Can You Put Fabric Softener In A Toilet Tank?

If you have ever used fabric softener in your washing machine, then you know that it leaves behind a layer of goo that is difficult to rinse out. The same thing can happen if you put fabric softener in the toilet tank.

Is It Safe To Put Fabric Softener In The Toilet Tank?

Putting fabric softener directly into the toilet tank is not a good idea. Fabric softener comprises chemicals that are not meant to be consumed by humans or animals. If you put them in the toilet tank, it will add to the “stuff” that can go down the drain and eventually get into your water supply. This is especially true if you use a septic system or healthy water.

The reason is that fabric softener does not break down as quickly as some other chemicals in wastewater treatment plants because it does not dissolve easily in water. Since fabric softener is still present, even after it has been treated at these facilities, it could still threaten our environment. As a result of infiltration from surrounding waterways or groundwater recharge sites, where rainfall mixes with the groundwater before recharging drinking water wells, it could end up in our drinking water supply again.

pouring fabric softener in toilet tank
Image from Twuss

What Happens When You Put Fabric Softener In A Toilet Tank?

When you put fabric softener in your toilet tank, you might be surprised to find that it works. But that’s because it’s not a fabric softener.

The first ingredient in most fabric softeners is sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), a chemical initially used to break down grease and oil from machinery and industrial equipment. It’s just as effective at breaking down grease and oil in your toilet tank, but it can also cause severe problems for your plumbing system.

Here’s why you should never put fabric softener in the tank of your toilet:

  • SLS can cause corrosion by stripping away protective layers on pipes and other plumbing fixtures, leaving them vulnerable to damage from mineral deposits or rust. This can lead to expensive repairs down the line.
  • SLS also tends to build up on surfaces over time, causing mineral deposits that can clog pipes or create residue buildup on fixtures like toilets or showerheads. This residue can also lead to clogs or other issues with your plumbing system, leading to more expensive repairs.

What Can Kinds Of Damage Be Done By Putting Fabric Softener In A Toilet?

Putting fabric softener in the toilet is a bad idea. It clogs up the plumbing and makes it impossible to flush; it also damages the interior of your bathroom and makes it impossible to clean.

The worst part about putting fabric softener in your toilet is that it’s challenging to get rid of the damage you’ve done. You can’t simply replace the components that have been damaged; they’re made out of materials that are incompatible with water and detergent. If you want to get your toilet back into working order, you’ll need to get your hands dirty with some heavy-duty cleaning supplies and do some significant scraping, scraping, etc.

Clogs. One of the most common problems caused by fabric softeners is clogs. The buildup on your pipes can prevent water from flowing through properly, making toilet flushing difficult or impossible. This can lead to water backing up into your toilets and basins, making it more difficult for you to use them.

Slow Draining. Fabric softener forms a gel-like substance in your pipes that acts like cement when combined with water. This material can slow down draining significantly or even completely stop it altogether.

Leaks From Fixtures. If you have leaks from your sinks or faucets, fabric softener is likely the culprit behind these problems. Fabric softener can cause leaks from faucets due to its tendency to mix with water and form a gel-like substance that clogs up pipes and fixtures.

Damage to the toilet bowl. A fabric softener can cause discoloration and corrosion of the porcelain or metal in your toilet bowl. It can also cause tiny holes in the surface, leading to leaks and other problems.

broken flapper and flush chain with rust

Rusting the flush chain, flapper, or other hardware attached to your toilet tank. Fabric softener is an oil-based product and will eventually cause rusting over time if you regularly put it into your toilet tank. This can lead to malfunctions, leaks, and other issues with your toilet and clogs that could be difficult to clear out.

Damage to the seals inside your toilet tank that keep odors from escaping into your home or office by preventing them from being flushed down into sewer lines where they belong. Suppose you use fabric softener regularly in your toilet tank. In that case, you bypass these seals altogether and allow the stinky smells to float freely throughout your home or office instead of being flushed away as they should be!

Other Ways to Avoid Toilet Problems

Toilet problems are not uncommon, but they can be challenging to fix. The good news is that there are many ways to avoid toilet problems in the first place. Here are some of the most common ways to keep your toilet in good shape:

American Standard Toilet
Image from American Standard

Keep it Clean

For many people, the toilet is a necessary evil. It’s where you go to do your business, but it’s also where you can end up with many problems if you’re not careful. A dirty toilet can lead to odors and even mold growth. So how do you keep your bathroom clean?

The first step is to ensure that no debris or other items are sitting on the toilet bowl. You should also ensure that you have a good lid on your tank and that it closes securely so that no bugs or mice can get inside.

Clean with Baking Soda and Vinegar

Mix one part vinegar with three parts water in a spray bottle; then add two tablespoons of baking soda (optional). Shake well before each use; spray the mixture on stains or areas that need cleaning; allow it to sit for five minutes; scrub with an old toothbrush or sponge; flush immediately afterward (never leave the mixture sitting for too long). This combination works well on hard water stains and rust stains caused by iron in the water supply.

vinegar and baking soda in two bottles

Use Chemical-Free Cleaners

Instead of using chemical cleaners in your toilet bowl, try baking soda or vinegar instead. These natural cleaners can get rid of stains and odors without any harmful chemicals entering your home. You can even use them to clean the inside of your toilet bowl by sprinkling them on top of the water before you flush. You should see results within a few minutes. If you have hard water stains or mineral deposits around the rim of your toilet bowl, try scrubbing them off with a Magic Eraser sponge or similar product before cleaning with baking soda or vinegar again.

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

Get Rid of Rust with a Magic Eraser

Do you know those sponges that magically remove +crayons from walls? Well, they work great on rust stains as well! You need to wet the sponge and scrub away at your rust stain until it’s gone. If some stubborn spots are left behind after scrubbing, dip the sponge into some warm water again and apply more pressure until they go away too!


While it is tempting to repurpose fabric softener in the toilet tank, we do not recommend it. Liquid fabric softener doesn’t dissolve easily, which can clog your plumbing pipes over time. If you have to have the fresh smell of fabric softener in your bathroom at all times, consider buying a bag of scented bath beads or some plastic potpourri that doesn’t mix with water or requires a particular container.

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