Bathroom Cleaners Containing Phosphoric Acid

Woman cleaning tile wall in bathroom The acid is what makes bathroom cleaners so effective. Image Credit: IT Stock/Polka Dot/Getty Images

Bathrooms are dirty places that sometimes require stronger than normal cleaners. One ingredient that's commonly found in household cleaning agents is phosphoric acid. While the concentration of phosphoric acid is low in most household cleaners, it's important to understand that when using it, you're cleaning your bathroom with acid. This technique, while effective, can take its toll on bathroom surfaces.

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Tile Cleaners

The most common bathroom cleaner that contains phosphoric acid is tile cleaner. Known for its ability to easily remove soapscum, rust and mineral buildups, it's no wonder that the acid is so popular for cleaning showers. The typical concentration in shower cleaners is between 10 and 13 percent acid.

Urinal Cleaners

Another surface that benefits from acid cleaning is the urinal. In fact, most urinal cleaners contain 23 percent phosphoric or other acids. The reason behind this cleaning technique is acid's natural ability to kill bacteria. These cleaners are also useful for removing rust stains around the urinal drain.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Toilet bowls not only build up bacteria, but also minerals. In fact, many toilets will actually accumulate a mineral ring that bacteria can easily stick to. Phosphoric acid is excellent for removing mineral buildup from surfaces. All that's required is spraying the cleaner onto the surface and allowing it to sit for 10 minutes.


Acid cleaners should never be used on unglazed tile or natural stone, because the acid will actually break down the stone and tile and can cause serious degrading. Instead, these surfaces must be scrubbed down with pH neutral cleaning agents.