Today I tackled the most loathsome cleaning area of the house—the bathroom. The scummy shower doors…ugh. The soapy buildup on the fixtures…ugh. The grimy bathtub…ugh, ugh, ugh! The toothpaste-spotted mirror. The whisker-sprinkled and shaving cream-dolloped sink. And because I’m a lady, I will not mention the offenses found with the toilet! Oh, I detest them all. And yet, this is where I began my green experiment. A good place to begin, when I think of it. I probably send the most harsh chemicals down these drains. It was high time I greened up my bathroom. And cleaned it. Because, well, it had been a while.
I began by mixing some batches of homemade bathroom cleaners. I have cleaned some bathroom surfaces with straight vinegar, but my husband detests its smell. I kind of like the tangy aroma of vinegar. It’s a fresh, clean smell, free from the toxic fumes all women of child-bearing age should avoid like a man with slicked-back hair. Plus, I don’t think the oder lasts very long. My husband begs to differ.
So I searched for homemade cleaner recipes that didn’t use as much vinegar, or at least would dilute its smell. This is what I used (click links for recipes):
- Lemon soft scrub
- Toilet bowl cleaner: a simple paste of borax and lemon juice
- Antibacterial spray
- Glass cleaner: Equal parts of vinegar and water with a few drops of eucalyptus oil in a spray bottle. (Eucalyptus oil alone is supposed to keep the mirrors from fogging when rubbed on with a dry towel. I thought I would skip that step and just spray it on with the glass cleaner. It didn’t work and smelled like dill pickles. Next time I will just use vinegar to clean the mirror.)
First I sprayed the glass cleaner on the shower doors. I left it on for a few minutes before I wiped it clean, thinking it would
dissolve the soap scum. It worked great on the lightly scummed areas,
but didn’t do much for the thicker crud. Applying elbow grease didn’t help much. So, I went on to scrubbing the tub with my lemony paste. Now, I didn’t think I was starting out with a tub that was that dirty. I do give it a quick once-over several times a week before I give my baby a bath and a deep-cleaning as needed. But when I wiped that cleaner across the tub I was amazed, appalled even, at the dirt that came peeling off! Yikes. What an eye-opener. (I attribute this to my conventional cleaners leaving a residue, not to my under-par housekeeping, of course.) Next I took that scrub and applied it to the shower doors, and all the tough spots of scale, soap scum, and dingy areas where I had almost given up. Everything came sparkling clean.
Then I cleaned the sink, countertops and exterior toilet surfaces with the antibacterial spray, and the mirror with the glass cleaner. I also sprayed the glass cleaner on the floor and mopped it with my damp cotton mop. Excellent results all around. The only cleaning method that didn’t compare with my conventional cleaner was the toilet bowl scrub. See, a used toilet brush just grosses me out. No matter how well I rinse it I never feel like it’s clean enough to sit in my bathroom. A few years ago I discovered the Clorox toilet wand and I never went back. I love its disposable head with the foamy cleaner that leaves my toilet so very, very clean…and so very, very toxic…Yes, I realize that trading convenience for eco-friendliness is well worth it. So I scrubbed that toilet with a brush and my homemade cleaner. It was effective, if not as satisfying.
Over all I am very pleased with my homemade products. My bathroom has never been so clean, but more importantly, it has never been so safe. I used to worry that cleaning product residues were never quite gone, and that they could be contaminating my daughter’s bathwater. These natural cleaners give me excellent results without polluting my home with harsh chemicals. See, going green is good for everybody!
If I were to do this again, I would probably just make two recipes to clean everything: the antibacterial spray and the lemon soft scrub. I’m pretty sure that would work. If you try it, let me know how it goes.
Next week I will be experimenting with homemade dishwasher detergents. What are your many-saving tips for getting your dishes gleaming clean without harming the environment?