Pro Plumbers Say This TikTok Hack is Asking For Trouble

Just because a video goes viral doesn't mean it's a good idea.

The world of TikTok is no stranger to hacks and tricks, especially for household cleaning. One such trend: The notion of pouring fabric softener into your toilet tank to keep your bathroom smelling fresh. But is this hack as effective and safe as it seems?

How It Works

@hyper_kelz Try This Amazing Tip For A Clean And Fresh Bathroom And Thank Me Later ✌️. #fypシ #foryou #foryoupage #cleaning #bathroom #cleaninghacks #tiktokviral @Bezerra Good USA ♬ Wonderful Day – Satria Petir

The premise behind this hack is simple: By adding fabric softener to your toilet tank, every flush releases a burst of fragrance, making your bathroom smell like freshly laundered clothes.

Some variations of this hack suggest a mixture of fabric softener and water in a soda bottle, while others recommend pouring the softener directly into the tank.

What do pro plumbers say?

Pro plumber Jessie Cannizzaro of Milestone Plumbing, Inc. expressed concerns about this hack. She said watching the TikTok video made her anxious, especially when the soda bottle concoction was added to the toilet tank.

Her primary worry: The potential for the bottle itself to interfere with the internal components of the tank, leading to continuous water running and possible property damage.

Plus, many people might not be aware that adding chemicals or cleaning agents to the toilet tank can deteriorate its internal parts. This can lead to premature failure, increased water consumption, or even property damage. Cannizzaro says never add anything to the tank that isn’t specifically allowed by the toilet’s manufacturer.

And if the fabric softener solution isn’t diluted correctly, it could cause issues inside the tank or even etch the surface of the bowl, leading to permanent stains. Given these risks, the benefits of a fresh-smelling bathroom might not be worth it.

Should you try this at home?

The short answer: Absolutely not.

While the idea of your bathroom smelling like fresh laundry with every flush might be tempting, the potential risks outweigh the benefits. The chemical makeup of fabric softeners can be harmful to septic systems, leading to clogged pipes and potential damage to the flushing system.

The science behind fabric softeners

Fabric softeners are for laundry, not plumbing. They contain chemicals and fragrances that make clothes soft and pleasant-smelling.

When introduced into a toilet tank, these chemicals can interact with the water and the tank’s components in unpredictable ways. Over time, they can cause significant damage.

Environmental concerns

Beyond the potential damage to your plumbing, there’s also an environmental aspect to consider.

Every time you flush, the fabric softener-infused water goes down the drain and eventually into the water system. These chemicals can be harmful to aquatic life and might contribute to water pollution.

It’s always essential to think about the broader environmental implications of our household practices.

Safer alternatives for a fresh-smelling bathroom

If you really want a pleasant-smelling bathroom—and who doesn’t?—you’ve got several eco-friendly and plumbing-safe methods. My bathroom smells clean and fresh, and all I do is add a few drops of a pet-safe essential oil to a spray bottle of water and white vinegar and spritz a little into the air.

I also love to make pomanders. I dry the oranges in my dehydrator before studding with cloves and tying with a ribbon and a cinnamon stick and hanging in the bathroom.

Here are a few other options to try:

  • Essential oil diffuser: If you don’t have pets, use an essential oil diffuser to spritz all kinds of lovely natural scents into the air automatically. Lavender, eucalyptus and lemon are popular choices.
  • Baking soda: Placing a small dish of baking soda in your bathroom neutralizes most odours. For added fragrance, mix in a few drops of essential oil.
  • Natural cleaning: Regular cleaning with natural products like vinegar and baking soda can keep your bathroom smelling fresh without chemicals.

Next, check out these green cleaning tips for the bathroom.

The Family Handyman
Originally Published on The Family Handyman