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I have been using Method cleaning products for many years now as an alternative to chemical-ladened products. I decided to try their toilet cleaner for the first time last year when I was testing another toilet cleaner from a well-known brand for a company. I tried the other product in my downstairs loo and was horrified an hour later to find that the entire house stank of the product, which was very unpleasant, extremely artificial and mainly smelt of very strong chemicals. I decided that this really wasn't for me and so having been pleased with Method's cleaning products previously, I placed an order for the interestingly named Bowl Patrol (probably not what the competitor had in mind when asking me to try their product!). I think there must have been a name change as my latest bottle is called "Eau De Toilettes", but the bottle design and formula is the same.
When it arrived, I was amused to see the product packaging - a little bit different to the other brands out there with a more aesthetically pleasing design (I think it looks a little like an elephant!?) and a nice baby blue colour. The bottle proudly declares that the product is a natural toilet bowl cleaner. The bottle is shorter that other toilet cleaner bottles, but is still manages to hold 709ml of cleaner and the slim bottle means that it's easy to hide away near to your toilet - although it is an attractive bottle, cleaner isn't something that you really want on display! The bottle design makes it easy to hold and squeeze to dispense the cleaner and the nozzle works really well to get under the toilet rim with the liquid being a great consistency and not too thin so that it just runs straight into the bowl without cleaning the sides. To dispense the product you first need to twist the nozzle to the open position, which is easy to do as it moves freely.
The fragrance is pleasant and is described by Method as being their eucalyptus mint scent. Unlike normal toilet cleaners the fragrance is quite subtle and obviously does not smell of chemicals at all. Instead the fragrance is almost spa-like and it makes me feel good to be using pleasant smelling products in my home instead of artificial and overpowering ones. I also feel that this product is safer to use as it does not contain strong bleach which can be irritating or similar chemicals and although it goes without saying that you wouldn't want your child using this, I feel happier having this lurking about our bathroom knowing that it doesn't contain ingredients that would be incredibly dangerous if a child was to come across it in the same way that bleach is. Another positive is that is more environmentally friendly that other similar products on the market - the ingredients are all natural with lactic acid being the main one (an excellent descaler with anti-bacterial properties) and the bottle itself is 100% recyclable.
I have found that this cleaner does the same job that more chemical packed ones do, but just in a much nicer way. I feel so much happier using this product than when I use others on the market, it just doesn't feel like cleaning! A good squirt of this product around the toilet bowl is all that is needed and then you can leave it to do it's super power cleaning for 10 minutes. All that remains is to give it a quick brush and then flush leaving a sparkling clean and fresh toilet - sounds like my kind of cleaning! It leaves no nasty residue like some others I could name, where you have to brush and brush to remove the product that hasn't flushed away!
The only negative I can say about this product is that there is no child-safety cap - although on a positive note, that means that adults who can sometimes struggle with these will have no problem opening the nozzle.
I purchased my bottle of Bowl Patrol/Eau De Toilettes from www.biggreensmile.co.uk for £3.00, but you may also be able to find it on Amazon or in Supermarkets and DIY stores, such as B&Q.
This is one of the products that started my Method obsession. I got it on offer from Homebase with the Tub 'n Tile cleaner so I thought "why not?".
The cleaner is natural so it doesn't contain nasty bleach and still manages to leave your loo nice and clean and most of all, smelling fresh too!
Like the Tub 'n Tile cleaner, this product smells of "eucalyptus mint" or "clean" as I like to call it. This lovely cleaner leaves your loo smelling nice and fresh without overpowering the smallest room in the house. There's nothing worse than walking into a bathroom and smelling the horrible chemical smell other cleaners leave behind or worse the overpowering floral sent they try and cover the chemical smell up with.
The bottle looks oddly shaped but really, its designed so that its easier for you to get the cleaner to all those hard to reach places inside your loo (lets face it, no one wants to be on their hands and knees cleaning a loo only to miss the dirtiest parts!).
The cleaner is sold in bottles of 709ml (nice round number there) and can last up to around 6 months depending on how often you use it.
The only disadvantage to this product I've found is that its really hard to tell how much you've got left. The base of the bottle is very heavy and so you can be left thinking that you've got quite a lot left when really you don't.
As with other Method products, this cleaner isn't tested on animals, contains natural ingredients and has attractive packaging.
