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Best toilet cleaners for a germ-free loo

Cleaning the toilet is one of the nation’s least favourite household chores, but it has to be done. Toilet cleaners eliminate bacteria, grime and limescale, and can save you from scrubbing away at stubborn stains.

By Hannah Wilson | Last updated Feb 21, 2022

Cleaning the Toilet Bowl with a Toilet Brush and Toilet Cleaner

Cleaning habits are a personal preference, but one thing’s for sure: whether you clean your toilet daily, weekly or fortnightly, you need the right cleaning products. We know that cleaning the toilet is neither glamorous nor pleasant, but with the aid of a powerful toilet cleaner, you can quickly and easily get your loo sparkling again.

Luckily, there are plenty of toilet cleaners available, from traditional liquids to zero-effort tablets. And you’ll also find toilet cleaners for specific areas or problems, from limescale removers to multi-purpose cleaners. But how do you know which one is right for your toilet?

To save you time and money, we’ve researched and compared the best toilet cleaning products. Our picks have been informed by hours of research, where we sought out tried-and-tested recommendations from the Mumsnet forums and looked at consumer reviews on retail websites such as Amazon. Each recommendation was then assessed for its efficacy and ease of use.

Here are the 10 best toilet cleaners to buy right now.

1. Best overall toilet cleaner: Domestos Zero Limescale Toilet Cleaner

Domestos Zero Limescale Toilet Cleaner

Price: £1.55 | Buy now from Amazon

“Black Domestos. May need to do several times. Black Harpic is OK but I find Domestos better.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user mogtheexcellent)

“Domestos bleach with limescale remover. Works on removing limescale from shower tray, bath, taps and loo.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user Longdistance)

“I second Domestos zero limescale toilet cleaner. It’s in a black bottle and smells unpleasant but works really well.” (Rated by Mumsnet user Hodgewell1)

If you’re always on the go and want a no-fuss toilet cleaner, the Domestos Zero Limescale Toilet Cleaner is a great all-rounder, especially if you live in a hard water area or have problems with limescale. This Domestos product eliminates limescale below the waterline (even after one use) and kills no less than 99.9% of germs.

Due to the formula being three times thicker than other toilet limescale removers, this scented cleaner gets to work just in 30 minutes - and the best bit is you won’t even need to do any scrubbing. However, if your limescale stains are particularly brutal or above the waterline then you might need to grab a toilet brush and give it a little elbow grease.

Pros 

  • Scented fragrance - available in more than one scent
  • Fast-acting and no scrubbing needed
  • Kills 99.9% of germs and removes limescale

Cons

  • May need to leave it on for longer than 30 minutes for stubborn stains
  • May need to reapply (for stubborn limescale)
  • Only works below the waterline

Key specs

  • Type: Liquid
  • Size: 750ml

2. Best budget toilet cleaner: Astonish Mould and Mildew Blaster

Astonish Mould and Mildew Blaster

Price: £1.10 | Buy now from Amazon

“If it has bad stains, try the Astonish mould remover. I swear it makes tiles grouting and stainless steel look new.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user EmeraldShamrock)

“I use a toilet brush for inside the toilet bowl, and a cloth of some kind to clean outside the bowl and lid. I use any kind of general household cleaner, like Astonish. Never buy stuff that says just bathroom cleaner as the general ones are all the same for everything.” (Rated by Mumsnet user 1forAll74)

Although the Astonish Mould and Mildew Blaster might seem like a general household cleaner, many Mumsnetters favour this product for cleaning the toilet. The active formula (which contains bleach) kills 99.9% of germs, is vegan-friendly and cruelty-free, and is designed to prevent mould and mildew - making it ideal for general toilet cleaning.

Not only do we like the affordable price tag, but we also like how this multi-purpose cleaning spray can clean the sink, the bath, the shower, bathroom tiles and many other surfaces in your home. And while you might think that cheaper toilet cleaners require extra scrubbing, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with this one.

