The History of Toilet Cleaning: From Squeegees to Eco-Friendly Options

The history of toilet cleaning is an interesting and sometimes surprising one. From the early days of chamber pots and outhouses to the modern-day eco-friendly options, the methods used to keep our toilets clean have come a long way. In this article, we will explore the evolution of toilet cleaning and the various tools and techniques that have been used throughout history. We will also discuss the benefits and drawbacks of different cleaning methods and highlight some of the most innovative and eco-friendly options available today. So, get ready to learn about the fascinating history of toilet cleaning and discover how we can keep our bathrooms sparkling clean while protecting the environment.

A Brief Overview of Toilet Cleaning Throughout History

The Earliest Toilet Cleaning Tools

In ancient times, toilet cleaning was a manual process that required the use of simple tools. Some of the earliest toilet cleaning tools included:

  • Sticks: In ancient Rome, people used sticks to scoop out waste from outhouses. These sticks were made from various materials, including wood and reeds.
  • Scoop and bucket: In medieval Europe, people used a scoop and bucket to clean out communal latrines. The scoop was made from metal or wood, and the bucket was used to dispose of the waste.
  • Squeegee: In the 19th century, the squeegee was invented as a tool for cleaning floors. It was later adapted for use in toilets, where it could be used to scoop out waste and scrub the bowl clean.

Over time, toilet cleaning tools became more sophisticated, and new technologies were developed to make the process easier and more effective. Today, there are a wide variety of toilet cleaning tools available, from traditional brushes and scrubbers to modern eco-friendly options like natural cleaners and enzymatic products.

The Introduction of Chemical Cleaners

In the early 20th century, the introduction of chemical cleaners marked a significant shift in the way toilets were cleaned. These cleaners promised a more effective and efficient method of removing stains and odors compared to traditional methods such as squeegees and scouring pads.

One of the earliest chemical cleaners was a product called “Dr. Dunscombe’s Toilet Soap,” which was introduced in the 1870s. This soap was made from a combination of soap and arsenic, and was marketed as a way to kill germs and eliminate odors.

However, the use of arsenic in household products was eventually deemed unsafe, and alternative chemicals were sought after. In the 1920s, a new type of chemical cleaner called “bleach” was introduced. Bleach was a powerful disinfectant that could kill bacteria and viruses, and was effective at removing stains and odors from toilets.

As technology advanced, new chemical cleaners were developed that were even more effective at cleaning toilets. One such cleaner was “Pine-Sol,” which was introduced in the 1920s and is still widely used today. Pine-Sol is a mixture of pine oil and other chemicals, and is effective at killing germs and removing stains and odors from toilets.

The use of chemical cleaners revolutionized the way toilets were cleaned, and these products continue to be a popular choice for many homeowners today. However, it is important to note that some chemical cleaners can be harmful if used improperly, and it is important to follow proper usage and storage instructions to avoid any adverse effects.

The Rise of Automatic Toilet Cleaners

Automatic toilet cleaners have come a long way since their inception in the late 1800s. Initially, these cleaners were manual and consisted of brushes that scrubbed the inside of the toilet bowl. However, with the advancement of technology, automatic toilet cleaners have become more sophisticated and efficient.

One of the earliest automatic toilet cleaners was the “Flush-A-Matic” which was introduced in the 1930s. This cleaner used a chain-driven brush to scrub the inside of the toilet bowl after each flush. The Flush-A-Matic was a significant improvement over manual cleaners as it reduced the need for manual labor and made toilet cleaning more efficient.

In the 1960s, the “Saniflo” was introduced, which used a combination of water and air to blast away stubborn waste and debris from the inside of the toilet bowl. The Saniflo was a significant improvement over previous automatic cleaners as it was more powerful and could clean harder-to-reach areas of the toilet bowl.

In the 1980s, the “Aquasan” was introduced, which used a combination of water and pressurized air to clean the inside of the toilet bowl. The Aquasan was a significant improvement over previous cleaners as it was more efficient and used less water than previous models.

