Homemade Toilet Bowl Cleaner

DIY toilet bowl cleaner

The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 1 day
  • Yield: 30 cleanings
  • Skill Level: Beginner

If you are tired of paying for expensive toilet bowl cleaners or concerned about the often toxic chemicals they contain, you can make your own cleaner at home with just a few ingredients.

The DIY toilet bowl cleaner works well in removing stains and leaves a fresh, clean odor in the bowl. Unfortunately, you'll still have to use a toilet brush and do a bit of scrubbing! But, as a bonus, you can use the mixture to freshen shower and sink drains and even remove soap build-up from the pipes.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Wooden spoon
  • Medium-sized glass mixing bowl
  • Measuring cups
  • Funnel
  • 2 Glass jars with sealable lids
  • Permanent marker
  • Non-metal tablespoon measuring scoop
  • Toilet brush
  • Sponge or microfiber cloth
  • Ice cube tray or silicone mold (optional)


  • Baking soda
  • Powdered citric acid
  • Disinfecting essential oil
  • Distilled white vinegar, cleaning strength (20%)
  • Labels for jars


items for making DIY toilet bowl cleaner

The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

How to Make DIY Toilet Bowl Cleaner

  1. Measure Dry Ingredients

    In a medium-sized glass mixing bowl, measure two cups of baking soda. Add 1/2 cup citric acid powder. The bowl must be glass because essential oils can corrode metal bowls and stain plastic bowls permanently.

    baking soda in a mixing bowl

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

  2. Add Disinfecting Essential Oil

    You need about one teaspoon of a disinfecting essential oil. Tea tree oil, orange, and lavender provide disinfecting qualities. You can choose a single oil or create your own scented blend.

    Slowly add the disinfecting essential oil just a drop or two at a time. Stir well with a wooden spoon after every addition. Do not pour in the entire teaspoon at one time because it will be too difficult to distribute it smoothly.

    adding essential oil to the mixture

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

  3. Store in a Glass Jar

    Once the mixture is thoroughly blended, use a funnel to pour it into a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Be sure to add a label so that everyone knows what's inside and a note on how to use the cleaner. Include a non-metallic one tablespoon scoop or spoon.

    storing toilet bowl cleaner in a glass jar

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

  4. Fill Distilled White Vinegar Jar

    The cleaning strength (20%) distilled white vinegar must be stored in a separate jar from the powder and added directly to the toilet bowl when it is time to clean.

    To make cleaning time easier, pour the vinegar into a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Use a permanent marker to create hash marks at 1/2 cup intervals. Label the jar.


    If you cannot find the cleaning strength distilled white vinegar, you can use regular distilled white vinegar (5%). However, you will need to use two cups of the weaker vinegar each time you clean the toilet bowl.

    storing distilled vinegar in a separate jar

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

If you would rather make a tablet or "bomb" to be dropped into the toilet, you can alter the ingredients a bit. You'll need an ice cube tray or a silicone mold that holds about one tablespoon and will release the tablets easily.

In addition to the baking soda, citric acid, essential oils, stir in 1/2 teaspoon distilled white vinegar just a drop at a time. Add only enough vinegar to make the mixture damp enough to hold its shape when squeezed together in your hand.

Place the damp mixture in the ice cube tray or mold and level off. Allow the mixture to dry for at least 24 hours. Pop the tablets out of the molds and store in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and add a label.

How to Use DIY Toilet Bowl Cleaner

  1. Flush the Toilet

    When it's time to clean, flush the toilet to remove any tissue or waste.

    flushing the toilet

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

  2. Measure and Add Cleaner

    Add one tablespoon of the baking soda mixture or one baking soda cube to the water in the toilet bowl. Sprinkle some additional powder around the interior sides of the bowl.

    adding cleaner to the toilet bowl

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

  3. Scrub With a Toilet Brush

    Use a dampened toilet brush to scrub the bowl. Don't forget to clean under the rim and around the water flow jets.

    scrubbing the toilet bowl with a brush

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

  4. Add the Cleaning Vinegar

    Pour 1/2 cup of the 20% cleaning vinegar (or two cups of 5% distilled white vinegar) into the bowl. There will be some fizzing action as the baking soda and vinegar react.


    If there is no fizzing action, your baking soda may be old or you are not using enough DIY powder for cleaning.

    adding vinegar to the toilet

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

  5. Scrub Again, Wait, and Flush

    Use the toilet brush to give the bowl another good scrub to remove any remaining stains. Allow the mixture to remain in the bowl for at least 15 minutes before flushing.

    letting the mixture sit

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

If you're looking to freshen drains and help remove soap scum in the drain pipes, add 1/2 cup of the dry baking soda mixture to the drain. Slowly pour in 1/2 cup of cleaning distilled vinegar (20%) or two cups of 5% regular distilled vinegar.

There will be fizzing! Allow the mixture to work for at least one hour before flushing out the drain with hot water.

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Bac, Nurcan et al. "Essential Oil Disinfectant Efficacy Against SARS-CoV-2 Microbial Surrogates." Frontiers in Public Health. doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2021.783832

  2. Kwiatkowski, Paweł et al. “The Antibacterial Activity of Lavender Essential Oil Alone and In Combination with Octenidine Dihydrochloride against MRSA Strains.” Molecules (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 25,1 95. 26 Dec. 2019, doi:10.3390/molecules25010095

  3. Home Cleaning Chemistry. University of Utah.