Green Cleaning the Bathroom

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.

Tub Faucet Before

Tub Faucet After

Tub Faucet After






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.

Lemon with Borax

Tub Before

Tub After






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.

Drain Before

After Vinegar

After Everything







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.


Floor Before

Floor After






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!


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4 Responses to Green Cleaning the Bathroom

  1. Gabriel says:

    Excellent article, with real trial and error experiences to see if some of these products work.
    Questions and Comments:
    Where do you buy baking soda and borax in bulk (larger than refrigerator box size)?
    I wonder if denatured alcohol would work as well as “rubbing” alcohol. Some additives are in the latter.
    I shamelessly use spot treatment with bleach in a spray bottle, as it sometimes it the only thing that can effectively cut and neutralize problem areas, especially biological stains.
    Steel wool is often the best last-resort abrasive when elbow grease has run dry.
    Orange oil (or similar citrusy preparations) is good to wipe onto wood and even painted areas around doors and windows. It removes grime, adds shine, and keeps bugs and spiders away.
    Keep up the good work!

  2. simply0637 says:

    Thank you. Rubbing alcohol is ethanol and water – the green kind has a dye in it. I would think that denatured alcohol would work too – but I would try it somewhere that if it does not work won’t show. You can buy a big box of Borax at some grocery stores and you can also buy 3 – 5 pound bags of baking soda at some groceries. Hydrogen peroxide is great at getting blood out and for pet odors and clean up – baking soda or vinegar.

    I will be doing other rooms as the days go by and will be posting about those experiments.

  3. Doris says:

    Pamela, enjoyed the article on green cleaning, will take your suggestions to heart the next time I clean the bathroom. Passing the info on to Wendy, she is very concerned about the cleaning products used in her home with Jackson eating off the floors and end tables. Her cleaning person is now only allowed to use water on the floors, really can’t “disinfect” them with only water.

    • simply0637 says:

      Doris – To disinfect an area she could use vinegar (just put into a spray bottle, spray the area and wipe with a damp sponge or cloth) and then spray with hydrogen peroxide and wipe with damp sponge or cloth. Do not mix the two. This will disinfect, clean and remove odors. Wendy may already have these products in her home, if not you can get spray bottles at the dollar store and vinegar and hydrogen peroxide can be found in the grocery. I just made my own cleaning wipes last night – they work great – will give the directions next week in a post.


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