Today, automatic toilet cleaners are more advanced than ever before. They come in a variety of styles and sizes and are designed to be both efficient and eco-friendly. Many modern cleaners use a combination of water and air to clean the inside of the toilet bowl, while others use powerful chemicals to break down waste and debris.

Despite the advancements in technology, some people still prefer to clean their toilets manually. This is because they feel that manual cleaning is more effective and can reach areas that automatic cleaners cannot. However, automatic cleaners are becoming increasingly popular due to their convenience and efficiency.

The Evolution of Toilet Cleaning Tools

Key takeaway: The history of toilet cleaning has evolved from simple tools like sticks and buckets to modern eco-friendly options and advanced technology. Today, there are various manual and automatic cleaning tools available, including toilet brush holders, cleaning robots, and natural cleaning agents. Regular cleaning and proper use of cleaning tools are essential for maintaining a clean and hygienic toilet. The future of toilet cleaning looks promising with advancements in technology, including automated cleaning systems, self-cleaning toilets, and eco-friendly cleaning solutions.

The Emergence of Eco-Friendly Options

The development of eco-friendly toilet cleaning options can be traced back to the late 20th century. With growing concerns about the impact of chemicals on the environment and human health, researchers began exploring alternative cleaning methods. This section will discuss the emergence of eco-friendly options in the history of toilet cleaning.

  • Biodegradable cleaning agents:
    • Early forms of biodegradable cleaning agents were made from natural ingredients such as baking soda and vinegar.
    • As research progressed, commercial cleaning products containing enzymes were introduced, which could break down organic matter more effectively.
    • These enzyme-based cleaners were marketed as being more environmentally friendly and safer for human use than traditional chemical cleaners.
  • Reusable cleaning tools:
    • In the early 2000s, reusable cleaning tools made from sustainable materials, such as bamboo or silicone, began to gain popularity.
    • These tools were marketed as being more eco-friendly than disposable plastic alternatives, as they could be used multiple times and were biodegradable.
  • Self-cleaning toilets:
    • Technological advancements in the 21st century led to the development of self-cleaning toilets that use less water and energy than traditional models.
    • These innovative toilets employ UV-C light or other methods to sanitize the bowl and trap without the need for manual cleaning.
    • They help reduce water consumption and wastewater pollution while minimizing the use of cleaning chemicals.

As awareness of environmental issues grows, the demand for eco-friendly toilet cleaning options continues to rise. Today, manufacturers offer a wide range of eco-friendly products, including cleaning agents, tools, and innovative toilet designs, all geared towards reducing the environmental impact of toilet cleaning.

The Role of Technology in Toilet Cleaning

  • Technological advancements have played a significant role in the evolution of toilet cleaning tools and methods.
  • The development of electricity and the invention of various cleaning appliances have revolutionized the way toilets are cleaned.
  • In the 1960s, the first power-driven toilet brush was introduced, which allowed for more efficient and effective cleaning of toilet bowls.
  • The introduction of toilet cleaning robots in the 1990s marked a significant advancement in the field of toilet cleaning technology. These robots use advanced navigation and mapping systems to map and clean the entire toilet bowl, including hard-to-reach areas.
  • Today, technology has led to the development of eco-friendly cleaning options, such as ultrasonic cleaners and photocatalytic technology, which use less water and chemicals and are more effective in removing stubborn stains and odors.
  • Overall, the integration of technology in toilet cleaning has led to more efficient, effective, and eco-friendly cleaning methods.

The Popularity of DIY Toilet Cleaning Methods

Throughout history, people have relied on various methods to keep their toilets clean. Some of these methods have been passed down through generations, while others have been developed with the help of modern technology. In recent years, there has been a growing trend towards using DIY toilet cleaning methods, which are not only cost-effective but also environmentally friendly.

One of the most popular DIY toilet cleaning methods is the use of baking soda and vinegar. Baking soda is a natural abrasive that can help to remove stains and odors from the toilet bowl, while vinegar is an effective cleaner that can help to disinfect the toilet and leave it smelling fresh. To use this method, simply mix equal parts of baking soda and vinegar, pour the mixture into the toilet bowl, and let it sit for a few hours before scrubbing it away with a toilet brush.

