Tired of scrubbing your toilet bowl with a brush, pumice stone? One way to keep your toilet clean and reduce the frequency that you’ll need to clean is to use an Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner. Also called toilet drop-ins, toilet rim cleaning blocks, tablets or discs have become quite popular in recent years. While you’ll still need to clean the toilet, these cleaners do help keep the toilet clean in-between cleans and also can help prevent and reduce the stains caused by hard water or rust. Because there are so many options on the market and we’ve tried several different ones over the years, we thought we’d publish this list of our favorite options.
If you’re looking for a quick recommendation, we’d recommend the Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Cleaner Drop-Ins. We’ve also included a few other picks below including cleaners that come in a drop-in tablet or hanging cartridge format. We’ve included options with and without bleach, one that’s especially effective for hard water build-up and rust stains as well.
We’ll consider some essential points while looking for a good automatic toilet cleaner. While these won’t prevent you from needing to give your toilet bowl a proper cleaning, they can keep your toilet clean and give you a little more time between deep cleanings. Here are our top picks for the best toilet bowl tablets.
Best Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaners
Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Cleaner Drop-Ins
This automatic toilet cleaner by SC Johnson will keep your toilet bowl clean on a regular basis since the cleaning is a continuous process. Each flush not only cleans but also deodorizes the toilet bowl, minimizing the effort and frequency that you’ll need to manually clean.
Another useful feature of these discs is that they are not harmful to children or pets, a reassuring fact for those of you who have a dog with a penchant for toilet bowl water, but it is still avoidable!
These toilet drop-ins are also safe for the various parts of your flush tank. When these products first came on the market, some plumbing professionals warned consumers not to buy drop-ins. The main reason was that some of the early products were corrosive, over time eating away at the rubber parts used inside the toilet tank – like the toilet flapper.
In the long run, these would wear out the seal and the toilet would stop flushing correctly. Luckily, many newer products on the market, like these Drop-Ins by SC Johnson have resolved the problem by using ingredients that are safe for the toilet tank and the parts used inside.
For those of you who get a supply of hard water, there is good news in that aspect as well, as Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Cleaner Drop-Ins work well for descaling the lime deposits from your toilet bowl. These discs are also easy to use – just drop one into the back of your toilet flush tank, and it starts to work – you don’t have the hassle of installing complicated equipment. You just replace the toilet drop-ins once the blue coloration of the water begins to fade.
- Easy to use
- Relatively safe for children and pets
- Pleasant blue color
- Effective descaling agent
- Some customers feel it depletes too fast
- Occasional packing issues
Kaboom Scrub Free Toilet Cleaning System
The Kaboom Scrub-Free toilet cleaning system is a cartridge-based one, so, you need to install the cartridge and disc once and then you just refill the cartridge with the toilet tablets whenever required. Clipping the system to the back of the toilet tank may need a bit of innovation, as the structure of toilet tanks may differ, but the procedure is relatively simple if you just follow the instructions on the packaging. You do not need to use any tools for the installation of the cartridge.
The Kaboom Toilet Clean System is an automatic toilet cleaner system that helps to reduce the need to scrub your toilet bowl and imparts a pleasant, clean odor.
This toilet bowl cleaner also helps to remove mold accumulation.
This toilet cleaning system lasts longer than others reducing the hassle of having to reload the cartridge with discs that often. The general feedback from customers is that this automatic toilet cleaner system is quite useful in removing unpleasant odors and keeping the toilet bowl clean. In theory, it should be super easy to snap-in. However, initial installation can be a bit of an issue for a small percentage of people that have unusually shaped tanks.
- Useful for cleaning and eliminating odors
- Lasts longer
- Relatively cheaper than other similar brands
- Environment-friendly chemicals
- Reduces the need for manual cleaning
- Initial installation can be a bit tricky
- It May not fit in all flush tanks
- Refill discs are quite expensive
Clorox Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner Tablets
Here is a brand of toilet drop-ins that claim to kill 99% of germs on a regular basis. The discs last for three months. They contain a high percentage of bleach so, while somewhat effective in killing bacteria and removing bad odors, the smell of chlorine can be slightly overbearing to sensitive souls! The Clorox Automatic Toilet Cleaner is useful for getting rid of stains caused by lime and mineral build-up which are caused by hard water.
The Clorox discs are easy to use – just lift the lid of the flush tank and after flushing to empty the water from the tank, place the tablet towards the back of the tank. The cleaning action starts almost immediately and lasts for about two months, although the deodorizing effect continues up to three although, in theory, one tablet can be good for up to 10 flushes per day for 3 months (max 900 flushes).
Most customers who used this automatic toilet cleaner claimed that they were quite satisfied with its effectiveness regarding cleaning power and deodorizing action.
- Strong action
- Removes stains and odors effectively
- Easy to install
- Complaints of poor packaging (broken tablets)
- The bleach odor can be overpowering for some users
Chem-Free Toilet Cleaner Cartridge
The ChemFree Toilet Cleaner is a cleaning aid that aims to rid you of the need to scrub manually. It works well enough for 5000 flushes. It is completely safe and sanitary.
All you need to do is drop the Chem-Free cartridge into your tank. The way it works is it prevents mineral particles from creating stains and forming hard-to-remove rings around the toilet bowl. It prevents mildew and fungus growth while stopping further bacterial growth.
It is perfectly safe for homes with kids, babies, and pets. It is also eco-friendly and won’t damage your septic system. The cleaner is six inches long.
