If your toilet tank is dirty, and the rest of it has stubborn stains too, then you need a good cleaning product that can remove them all without damaging the toilet itself. One of the most popular and well-known cleaning products in North America at this time is CLR. It has been a staple on the continent for quite some time now.
Many trust it to clean everything from toilets and showers to appliances and coffee makers too. Let’s figure out exactly what CLR is, if you can put it in a toilet tank, and more.
What Is CLR and Can You Put It in a Toilet Tank?
CLR or Calcium Lime Rust is a common household cleaning product that is used for dissolving a variety of stains. As the name of it implies, it is designed primarily to dissolve stains left by lime deposits, calcium buildups, and iron oxide deposits, otherwise known as rust.
It works by using weak acids to dissolve the various deposits that we mentioned above, all without damaging metals and plastics. Some of the main components in CLR include lactic acid, gluconic acid, lauramine oxide, sulfamic acid, glycolic acid, citric acid, water, and more. By all means, this is one of the most powerful household cleaning products that you can get your hands on.
So, when it comes to cleaning your toilet, it can certainly do so, especially when calcium or hard water buildups are concerned, as well as general limescale deposits, and even rust too. Now, what many people do have concerns about is how eco-friendly a cleaning product such as this can be.
In the grand scheme of things, although CLR is actually very powerful, it’s also fairly eco-friendly. This product does not contain any bleach, ammonia, or phosphates, which are generally the three biggest polluters as far as cleaning products are concerned.
The EPA or Environment Protection Agency has given CLR the Safer Choice award, which means that it is a safer choice for the environment and for humans. That said, due to the various ingredients it contains, it is still not 100% eco-friendly, but nothing too harmful either. So, if it is safe enough for people to wash out their coffee maker pots with, then it is certainly good enough to use to clean toilets.
How to Clean Toilet Tank with CLR
Cleaning your toilet tank, as well as your toilet as a whole, using CLR is not difficult at all. Once again, this is quite a powerful product, and thanks to the various acids that it contains, is extremely fast-acting as well.
First off, beware that there are many different types of CLR, but for this purpose, you will want the regular or original version. That said, CLR Bathroom and Kitchen will work fine as well, and this product even comes in a spray bottle, which will help make life a little bit easier in terms of applying it to the inside of your toilet tank.
For the full effect, you will want to first drain the water from the toilet tank. Therefore, the first step in this process is to shut off the water going to your toilet. This can be done using the water shutoff valve located somewhere near the base of the toilet. Once this has been done, flush the toilet once or twice to remove all of the water. You want to be able to spray the CLR directly onto the stains within the tank.
The next step is to take your CLR and apply it to the inside of the toilet tank, to both the sides and the bottom, anywhere there are stains. On that same note, if the rest of your toilet also has stains, such as the inside of the bowl, then now is the time to apply the CLR to the bowl of the toilet. You will want to let the solution soak for just two or three minutes, but no longer. Once again, it is a powerful cleaner, and you don’t want to let it sit on the porcelain of your toilet for too long.
You will now want to put on some rubber gloves. Although this product should be safe to get on your skin, it may still cause adverse reactions, so a bit of protection is called for. You can now use a sponge, a cloth, or a toilet brush to wipe the stains away. You may need to use a bit of elbow grease and use the sponge to scrub a bit, although the CLR should take care of most of the heavy lifting for you.
You can now turn the water to the toilet back on and give it a couple of flushes.
3 Alternatives to Putting CLR in a Toilet Tank
In case you are worried about the environmental or health impacts of CLR, there are some far more natural alternatives that can be put to use here:
- Lemon juice: One of the best natural alternatives here is lemon juice. Lemon juice is a natural descaler that can remove lime and calcium buildups, although it will not really remove rust.
- Vinegar: If you need to remove rust, mildew, mold, and mineral deposits, then vinegar is one of the best options to go with. You will need a lot of it, but it does work well and is eco-friendly too.
- Baking soda and vinegar: If the rust stains and mineral buildups are quite severe, you can always make a slurry out of vinegar, baking soda, and some water. Baking soda also has the ability to remove light rust stains, odors, and other types of stains. When used in conjunction with vinegar, it also creates a chemical reaction that produces a lot of oxygen, something else that will help with the cleaning process.
The bottom line is that CLR is a fantastic cleaning product that can be used to clean virtually everything in your home, and yes, this includes your toilet.