Another popular DIY toilet cleaning method is the use of citrus fruits. The acidic juice of citrus fruits, such as lemon or orange, can help to break down and dissolve stains and odors in the toilet bowl. To use this method, simply cut up a few citrus fruits and place them in the toilet bowl overnight. In the morning, scrub the stains away with a toilet brush and flush the toilet as usual.

In addition to these methods, there are also a variety of store-bought cleaners that can be used to keep the toilet clean. These cleaners typically contain harsh chemicals that can help to break down and remove stubborn stains and odors. However, they can also be harmful to the environment and may cause respiratory problems if used improperly. As a result, many people are turning to DIY toilet cleaning methods as a safer and more eco-friendly alternative.

Common Toilet Cleaning Tools Today

Manual Toilet Brushes

Manual toilet brushes have been a staple in most households for decades. They are simple yet effective tools used to clean the inside of the toilet bowl. These brushes consist of a long handle with a head attached to it, which has bristles that are designed to reach the corners and the underside of the rim of the toilet bowl.

Manual toilet brushes can be made from various materials, including plastic, metal, or a combination of both. They are usually lightweight and easy to maneuver, making them a popular choice for home use. The bristles on the head of the brush are typically made from nylon or other synthetic materials that can withstand the harsh environment of a toilet bowl.

One of the main advantages of manual toilet brushes is their affordability. They are available in a range of prices, from inexpensive options to more expensive ones that are designed to last longer. Additionally, they are easy to replace when the bristles become worn or damaged.

However, manual toilet brushes have some limitations. They can be time-consuming to use, as they require the user to manually scrub the inside of the toilet bowl. They may also not be as effective at removing stubborn stains or buildup as other cleaning tools.

Despite these limitations, manual toilet brushes remain a popular choice for many homeowners. They are a cost-effective and simple solution for routine toilet cleaning. With proper care and maintenance, a manual toilet brush can last for many months or even years.

Toilet Brush Holders

In today’s world, toilet brush holders are one of the most common tools used for cleaning toilets. They are designed to keep the toilet brush in place, making it easier to clean the bowl and the sides of the toilet. Toilet brush holders come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they all serve the same purpose.

There are different types of toilet brush holders available in the market, including those that are made of plastic, metal, or even glass. Some holders are designed to be mounted on the wall, while others can be placed on the floor or on the side of the toilet.

One of the most popular types of toilet brush holders is the one that has a spring-loaded mechanism. This type of holder allows the brush to be extended or retracted as needed, making it easier to reach the corners and sides of the toilet bowl. Another type of holder is the one that has a long handle, which allows the user to reach the corners of the toilet without having to bend over.

Toilet brush holders are not only functional but also stylish. They come in different colors and designs, and some even have built-in storage for spare brush heads or cleaning supplies. With the wide variety of options available, finding the right toilet brush holder for your needs is easy.

Overall, toilet brush holders are an essential tool for keeping your toilet clean and hygienic. They make it easier to reach the hard-to-reach areas of the toilet bowl and are an affordable and effective way to keep your bathroom clean.

Toilet Cleaning Robots

In today’s modern era, toilet cleaning robots have become increasingly popular due to their advanced features and capabilities. These robots are designed to perform a variety of cleaning tasks, from scrubbing and disinfecting to removing tough stains and debris. With their automatic functions and efficient design, toilet cleaning robots offer a convenient and effective solution for maintaining clean and hygienic toilets.

Some of the key benefits of using toilet cleaning robots include:

  • Automated cleaning: Toilet cleaning robots are equipped with advanced navigation and cleaning systems that allow them to automatically move around the toilet bowl and perform the cleaning process without the need for manual intervention.
  • Efficient cleaning: These robots are designed to reach all areas of the toilet bowl, including hard-to-reach places, and remove even the most stubborn stains and debris, ensuring a deep and thorough clean.
  • Time-saving: Toilet cleaning robots can save time and effort by automating the cleaning process, freeing up time for other tasks and chores.
  • Eco-friendly: Many toilet cleaning robots use eco-friendly cleaning solutions and are designed to be energy-efficient, making them a sustainable and environmentally friendly option for maintaining clean toilets.