Pros 

  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • Fresh apple scent
  • Affordable
  • Kills 99.9% of germs

Cons

  • Nozzle can leak
  • Smells of chlorine
  • Can’t be used on non-porous surfaces

Key specs

  • Type: Spray
  • Size: 750ml

3. Best eco-friendly toilet cleaner: Ecover Pine & Mint Toilet Cleaner

Ecover Pine and Mint Toilet Cleaner

Price: £1 | Buy now from Amazon

“I use a toilet brush for inside the loo and [go] under the rim with Ecover toilet [cleaner].” (Rated by Mumsnet user BlackInk)

“I use Ecover Toilet Cleaner and a toilet brush for inside [the bowl].” (Recommended by Mumsnet user Antihop)

If you’re looking for a general eco-friendly toilet cleaner then look no further than Ecover’s Pine and Mint Toilet Cleaner. This cleaner is vegan-friendly, cruelty-free and contains only biodegradable ingredients. You can also buy Ecover five-litre refill bottles for less than £10, which means you can reduce your recyclable waste too.

It’s an easy-to-use toilet cleaner as all you need to do is squirt some into your toilet bowl and flush. But if you have stubborn stains, you may need to give it a quick scrub too.

The Ecover Toilet Cleaner might not be that effective at removing large limescale build-ups. And some reviewers have found the pine and mint scent overpowering, so you’ll need to open a window or two while cleaning.

Pros 

  • Plant-based and cruelty-free
  • Biodegradable ingredients
  • Fresh pine and mint scents
  • Eco-friendly as you can buy additional five-litre refill packs

Cons

  • Won’t remove stubborn stains
  • Strong smelling - you’ll need to ventilate your bathroom when cleaning

Key specs

  • Type: Liquid
  • Size: 750ml

4. Best foaming toilet cleaner: Bloo Foam Aroma Toilet Cleaner

Bloo Foam Aroma Toilet Cleaner

Price: £6.31 (pack of two) | Buy now from Amazon

“[Use an] antibacterial wipe on the seat and all over the outside of the toilet, put bleach down for a few hours then sprinkle with the Bloo foam stuff before bed to leave overnight.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user Babyg1995)

This two-pack of Bloo Foam Aroma Toilet Cleaner not only leaves toilet bowls sparkling clean but also fragrances the bathroom with a floral rose and apple blossom scent. 

You won’t need a toilet brush or cloth when using this toilet cleaner as all you need to do is pour a capful into the toilet. The product will then start fizzing and foaming to remove dirt and bacteria, then you can flush after a few minutes. 

If you’re trying to remove tough limescale or stains, leave the cleaner in the toilet overnight and flush it away in the morning to reveal a sparkling loo.

Pros 

  • Fresh rose and apple blossom scent
  • Removes limescale when left overnight
  • Minimum cleaning effort

Cons

  • Can’t be used with products that contain bleach
  • Best results when used daily (which can be expensive)

Key specs

  • Type: Powder
  • Size: 500g per bottle

5. Best toilet cleaner for stains: Harpic Professional Power Plus Toilet Cleaner

Harpic Power Plus Toilet Cleaner

Price: £1.80 | Buy now from Wilko

“I use anti-bac wipes on the seat, outside, cistern and handle. I use Harpic and a bog brush in the loo.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user MegaClutterSlut)

“Inside: flush and brush, especially under the rim, then flush again. Then squirt with Harpic Power Plus, which is the only thing that keeps the limescale at bay, and bleach on alternate days.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user LakieLady)

Whether you’re trying to tackle limescale, rust, stubborn stains or strong odours, Harpic Professional Power Plus Toilet Cleaner can help. The powerful liquid gel clings to germs and bacteria in the toilet bowl and effortlessly gets rid of them - making it ideal for deep cleans and removing all kinds of stains.

For general cleans and mild stains, you can get away with pouring the Harpic Toilet Cleaner around the toilet rim and sides (using the angled nozzle) and leaving it to sit for a few minutes before flushing. However, if you have more stubborn stains, we recommend pouring some Harpic cleaner into the toilet bowl and leaving it for several hours or overnight.

