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You Can Use an Ice Cube Tray to Get Your Toilet Sparkling Clean, Experts Say

The simple cleaning hack uses basic ingredient from around the house to tidy your toilet.

No matter how much you may enjoy a tidy home, there's nothing that can strike fear into the heart of someone doing chores quite like being tasked with cleaning a toilet. The process typically involves wiping it down with different sprays and scrubbing it hard with cleaning products to make sure to get rid of all the grossness. Often, the only shortcut to getting it done quickly comes at the cost of not doing it correctly. But if you're looking to make the least desirable tidying job a little easier, there's one easy hack you should know. Read on to learn how you can use an ice cube tray to get your toilet sparkling clean, according to experts.

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A new viral housekeeping hack says you can use an ice cube tray to help clean your toilet.

Ice cube mold

Tackling a dirty toilet can be a time-consuming chore. Besides being unpleasant, it often requires harsh store-bought cleaning products and plenty of patience with a brush. But a new hack making the rounds on the internet claims that you can simplify the process using just a few ingredients from around the house and an ice cube tray.

In a video posted in April 2021, TikTok user RefinedLiving outlines an easy and natural way to complete the most despised of all bathroom chores. It suggests combining one cup of baking soda and a quarter cup of lemon juice in a bowl with dish soap and mixing them up to form a thick paste. They then say to spread the mixture into an ice cube tray and place it in the freezer overnight. This gives you premade, easy-to-use bricks that just need to be dropped into the toilet and brushed about the inside of the bowl before flushing it away.

Experts say the simple ingredients can effectively clean toilets.

Cleaning a toilet bowl with blue substance

While it may seem like a surprisingly simple solution to a universal cleaning problem, there's certainly some truth behind it. Experts who are familiar with the trend say that it can be a worthwhile effort if you're looking to save some time or energy—especially if you want to get rid of pesky limescale or water stains.

"I would say it is effective because of the ingredients, as they are all effective cleaners," Alex Varela, general manager of Dallas Maids of North Dallas cleaning service, tells Best Life.

However, she adds that the video in question does make it appear as though it works more quickly than it does. "In this case, the baking soda, lemon, and soap mix will work, but you do need to let it sit for a couple of hours before scrubbing," she says.

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However, there are some drawbacks to this method.

cleaning products in bucket
Natali _ Mis / Shutterstock

But while the simple mixture might seem like a perfect solution to a dirty problem, there are still a few issues with the hack. Namely, the ease of dropping one of these "cleaning bombs" into your toilet might be a trade-off that makes the useful ingredients less powerful overall.

"These DIY toilet cleaner cubes seem like a nifty way to stock up on an eco-friendly toilet cleaner, but they might not be that effective," says Toby Schulz, founder of Maid2Match cleaning service. "Part of what 'cleans' the toilet bowl is the reaction between baking soda and lemon juice—which you're not getting by pre-mixing and freezing the items ahead of time."

"The combination of lemon juice, baking soda, and dish soap will still clean your toilet, but it might be less effective than pouring baking soda than lemon juice directly into the bowl," he adds, advising to skip the ice cube tray step entirely.

You might also want to weigh out the benefit of making your own cleaning solution instead to see if it's cost-effective. "You can technically buy the same tablets from Target or a holistic store and drop them in to avoid burning through the lemon juice, baking soda, and occupying the ice cube tray that you may need for ice cubes instead," says Gabby Martin, a supervisor with New York-based cleaning company Bio Recovery. "In terms of cost, you maybe save something like 25 cents."

There are small changes you can make to the hack to get your toilet even cleaner.

person opening bathroom door
suriyachan / Shutterstock

Even though the hack itself may require some minor changes to get your toilet as clean as possible, there's ultimately no downside to using it. "I wouldn't say people should avoid doing this, but maybe avoid doing it on a regular basis as it is a powerful cleaner and it's just not worth it," says Varela. "I would say doing this once a month would be OK."

Others pointed out that there's a more accessible and cheaper alternative that won't require juicing a ton of fruit. "I would replace lemon juice with just plain citric acid, as it is easier to use and store," says Steve Evans, owner of house-cleaning service Memphis Maids. He suggests adding half a cup of the acid to the bowl and scrubbing it over every surface before leaving it overnight, using a baking soda and soap mixture to clean away any stubborn spots that are left behind after flushing the following morning.

And if you're looking to keep it simple as possible, there are still easy ways to get a deep clean that don't involve using too much elbow grease. "You can remove tough stains by pouring half a cup of borax into the toilet water, swishing a brush around to mix, and then letting the solution sit overnight. Scrub the toilet in the morning, then flush to rinse," suggests Schulz.

Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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