Some popular brands of toilet cleaning robots include Bravilor, TOTO, and Clorox. These robots come in various sizes and designs, with different features and capabilities, and are available at different price points to suit a range of budgets and needs.

When using a toilet cleaning robot, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper use and maintenance to ensure the best results and longevity of the device. Regular cleaning and maintenance of the robot, including emptying the waste container and cleaning the filters, is also essential to maintain its effectiveness and performance.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Toilet Cleaning Tool

Type of Toilet

When selecting a toilet cleaning tool, it is essential to consider the type of toilet in use. Different toilets require specific cleaning methods and tools to maintain optimal hygiene and prevent damage. Some common types of toilets include:

  1. Porcelain/Vitreous China Toilets: These are the most common type of toilets found in homes and public facilities. They are durable and easy to clean, but they may require specialized tools for effective cleaning.
  2. Dual-Flush Toilets: These toilets use less water per flush than standard toilets, making them more eco-friendly. They often have a larger waste trap, which can make cleaning more challenging. Specific cleaning tools may be required to reach all areas effectively.
  3. Composting Toilets: These toilets convert human waste into compost, making them an eco-friendly option for those who want to reduce their environmental impact. Cleaning these toilets may require specialized tools to ensure the composting process is not disrupted.
  4. Gravity-Fed Toilets: These toilets use gravity to pull waste from the bowl, making them a low-maintenance option. However, they may require specific cleaning tools to reach the areas between the bowl and the trap.
  5. Pressure-Assisted Toilets: These toilets use pressurized air to force waste from the bowl, making them highly efficient. They may require specialized cleaning tools to ensure all areas are thoroughly cleaned without damaging the pressure-assisted mechanism.

Considering the type of toilet in use will help determine the most appropriate cleaning tool for maintaining a clean and hygienic bathroom environment.


When it comes to choosing a toilet cleaning tool, budget is an important factor to consider. Different tools come with different price tags, and it’s important to find one that fits your budget without compromising on quality. Here are some tips to help you stay within your budget:

  • Research different options: Before making a purchase, do some research to find out what different tools are available and their respective prices. This will help you compare and find the best option for your budget.
  • Look for discounts and deals: Keep an eye out for discounts and deals on toilet cleaning tools. This could include sales, coupons, or even buying in bulk.
  • Consider durability: While it may be tempting to go for the cheapest option, it’s important to consider the durability of the tool. A more expensive tool that lasts longer may end up being more cost-effective in the long run.
  • DIY options: If you’re on a tight budget, consider DIY options such as using household cleaners or a plunger. These options may not be as effective as store-bought tools, but they can still get the job done without breaking the bank.

Tips for Keeping Your Toilet Clean

Regular Cleaning

Maintaining a clean toilet is essential for a healthy and hygienic living environment. Regular cleaning is a crucial aspect of keeping your toilet in top condition. Here are some tips for keeping your toilet clean:

Daily Maintenance

  • Wipe down the outside of the toilet with a damp cloth or sponge after each use.
  • Clean the toilet seat and lid regularly with a disinfectant solution.
  • Empty the trash can and dispose of any used tissues or toilet paper.

Weekly Maintenance

  • Use a toilet bowl cleaner and brush to scrub the bowl and remove any stains or mineral deposits.
  • Use a mild abrasive cleaner and non-abrasive sponge or cloth to clean the tank and exterior of the toilet.
  • Rinse and dry all surfaces with a clean cloth or sponge.

Monthly Maintenance

  • Descale the toilet if you have a scale builder up.
  • Check the water level in the toilet tank and adjust it if necessary.
  • Check for any leaks or damages and repair them immediately.

By following these regular cleaning tips, you can keep your toilet clean and prevent the buildup of dirt, bacteria, and germs. Regular cleaning not only ensures a healthy environment but also helps to prolong the life of your toilet.

