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Green Home, Healthy Home: Cleaning the Bathroom

February 19, 2011

Unfortunately, the bathrooms are not going to clean themselves so I took a break from enjoying the unseasonably warm and sunny weather to get the job done. As I organized my supplies, I felt relieved that I was not about to poison the air in my home, and expose my family to numerous chemicals that are hazardous to our health, and toxic to the environment.

You may have your own green cleaning routines, but I’d like to share my methods with those of you who are new to this, or may be looking to simplify the process. It doesn’t get much simpler, greener, or less expensive than this!

Here is a list of what you will need:

1. Distilled White Vinegar

2. Castile Soap – I use Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps (and sometimes Kiss My Face Peace Soaps)

3. Baking Soda

4. Seventh Generation Disinfecting Wipes (or a spray bottle w/ hydrogen peroxide)

5. Tea Tree or other essential oil (optional, and not pictured)

6. Rubber Gloves

7. Scrub Brush

8. 3-5 wash cloths (for each bathroom)

9. Toilet bowl brush (not pictured)

**A few notes before I get started. I keep a scrub brush & toilet brush in each bathroom so that I don’t have to carry them from bathroom to bathroom. The rubber gloves will keep the baking soda from drying out your hands.

Now let’s get started:

1. Go to each toilet in your house and pour vinegar into the bowl. Follow with enough baking soda that the toilet begins to foam when mixed with the vinegar.  Then sprinkle a light layer of baking soda in each tub as well.

2. Wet a wash cloth with hot water, and pour a small amount of vinegar on as well. Wipe down the mirrors. I do this first because I’m not in love with the smell of vinegar. Cleaning afterwards with great smelling castile soaps quickly cover up the smell of vinegar.

3. Wet a wash cloth with hot water, squirt a bit of castile soap directly on it. Rub the cloth together to get a lather going.

4. Start wiping down the top, back, lid, and around the sides/base of the toilet bowl. These should be the least dirty areas. Rinse & wipe a few more times to remove most of the soap from the surface. Add a bit more soap and then wipe down the area behind the toilet lid – it’s often a bit yucky. Rinse again and wipe the soap off. Discard wash cloth.

5. Wet & soap a new cloth; wipe the top of the toilet seat, rinse cloth and wipe again. The toilet seat is now clean, and you can move on to the dirty work. Soap the cloth again and wipe down the underside of the seat and the rim of the bowl.  Discard wash cloth.

6. Using the toilet brush – scrub the bowl. The vinegar/baking soda solution in the toilet is all you need, but feel free to flush the toilet & then scrub again using some castile soap in the bowl. It smells better.

7. Now for the tub: Wet the scrub brush with hot water and squirt castile soap directly on it. Using the baking soda you sprinkled in the tub as a mild abrasive, start scrubbing the tub in a circular motion. Keep this up until the entire surface of the tub has been cleaned. You may run a bit of hot water if necessary to create more lather.

8. Wet a wash cloth and squirt a bit of castile soap on it. Wipe down the shower walls, any shelving and the fixtures. Rinse & wipe a few times to remove soap from walls and fixtures. Discard cloth.

9. Turn on shower, and allow it to run for a minute, swiveling the head to rinse all of the soap/baking soda out of the tub.

10. Cleaning the sink: Do this just as you did the tub. Sprinkle some baking soda over the entire surface of the sink. Wet & soap a cloth, and wipe everything down. Rinse and repeat until the soap has been rinsed off.

11. Take out the trash.

12. Voila`, your bathroom is clean!!

**When someone has been sick, I disinfect by wiping down the toilet flush handles, sink & shower faucets, door knobs and light switches with a Seventh Generation disinfecting wipe, or a spritz of hydrogen peroxide.

**For a longer lasting fresh scent, squeeze a few drops of tea tree oil (or other essential oil of your choosing) into the bottom of your trash can, and even a drop or two into the toilet.

If you haven’t already done so, please take a look at the cleaning products you use around your home. If you see the words: hazardous, danger, or caution, take a moment to read the ingredients (if actually listed) on the bottle. If you recognize any of them from the list above, and/or cannot pronounce an, you shouldn’t be using them. Using a few simple and inexpensive ingredients, you can effectively clean your home!

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