No, it’s not safe to use toilet bowl cleaners in your shower. Having a clean shower always is a paramount and healthy practice. However, you need to be mindful of the cleaner you use as using the wrong cleaner in your shower can do more harm than good.
Most homeowners often use the same cleaner for their toilet and shower. After all, both are usually together and it makes sense to also clean both of them together.
On the contrary, it’s wrong, harmful, and unhealthy to also use toilet bowl cleaners for showers.
Here’s the fact. A toilet bowl cleaner contains certain ingredients that suit toilet bowls but are unfit to use in showers.
Though it’ll clean the showers if used on them, a bowl cleaner can also harm both you and the shower due to its harshness.
Here are a few reasons why it’s unsafe to use toilet bowl cleaners in your shower:
It’s Toxic for You
Most toilet bowl cleaners contain some harsh ingredients that are toxic and unsafe for your health. These ingredients are not only harmful if ingested but also emit unhealthy fumes and odors.
You may want to say that the same ‘unhealthy’ fume is emitted when cleaning the toilet bowl, why is the case of the shower different?
A shower has a larger surface area and requires you to apply more toilet bowl cleaner for cleaning.
This means you’re exposed to more fumes and toxic content than when you’re cleaning a toilet bowl. You also get closer to the shower when cleaning it than the toilet bowl, which can cause eye irritation.
All of these will increase the level of danger you’re exposed to. Therefore, if you’re health-conscious, you shouldn’t try using toilet bowl cleaners in your shower. But if you have to use it, put on a nose mask and a pair of gloves, and keep the bathroom well-ventilated.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner Can Ruin Your Shower
Surprisingly, toilet bowl cleaners are not only harmful to your health but can also ruin your shower.
Because of its toxic nature, toilet bowl cleaners can damage the surface of your bathtub. This is possible because most showers/bathtubs lack a protective porcelain layer found in toilet bowls.
Most shower surfaces are made of glass, chrome, tile, or fiberglass, and can’t withstand the harsh nature of some bowl cleaners. For this reason, it’s unsafe to use toilet bowl cleaners in your shower. It’s not something we recommend.
However, if you must use a bowl cleaner in your shower, don’t allow the cleaner to stay too long on the shower surface. Also, rinse the shower thoroughly with plenty of water after cleaning.
What’s Harmful to Use on Shower?
As said above, most bowl cleaners contain some active ingredients, which may be harmful to use on showers. Here are the ingredients that people are using but are harmful to the shower:
Hydrochloric Acid (HCl or muriatic acid)
You’ve heard that hydrochloric acid is highly corrosive but you may never know that it’s included in a toilet bowl cleaner until you check the label. Take note, hydrochloric acid may appear as HCl or muriatic acid on the label.
HCl will easily remove stubborn stains from your shower but it’ll also ruin your bathtub. Most toilet bowls are made of ceramic and porcelain, which are resistant to hydrochloric acid.
Showers, on the other hand, aren’t made of materials that are acid-resistant. Hence, they can be easily damaged by the acid when cleaning them.
HCl is not only harmful to use on showers, but it’s also corrosive to your hand. Depending on the level of concentration, HCl can cause burns or skin irritation if it comes into direct contact with the skin. HCl also emits harmful fumes that can affect your throat or lungs.
Some toilet bowl cleaners have bleach in them instead of hydrochloric acid. Bleach is also a well-known toilet cleaner and disinfectant but it can be harmful to your shower and health.
Bleach comes in different types. Some can contain a coloring agent that can eventually damage your shower. The coloring agent is meant to whiten and improve visibility against your white toilet bowls but it will, instead, leave stains behind on your shower.
Some bleach products pose harms, especially respiratory issues and/or skin irritations, to your health when you inhale or touch them. Regular household bleach may not be so toxic but when combined with other ingredients may harm the surface of your shower.
If you have shower tiles or using a chrome-finish shower, bleach can attack the protective coating and finish. This will cause them to look dull over time. Using bleach consistently can destroy the tile grout, leaving an irreversible stain on the tile surface.
Like bleach, ammonia is also a good toilet cleaner and disinfectant, and it’s used in some toilet bowl cleaners. Nevertheless, ammonia can still damage the surface of your shower.
Just like bleach, using ammonia consistently can erode or destroy the tile grout. This will cause discoloration and/or cracks in the grout, causing the tiles to fall out of place. It may also leave residues that can attract more dirt.
Aside from these, ammonia is also a skin and eye irritant. Inhaling the fumes of cleaning products that contain ammonia can cause difficulty in breathing.
While some people may not be allergic to it, there are still those who will experience rashes, welts, or hives upon exposure to it. If you have asthma, inhaling the fumes of ammonia can trigger an attack.
Sodium Hydroxide (caustic soda)
Sodium hydroxide is another corrosive ingredient found in toilet bowl cleaners. Caustic soda is used in making soap but when used excessively, it has harmful effects on your shower and health.
Depending on its level of concentration, caustic soda can damage your skin by causing burns. Inhalation of caustic soda can also trigger respiratory issues like coughing and difficulty in breathing.
If you accidentally get caustic soda on your clothing, it’ll leave a hole in the fabric.
Prolonged exposure to caustic soda can also damage the surface of your shower. It can cause discoloration, cracks, or holes in tiles and grouts.
This is another acidic ingredient found in some toilet bowl cleaners. Phosphoric acid is a rust remover but just like other acidic ingredients mentioned above, it can be harmful to use in showers.
When used excessively, phosphoric acid can damage the tile grout, causing it to crumble and fall off. It can also leave residues that will eventually attract more dirt.
Phosphoric acid is also corrosive. It can cause skin irritation and burns upon contact. Inhalation of phosphoric acid can trigger respiratory issues like coughing and difficulty in breathing.
Triclosan is an antibacterial and antifungal agent found in some toilet bowl cleaners. While it’s effective in killing bacteria and fungi, triclosan can still be harmful to your shower and health.
Triclosan is an endocrine disruptor, which means it can interfere with the hormone system. This can cause a number of problems like early puberty, thyroid issues, and cancer.
It is also a skin irritant. Inhaling the fumes of cleaning products that contain triclosan can cause difficulty in breathing.
While toilet bowl cleaners can effectively clean and disinfect your toilet, some of them contain ingredients that can be harmful to your shower and health.
It’s best to avoid using them in your shower or look for alternatives that are safe to use.