Thursday, March 25, 2010

Green Cleaning in the Bathroom

Today I did my first whole-room cleaning with only home-made products. I attacked the bathroom, which was dingy and soap-scummed.

For the sink, toilet, and bathtub, I used straight white vinegar rubbed on with a sponge or a brush, followed by a scrubbing with baking soda. The fizzing and foaming when the two combined made it kind of fun! I found I didn't have to scrub any harder than I usually do with my store-bought products, and the porcelain is now sparkling clean! The mirrors and floor were cleaned with vinegar and water. Vinegar doesn't smell the greatest, but the smell disappears as soon as it dries.

The most disgusting area of the bathroom, worse than the toilet, is the tile around our window. This window is the only one that the previous owners didn't replace with a new vinyl one. I think the reason is that they would have had to re-do the tile, but I sure wish they would have changed it! It is a metal window that slides open to the side. The sliding area fills up with yucky, slimy water, as the condensation that forms on the window is constantly rolling down into it. Instead of replacing the window and re-doing the tile, they just added some additional grout and sealant in the whole area, in a messy fashion. So, mildew and mold has a great place to grow in the gummy corners, and in some areas it looks like there is mildew BELOW the new sealant. I have tried many different products to clean this window area, and everything works equally poorly. Someday we will remodel this bathroom, but for now I just want to be able to maintain it looking a little less gross. I decided to do an experiment and compare tea tree oil (TTO) with grapefruit seed extract (GSE). I have taken GSE with juice as a home remedy for preventing infection, and have used diluted TTO on my skin and scalp. I bought some cheap spray bottles to mix my cleaners with water. I used about 20 drops of GSE with 14 ounces of water in one bottle, and about a teaspoon of TTO with 14 ounces of water in another bottle. I sprayed each cleaner on one half of the window and surrounding tile, and waited a few minutes while I cleaned another area. I was so excited when I came back to the window area, wiped my sponge across, and black mildew came off! Both cleaners seemed to work equally well, but I think I prefer the TTO because it leaves a cleaner, fresher smell in the room, and I have heard that it is produced in a greener process. Now, the gross window area isn't totally white and sparkling, like the tub is, but it is a huge improvement.

If you have done any blog posts comparing green cleaning products, please feel free to leave your links in comments!

One of the great things about using these cleaning ingredients is that I felt totally comfortable with Sweet Pea in the bathroom with me while I was doing the cleaning. The fumes are not harmful, as they are with some conventional cleaning products, and if she somehow got ahold of one of my spray bottles or sponges, a taste of them wouldn't be poisonous for her.

What room should I tackle next?
Also, does anyone have a recipe for a green carpet cleaner?


  1. I'll have to try that TTO trick on my bathroom.

  2. this is a very helpful post, rose! i, too, always seem to have mildew issues in my bathrooms. i have tried vinegar but never vinegar and then baking soda right after, i am going to do that the next time i clean the bathroom. i'm also glad to have a tip for cleaning mirrors. ill try the vinegar and water. BTW your other post with green cleaning sites was helpful too.

  3. I'm excited to try the TTO trick! We tried several things to get rid of mildew around the caulking in our tub - using both conventional cleaners and homemade ones - with no success.

    I have a book with a recipe for a carpet cleaner, but I can't vouch for it as we don't have carpet anymore. It says to put 1/4 cup of liquid soap in a blender with 1/3 a cup of water, put it on the carpet, let it sit for a few minutes, use a carpet brush to scrub it, sop up the excess with towels, and spray vinegar to dissolve leftover soap. It sounds like it's intended as a spot cleaner more than overall, but I imagine if it was more diluted it could be effective and not too messy:)

  4. It is essential that we pay attention to green cleaning and get more conscious about the environment around.It is good to use the eco friendly products for the purpose and there are really good ones in the market.

  5. You gave some awesome tips. I am definitely gonna try some of your tips. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I tried TTO from cleaning my bathroom and it was a great experience I every had. This tips work for me and help me to clean my bathroom, thanks for sharing these tips..