Acid Used in Toilet Bowl Cleaners

Written by steven symes
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Acid Used in Toilet Bowl Cleaners
Toilet cleaners with acid help reduce the amount of scrubbing you must do. (Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Some toilet cleaners use acid, which you can indentify by reading a cleaner's label. Acid will help remove deposits that other cleaners struggle to remove or cannot remove at all, providing a solution to tough toilet cleaning situations. When using toilet cleaners with acid in them, exercise caution, as the acid may harm your or other surfaces in your bathroom.

Acid Types

Different toilet bowl cleaners use different types of acid, each of which has advantages and drawbacks. Cleaners that use citric acid, such as juices from lemons or oranges, provide less danger to users than other acid bowl cleaners, but the cleaner will not work as effectively. Cleaners with phosphoric acid will work better than those with citric acid on hard water deposits in a toilet bowl. Cleaners with hydrochloric acids, such as muratic acid or hydrochloride, work the fastest on hard water deposits and other stains, but you must wear gloves and take other precautions because they present the most danger to your health.


When using a toilet bowl cleaner with acids in it, always exercise caution that you do not splash or spill the cleaner out of the toilet bowl. Hydrochloric acids will especially damage other surfaces. When hydrochloric acids come into contact with nylon carpeting or clothing with nylon in it, the acid will melt or eat away the nylon fibres.


All acids will put off fumes. Cleaners that have citric acid do not pose any danger with fumes and will smell pleasant. When using a cleaner with phosphoric acid, always open the bathroom window first or run the fan because the fumes can cause problems with your health. The fumes from hydrochloric acids will cause even more severe health problems, requiring you to wear a ventilator while working with any cleaners containing hydrochloric acid.

Bleach and Acid

Mixing bleach cleaners with cleaners that contain acid will result in the release of chlorine gas into the air. Exposure to chlorine gas will cause problems with your eyes, nose and throat. High concentrations of chlorine gas will cause more severe health problems such as pneumonia and even death. Before using an acid cleaner in the toilet's bowl, remove any drop-in tablets in the tank, as they often contain bleach. Flush the toilet several times to clear out the bleach from the toilet before using the acid cleaner.

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