- Eco-friendly and safe for kids and pets
- Good for 5000 flushes
- Prevents mold, mildew, and fungal growth
- Toilets using extremely hard water may still form rings and stains
NeverScrub – Automatic Toilet Cleaning System
The NeverScrub Toilet Cleaning System promises an effortless and automatic way of cleaning and maintaining your toilet. It fights off stains by releasing a concentrated solution into the water whenever you flush the toilet. It is a good solution for toilets that keep getting stained because of the high mineral content found in hard water. It also cleans mildew and rust stains, among others.
The cleaning system can work for up to three months at a time. Imagine not having to scrub the toilet for that long a time, and still getting a clean and hygienic seat. In addition to cleaning the toilet, it also prevents all future stains and grime from ever forming.
This toilet cleaning solution is also septic-safe. Installing it is a breeze also, you don’t need to have special tools or hire a professional to install the system. Follow the simple instructions in the packaging. You will have it up and running in three easy steps.
- Safe system for your toilet tank
- Works for 3 months
- Prevents stains, scum, and mildew from forming
- Some users may not like the minor chlorine scent that it produces
Fluidmaster 8300 Flush ‘n Sparkle Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaning System
The Fluidmaster 8300 Flush ‘n Sparkle Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaning System’s name says it all. It’s a self-cleaning toilet system that treats your toilet.
This one does have bleach so we wouldn’t recommend it if you have a septic system. Instead, we’d recommend the NeverScrub that we reviewed above.
The system is very easy to install. All you need to do is follow the simple instructions found on the packaging. There are no special tools required. You can do it on your own and have it up in just a minute.
The idea is to keep your toilets clean without ever having to hold an actual scrub or brush, without damaging any parts of your septic system. You can use the same system for a very long time. You will just need to replace the cartridges every three months.
The cartridges are completely eco-friendly, and you get two cartridges in this purchase. They perform their cleaning power using bio-action, which not only keeps the tank and toilet hygienic and sanitary – they also reduce any future clogging and bacteria growth.
- One cartridge is good for 3 months
- Very easy to install
- You can forget about it and it does the work on its own
- The cartridges are more expensive than other options, but they also last longer
- The cartridges are too small for tablets that are bigger than 1 inch in diameter
Iron Out Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner
If you’re specifically having issues with rust-colored stains on your toilet bowl this is the product for you. Many households have hard water and/or old pipes that leave stains on the porcelain. A slow drip of water from under the toilet bowl ring can also cause an unsightly iron-colored stain on the porcelain. This tablet can help prevent you from having to scrub this or use a pumice stone frequently.
If you have iron-rich well water on your property or older pipes using this tablet can help maintain your toilet bowl. Each tablet can last for up to 45 days and is sold in various formats from two to six tablets.
What to Look For
- Drop-In vs. Clip-On: Some automatic toilet cleaners are simple “drop-ins”, you just drop them into the water inside the tank while others clip onto the inside lip of the tank.
- Bleach Content: We’ve reviewed some contain chlorine bleach and others that are bleach-free. If you have persons in the house that have a sensitivity to chlorine.
- Eco-Friendly: Whether you have a sensitivity to chemicals or live on a property with a septic system, we’ve included some more natural options.
- Color: Some of the drop-ins come with a blue dye that some people like-finding it pleasant color and also some like to know that it’s working (or hasn’t totally dissolved) since they can see the blue tint with every flush. Others may prefer the more natural look of color-free tablets since it just looks like a normal flush with water (without an unnatural-looking color).
So, we concluded that the Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Cleaner Drop-Ins is the clear winner out of all the other brands. This toilet bowl cleaner is easy to use, efficient, and does not give off an unpleasant odor. Most importantly, this name has received excellent reviews from customers who used the product, which is a clear indication that it is a product worth using.
However, if you prefer a cleaning block that clips in the tank, the Kaboom System is a good choice.
Finally, if you prefer a stronger product with bleach, the Clorox option delivers heavy-duty cleaning power and the company claims to kill 99% of germs with their drop-in solution.
We hope you have enjoyed reading this article. Please feel free to send us your valuable feedback, comments, and questions, if any, and we will be glad to respond.
Are Toilet Bowl Tablets Effective?
While they are not a 100% bathroom cleaning strategy, when it comes to maintaining a clean toilet bowl, these automatic drop-in tablets do help. Because the tablets dissolve in the toilet’s tank and release a small quality of chemicals with each flush, they do make a noticeable difference when it comes to keeping the bowl looking white and clean. There are of course a lot of different brands and the effectiveness will depend much on the ingredients and concentration. However, even when using these tablets you’ll still need to deep clean your toilet and scrub but not as frequently as you would if you don’t use a tablet.
Do Bleach Toilet Tabs Work?
Bleach is proven to be very effective at killing germs and as a whitening agent. Toilet tablets that contain bleach (like the ones we’ve mentioned above manufactured by Clorox) do “work” in the sense that they are a very effective anti-bacterial. However, as mentioned above, like other tablets they will not prevent you from still having to do periodic cleaning that includes scrubbing the toilet bowl with a brush.
Do Bowl Tablets Damage Toilets?
We’ve spoken to many plumbers that are against the use of toilet tablets and claim that “yes” tablets do damage toilets. The main complaints we’ve heard are that they cause damage, especially to the internal parts of the tank and flush mechanisms, and ultimately shorten the lifespan of the toilet.
- Tablets can get stuck in the flush valve as they disintegrate, this can cause blockages when flushing and refilling the tank as small chunks of tablets block the inflow/outflow of water. The small pieces can also prevent rubber flappers from sealing properly and causing a constant trickle.
- Chlorine cleaning tablets are caustic and break down the plastic and rubber parts, including toilet gaskets and washers that are very susceptible to corrosion.
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