Saturday, February 12, 2011
My clean bathroom
I actually do have a purpose though. As I was head first in the tub scrubbing the bottom, I was taken back to tub cleaning in years before. I vividly remember having to make sure the fan was on and the window opened before I could clean the bathroom. The chemical smell of the cleaners could choke a horse. I had to wear gloves or the cleaners would start to burn the cracks in my always too-dry hands. It was sort of a race to get the shower sprayed down and flee before my eyes started to water. You get the picture.
About a year ago, I got rid of all my conventional cleaners. No more Scrubbing Bubbles, Lime-Away, Lysol Tub and Tile Cleaner, and my favorite (which I actually hung onto a while longer) Sno-Bol. I bought a gallon of vinegar, a box of baking soda and rinsed out an old spray bottle. I filled the bottle about halfway with of vinegar and then topped it off with water. I screwed the trigger on and shook a bit. I had just made an all-purpose cleaner.
I had read about this numerous times in forums on "ways to save money." But, I have to admit, I didn't think it would work. Besides, I hated the smell of vinegar. Even with my doubts, I went to work spraying every surface liberally and following it with a wipe down. For the tub, I also shook some baking soda around and scrubbed it with my handy scrub brush. I rinsed everything off and it looked good. I was also impressed that the tub particularly seemed to stay clean longer. Initially, I had problems with getting the toilet clean. With our hard water, the vinegar/water mix wasn't cutting it, so now I just dump a cup of straight vinegar in the bowl and let it sit 20-30 minutes*. Then I come in, swish and wipe down the tank. Presto! Clean toilet.
The first few times, the smell of the vinegar annoyed me. It wasn't an "OMG, I'm going to hurl!" kind of smell. It was just more of an "Eww, that stinks," sort of smell. There was the benefit of not having to flee the bathroom because my lungs were burning. Also, I didn't have to ban the kids from being in the back of the house because I didn't want them to ingest the fumes, and I found that the smell went away as soon as it dried. Tonight, when I cleaned, I didn't even notice it. I guess I've become immune to the icky smell of vinegar. :)
Over the past several months, I've rid the house of pretty much every commercial household cleaner. My husband still clings to his bottle of Windex, although I think the vinegar/water spray works better. Oh, well, there are definitely bigger battles to fight than that one. We no longer have laundry detergent (use soapnuts instead), fabric softener, Glade-type room sprays, Febreeze, etc. We really have no need for them. Vinegar, baking soda and a few other miscellanous household items work amazingly well. They are cheap to purchase, last a long time and have multiple uses, so they are space saving as well. I do use Finish in the dishwasher (combats the hard water) and I'm still using a small amount of dishsoap, for my handwash dishes and for stripping cloth diapers.
I've read in several places that vinegar and tea tree oil (which I've also added to my cleaning repetoire), have antibacterial properties. However, I've only read that from lay people claiming it. I have yet to find scienfitic evidence to support that. I'm not a huge believer in antibacterial products anyway. Wash your hands frequently and keep them away from your face. That method works too.
*I throw the toilet brush in the bowl after I dump the vinegar in, so the next time I go in the bathroom, I remember to clean the toilet. I don't know how much vinegar I've wasted b/c I forget and use the facility. I have a terribly short, short term memory.