I do not use chemicals in the cleaning of my home, but I do buy the products – Seventh Generation, Method, Simple Green, Whole Foods Brand, Mrs. Meyers, Earth Friendly, etc. But I also make some of my cleaning products. This past week I have been doing a lot of research on green cleaning and have come across many green cleaning “recipes” – so I decided to do a test to see what really is the best way to clean tile, glass, mirrors, the tub, the toilet, etc. Today I tackled the bathroom – trying 2 different methods for each item that needed to be cleaned. I have to say for all of the home “recipes” it does take a little more elbow grease, but I turned the music on and stayed in the moment – focusing on what I was doing, not on the lists that are constantly going through my head – the time did not seem as long.
I have tried to show before and after photos, but the after photos, for the most part, do not give justice, but I hope you can get some idea.
Faucets – First on the list were the faucets. I did the sink faucet with straight white vinegar, putting some on a cloth rubbing the faucet and then buffing – this looked good and better than the green product I had been using. On the tub faucet I used rubbing alcohol, putting some on a cotton patch and then buffing – this was faster, cut through the film better and definitely shined more – I will be changing to rubbing alcohol.
Mirrors – I usually use a mixture of vinegar and water, but I decided to try two new methods. For the mirror I wiped off with a clean cloth and then rubbed water on the mirror using a squeegee to take the water off – if you do not completely take the water off , you are left with streaks. I then rubbed some dish soap on the mirror with a clean cloth and then buffed until there was no trace of it – this is suppose to keep the mirror from fogging for up to 2 weeks – will get back to you on that one. The light fixture in the bathroom has a mirror back, so I used club soda on that – again I wiped it down with a clean, dry cloth, then I rubbed club soda on the mirror and buffed cleaned – this took even more buffing then the straight water. I will definitely stick with the vinegar and water, but maybe I will add the squeegee – it is fun to use!
Toilet Bowl – The tried and true is baking soda and vinegar. Sprinkle some baking soda in, then spray some vinegar and let the reaction begin. I usually do this first thing when I start cleaning the bathroom, let it sit and then it is the last thing that I finish at the end – it cleans great and eliminates toilet odor.
Porcelain Sink and Tub – I usually use Bon Ami for both, but today on the tub I used a cut lemon dipped in Borax and rubbed away, with very little effort. I had to re-dip into the Borax a couple of time – but I was amazed! There were stains on the tub that I thought were there forever that came out with this method. Once I had done the whole tub I rinsed with water and it was so clean and the bathroom smelled great. I was going to do the sink with baking soda, but after seeing the tub – I decided there was no other way to clean either the sink or tub from now on.
Rust – This being an old house, there is rust around the faucet and the drain of the sink. I found a couple of “recipes” that said it got rid of rust stains, but none worked for me the way I was hoping. First I used straight vinegar on a cloth and rubbed and rubbed, then I closed the drain and let vinegar sit there for about an hour – no change. I then tried rubbing alcohol – nothing. Finally I tried a paste made from cream of tartar and hydrogen peroxide – this made a difference, but not huge – I think I will try this over a couple of cleanings and see if there is a gradual improvement.
Tile and Grout– My bathroom has a lot of tile – up half way on the walls, around the tub and the floor. I used a mixture of vinegar and water on the walls and around the tub – worked really well, cutting through the water spots and build up. On the floor I used a paste made from baking soda, Borax and warm water. This was a lot of work – now I mop my floor at least once a month, sometimes more and I was amazed at how dirty the bucket of water was and that I had to refill 6 TIMES! You make a paste, rub it on the tile, rub with a soft
brush and then rinse. Well the paste kept absorbing the water, so I had to keep adding water, I tried using a soft brush, but that just spread the clumps everywhere – I finally applied the paste with a cloth and used the same cloth to rub – then I would rinse with water and a sponge – I had to rinse the floor three times before there was not a residue left. Overall this worked really well and is probably worth the effort every couple of months, but this is not the way I will clean the tile and the grout on a weekly basis.
This was an interesting experiment. I did learn quite a bit and I will be changing the way I clean some things. I also found that the homemade cleaning product recipes worked as well or better than the green products I have been using and buying – so when the store bought are used up – homemade is the way I will be going, cost less too!