During our research, we discovered that numerous reviewers found the chemical smell to be quite strong, so make sure you open a window when cleaning.

Pros 

  • Tough on stains and odours
  • Kills 99.9% of germs
  • Can remove limescale and rust
  • The angled top allows you to remove germs around the toilet rim

Cons

  • Has a strong chemical smell
  • May leave green stains behind

Key specs

  • Type: Liquid
  • Size: 750ml

6. Best toilet cleaner for limescale: HG Professional Limescale Remover

HG Professional Limescale Remover

Price: £3.50 | Buy now from Amazon

“I used HG professional limescale remover.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user OrigamiOwl)

Many professional cleaners rely on HG products for being powerful and fast-acting, and the HG Professional Limescale Remover is no exception. 

No matter how much limescale your toilet has accumulated, this strong limescale remover should solve the issue. We also like that it can clean limescale and grime from the rest of the bathroom as it’s safe to use on chrome, ceramic, stainless steel, glass, glaze and plastic surfaces.

It may take a few applications for this concentrated liquid toilet cleaner to fully remove limescale build-ups. However, you can remove limescale with one application by scrubbing the liquid into the stains with a brush. 

If you’d rather save time scrubbing around the toilet rim, HG’s Toilet Cleaner Gel and HG’s Toilet Renovation Kit are two alternatives to consider, both of which allow you to spray the toilet cleaner directly under the rim and effortlessly remove hard-to-reach stains.

Pros 

  • Removes limescale, rust and dirt
  • Can also clean tiles, shower cubicles, plastic bathtubs, washbasins, taps, shower heads and kitchen worktops

Cons

  • Strong chemical smell
  • You’ll need to wear gloves for application
  • Needs to be diluted with water

Key specs

  • Type: Liquid
  • Size: 500ml

7. Best toilet seat cleaner: Dettol Power Bathroom Cleaner Spray

Dettol Power Bathroom Cleaner Spray

Price: £2 | Buy now from Amazon

“[I use] loo roll and Dettol for the bits people touch.” (Rated by Mumsnet user CakeandCustard28)

“I use Dettol spray and a cloth that goes in the washing machine afterwards.” (Tried and tested by Toomanyscentedcandles)

While it’s easy to focus solely on cleaning the toilet bowl, germs and bacteria can cling to other surfaces on and around your toilet, including the toilet seat. For this, we recommend using Dettol Power Bathroom Cleaner Spray, which kills 99.9% of bacteria and viruses and helps to remove 90% of allergens such as dust mites and pollen. 

The active ingredients do all the hard work for you by breaking down stains and removing germs. It’s easy and quick to use - all you need to do is spray the product on the toilet seat and wipe it with a cloth or toilet roll. No rinsing is required as Dettol leaves no residue marks.

We also like that this cleaner is multi-purpose and can be used to tackle the rest of the bathroom and kitchen. And what’s not to love about its pleasant fragrance, which isn’t overpowering but will still leave your bathroom smelling clean and fresh?

Pros 

  • Can be used on various bathroom surfaces
  • Kills 99.9% of bacteria and viruses
  • Smells nice

Cons

  • Nozzle is tricky to use
  • Not suitable for use on marble, brass, copper, unfinished wood, carpet, fabrics, and unwaxed vinyl

Key specs

  • Type: Spray
  • Size: 1L

8. Best toilet bowl cleaner: Stardrops Pine Disinfectant Spray

Stardrops Pine Disinfectant Spray

Price: £3.49 | Buy now from Amazon

“Put bleach in the toilet. Spray the bowl seat etc with any bathroom cleaner though I love Stardrops Pine Disinfectant - it's so so shiny. Then I use a brush (not a loo one, a bottle with bristles on one side) on the inside, any old fabric or old socks etc to clean the white areas, then buff it all down.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user Itsnotalwaysme)

The Stardrops Pine Disinfectant Spray is a multi-purpose cleaner that’s great for cleaning the toilet bowl as it leaves a fresh woodland pine scent.

