Ohhhh, the humble toilet. It can always be cleaner, right? Create your own bowl cleaner with the added power of a secret weapon—a natural disinfectant. You can clean to your heart’s content. It’s safe, cheap, fast to make, and it works.

TIME: 5 minutes
A sparkly-clean toilet bowl
About 50 cents

2 cups white vinegar
½ cup baking soda
20 drops tea tree oil (optional)

An empty toilet
A gentle scrubbing device of your choice (we like these)
Cleaning gloves (optional, nice to have)

1. Temporarily turn off the water to your toilet at the valve on the wall behind or next to the toilet bowl
2. Flush until bowl is empty
3. Pour in white vinegar, covering the entire bowl
4. Follow with baking soda
5. Scrub away!
6. Disinfect more intensely when you add 20 drops of tea tree oil
7. Turn on the water again to fill bowl, flush
8. Look at that sparkle!

When white vinegar and baking soda combine, they will bubble. If you’ve never tried it, don’t be alarmed, it means the mixture is working.


  • Look for baking soda in cardboard boxes and vinegar in glass bottles at your local grocery or health food store. Spectrum Organics and Heinz are two good, readily available brands.
  • Want to waste less water too? Next time you have a ½ gallon plastic bottle to recycle, remove any labels, fill it up with sand or small pebbles, cap it, and put it into your toilet’s water tank. This will save you a half gallon of water per flush. A family of 4 who flushes 20 times a day could save 300 gallons a month!