Review: CLR cleaning products

Years ago when we moved into a new house, there was a bottle of CLR left behind by the previous owner. At the time, I thought that it must be horribly toxic if it actually cleaned calcium, lime, and rust, as the label promised. Imagine my surprise a few months ago when I was on the Environmental Working Group’s website where they rate various cleaning products based upon the health and environmental impact.

The original CLR gets a grade of A, which is extremely rare on EWG’s site, and the CLR Kitchen and Bath Cleaner gets a grade of B, which is still pretty good and not that common in the world of commercial cleaners. Only 7 of the 217 bathroom cleaners rated have an A, and only 22 received a B. Both products are also biodegradeable, which is important to me because we have a septic field where all of our waste water goes. It’s one reason I use things like vinegar and baking soda for most of my cleaning.

Like many people who live in the country, we have a well, and in spite of spending big bucks on a water filtration system and a water softener, our water is still high in mineral content and creates a cleaning headache in the bathroom. CLR really does get everything clean, even after a couple of weeks of neglect.

You might wonder why The Thrifty Homesteader, who loves vinegar and baking soda for cleaning, is telling you about this product. Well, I’ve always said that vinegar and baking soda will clean most things, and that’s true, but if you happen to have something that is more challenging to clean, I would prefer you choose a safer commercial product that works. Considering the fact that 56.7% of bathroom cleaning products get a grade of F, and another 19.4% get a grade of D from the EWG, you have a 3 in 4 chance of using something really toxic if you buy a product to clean your bathroom.


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12 thoughts on “Review: CLR cleaning products”

  1. I just moved into a newer house, but honestly, I don't think they cleaned much during the 10 years they lived there. I too like to use vinegar and baking soda for cleaning, but some jobs require a bit more muscle! CLR does it all!

  2. I have part of a bottle someone gave me, but I've never used it because I've just assumed that it must be really toxic. I can't enter the contest because I'm in Canada, but now at least I know I can use the bottle I have. 🙂

  3. Like MichelleH, I have a bottle that I've been afraid to use. Our well water has a lot of minerals (and we DON'T use a filter), so we regularly have to descale the toilets. I would love to try the Bath & Kitchen Cleaner!

  4. Our toilets are impossible to clean, where they actually look clean… I always thought this stuff was toxic (glad I'm not the only one).

    • I’m not sure. I’ve only used it on ceramic — sinks and toilets, plus our bath tubs, which are maybe some type of plastic, but I couldn’t say for certain.

  5. Aces! I highly recommend Original CLR for cleaning your shower / bath. I used CLR for the first time to clean a neglected stand up shower at an elderly relatives home as the hard water, soap and even some mold were at a level requiring an hour or more of hard scrubbing had I used my old faithful powdered cleanser. I am very glad I chose CLR. I poured it directly onto a yellow/green scrubby and it easily removed much with a pressured wiping, and removed the tough deposits with a regular strength scrubbing. Very easy & effective compared to what I used to use, I finished the job in about 1/2 the time a regular weekly or bi-weekly shower scrub would have taken. I now use this to clean our home bathrooms exclusively.
    ** Be sure and wear appropriate gloves, I use the thin inexpensive nitrile type.

  6. i agree that it works, however the high acidity is seriously dangerous. I used it in a not so properly ventilated room and ended up covered in a thin layer of it which was not fun for the skin. Proceed with caution, but also just make sure you know this stuff is environmentally friendly but not friendly to human beings who generally want to avoid strong acid cleaners.


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