Although pricey, we like that it’s easy to use as all you need to do is spray the toilet bowl with a few squirts and leave it to soak for five minutes (or a bit longer for stubborn stains). And thanks to the non-abrasive ingredients, you won’t have to deal with any left behind residue either.

Pros 

  • Kills 99.9% bacteria and viruses
  • Fresh pine scent
  • Easy-to-use spray trigger
  • Multi-purpose cleaning spray (can clean toilets, sinks, drains, worktops and more) 

Cons

  • Not suitable for particularly stubborn stains
  • Expensive

Key specs

  • Type: Spray
  • Size: 750ml

9. Best no scrub toilet bowl cleaner: Harpic Power Plus Toilet Cleaning Tablets

Harpic Power Plus Toilet Cleaning Tablets

Price: £9.48 (pack of four) | Buy now from Amazon

“Ours had awful limescale. Tried all the tricks (white vinegar did nothing - not strong enough) and the only thing that worked was this. Can't recommend it highly enough. You just drop one in overnight and by morning it's sparkling clean! Zero elbow grease required.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet AtLeastThreeDrinks)

“Harpic black tablets. Get a water softener and it’s no longer an issue!” (Rated by Mumsnet user Ariela)

Keeping your toilet clean shouldn’t involve hours of scrubbing, and with Harpic Power Plus Toilet Cleaning Tablets, you won’t need a scrubbing brush or any other cleaning accessories. All you need to do is drop an active tablet in, leave it for a while (anywhere from 20 minutes to six hours), then flush your loo and enjoy a sparkling clean toilet. 

Harpic Power Plus Tablets get to work straight away and can remove stubborn stains and limescale below the waterline thanks to their foaming formula. The cleaner also kills 99.9% of bacteria and viruses, works in the u-bend, and has a citrus scent that provides a fresh and clean smell for your bathroom.  

However, some reviewers found that these Harpic tablets stained their toilet bowl blue, so make sure you don’t leave a tablet in for longer than is recommended on the label.

Pros 

  • Effectively removes limescale
  • Minimal effort and no scrubbing
  • Citrus-scented
  • Less than £2.50 per box

Cons

  • May leave blue stains if left for too long
  • Only works below the waterline

Key specs

  • Type: Tablets
  • Size: 25g  x 4 (8 tablets per pack; 32 in total)

10. Best toilet cleaner tablets: Astonish Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Astonish Toilet Bowl Cleaner Tablets

Price: £3.89 | Buy now from Amazon

“Try Astonish. Cheesy name, but they really work well, and cost a couple of quid for a box of 10.” (Rated by Mumsnet user PlayerOneNotReady)

“Astonish tablets overnight and a good scrub with a silicone loo brush. Result.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user 70isaLimitNotaTarget)

An environmentally-friendly alternative to the popular Harpic Toilet Cleaning Tablets, the Astonish Toilet Bowl Cleaner is both vegan-friendly and cruelty-free.

Similar to Harpic’s offering, these tablets take away all the hard work of cleaning the toilet as all you have to do is place one in the bowl and leave the foaming action to do its thing for just 20 minutes. If you want a deeper clean, you can leave a tablet or two in overnight and flush in the morning.

Whether your toilet is plagued by limescale, rust or calcium build-up, this toilet cleaner can free you from any unsightly stains. Astonish also works just as well in the u-bend.

Pros 

  • Vegan-friendly and cruelty-free
  • Eucalyptus-scented, so smells lovely
  • Removes limescale, rust and calcium build-ups

Cons

  • Product can’t be used with chlorine bleach
  • Works better when left overnight
  • You may need to scrub stains for maximum effectiveness

Key specs

  • Type: Tablet
  • Size: 280g (10 tablets)

How do I choose the best toilet cleaner?

Choosing the best toilet cleaner depends on your needs and cleaning preferences. For example, you might live in an area with hard water and struggle with limescale, or you might want to swap chemical-based toilet cleaners for more environmentally-friendly options. Here are some things to consider when deciding which toilet cleaner is right for you:

Type

There are many different types of toilet cleaners available, from traditional liquid and gel products to foaming agents or tablets. Often the best choice here is personal preference, although tablets and foaming agents usually require little to no scrubbing (liquids and gels may benefit from some additional elbow grease).