Proper Use of Toilet Cleaning Tools

Utilizing the Right Cleaning Agent

One of the most crucial aspects of keeping your toilet clean is using the right cleaning agent. It is essential to use a product that is specifically designed for cleaning porcelain and ceramic surfaces. Using a general-purpose cleaner or abrasive products can scratch the surface and make it more difficult to maintain.

Adhering to the Recommended Application Method

When using a toilet cleaning product, it is important to follow the recommended application method. This may include applying the cleaner directly to the bowl and allowing it to sit for a specific amount of time before scrubbing. Some products may also require the use of a specific tool, such as a toilet brush, to effectively remove stains and debris.

Avoiding Overuse of Cleaning Agents

While it may be tempting to use a large amount of cleaning agent to ensure a thorough cleaning, overuse can actually damage the surface of the toilet. It is important to use the recommended amount of cleaner and to avoid using excessive amounts of water when rinsing.

Rinsing Thoroughly

After using a cleaning agent, it is essential to rinse the toilet thoroughly to remove any remaining cleaner and to prevent buildup. This is especially important for products that contain harsh chemicals, as they can leave a residue that can be difficult to remove if not rinsed properly.

Using a Soft Cloth or Sponge for Scrubbing

When scrubbing the toilet bowl, it is important to use a soft cloth or sponge to avoid scratching the surface. Harsh bristles or abrasive materials can damage the porcelain or ceramic surface and make it more difficult to maintain in the future.

Drying the Toilet Properly

After cleaning the toilet, it is important to dry the surface thoroughly to prevent the growth of mold and mildew. This can be done using a clean towel or a hairdryer on a cool setting. Avoid using a towel that is too damp or has been used to clean other surfaces, as this can leave a residue on the toilet.

Avoiding Common Mistakes

Cleaning the toilet may seem like a mundane task, but it is essential for maintaining a hygienic and healthy living environment. One of the most common mistakes people make when cleaning their toilets is using harsh chemicals that can damage the surface of the toilet and cause long-term damage. Another mistake is not cleaning the toilet regularly, which can lead to the buildup of bacteria and germs.

To avoid these common mistakes, it is important to use gentle and eco-friendly cleaning products, and to clean the toilet regularly. This can be done by following a few simple steps:

  • Use a gentle and eco-friendly toilet cleaner that is safe for the surface of the toilet.
  • Scrub the toilet bowl with a soft-bristled brush to remove any stains or hard-to-reach areas.
  • Use a toilet brush with a long handle to reach the underside of the toilet seat.
  • Rinse the toilet with clean water and dry it thoroughly with a clean towel.
  • Dispose of the used cleaning products properly to avoid any hazardous waste.

By following these simple steps, you can keep your toilet clean and maintain a healthy living environment.

The Future of Toilet Cleaning

Predictions for Future Toilet Cleaning Tools

As technology continues to advance, it is likely that we will see a range of new and innovative toilet cleaning tools in the future. Here are some predictions for what we might expect to see:

  • Automated cleaning systems: With the rise of smart homes, it is likely that we will see more toilets that come equipped with automated cleaning systems. These systems could use advanced sensors and robotics to clean the toilet bowl and remove stubborn stains and odors.
  • Eco-friendly cleaning solutions: As concerns about the environment continue to grow, we can expect to see more eco-friendly cleaning solutions for toilets. This could include cleaning products made from natural and biodegradable materials, as well as toilets that use less water and energy to operate.
  • Innovative brush designs: While the traditional squeegee and brush have been the go-to tools for cleaning toilets for many years, there is always room for improvement. In the future, we might see new designs for brushes and squeegees that are more effective at removing stubborn stains and odors, as well as more ergonomic designs that make them easier to use.
  • Advanced sensors and monitoring systems: Toilets of the future may come equipped with advanced sensors and monitoring systems that can detect when the toilet needs to be cleaned, and automatically notify the homeowner or building manager. This could help to ensure that toilets are always clean and free of odors, which is particularly important in public restrooms.
  • Integration with smartphones and other devices: As smartphones and other mobile devices become more integrated into our daily lives, it is likely that we will see more toilets that can be controlled and monitored using these devices. This could include features like remote control of the toilet’s flush and cleaning functions, as well as the ability to monitor usage and detect issues like leaks or clogs.