I have been in mourning recently because the corner shop around from my flat can no longer source Vim! I've been to the supermarkets and I've even visited Makro and Costco scouring the shelves and from time to time if I see a special container of this stuff, I'll grab it with visto! Vim has always been a lifesaver for me although deadly toxic and chemically smelling, it isn't the kind of product I'd treat my loo bowl to every week since it has become so short in supply and instead my loo gets treated to a drop of Stardrops "flowery smelling," floor cleaner and Dettol. Good old vinegar is sometimes used on its own to remove the deposits as well as limescale. Now, I know that whilst Stardrops is one of the industries best kept secrets and is available at most pound shops, Stardrops is quite a strong chemical in itself and in the last couple of years I've experimented with soda crystals & tea tree oil or bicarbonate soda powder in lieu of Stardrops with vinegar added, influenced by Kim and Aggie's Ultimate Guide to Cleaning tips, my own book which is quite well, thumbed by now! However there are times when I just want a cleaner all in one without having to make up my home preparations in advance.
On a return visit to buy candles at John Lewis, I stopped by their cleaning section as they always have a bargain/clearance bin on display and near to it sat the trusty "Bugsy Tub" scrub bath cream on the shelf bought previously from company, Method. Just like the latter product, "Bowl Patrol," has a distinctive pastel blue/green colour on its just as distinctive Kidney shaped bottle and quite a heavy one at that retailing for £2-95. Now whilst this is an expensive price, it is quite a large "bottle," at 709ml judged purely by its unusual shape. The product is environmentally friendly of course being from the same company as "Tub Scrub," and the main secret behind its cleaning formula is lactic acid, of which 95% of it is contained in the bottle alone with biodegradable additives such as perfume fragrance and preservatives. There is no safety cap on this bottle however because it is quite safe to humans and pets. Again, like "Tub Scrub," there are many claims from this company, particularly the claim that if the product is washed away it will not harm aquatic life. Again, just like "Tub Scrub," how environmentally friendly do you want?
The beauty of "Bowl Patrol," or "Sidney the Cludgie Kidney," ("Cludgie" is a Scottish term for the loo!) is that, just like "Tub Scrub," the bottle is distinctive enough to let buyers know exactly what it is, not just from its larger green lettering on the front showing "Bowl Patrol," but also its rather unique pyramid like rim dispersal lid, Kidney like shape and the same smooth tactile finish on the bottle itself like the rest of Method's products. The bottle does have a darker colour of pastel green to distinguish itself from other Method products and although not completely advised, if the product is swallowed it doesn't need hospitalisation! This is because "Bowl Patrol,"/Sidney-the-Kidney is mainly Lactic acid, a natural acid by itself that breaks down minerals such as limescale and also acts like a natural anti-bacterial agent. Lactic acid is also in the human body! In theory, you could use this to clean bathroom sinks with as I have already done with "Tub Scrub," for when my own sink becomes particularly abrasive with limescale or scummy ring marks.
At first I was confused as to what to do when it comes to using as the directions /wording on the back of the bottle appears to be quite small and there was no logical way of using the "lid" other than pulling it upwards which then gives a little click and then holding the bottle downwards or to an angle before running around the entire toilet rim with it. Since it is quite heavy by its own accord and can't be placed or positioned upside down to get the contents going, a slight squeeze is needed to push the liquid out of Sidney-the-Kidney and like "Tub Scrub," I initially needed two hands to get the bottle flowing. This is when a clear blue thick liquid emerges out of the top of the bottle and is delightfully fragrant to my nose. The smell is Eucalyptus and Mint, having both these plants in my garden at home, I'd say there's a definite "mountain mint," going on that has been used rather than peppermint and there's a welcomed after tone of pine after the toilet has been flushed and could possibly be the Eucalyptus content! No bleachy smells here though!
During the time of application, the thick liquid clings to the bowl and 10 minutes have to be given for the magic of lactic acid to do its work. After which, the toilet can be flushed. The first time I did it, I realised that the "jets" in my toilet don't work in a uniform fashion, which meant I had to brush the liquid down and flush the toilet again. However, the appearance it gives after the lactic acid has burnt everything away initially reveals clean white porcelain, which looks dirt free to the eye and gleams in the light. Gone at the days of scrubbing with Sidney-the-Kidney if you leave it to just do its magic and of course there's no toxic fumes to overtake you in the same process!
Over and under the pan lids however things aren't any different. I use some of the liquid sparingly on a soft sponge to go over the hinges of the toilet pan and the bare bowl, leaving it for 10 minutes and then with a spray bottle, spray cold water over the surfaces to wash them down. Although the fragrance is strong after initial flushing or rinsing down, it doesn't stick around and dies down after an hour has passed. This is where my secret weapon of Tea tree oil comes in handy for a fresher clean smelling bathroom and its good that both components mix well with each other where their scents are concerned.
