The bathroom. There is no room more difficult — or more important — to keep clean and sanitary. Many people turn to harsh chemical cleaners as an attempt to make sure our bathrooms are deep cleaned and safe. However, these powerful chemicals bring with them their own unique risks, and can be irritating to the lungs and sinuses. Some chemical combinations, like bleach and ammonia, can be incredibly toxic if mixed.
Just as bad, these store-bought products often use a ton of excessive and wasteful packaging. And many of the harsh chemicals used in household cleaners can find their way into the environment, adding to water and air contamination.
Eco-friendly bathroom cleaning can seem intimidating. It can be difficult to know whether a product is thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting bathroom surfaces without relying on strong chemical solvents and disinfectants.
But with a little work, it is possible to clean and sanitize your bathroom using safe, sustainable, and green cleaning products and methods. Here are some go-to eco-friendly ideas to put to work in your bathroom’s most stubborn spots:
Vinegar and Baking Soda Are Versatile Bathroom Heroes
Vinegar is perhaps the oldest and most universal cleaning agent, used as early as 5000 B.C. by the ancient Sumerians to clean and disinfect surfaces. Distilled white vinegar is made by adding oxygen to a grain alcohol, causing bacteria to grow and acetic acid to form. Traditional distilled white vinegar contains about five percent acid. Cleaning vinegar, a slightly different formulation, is usually a six percent acidic solution. Either cleaning vinegar or distilled white vinegar are great for cleaning projects in the bathroom. Adding a few drops of your favorite essential oil to a vinegar solution can combat vinegar’s sometimes off-putting odor.
Baking soda has a similarly storied history as a cleaning agent. Used by the ancient Egyptians as early as 3500 B.C. as a cleaning and mummification agent, baking soda is a mild abrasive that can be used to clean, deodorize, and freshen a number of surfaces – it has even been used to clean the Statue of Liberty! A basic solution, baking soda can be used on its own, or mixed with vinegar to create a foaming reaction that is useful for dislodging grime in hard to reach spaces, such as drains and crevices.
Vinegar and baking soda, either alone or in combination, can quickly and effectively scrub away tough soap scum and grease, disinfect surfaces, and act as natural deodorizers. This combination is not without its limits, though. Don’t clean granite or stone countertops or floors with vinegar. Because vinegar is acidic, it can etch or damage travertine, marble, or granite floors, shower surrounds, or countertops; opt instead for a different natural cleanser for delicate surfaces.
And while many of us think green in choosing our cleaning agents, don’t forget that you can take your eco-friendly bathrooms to the next level by using sustainable, eco-friendly tools in your cleaning practice. Small changes add up – think replacing a worn out plastic toilet brush with one made of wood, metal, or hemp, or changing out plastic soap dispensers for refillable glass. We’ve got a go-to guide for sustainable household swaps available here.
Cleaning Bathtubs And Shower Surrounds
A paste of baking soda, dishwashing liquid, and water can be used to cut through soap scum and hard water in bathtubs and shower surrounds. Simply apply the paste to the tub, walls, and shower doors with a cloth or rag, scrub any stubborn spots, and then rinse with warm water.
If baking soda and water is not enough to remove stubborn hard water stains from your shower door, a solution of equal parts vinegar and water in a reusable spray bottle can work wonders. Spray the solution on the glass and wipe with a soft, lint-free cloth.
The acid in vinegar is a safe, natural mold killer. Simply spray a solution of equal parts vinegar and water into corners or crevices where mold tends to form, and let it dry. Then spray the solution on the area again, and wipe clean.
If you have a slow draining bathtub, a mixture of vinegar and baking soda may help to clear oil and grease, improving drainage. While this technique will not clear severely clogged drains, it can be effective for mild obstructions or after using an oil-based bath soak. Begin by pouring a pot of boiling water down the drain. Follow that with about one-half cup of baking soda, followed by one cup of vinegar and a little more boiling water. Plug the drain to avoid the foaming mixture simply spilling back into your tub, and wait about 10 minutes. Flush thoroughly.
Cleaning Vanities, Mirrors, And Sinks
The same solution of baking soda, dish soap, and water that you use to clean your tub and surround can be used on your sink and vanity. Simply apply the paste and use a clean, wet towel to wipe it away. Looking for some sustainable ideas to replace your go-to bathroom sponge or rag? We’ve got you covered.
For bathroom mirrors, a diluted solution of equal parts vinegar and water can be sprayed onto the mirror, and wiped away with newspaper or a lint-free cloth for a sparkling and streak-free finish.
Sanitary and Eco-Friendly Toilet Cleaning
To clean the toilet, take advantage of the foaming chemical reaction that occurs when vinegar and baking soda combine. Simply combine about one half-cup of baking soda with about a cup of vinegar. While the mixture is still foaming, pour it into the toilet. Let the mixture sit until the foam dissipates, and then brush gently with your preferred sustainable scrubber.
For stubborn stains, you may need to invest in a reliable environmentally friendly toilet bowl cleaner. Be sure to look for a product without bleach or phosphorous, both of which can be harmful to the environment when flushed. Whenever possible, I always recommend opting for more concentrated solutions, which help get the job done faster and with less overall waste.
Your Bathroom Floors
A simple solution of baking soda and water is a great floor cleaner that is safe to use on all types of flooring. Simply mix about a half cup of baking soda with a gallon of water, and mop as usual. If there is any residue left on the floor, follow with a warm water solution. The natural deodorizing and disinfecting properties of baking soda ensure that your floor is clean and safe, and leaves no toxic residue behind – a key feature if your kids or pets might be walking or crawling on the floors.
Let Sweeping Dimensions Set You Up For Success
Here at Sweeping Dimensions, we focus on handling all sorts of cleaning and housekeeping projects, so you can focus on the other things that matter most to you.
A big part of that is making sure our clients’ wants and needs are met at all times. That’s why we make a point of always having sustainable and environmentally friendly cleaning solutions on hand and ready to use.
We also believe in passing along our green cleaning knowledge, whenever we can. We love to talk about all things cleaning and organizing, including the strategies that can make taking care of your home a more sustainable practice. The more people we can bring together in our mission for a greener world, the better off all of us will be!
So, if you ever have a question about comparing cleaning products, or making a green switch in your home, don’t hesitate to get in touch – I am always happy to talk shop! At SDCS, we are sincerely passionate about these issues, dedicated to finding real solutions, and always eager to keep the conversation going.
Whether you’re looking for a deep clean, routine housekeeping, or service for a special event, we can help! With a professionally trained and uniformed staff, all of our cleanings are fully customizable to meet your unique needs. Get in touch today for your free service estimate!
Looking to exchange ideas on creating a sustainable bathroom, or share how you’re going to focus on adopting more environmentally friendly cleaning products this year? We’d love to hear from you! Get in touch via email or on social media to let us know your thoughts!