Toilet cleaners


Ethical shopping guide to toilet cleaners, from Ethical Consumer

Ethical shopping guide to toilet cleaners, from Ethical Consumer


This is a product guide from Ethical Consumer, the UK's leading alternative consumer organisation. Since 1989 we've been researching and recording the social and environmental records of companies, and making the results available to you in a simple format.

 

Could these cleaning products be damanging your health?


This product guide includes:

  • Ethical and environmental ratings for 25 toilet cleaning brands
  • Best Buy recommendations
  • The use of Bleach
  • Toxic Chemicals
  • Spotlight on SC Johnson and Son Inc

 

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Our ratings are live updated scores from our primary research database. They are based on primary and secondary research across 23 categories - 17 negative categories and 6 positive ones (Company Ethos and Product Sustainability). Find out more about our ethical ratings

 

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Best Buys

as of April 2017

As our ratings are constantly updated, it is possible that these companies will not always come out top of the scorecard.

 

Organic, vegan and cruelty-free: 

  • Greenscents
  • Bentley Organics
  • Sodasan 


These are followed by the vegan and cruelty-free brands:

  • Bio-D
  • Earth Friendly Products
  • Libby Chan  
  • Ecoleaf 
  • Method


Of the most widely-available brands, Ecover is recommended.


Additionally, Libby Chan and Earth Friendly Products were palm oil free companies.


Also recommended:

Lilly’s Eco Clean, Sonett, Ecozone, Astonish and Dri-Pak for making your own detergent.


Places
to buy

Image: Ecozone toilet cleaner

 


Image: Ecover

Ethical Consumer makes a small amount of money from your purchase. This goes to fund our research and campaigning. We ethically screen all the sites we link to.
Last updated: April 2017 

 

 

 

 

 

Related Content

Read our Special Report into Cleaning Products

 

 

 

Toilet Cleaners

 

 

The score table covers toilet cleaners. Supermarket shelves are full of rows and rows of different cleaners for different household jobs, all seemingly with different formulations specially devised for the job, but in reality, most cleaners contain the same basic ingredients. 

There is a separate guide to other household cleaners.

However, some ingredients are toxic, most are based on petrochemicals from the oil industry and most use antibacterial chemicals and synthetic fragrances. None of these ingredients are necessary. 

 

Image: Toilet Cleaner

 

Fortunately there are a number of plant based and more natural cleaners available.

Plus you can make your own from simpler products such as white vinegar and soda crystals. Dri Pak makes these basic ingredients.

 


 

 

Bleach
 

Toilet cleaners usually contain chlorine bleach to kill off bacteria and microbes. Many mainstream toilet cleaner makers portray the toilet bowl as one of the dirtiest places in the house and we need to use these deadly chemicals to keep ourselves safe.

Chlorine bleach (aka sodium hypochlorite)  is a corrosive chemical, toxic if ingested, an eye and respiratory irritant, can irritate the lungs and eyes, and in waterways can become toxic organochlorines, compounds rarely found in nature and which can take centuries to decompose. The industry says that chlorine bleach traces are present at such low concentrations in waste waters, that there is no real possibility of the formation of trace toxic by-products.


According to Lucy Siegle in The Guardian:

“But the real ethical issue centres around manufacture. Bleach is from the organochlorine family of chemicals, compounds rarely found in nature and which can take centuries to decompose. Greenpeace has called for a complete end to organochlorine production.” 

“Bleach does the job, but what is the job and is it necessary? As we live in the Age of Bacteria immunologist, Gerald N Callahan, sums up: 'Neither humans nor micro-organisms benefit from fully destroying the other. This is not a war, as it has often been described, even though we have an impressive array of weapons - bactericidal cribs and mattresses, toilet cleaners... If it were (a war), we would have lost long ago, overpowered by sheer numbers and evolutionary speed. This is... like a waltz that will last for all of human history. We must hold to our partners carefully and dance well.' “

 


 

 

Make your own
 

Pour 1 cup of borax substitute into the toilet before going to bed. In the morning, scrub and flush. For an extra-strength cleaner, add 1/4 cup vinegar to the borax substitute.

A natural disinfectant can be made by mixing two parts water to one part vinegar or lemon juice.

See Dri Pak tips for more information.

 


 

 

Palm Oil

 

Two brands in this guide are owned by palm oil free companies:

Libby Chan and Earth Friendly Products.


Bentley Organics, Sodasan, Sonett and Ecoleaf are owned by companies that get our best rating for palm oil because they use sustainable palm oil.

See our feature: Problem with Palm Oil. 

 


 

Toxic chemicals

 

We have rated all the companies for their toxic chemicals policies. The companies which received a best rating had a policy because they had banned the use of parabens, phthalates and triclosan (see our feature on toxic chemicals for why we have chosen these chemicals) were:
 

  • Greenscents
  • Bentley Organics
  • Bio-D
  • Faith in Nature
  • Earth Friendly
  • Ecozone
  • Libby Chan
  • Lilly’s Eco Clean

 


 


Animal testing

 

In October 2015, the UK Government banned the testing of ‘finished’ household products on animals and introduced a ‘qualified ban’ on testing the ingredients on animals. But it’ll make little difference to animal welfare. This is because no animals have been used for testing ‘finished’ household products in the UK since 2010. It’s usually the ingredients not the ‘finished’ products that are tested on animals. 

Ethical Consumer rates all companies selling cosmetics on their animal testing policy. Companies will score a best rating if they have a policy not to test on animals, have a fixed cut-off date (a date after which none of their products or ingredients will have been tested on animals), and are not selling to markets, such as China, where animal testing of products is required by law.

Libby Chan, Greenscents, Bio-D, Faith in Nature, Earth Friendly, Ecozone, Ecoleaf, Lilly’s Eco Clean, Astonish, Method, Dri Pak and Ecover all received our best rating for animal testing.

Ecover has been targeted for animal testing in recent years, find out more in our feature 'Should I Buy Ecover?' 

For more information see our animal testing article in our wider report into Cleaning Products.

 

 

 

Company Profile

 

The American household giant SC Johnson and Son Inc produces the Shout, Mr Muscle and Duck brands. The company has operations in six oppressive regimes (China, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Vietnam and Venezuela) and also has three subsidiaries in jurisdictions on Ethical Consumer’s list of tax havens.

On the issue of toxics, the company had phased out its use of phthalates but did not have dated targets for the phase-out of parabens and triclosan and so received our worst rating on toxics.

On ending animal testing, the company stated that it had given this “a lot of thought” but “we’re not there yet”, blaming “stringent legal and regulatory requirements of countries around the world” for its failure. Without a clear and dated commitment to ending animal testing for all products, SC Johnson could receive no more than our worst rating for animal testing.

 

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