Photo of a bathroom with ornate cabinets, a walk-in shower and a toilet. There is a very pretty black and white tiled floor.
Cleaners, Sprays and Potions, DIY

Want a fresh-smelling loo? Here’s how to make your own toilet-freshener tabs

So there was a video on Buzzfeed a while back on how to make toilet cleaner pods; it looked pretty easy, and I’m all for eco-friendly, non-toxic cleaners. I figured this is especially frugal since I had most of the ingredients at home already (apart from one… looking at you Citric Acid crystals). 

So I dutifully followed the Buzzfeed instructions… and ended up with a foamy crumbly mess all over my counter. Not entirely sure it actually worked either when I chucked the whole lot down the loo in despair.

toilet tabs 5.png
Not my actual bathroom…

However, not to be deterred, I did a bunch of research into the project, and found a few other handy approaches, some calling for borax (does anyone in the UK know what this is, let alone where to get it?), some calling for hydrogen peroxide… and I had another stab at it, armed with a bit more knowledge. The whole thing certainly looks more successful this time around, but the proof will be in the loo cleaning.

How to make them…

You will need:

  • 1 cup bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 cup citric acid crystals (I must confess I got this from Amazon, home of the ‘I really didn’t know I could buy that’ shopping)
  • essential oils of the scent you want your loo to smell of (I used eucalyptus and lemongrass)
  • water (I put this in a spray bottle to make it easier to control the amount going in. You really don’t want much…)


  • Mix the bicarb and citric acid together.
  • Add in about 15 drops of each oil that you’re using.
  • Squirt water in a bit at a time, and mix it all together. Gradually (after about 14 squirts, I found) it will start to come together.
  • To test, pick up a small amount in your hand and squeeze it together; does it hold its shape fairly well? You’re good.
  • Pack it into small moulds – you can use an ice cube tray (best to use a silicone one so it’s easy to get these little guys back out again), but I had some small soap-making moulds left over so used those.
  • Leave to dry for around 12 hours or overnight.
  • Un-mould (they might be a bit crumbly, so be careful) and pack away into an airtight jar.

How to use

Bung one in your loo. Let it fizz away. If you need to, give your loo a bit of a scrub down afterwards.

Don’t let pets or small children drink out of the loo. (Useful life advice to be honest.)

A small price comparison

I saw ‘toilet cleaner tabs’ for sale earlier for £3.49 for 8, which works out at 45p per tab.

My cost per tab came out at 10p per tab, roughly.

  • Citric Acid – 40p
  • Bicarb – 70p
  • Essential oils – 45p*
  • Total: £1.55

*I’m making a really rough guess based on the cost per bottle of the oils, divided by the cost of roughly how many ml I think I used… It’s hard to figure out, but since you don’t use more than a few drops of each oil it’s hard to be specific!

But does it work?

Yes. Sort of. It’s not a loo-cleaner, which is why I called it a loo-freshener tab – it won’t remove bad stains or grossness. It will fizz up and reduce any unpleasant smells, and it does make things a little cleaner down there if you’re starting from a good place. So I recommend using it more as a regular refresher, not as your main cleaner. Let me know how it works for you!

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