The downside to this product is the price and this seems to be an aspect that was initially pointed out by the serving sales staff at John Lewis. Yes, it is fairly expensive for what is essentially an environmentally friendly toilet cleaner and the cost price alone could mean several tins of Vim powder if I could find it, instead. However that isn't the point. The point is I can have a bath or shower at the same time that I've cleaned the toilet and won't push the need to switch the extractor fan on, or wait a good 20 minutes before the smell of past chemicals overtake me. I have no breathing problems when the cleaner is used and its cleaning efficiency and general performance can be relied upon for instant cleanliness, handy for people who just don't "do" toilets or get an Asthma attack due to that overly-chemical stench. Generally Bowl Patrol is priced at £3 on average.
In terms of duration, I bought this product a week after I got "Tub Scrub," and use it once a week; the bottle is still heavy to the touch and I believe from the minimal quantity that I apply, the cost price justifies the long lasting appeal and safety aspects of the product. Despite the price and the lack of elbow grease needed to shift deposits in my loo, I'm quite happy to pay out a bit more for a job that I don't really like doing! Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2010
Full ingredients can be found at:
Most people clean their loos with bleach or a specialised cleaning product. Bleach is nasty and dangerous stuff; it irritates and can even burn skin, it is potentially fatal if ingested (as anyone who was subjected to J.B. Priestley's play An Inspector Calls at school will know well) and it is horribly toxic to aquatic life. Specialised cleaning products - particularly those which are formulated to remove limescale - are not any better as these tend to contain hydrochloric acid as their active ingredient, which is equally dangerous both to humans and to the environment. Both bleach and hydrochloric acid contain chlorine, which alters the pH balance of water; this is the reason chlorine is used to prevent bacterial and algal growth in swimming pools. The effect on natural water systems is no less devastating, but much less desirable.
One other important factor to consider is that when bleach is mixed with acids - such as ammonia (which is present in urine so pretty much guaranteed to be around when you are cleaning the loo), or even good old vinegar, a traditional cleaning agent which many people still use today - the reaction produces chlorine gas, which is harmful enough to have been used as a weapon in World War I.
So, not the kind of stuff you might want hanging around in your bathroom. There have been eco-alternatives around for a while, and although they clean well, I have never found them to very effective against limescale, which is a problem as we live in a hard water area. Then I tried method's Bowl Patrol and was instantly converted.
The active ingredient in Bowl Patrol is lactic acid and most of the ingredients are derived from corn sugars or coconut oil, with the exception of xanthan gum which is a thickener more usually encountered in food products. The only synthetic ingredients are in the form of perfume, colour and preservatives, but even these are non-toxic and biodegradable. One of the biggest selling points for method's products is the fact that none of the ingredients is toxic, to the extent that the Bowl Patrol bottle does not even have a safety cap. It does have a warning on the back to seek medical advice if swallowed, but this is required by law; I called method to ask how safe the product is and was told that it wouldn't do you any harm at all if you drank it, although they don't recommend it! Still, this is useful to know if you have children who might get their hands on it or dogs who like to drink out of the bowl (not a problem for us as I've yet to find the cat having a sneaky sip. Just as well, really, as I wouldn't be thrilled about having to fish her out and I doubt she'd be too impressed either).
The full list of ingredients can be found here, along with information about method's company ethics:
Of course, this would all be pointless if it didn't actually work, but it is at least as effective as chemical cleaners, if not more so. The liquid is very thick, although not quite as thick as a gel, and although it says to leave it to work for ten minutes I usually leave it for longer than this to allow it to coat the bowl properly. The scent is apparently 'eucalyptus mint' although I'm afraid the phrase which springs to mind is more along the lines of 'pine fresh'. Because it doesn't contain synthetic surfactants it doesn't foam up for very long, but it does show how unnecessary and cosmetic the detergent content of some products can be (this is especially true of shampoos) as this has no bearing on its effectiveness. I'm struggling to describe the results without resorting to the words 'sparkling clean', 'fresh' or 'effective against limescale' as I don't want to sound like an advert, but really, this is what you can expect.
The trade-off - and the only reason I'm not giving it five stars - is the price. A 709ml bottle costs £3, which does not compare well with a thick bleach (usually around 75p), a product such as Domestos Zero Limescale (£1.95), or even Ecover Toilet Cleaner (£1.63 - all 750ml). Whether or not you are willing to pay the extra depends on how important it is to you that your household cleaning products are not only eco-friendly but non-toxic to your family, and whether you can live with a little limescale build-up. Bowl Patrol is available from Sainsbury's, Waitrose, John Lewis and (rather randomly) Homebase, and it is also available online.
I will certainly continue to use Bowl Patrol as I am happy to pay a little more for the peace of mind, but this is a very personal choice. If you are looking for a non-toxic, eco-friendly loo cleaner, though, this one is highly recommended.