You’ll also want to check whether or not your toilet cleaner is multi-purpose.  Can it clean your entire loo or will you need different products for the toilet bowl, seat and flush handle or button?

Cleaning needs

Make sure you find a toilet cleaner that can eliminate your toilet problems. If you have a limescale build-up, opt for a toilet cleaner that can remove limescale. If you want a general toilet cleaner, find one that kills germs and bacteria.

Ingredients

Bleach is tough on stubborn stains and great for deep cleaning and disinfecting the toilet, but it smells strong, might not be suitable for septic tanks and isn’t environmentally-friendly. Toilet cleaners with natural ingredients are kinder to the environment and safer for children and animals. The best way to see whether a toilet cleaner contains the right ingredients and is suitable for your needs is to check the label and instructions.

Fragrance

Many toilet cleaners are scented to give your lavatory or bathroom a fresh and pleasant aroma. There are plenty of different scents to choose from, including those with earthy, floral, fruity or marine notes. Heavy-duty toilet cleaners usually have more of a chemical or bleach odour.

How do you clean a badly stained toilet bowl? 

Toilet bowls collect bacteria, germs, grime, limescale, and rust. To avoid a nasty build-up of bacteria or stains, you need to clean your toilet weekly. But how do you go about cleaning a loo that’s already badly stained?

Before you start cleaning your stained toilet bowl, you’ll need:

  • Rubber gloves
  • A scrubbing brush or cloth
  • Toilet cleaner (that can treat your toilet stains)
  • Disinfecting spray or wipes

Now you’re gloved up and ready to get stuck in, follow our step-by-step guide for a gleaming, as-good-as-new loo.

  1. Lift the toilet lid and pour your bleach or toilet cleaner around the rim of the toilet. Lynsey Crombie, also known as Lynsey Queen of Clean, says: “Make sure you pour your bleach or toilet cleaner right under the rim and let it run down the pan cleaning as it goes.”
  2. Once you’ve poured the cleaner into the toilet, use a brush or cloth and start scrubbing the toilet sides to ensure the cleaner is all over the bowl. For a deep and thorough clean, scrub the toilet bowl sides, under the rim and the toilet u-bend. Leave the cleaner to sit for as long as the label tells you to - this is often between 20 to 30 minutes, but if you’re doing a deep clean or have stubborn stains, you can leave it for several hours or even overnight.
  3. While you’re waiting for the toilet cleaner to work its magic, you can move onto other areas of the toilet, including the lid, seat, toilet bowl above the rim, flush handle/button and tank. To clean these, use a disinfectant spray or wipe.
  4. When you’re happy with how long the toilet cleaner has been left to sit, simply flush the toilet and wipe down the sides. 

Now you’ve tackled the toilet, why not go on to making the shower sparkle too? Grab your trusted shower squeegee and preferred shower cleaner and transform your bathroom from grim to gleaming.

What is the best and most effective toilet cleaner? 

Mumsnetters love Domestos Zero Limescale Toilet Cleaner, and it’s easy to see why as this toilet cleaner eliminates persistent limescale and stubborn stains, kills 99.9% of germs and works within 30 minutes. The days of slaving over the toilet scrubbing those unsightly stains are gone because this toilet cleaner can clean the inside of your toilet all by itself - no scrubbing needed.

How we chose our recommendations

When compiling our best buy roundups, our trusted and experienced journalists spend hours researching each product category, using a variety of sources to evaluate which products are best in class. 

We chose these recommendations by investigating which toilet cleaners are highly rated and loved on the Mumsnet forums by real families who have put them to the test in their everyday lives.

Our in-depth research also involved analysing expert market and consumer reviews from the likes of Amazon and UKCPI to determine which toilet cleaners are the bestsellers as well as the most effective at removing stains, limescale and bacteria, and which leave little to be desired.

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.