Ask LH: What’s The Most Effective Place To Position Toilet Cleaners?

Ask LH: What’s The Most Effective Place To Position Toilet Cleaners?

Dear Lifehacker, I have a strange but real question: What is the optimal location to position toilet cubes or other cleaners on the side of toilets? Do they do anything other than change the colour of the water blue? Are the ones you stick to the side of the bowl any better than the hanging caged ones? Thanks, Toilet Trauma

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Dear TT,

That blue colour is caused by the bleach in cleaning products which acts as a disinfectant. While part of the appeal is related to aesthetics, the vibrant colour does serve a purpose. It also lets you know when it’s time to get a replacement.

When it comes to optimum positioning, the answer depends on your toilet and the product you’re using. Some toilets only flush from the rear, while others dispense water all around the rim of the bowl. If you have the former type of toilet, we imagine it would be more effective to fix the cleaner at the rear near the source of the water. Otherwise, reading the packaging is usually a pretty safe bet — if the product requires specific positioning to clean effectively, this will surely be mentioned in the instructions.

Discovering which cleaning product is the most effective is going to require some trial and error. We normally direct these types of questions to the relevant CHOICE study. However, this is an area that the consumer advocacy group doesn’t appear to have explored in much detail. Go figure. In a wider bathroom cleaners investigation that included toilet products, CHOICE found that price is no indicator of performance. Otherwise, there doesn’t seem to be much difference between the fixed and hanging varieties.

We’re clearly out of our depth here, so we’re going to pass the bowl over to our readers. Are there any toilet cleaners you swear by? Have you tried any products that conclusively failed to deliver? Share your recommendations in the comments section below.


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  • Just use bleach around the rim of the bowl after each time you defecate and let the bleach slowly work its way down to the water. Stops the need to use a toilet brush, (which lets face it, is damned gross as you’re scrubbing bits of shit with it then putting it in a little holder out of the toilet, eww!), as streaks come off by themselves and you’ll also never see the scum build up under the water level because the bleach kills the bacteria and moulds that cause it.

    Never thought I’d be writing that tip out in a comment on a website….

    [edit] and I always thought those things that make the water go all blue did that to hide the shit streaks they leave under the water. They certainly don’t stop mildew building up.

  • Once every few weeks I squirt some toilet cleaner around the toilet bowl in the morning and leave it there while I go to work. When I come back home, I give it a quick scrub and flush, and it’s left gleaming.

    Also, the gel disc type cleaners that you stick to the side look OK when they’re new, but after a couple days they start to sag and end up looking like someone hocked a loogie in your toilet.

    • True the gel discs can get ugly but you should put them up near the rim (at the front of the bowl , if the water goes there) and you won’t even see them.

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