Potential Advancements in Toilet Cleaning Technology

The field of toilet cleaning technology is constantly evolving, with new advancements being made all the time. Some potential advancements in toilet cleaning technology include:

  • Automated cleaning systems: These systems use sensors and motors to automatically clean the toilet bowl and rim after each use. This not only reduces the need for manual cleaning but also helps to reduce the spread of germs.
  • Self-cleaning toilets: Some manufacturers are developing toilets that can clean themselves using a combination of water and air pressure. These toilets are designed to be more hygienic and require less maintenance than traditional toilets.
  • Smart toilets: Smart toilets are equipped with sensors and software that can monitor and analyze a user’s bowel movements, urine output, and other metrics. This data can be used to identify health issues early on and provide personalized recommendations for improving overall health.
  • Eco-friendly cleaning solutions: As more people become concerned about the environment, there is a growing demand for eco-friendly cleaning solutions. Some manufacturers are developing cleaning products that are made from natural, biodegradable materials and are free from harmful chemicals.

Overall, the future of toilet cleaning technology looks bright, with many exciting advancements on the horizon. These innovations have the potential to revolutionize the way we clean our toilets and improve our overall health and well-being.

The Importance of Eco-Friendly Options

In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the impact of human activities on the environment. This has led to a shift towards more sustainable and eco-friendly practices in various aspects of life, including toilet cleaning. The use of eco-friendly options for toilet cleaning is becoming increasingly important due to the following reasons:

  • Environmental concerns: The use of chemicals in traditional toilet cleaning methods can have harmful effects on the environment. These chemicals can end up in waterways and harm aquatic life. Eco-friendly options, on the other hand, are biodegradable and do not harm the environment.
  • Health concerns: Some traditional toilet cleaning methods can be harsh on the skin and cause irritation. Eco-friendly options are gentle on the skin and do not pose a risk to human health.
  • Cost-effectiveness: While eco-friendly options may be more expensive upfront, they are often more cost-effective in the long run. This is because they require less frequent use and are more durable than traditional cleaning methods.
  • Sustainability: Eco-friendly options promote sustainability by reducing waste and minimizing the use of non-renewable resources.

Overall, the importance of eco-friendly options for toilet cleaning cannot be overstated. It is crucial to make the switch to more sustainable cleaning methods to protect the environment, promote human health, and ensure a more sustainable future.


1. What was the earliest method of cleaning toilets?

The earliest method of cleaning toilets was likely to use a scoop or brush to remove waste from the bowl. This method was likely used in ancient civilizations such as the Greeks and Romans.

2. When did toilet brushes become commonly used?

Toilet brushes became commonly used in the 19th century. They were typically made of wood and had bristles made of animal hair or fiber.

3. When did chemical cleaners become popular for cleaning toilets?

Chemical cleaners became popular for cleaning toilets in the mid-20th century. These cleaners typically contained harsh chemicals that could effectively break down and remove stubborn waste and stains.

4. What are some eco-friendly options for cleaning toilets?

There are several eco-friendly options for cleaning toilets, including using baking soda and vinegar, using a natural cleaning solution made from lemon juice and borax, or using a toilet cleaner made from essential oils. These methods are not only environmentally friendly but also effective at cleaning and deodorizing toilets.

5. How has the technology for cleaning toilets evolved over time?

The technology for cleaning toilets has evolved significantly over time. Early toilets were cleaned manually with brushes and scoops, then chemical cleaners were introduced in the 20th century. Today, there are a variety of high-tech options available, including automatic toilet cleaners and toilets with built-in cleaning systems. These modern options can make cleaning toilets easier and more efficient, while also providing a more hygienic and pleasant bathroom experience.

CLEAN LIKE A PRO: Cleaning the Toilet!

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