’s generally not recommended due to the risk of damaging the tub’s surface and potential discoloration. Instead, safer alternatives include methods using vinegar and water, baking soda and dish soap, or specialized bathtub cleaning products.

Let’s take a look at all the methods of cleaning and why toilet bowl cleaner is not a very good idea.

Can You Clean a Bathtub with Toilet Bowl Cleaner?

It is crucial to understand the implications of using a cleaner designed for a different purpose than initially intended.

Bathtubs and toilet bowls, despite being in the same room, are two different surfaces that often come in contact with different types of grime. While toilet bowl cleaners are designed to handle specific types of stains and bacterial growth common in toilet bowls, bathtubs typically encounter soap scum, body oils, and possibly mildew.

Another really important factor to consider is the chemical residue that may not get washed away fully when rinsing the bath. The toilet cleaner chemicals could cause irritation or more serious skin reactions.

So if you decide to go ahead and use toilet cleaner in your bath, you have been forewarned of the potential problems and possible dangers

Using Toilet Bowl Cleaner to Clean a Bathtub

If you’ve decided to use a toilet bowl cleaner on your bathtub, here are step-by-step instructions:

We do not recommend using this method for all the reasons stated. But if you insist to, follow the steps and ensure you thoroughly rinse. We recommend the methods below.

Does It Wash Team
  1. Ventilate the bathroom: Open windows and doors to ensure there’s enough ventilation. Toilet bowl cleaners often contain potent chemicals that can be harmful if inhaled in high concentrations.
  2. Apply the cleaner: Wearing gloves, squeeze or spray your toilet bowl cleaner onto the areas of your bathtub that need cleaning. Be careful not to use too much as these cleaners are usually quite concentrated.
  3. Wait: Leave the cleaner on the bathtub surface for a few minutes to allow it to work on the stains or scum. Always follow the instructions on the product label for the best results.
  4. Scrub: Use a scrub brush to scrub the areas where you applied the cleaner. Be sure to scrub thoroughly but gently to avoid scratching the surface of your bathtub.
  5. Rinse: Rinse the bathtub thoroughly with warm water. Make sure to rinse away all the cleaner to prevent any residues from being left behind.
  6. Dry: Dry the bathtub using a clean towel or cloth to prevent water spots or streaks.

Remember, always wear gloves and protect your eyes when using potent cleaning chemicals.

Cleaning a Bathtub Using Natural Ingredients

If you prefer a more natural approach or want to avoid the risks associated with using toilet bowl cleaner, you can use simple household items like vinegar and baking soda. This method is safer, eco-friendly, and effective on most tub surfaces. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Prepare your cleaning solution: Combine equal parts of white vinegar and warm water in a spray bottle. If you’re dealing with stubborn stains, add a few tablespoons of baking soda to the mixture.
  2. Apply the solution: Spray your vinegar and water (or vinegar, water, and baking soda) solution all over the bathtub, ensuring that all surfaces are thoroughly covered.
  3. Wait: Allow the solution to sit on the surface of the bathtub for at least 15 to 30 minutes. This waiting time gives the vinegar a chance to cut through the grime and soap scum.
  4. Scrub: Use a scrub brush or sponge to scrub the bathtub. Pay extra attention to any areas with stubborn stains or noticeable buildup.
  5. Rinse: Rinse the bathtub thoroughly with warm water. Make sure to rinse away all the cleaning solution to avoid any residues or potential slip hazards.
  6. Dry: Use a clean towel to dry the bathtub. Drying helps prevent water spots and inhibits mildew growth.

By using this method, you can clean your bathtub without exposing yourself or the environment to harsh chemicals. Plus, vinegar and baking soda are cost-effective alternatives that you probably already have in your kitchen cupboard.

Cleaning a Bathtub Using Dish Soap and Baking Soda

Another effective and safe method to clean your bathtub involves using dish soap and baking soda. Dish soap works well to break down oils and residues, while baking soda offers gentle abrasive power to scrub away stubborn stains and buildup. Here’s a detailed guide:

  1. Prepare the cleaning paste: Combine equal parts of dish soap and baking soda in a bowl. Stir them together until they form a thick paste.
  2. Apply the paste: Using a sponge or a cloth, spread the paste evenly over the surfaces of the bathtub. Focus on any areas with stains or noticeable buildup.
  3. Wait: Let the paste sit on the bathtub surfaces for at least 10-15 minutes. This gives the dish soap and baking soda enough time to penetrate and break down the grime.
  4. Scrub: With a non-abrasive scrub brush or sponge, scrub the bathtub. Make sure to scrub gently to avoid scratching the surface.
  5. Rinse: Rinse off the paste thoroughly with warm water. Ensure all the cleaning paste is washed away to avoid leaving any residue.
  6. Dry: Dry the bathtub with a clean towel. This step helps to prevent water spots and discourages the growth of mildew.

This method is not only effective but also friendly to both your skin and the environment. And since dish soap and baking soda are common household items, this cleaning method is also very cost-effective.


What are the risks of using toilet bowl cleaner on a bathtub?

Toilet bowl cleaners contain strong acids or alkalis, which can damage certain surfaces. Using these cleaners on a bathtub, especially those made of acrylic, enamel or porcelain, may lead to surface dullness, discoloration, or even irreversible damage. Moreover, the fumes can be quite toxic, requiring good ventilation during use.

What are some alternatives to using toilet bowl cleaner on a bathtub?

Some popular alternatives include baking soda and vinegar, a non-abrasive bathroom cleaner specifically made for bathtubs, or a mild dish soap and warm water. All of these options are less likely to cause damage to your bathtub.

How do you clean a bathtub without using harsh chemicals?

Combine equal parts of white vinegar and warm water in a spray bottle. Spray this mixture all over the bathtub and let it sit for 15-30 minutes. Scrub with a soft brush or sponge and rinse with warm water. For stubborn stains, make a paste of baking soda and water, apply it on the stain, leave it for a few minutes, then scrub and rinse.

Can toilet bowl cleaner cause stains on the bathtub?

Yes, toilet bowl cleaners can cause stains on the bathtub. Especially for bathtubs made of porcelain or acrylic, the harsh chemicals can cause discoloration and stains.

Can toilet bowl cleaner be used to remove black mold on bathtub silicone?

While toilet bowl cleaner might slightly reduce the appearance of mold, it is not the most effective solution for this purpose. Instead, it’s recommended to use dedicated mold and mildew removers or a bleach and water solution. Particularly stubborn mold problems, especially on silicone, may require replacement of the affected silicone caulk for complete remediation.


The use of toilet bowl cleaner to clean a bathtub is technically possible, but it carries potential risks such as surface damage and discoloration. Not to mention health risks if any chemical residue remains.

Safer and equally effective alternatives include using a vinegar and water solution, a dish soap and baking soda paste, or specialized non-abrasive bathtub cleaners.

Always ensure that whichever method you use, proper ventilation, thorough rinsing, and drying are crucial steps to maintain the cleanliness and longevity of your bathtub. It’s always best to choose a cleaning method that is both effective and safe for the material of your bathtub and for your health.