Do you know anyone that likes to clean toilets? Not me, that is for sure. On the other hand, proper sanitation is very high up on my list of priorities so having a spotless bathroom is more than just a nicety, it is a must!
One of my goals these past six months has been to create a chemical free home, utilizing only natural ingredients to perform basic home and personal cleaning tasks. Many I have already shared with you and some are a work in progress. My latest success, though, is DIY toilet bombs.
First off, let me say that this is not a joke. Toilet bombs are fizzy little balls of baking soda and citric acid that are combined with a bit of water and optionally, some essential oils to keep toilet bowls sparkling with a minimum of effort.
Why is this important to preppers? Let me give you three reasons.
1. Maintaining a healthy home that is toxic free will help ensure your own personal good health. Who wants to inhale dangerous chemical compounds that will compromise your immune system and make you sick?
2. Part of being prepared means stockpiling supplies that you can use when traditional grocery stores become inaccessible. With just a few ingredients, you can create your own cleaning supplies and drop your dependence upon traditional grocery distribution systems.
3. Saving money. The more you can save on cleaning supplies, the more you have left over for things such as food and medicine.
How Does a Toilet Bomb Work?
The way they work is that after your initial toilet bowl cleaning (that, to be honest, may take some elbow grease), you simply drop a toilet bomb into the bowl, let it bubble and fizz until dissolved, then wait about 20 or 30 minutes to let it do its thing. Give the bowl a quick swish with your toilet brush and you are done.
As a bonus, depending on whether you choose to use essential oils or not, you have a nice, sweet smelling bathroom.
How to Make Toilet Bombs
1. Mix the baking soda and citric acid in a bowl.
2. If you are using the optional essentials oils (highly recommended), add them now and mix like crazy using a fork. At this point the mixture will be very dry.
3. Take your spray bottle of water, and start misting the mixture, while continue to mix and fluff things up with your fork.
4. When the mixture barely starts to clump. pick up a small amount with your fingers. If you can form a loose ball, you are done. If not, keep misting and mixing.
Note: If you add too much water, your mixture will start to fizz. This is not the end of the world, but stop immediately. You want the fizzing action to happen in the toilet bowl and not now.
5. Take a spoonful of the mixture and portion out into single use sizes. You can lay these out on cutting board, or stuff into an ice cube tray or silicone mold. This is the one I used and it was the perfect size for one batch.
6. If you are using a mold, gently pat the mixture down into each compartment to keep things nice and tidy.
7. Let your toilet bombs dry overnight then place in an airtight container for storage. I like to use mason jars but any type of container will work.
On cleaning day, drop your toilet bomb into the bowl, let it bubble and fizz until dissolved, then wait about 20 or 30 minutes to let it do its thing. Give the bowl a quick swish with your toilet brush and you are done.
If you have procrastinated and the toilet is extra dirty (or your water has a lot of minerals in it), there may still be a ring at the water line. After much trial and error and a lot of scrubbing, I discovered that a pumice stick will not scratch the bowl and that it will work like magic to eliminate those annoying water line marks. You will not be disappointed.
Which Essential Oils are Best to Use in Toilet Bombs?
That is a personal call. I prefer Melaleuca (or Tea Tree) because of its antimicrobial, antiseptic, and disinfecting qualities. Plus, I happen to like the smell.
Other options include some of the citrus oils or even the same combination of peppermint, lavender, and rosemary that you find in Miracle Healing Salve.
In addition, I use essential oils from Spark Naturals (get 10% off with discount code BACKDOORSURVIVAL) but any brand will work. If you are using a bargain brand (such as essential oils from Now Foods), you may want to increase the number of drops to 50 to 60 to get the desired results.
A Word About Citric Acid
Citric Acid is a commonly available compound made from citrus fruits. According to Wikipedia:
Citric acid exists in greater than trace amounts in a variety of fruits and vegetables, most notably citrus fruits. Lemons and limes have particularly high concentrations of the acid; it can constitute as much as 8% of the dry weight of these fruits.
Citric acid is an excellent chelating agent, binding metals. It can be used to soften water, which makes it useful in soaps and laundry detergents. By chelating the metals in hard water, it lets these cleaners produce foam and work better without need for water softening. Citric acid is the active ingredient in some bathroom and kitchen cleaning solutions. A solution with a 6% concentration of citric acid will remove hard water stains from glass without scrubbing.
Food grade citric acid is used as a flavoring and preservative in food and beverages, and as a substitute for fresh lemon juice.
For my trials, I purchased a small, one pound container of citric acid but going forward, plan to purchase it in bulk, 5 to 10 pounds at a minimum, so that I can stockpile a reasonable quantity for long term storage. I plan to use it not only for DIY cleaning products, but also as a flavor enhancer.
The Final Word
I am extremely proud of my efforts to keep toxic chemicals out of my Arizona home. Something I plan to do when I get home to Washington is to clean out all of those old chemical based cleaning supplies that have been sitting under the sink, unused, for the last four years. I have been too frugal to waste them but that is foolish. I have no use for them in my current life and want to completely detox my home.
As far as I am concerned, it is never too late to take steps to live a cleaner, healthier, lifestyle.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.