Cleaning the bathroom is not on anyone’s list of favorite things to do, but it’s something you’ve got to do; there’s no way around it. While you should be cleaning at least once a week, it’s hard to reconcile using that many chemicals in your house on a weekly basis. Many of the commercially available cleaners used to clean bathroom fixtures are highly toxic and exude unpleasant, unhealthy fumes. With a few basic ingredients including vinegar, borax, baking soda and lemon juice, you can successfully scour your bathroom without noxious fumes.
Make a Non-Toxic Toilet Cleaner
The toilet is one of the most important places to clean in your bathroom, and you need to kill germs — not just wipe the most obvious dirt and buildup away. However, that doesn’t mean you need to rely on chemicals. Make a germ-killing, porcelain and steel-safe cleaner out of vinegar and water.
• Get a large bucket or container
• Mix 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar with 1/2 cup warm water
• Use a brush to apply the mixture and scrub
Alternatively, clean the toilet with lemon juice. Squeeze a lemon or sprinkle lemon juice right out of a bottle onto any porcelain surface you want to disinfect.
You can also use borax to disinfect, clean and deodorize. After you’ve cleaned most of the grime out with the vinegar and water, sprinkle the toilet surfaces (including inside the bowl) liberally with borax. Let it sit for several hours or overnight to activate odor absorption. Wipe or flush the borax away.
Don’t turn to chlorine powders when cleaning your bathroom. Yes, pool and hot tub owners rely on it, but you don’t need it to kill germs in a bathroom, where water isn’t stagnant. Chlorine is acidic and could ruin your bathroom surfaces, especially your steel faucets, over time. Instead, try this:
• Sprinkle the surface you want to clean with borax
• Soak a sponge and ring it out
• Scrub the surface and wipe all of the borax away
Conquer Grout With Paste
If there are caked-on stains or stubborn mold or mildew left after you’ve tried the borax powder, try borax paste. This paste is also excellent for grout. Borax mixed with water makes a good paste for scouring bathroom tiles. Mix equal parts borax and warm water and spread the paste over the grout. Use a toothbrush to scrub away the stains around the tiles. The paste and the toothbrush won’t scratch the delicate tiles like some noxious cleaners, but they will lift that caked-on mold and mildew.
Tackle Soap Scum by Scouring
Sometimes you need the extra cleaning power of a strong cleaning tool, but you don’t want it so strong you leave scratches all over your porcelain and steel, as those scratches can invite germs and mildew. Cover a scour pad with mesh and you get the strong scouring power of the pad without risking the damage. Avoid using scouring pad with metal fibers on your bathroom surfaces, as they will leave scratches, even with borax paste. Soap scum falls prey easily to the borax and water paste, although you can try vinegar or lemon juice as well.
Clear Out Drains With Vinegar and Baking Soda
Thanks to all the use your bathroom tub and sink gets, the drains are likely to get clogged. Many people rely on corrosive drain cleaning chemicals that eat away at their piping over time. Holes in your piping mean a call to the plumber, a huge bill and a big mess. Clean them without relying on chemicals.
• Stick a plumber’s snake or a snake brush into the drain to scoop out as much of the hair and muck as you can.
• Shake 1/2 cup baking soda into the drain.
• Pour 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar into the drain, causing the drain to foam.
• Leave the drain be for several hours.
• Flush the mixture away.
In the future, avoid having to clean your drains out as often by covering them with a hair catcher.
According to the Environmental Working Group, the toxic fumes found in over the-counter chemical cleaners can exacerbate respiratory or skin ailments. Cleaners such as bleach also can cause chemical burns to your skin. There’s no reason to rely on chemicals when you can save money — and decrease your exposure to fumes — by creating your own cleaners.
Image source: http://www.123rf.com/photo_19683429_hand-holding-white-cleaning-sponge-isolated-on-white.html
About the Author: Jamie Klein is a contributing writer and owner of an eco-friendly cleaning business. He blogs frequently on DIY cleaning tips.
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