By Helen Bowe
From soap scum and mold to dingy tile and ring-around-the-toilet-bowl, keeping a bathroom clean is an unpleasant chore. What can make this loathsome experience even worse are the nausea and dizziness associated with the noxious fumes of many commercial cleaning products. Instead of endangering the environment as well as the health of your children and pets, use a few of these simple, inexpensive and safe homemade bathroom cleaners instead.
It’s the dirty job that no one enjoys, so you might as well get it over with first. Start by slipping on a pair of rubber gloves and sprinkling at least one to two cups of baking soda into the toilet, making sure the powder touches the bowl’s sides. Allow the baking soda to eat away at any stains for about 20 minutes before pouring one cup of white vinegar and one-quarter cup lemon juice into the bowl. Allow the ingredients to sit for 10 minutes before working the mixture into bowl with a plastic scrub brush. The reaction of the baking soda and vinegar gets rid of stains, while the lemon leaves your toilet smelling fresh.
The Tub and Sink
You might think your toilet is the most germ-ridden surface of your home, but your sink also harbors bacteria that can sicken your family. To concoct a safe and environmentally friendly tub and sink cleaner, create a mixture of 1/3 cup boric acid powder, 1/2 cup baking soda, water and 10 drops of lemon or lavender essential oil. First, combine the powdered ingredients and add enough water to create a slightly runny paste. Stir in the essential oil and work the product into your sink and tubs with a plastic scrub brush. Allow the mixture to sit for a few moments before rinsing it away.
The Mirrors and Windows
Create a simple but effective glass and mirror cleaner by combining 1/4 cup white vinegar and 1 gallon of water. Pour the mixture into a plastic spray bottle and apply as you would any expensive, store-bought product. When the time comes to wipe away your homemade cleaner, skip the paper towel and instead use newspaper, which cleans the surface without leaving streaks.
The Faucets and Other Metal Hardware
A simple mixture of white vinegar and water will remove stains and gunk from your faucet, shower head, drawer pulls and anything metal in your bathroom. The all-purpose mixture is inexpensive and effective, but unfortunately, it can leave behind unsightly streaks. To eliminate the streaks, work a small amount of white toothpaste, not gel, into the metal hardware with a rag. The toothpaste polishes the surface while leaving behind a fresh, minty odor.
Marble, Granite and Other Natural Stone
Marble, granite, travertine and any other type of natural stone have two things in common: They’re expensive and prone to etching. “Etching” is an unsightly discoloration that occurs after anything acidic comes into contact with the stone. This is why it’s critical you do not use white vinegar, which is highly acidic. Instead clean the marble, granite or travertine surfaces in your bathroom with a mixture of rubbing alcohol, all-purpose dish soap and water. Add a few drops of an essential oil to mask the alcohol’s smell before working the mixture into your natural stone surfaces with a rag.
Want to remove unsightly stains from your bathroom’s porcelain tile? Look no further than your kitchen cabinets, because cream of tartar — the product otherwise used improve your frosting or homemade candy’s texture — is a quick way to make your porcelain tile shine. Work a small amount of the powder into the tile with a wet rag before rinsing it away with water.
Image provided by Maggie Deegan from Flickr’s Creative Commons
About the Author: Helen Bowe is a DIY guru who gets a lot of ideas from the Decor Planet blog. She’s always looking for environmentally friendly and inexpensive ways to clean her home, and loves to share them with her readers.