My friend (I've mentioned her before - she's my canning buddy) told me that in her home country of Japan they say that a woman who cleans the bathroom will become a beautiful-looking woman. She went on to tell me that her grandmother said it was because a 'bathroom fairy' puts a spell on you and beauty is the reward. If only it were true - I'd be a lot more motivated.
I don't mind cleaning, really. It's nice to get one's living space clean and orderly. I don't mind doing the dishes or the laundry or vacuuming. But I hate hate hate cleaning the bathroom. But, it has to be done and the longer you go without deep cleaning it, the worse it gets. So I just suck it up, gather my cleaning supplies and scrub brushes, roll up my sleeves, and get it over with.
One thing I always hated about cleaning the bathroom, especially when it came to cleaning the bathtub and shower, was using the chemicals. I've used sprays and cleansers, but they always left either a residue on the tub or they just made me itchy. And then I learned about natural cleansers (book review coming soon - it'll change the way you think about cleaning) and my eyes were opened. Now, I'm a big believer that the less toxic chemicals in the home, the better. I read once on the label of a bottle of Method bathroom spray something that stuck with me: the bathroom is a naked kind of place - and you don't want weird chemical stuff on all your glorious nakedness.
And that's why I use baking soda and vinegar to clean my bathroom. I know, I know. It sounds kind of weird, but they work like a charm! Plus, they cost less than any bathroom-specific spray (which you usually run out of after a few bathtub cleanings anyway) or any special toilet bowl cleaner. I buy baking soda in bulk at Costco (I can get the big bag pictured for around five dollars) and I can get a gallon jug of vinegar for a couple dollars. And I use these products for things other than cleaning. Laundry, baking, health - so many uses!
For my counters and mirrors, I use an all-purpose spray. I buy it in concentrated form so it's inexpensive, but still hard-working. After that is done, I move to my bathtub. I get an old cup (or sometimes I'll just grab handfuls) and generously sprinkle baking soda all over the tub: on the bottom, on the sides, all over the faucet, on the soapdish, and the walls. Next, I get another big cup full of water and splash the baking soda with it - not so much that it washes it away, but enough that it makes the baking soda into a type of paste. Then I get some more baking soda, spread it on my scrub brush, get it a little wet (again, make a paste), and then I start scrubbing.
Granted, this method takes a little extra elbow grease, but not much more. The nice thing about baking soda is that it is an abrasive, but it's very gentle and doesn't scratch anything. And since it's just baking soda, it doesn't irritate your skin (in fact, it makes my hands pretty soft afterward). Once any and all stains and dirt are lifted, simply rinse it out with the shower, faucet, and a cup. That's it. Nothing I've tried works better. Nothing.
From what I've read and learned, vinegar is as good at removing germs as just about any special, anti-bacterial cleaner. It can be used for a variety of things (which I plan to mention frequently on this blog in the future) - and one of those uses is cleaning the toilet. It disinfects and cleans the toilet, and, since vinegar is an acid, it's also good for removing lime deposits. And like I said earlier, it's so cheap!
To clean your toilet, pour about a cup or so into the bowl and let it sit for a while. I'll usually pour the vinegar in before I clean the counters and bathtub. That's the key with using vinegar in the toilet - it has to soak for a while. Once it's been in there for a while, proceed with the toilet brush and clean it. Like with the baking soda, it may need a little extra scrubbing, but not much. And it works really well. I've used vinegar for toilet cleaning exclusively for at least a year.
Ditch the blue disc for your toilet tank. Forget the bubbles that scrub for you. With a little extra effort (and for much cheaper) you can get your bathroom sparkling. And then run yourself a nice, hot bath - you've earned it.
Note: If you're interested in yet another use for baking soda and vinegar in the bathroom, check out this article on Simple Mom. I just read it last week - really interesting.