Clean and Green Bathrooms

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh

There's two ways to add green to your cleaning routine, save money and save the planet. Get rid of those harsh and expensive chemical cleaners and look at a whole new way of cleaning the house. Start with what's probably the first room that comes to mind, the bathroom. Bathroom cleaners are expensive at nearly $5 a bottle or more. With one product for tub and tile, another for toilets, drain cleaner, shower head cleaner, and air freshener, you're looking at $30 or more for cleaning products in one room of your home. (Not to mention a cabinet full of cleaners.) Try mixing up your own batches of cheap, enviro-friendly cleaners that are light on the wallet.

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Tile, Tub, and Sink

  • Ingredients: baking soda, vinegar
  • Cost: $1.50
  • What to do: Vinegar is your replacement for products like Mr. Clean. At $1 a bottle, it can't be beat and it cleans most anything. Dilute it with water at a 1/2 cup to 1 gallon mix (stronger if necessary.) If film is present in the tub rub the vinegar directly onto the film before scouring it with a sponge covered in baking soda. Rinse the sponge and use it to rinse away the surface.

Toilet

  • Ingredients: baking soda and vinegar
  • Cost: $1.50
  • What to do: Shake the baking soda inside the toilet bowl to cover it. Then, spray vinegar from a spray bottle onto the baking soda and wipe or scour with a toilet brush.

Drains

  • Ingredients: baking soda, vinegar, water
  • Cost: $1
  • What to do: Use often to keep drains clear before they clog. Pour 1/2 cup baking soda into the drain. Follow it with 1 cup of vinegar. Allow it to sit and foam for several minutes before flushing it with 1 gallon of boiling water.

Lime Stains

  • Ingredients: vinegar, paper towels
  • Cost: $1
  • What to do: Soak the paper towels with vinegar. Then, wad the towels and lay them on top of the stain or wrap them around the faucet which is stained. After an hour remove the towels and rinse the area.

Clogged Shower Heads - only use on metal shower heads

  • Ingredients: You guessed it! Vinegar
  • Cost: $1
  • What to do: Mix 1/2 cup vinegar into 1 quart of water. Remove the shower head from its fixture and place it and the mixture into a kitchen pot. Boil for 15 minutes. Compared to expensive CLR Cleaner, this is a deal!

Hard Water Rust Stains

  • Ingredients: vinegar, lemon juice
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  • Cost: $2
  • What to do: Drip the vinegar or lemon juice directly onto the stain (use a towel to apply it directly if necessary.) Let it stand or hold it there until the stain disappears before rinsing the area.

You've probably guessed that vinegar is a key ingredient in cleaning most everything - my grandmother's been telling me this for years. Clear the clutter of your cleaning supplies and replace it with a bottle of vinegar, baking soda, and a few other kitchen ingredients and you'll have an environmentally friendly, hard working collection of cleaning products all for under $5 total.

July 20, 20070 found this helpful

Just to be sure--this is white (clear) vinegar, not the apple cider vinegar--right?

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July 20, 20070 found this helpful

Since the birth of our son I have been using vinegar and baking soda to clean our kitchen and bathrooms. Our friends are surprised when they find out I don't use any harsh or toxic chemicals because our home is really clean, and our family is rarely ever sick. This is a great way to save money and care for your family's health. For anyone interested in learning more, this is a great place to look http://eartheasy.com/live_nontoxic_solutions.htm

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July 20, 20070 found this helpful

Thanks for the info. I clean houses for a living and use only vinegar and water for mirrors--none of that Windex stuff because I found out that I had to clean off the Windex (or any other commercial window cleaner) as well as the spots on the mirrors. Now I'll also carry baking soda with me, as well as full strength vinegar. I've used vinegar at home for several different chores for many years. It's great as a weed killer--but it also kills grass, so be careful!!!

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July 20, 20070 found this helpful

Hi glowgirl,

The article is referring to white vinegar, although I have heard about people using apple cider vinegar for many uses as well.

