Given the dirty nature of bathrooms, and toilets in particular, all homeowners want to find fast and easy ways to clean in these spaces. That’s why many choose to use the drop-in toilet cleaners that often come in the form of bleach-chlorine tablets. These tablets may seem like simple solutions, but they are often more trouble — and damage-causing — than they are worth.
If you use drop-in toilet cleaner tablets, we recommend you change to a different method for keeping your toilet bowl clean. You may like the fresh blue look of the water when using in-tank tablets, but you are actually damaging your toilet — and the long-term cost of repairs and replacements to your toilet far outweigh the short-term ease of dropping in a cleaning solution.
Here’s a look at how these drop-in tablets came to be, why they are harmful and what you can choose to do as an alternative:
A Seemingly Simple Solution
In the 1990s, these drop-in tablets were introduced as a fast and simple way to clean toilets. And why not? The 90s were a time of innovation across industries, and that innovation would no doubt touch home maintenance and make life easier for those charged with cleaning.
But, after these tablets were introduced, toilet manufacturers noticed an increase in repair calls on new toilets. Quality checks indicated that toilet parts should not have worn out, so they conducted further studies and discovered that the chemicals in the drop-in cleaner tablets will eventually damage the flush valve, flapper and other parts in the tank. These seemingly simple solutions for toilet cleaning were actually causing great damage and incurring significant repair costs for homeowners.
This makes sense when you consider that bleach tablets are alkaline. Many of your toilet’s parts and materials corrode in high-alkaline water, which is why the rubber pieces become brittle and other portions of your toilet begin to age before their time when the drop-in tables are in use.
The Places Where Tablets Attack Your Toilet
Plastic and rubber parts, such as the gaskets and washers, were highly susceptible to corrosion and wear. Eventually, toilets leaked or didn’t flush properly due to the damage caused by the in-tank tablets.
The longer a tablet sat in a tank without a toilet being flushed, the quicker the damage to parts occurred. While homeowners would drop in these tablets and leave, assuming the tablets were doing good work, those tablets were actually slowly destroying the toilets they were meant to clean.
The Fallout From Tablet Damage
Don’t count on your toilet guarantee or warranty to save you if you’ve been using these drop-in tablets. Toilet manufacturers are now putting warning labels on their products that “damage caused by in-tank tablets will not be covered under product warranties and should not be used.”
How should you proceed then? It’s better to clean the toilet manually on a regular basis, directly in the bowl, with cleansers and a brush. If you have especially hard water that leaves a dark ring in the bowl, a spray-on anti-lime cleanser will further help keep the bowl clean — but don’t put cleansers in either your tank or bowl and let them sit.
These approaches to cleaning are clearly more hands-on, but consider the alternatives. If you choose the simple route of using a drop-in tablet, you’ll spend a lot more time and money worrying about and repairing your prematurely aged toilet.
Other Effects of Drop-In Tablets
Aside from the damage these tablets can cause to your toilet, there are two other reasons for concern. First, these toilet fresheners can get stuck in the flush valve while they are disintegrating — which then prevents the toilet from flushing.
Second, there’s also some concern they may be pollutants that must be neutralized once they enter the sewage treatment system.
When You Need Assistance
Perhaps you’ve been using drop-in tablets for years. What do you do now? First of all, stop using them. While they may have caused some damage to your toilet, ceasing use of drop-in tablets can slow the pace of corrosion and deterioration.
If you’re already experiencing issues with your toilet, call a professional to come and take a look. At Summers & Zim’s, we send our technicians to look at your toilets and provide expert recommendations on the best path to proceed. We may recommend some minor repairs, or we may suggest that a toilet replacement is the most cost-effective thing to do. We always recommend and do what’s best for you and your home.
If you do have a toilet leak or part-failure, call us immediately for a repair — before it causes more damage to your bathroom.