Can You Use Toilet Bowl Cleaner In The Shower?

I’m usually pretty good at keeping all my cleaning supplies stocked, but one day when I reached for my shower cleaner, I discovered I had run out. As I searched through the bottles of various cleaners for a substitute, my eyes landed on the toilet bowl cleaner. Would it work?

Can You Use Toilet Bowl Cleaner In The Shower

Like I often do with housekeeping-related issues, I hopped on Google and looked for answers. In this article, I’ll pass along the information I found about why you shouldn’t clean your shower with toilet bowl cleaner and other things you should never clean with toilet cleaner.

I’ll also break down the active ingredients in toilet bowl cleaner and tell you what each one does. Finally, I’ll give you some alternative options to clean your shower when you run out of shower cleaner.

Can You Use Toilet Bowl Cleaner In The Shower?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. Since toilet bowl cleaner is made for cleaning small areas, the heavy concentration of chemicals can damage the surface of the shower. Those chemicals can also irritate your skin when you take your next shower. 

Other Surfaces To Avoid Using Toilet Bowl Cleaner On

Showers aren’t the only area of the bathroom that you shouldn’t clean with toilet bowl cleaner.

things to avoid using toilet bowl cleaner on

Let’s look at other surfaces you should clean with a more gentle cleaner.


Like the shower, you should avoid cleaning the bathtub with toilet bowl cleaner because it could damage the surface.

It could also cause even more harm to your skin that cleaning the shower because you sit and soak in a bathtub. That would allow the chemicals to touch more of your skin and cause a larger reaction.


You should avoid cleaning the sink with toilet bowl cleaner. Depending on your sink’s material, the chemicals could damage the surface. 


You shouldn’t clean your countertops with toilet bowl cleaner. Besides damaging the surface, the chemicals will come in contact with everything you place on the countertop.

If you wear glasses or contact lenses, they could become contaminated with these chemicals and cause you serious harm. 


Never clean your floor with toilet bowl cleaner. The cleaner could stain your flooring if you have a porous surface, like unsealed stone or tile.

Regardless of the flooring, if you walk around barefooted after your shower or bath, the chemicals could irritate the skin on your feet.

What Can Toilet Bowl Cleaner Be Used For?

The only things you should clean with toilet bowl cleaner include toilet bowls, bidets, and urinals. The chemicals in commercial toilet cleaners are too concentrated to safely use in other areas.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner Ingredients/Chemicals Explained 

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common chemicals in toilet bowl cleaners.

  • Sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES): This chemical is used to reduce the surface tension of water to help remove stains. Though it’s similar in composition to soap, this cleaning chemical can cause irritation to the skin and eyes.
  • Sodium Hypochlorite (bleach): Bleach is an intense stain remover that can be hazardous to breathe in enclosed areas. Any time you use a cleaner that contains bleach, be sure you have proper ventilation in the room and dispose of it safely. You should also consider wearing gloves and safety glasses because bleach can cause severe irritation to the skin and eyes.
  • Sodium hydroxide (NaOH): Although this chemical is excellent at removing stains, it can also cause severe burns if it comes in contact with your skin. Take great care not to get it in your eyes, as this could lead to permanent blindness.
  • Hydrochloric acid (HCI): The corrosive properties of hydrochloric acid make it an excellent cleaner, but they also make it extremely dangerous. Contact with this chemical can cause irreversible damage to the lungs, skin, and eyes.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner Alternatives

Now that you know how toxic commercial toilet bowl cleaners can be, let’s look into some natural alternatives that will clean your shower without risking your health.


You can clean your bathtub and shower with vinegar. All you need to do is spray some white vinegar into the tub and shower, let it dry, spray it again, and wipe it clean with a microfiber cloth.

Since vinegar is mildly acidic, it will easily cut through mildew and soap scum.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Cleaning your shower with hydrogen peroxide is a breeze. Just spray it on, then wipe it down. You can use this simple solution daily to prevent soap scum from building up (it’s also good for carpets with the right mix).

Dish Soap

Dish soap is a simple solution for tackling stubborn soap scum. Simply squirt a little bit of soap in the bottom of your shower or bathtub, scrub with a stiff-bristled brush, then rinse clean with water. 

Castille Soap 

Castille soap is your nontoxic solution to a sparkling clean shower. Just fill a spray bottle ¼ of the way with the soap, then fill the rest with warm water.

Shake the bottle, spray the cleaner around your shower, scrub with a scrub brush and microfiber cloth, and rinse clean.

Essential Oils

You can put essential oils to work in your shower by creating a DIY shower spray with water, vinegar, and the essential oil of your choice.

I like to use lemon or tea tree oil because they smell clean and are natural disinfectants. 

To use, fill a spray bottle ½ of the way with white distilled vinegar, add 20-30 drops of your favorite essential oil, then fill the rest of the way with warm water.

Shake the bottle to mix the solution, then spray it onto your shower. Wipe your shower down with a microfiber cloth, then rinse clean.

How To Clean Your Shower

If you want your shower to sparkle without expending too much effort, follow this simple cleaning routine.

1. Spray With Cleaner

Spray your chosen cleaner around your shower. Use liberal amounts of the cleaning solution so that it doesn’t dry before you have a chance to scrub it.

2. Soak It

If you have stubborn soap scum in your shower or bathtub, you should allow the cleaning solution to soak in to help loosen the dirt before scrubbing.

3. Scrub It

Grab your scrub brush and scrub the whole shower vigorously to remove all soap scum and mildew.

4. Rinse

When you’ve removed all the dirt with your scrub brush, rinse your shower with warm water.

5. Dry

Drying your shower is optional, as it will air dry just fine on its own. If you have glass shower doors or glossy enamel, using a microfiber cloth to dry it will help to prevent streaks or water spots.


No matter how desperate you are, you should never use toilet bowl cleaner in the shower. You shouldn’t use it to clean any other surfaces in your bathroom or anything other than toilet bowls, bidets, or urinals.

The chemicals in toilet bowl cleaners are toxic and should not come in contact with your skin. The next time you run out of shower cleaner, you can clean your shower with other things you have around the house, like dish soap, hydrogen peroxide, or white vinegar.

If you have the time, you can even create a DIY shower cleaner using white vinegar, water, and essential oils.

Shauna Stone