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July 21, 20070 found this helpful

I've been cleaning our shower heads & the kitchen faucet screen with vinegar for years. You don't need to boil them,just soak them ,so this works fine on plastic shower heads too . Put vinegar in a plastic bag & fasten it on with a heavy rubber band like the kind that comes on broccoli or asparagus or take the hand held shower head down & put it in a cottage cheese or margarine tub .Pour vinegar over it to cover . With the kitchen faucet,unscrew the end piece & put it in a shot glass ,pour in vinegar & soak it & yes Cider & White work just as well . We buy the white by the gallon .

The worst part of the job is remembering how the faucet pieces go back together after using a fingernail to scrape the screen a bit .

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July 21, 20070 found this helpful

I use white vinegar diluted with 3/4 water in a

spray bottle to clean the scum off my shower

curtain. I spray it down and wash in the washer,

it comes out clean as new.

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July 21, 20070 found this helpful

How'd you first get past the pungency of vinegar odor? I use it for very few things, but when using it in boilg eggs to keep eggs from cracking, it makes the house smell TERRIBLE. In hairdressing, anything

"acid" hardens what it touches. Why would I want to do this? I may try it just to see if I can tolerate it, because most anything is better than chemicals. However, nothing can destroy germs like diluted bleach in small amounts. God bless you. : )

Editor's Note: Just use it 1 part vinegar to 10 parts water. The scent is much less then and it works very well. It may smell vinegary for an hour but after that it dissipates.

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July 22, 20070 found this helpful

I have not seen that size or bag of Baking Soda

out here in MO, I buy small ones or Generic

WalMart baking soda and white vinegar buy the gallons it works well...

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July 23, 20070 found this helpful

Thanks for this. I have been looking for environmentally friendly and less expensive alternatives. At my last garage sale I gave away most of my store bought cleaning formulas. Seems I was always running out and buying the latest. Now I'll just buy gallons of vinegar. Hope I can find large quantities of Baking Soda as well.

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July 23, 20070 found this helpful

(To meoowmom:)

The 10 lb bags of baking soda (in the photo) are sold at Costco, but the price isn't significantly better than the $0.43 for a box of Wal-Mart store brand.

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July 23, 20070 found this helpful

How does the vinegar and soda stand up as disinfectants?

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July 27, 20070 found this helpful

I've been using vinegar and baking soda to clean with for years, a tip from my beloved great aunt! I also read in Hints from Heloise several years ago that vinegar has most of the same anti-bacterial capabilities as our harsh chemicals. I think we're going to see a big change in cleaning products soon! I don't think we know what we've been inhaling all these years, but I'll bet it's not good!

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January 26, 20150 found this helpful

And you all do realize that baking soda and vinegar are just common chemicals. Many of the cleaning products are no more harmful than these two. And, of course, if you mix baking soda and vinegar, you have neutralized them. Use one or the other, but when you combine them, you have salt water, not some magic elixir with super strength.

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January 28, 20150 found this helpful

I have to disagree with Louise.

Many household cleaning products contain: Alkylphenols, which are endocrine disruptors. Perfluorooactanoic Acid (PFOA), which is associated with increased incidence of breast cancer. Triclosan, which can affect the bodys hormone systems especially thyroid hormones, which regulate metabolism. Use of triclosan may also contribute to bacterial resistance. Perchloroethylene or PERC: Perc is a neurotoxin.

Other ingredients with high toxicity include chlorine bleach and ammonia, which produce fumes that are highly irritating to eyes, nose, throat and lungs, and should not be used by people with asthma or lung or heart problems. These two chemicals pose an added threat in that they can react with each other or other chemicals to form lung-damaging gases.

As far as baking soda and vinegar combined, that is correct, however, is the action of them reacting to each other that can sometimes unblock drains, not the end product of mixing them which will be a harmless salt.

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