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What’s in This?: Toilet Drops

Understanding the deceptively simple ingredients list of these turd-camouflagers

We’re often told that you should never eat anything (or put anything on your body) if you don’t recognize everything on the ingredients list. But since most of us have no idea what xanthan gum or potassium benzoate are — or more importantly, what they’re doing to our bodies — we’re decoding the ingredients in the many things Americans put in (and on, or near) themselves.

This edition: Just a Drop, which is (allegedly) made from only two separate ingredients that we broke down in the exact order they appear on their website.

Before jumping into the ingredients, though, let us explain why we say “allegedly.” Since cleaning products, like these anti-stink toilet drops, aren’t intended to be ingested, the FDA usually allows them on the market without regulation, meaning the manufacturers don’t have to list their ingredients, as is the case with Just a Drop. Now, the EPA does require that cleaning product makers list any active disinfectants or ingredients known to be potentially harmful, and since Just a Drop has no definitive ingredients list — at least not readily available to the public — we can then assume that the ingredients it contains must therefore be mild and safe.

That said, some consumer advocates disagree with this nonchalant approach by these regulating agencies. As Sloan Barnett, author of Green Goes with Everything, told Scientific American regarding the issue, “The government only requires companies to list ‘chemicals of known concern’ on their labels. The key word here is ‘known.’ The fact is that the government has no idea whether most of the chemicals used in everyday cleaning products are safe because it doesn’t test them, and it doesn’t require manufacturers to test them either.”

In other words, yeah, the government could probably do a better job of regulating the things we use around the house. Does that mean you should be concerned about potentially harmful ingredients in the drops you release into the toilet before taking a dump? Eh, probably not.

Another quick thing worth adding is that products just like this come in spray form, too — and some are even produced by the same brand. Once again, though, the makers of the sprays are equally quiet about the ingredients that they use. For instance, a company called Mask Co. makes these bathroom sprays, and this is what they write under the ingredients section of their FAQ page: “We do keep our secret formula locked away in a vault. But what we can tell you is there are no parabens, phthalates or harsh chemicals. And we use the finest essential and fragrance oils.” As you’ll see in just a moment, this is extremely similar to Just a Drop.

With that cleared up, Just a Drop does hint at the ingredients in their products on the FAQ section of their website, which we’ve analyzed below.

The Ingredients

1) Natural Eucalyptus Extract: Essential oils like eucalyptus extract can be found in most toilet bowl drops and sprays, and they generally do the heavy lifting of preventing that massive shit you just took from stinking up the entire bathroom. That’s because aromatic essential oils are usually less dense than water and float on the surface, so when your turd sinks gracefully beneath the waves like a torpedoed battleship, the eucalyptus extract acts as a film, keeping the associated stench from escaping your toilet. If your log proceeds to float above the surface, no worries — theoretically, the film should then simply coat the poop itself.

As an added bonus, eucalyptus oil also has some antimicrobial properties, which could help freshen up your toilet.

2) Mild Fragrance Oil: Another essential oil that would presumably also float on the surface of the toilet water, this gives Just a Drop some kind of scent — it comes in several different aromas — that simply adds to a fresh-smelling bathroom.

The Takeaway

We only have a vague idea of what the ingredients in Just a Drop are — although, I highly doubt that the makers are hiding a bunch of harmful ingredients, because again, the EPA would at least require the listing of them — but still, this product and similar drops and sprays seem extremely straightforward. So much so, in fact, that the $8.99 price tag for a small dropper immediately makes me think buying a large jug of eucalyptus oil would be much, much cheaper and just as effective.

Still, according to reviews, like this passionate one on Amazon entitled, “I am perfect now,” Just a Drop works pretty damn well:

“This should be government mandated. I really wish everyone around me had one of these because even tho I can now be a perfect being who doesn’t stink up the bathroom, I still have to deal with everyone else’s stench. I’m too afraid to give away my secret so I will buy 20 of these and place one in the bathroom before each guest enters so they can hopefully steal it and save lives.”

Hey, if this makes me a “perfect being,” maybe I should give it a shot.