The Safest Ways to Clean Your Most-Used Bathroom Surfaces
Do away with potentially harmful chemicals while getting your bathroom sparkling clean.
Many cleaning products are loaded with chemicals, and while they might facilitate a speedy and disinfecting clean, they're not always all they're chalked up to be. Consider revamping your collection of cleaning supplies with more natural products, which allow for a greener kind of clean. Our experts discuss how to clean your bathroom surfaces using natural products, which are safe for everyone in your home.
One powerhouse ingredient that's present in many cleaning products—not to mention plenty of DIY cleaning solutions—is baking soda. Far more than just a leavening agent in baking, the grainy solution absorbs odors and can help scrub a surface clean. "Many of the recommended natural cleaning remedies involve the same variation of ingredients, in a variety of different combinations," says Lauren Bowen, director of franchise operations at Two Maids & A Mop. "The following ingredients are some of the key cleaning natural cleaning agents: white vinegar, baking soda, lemons, cider vinegar, essential oils, and table salt. Any all-natural dish soap is also recommended, as it is a quick and ready-made solution for many messes. Having all of these on hand will ensure that you can whip up any all-natural DIY cleaning solution quickly."
Just because you're using natural cleaning solutions doesn't mean you need to give your bathroom a good scrub any more or less than you would with chemical-filled products. "You should be cleaning the bathroom at least once a week when using natural cleaners," says Bowen. "Because these cleaners are not toxic or harmful, cleaning with them often will not run the risk of breaking down any surfaces with chemical components. Given the frequent use of most bathrooms, once a week is a good rule of thumb for cleaning with natural products."
"The best natural cleaning method for the countertops and sink would be a homemade spray mixture made of two cups of baking soda, ½ cup all-natural dish soap, one cup water, and ½ cup vinegar," says Bowen. "This combination will cut up soap residue, toothpaste, and other grime that the sink and countertops are likely to have. Spray each surface with this solution and then wipe dry."
Wiping Down Shelves and Cabinets
The same solution used to clean your countertops can be used to clean medicine cabinet shelves, too. "This solution will also work to clean medicine cabinet shelves, as it won't leave streaks if it is properly wiped away," Bowen says.
Scrub Tile Floors
Cleaning your floors is important, too. "To naturally clean tile floors, mix ½ cup of baking soda with a bucket of warm water. Using this mixture, mop as you normally would," says Bowen. "Add some lemon juice or essential oils to the mixture if you'd like a nice scent. Finally, wipe the floors dry with a towel."
Wash Tubs and Showers
The shower and tub can be cleaned with vinegar, says Bowen. "The mild acidity of the vinegar will remove mold and mildew build up. Just spray the shower and tub with some vinegar, let it dry, spray one more time, and then wipe it clean," she says.
Soap scum can build up on so many bathroom surfaces, and learning how to remove it naturally is key to a sparkling bathroom. "Soap scum builds up easily and normally requires consistent scrubbing to remove, but you can actually eliminate the scum with a piece of fruit you might already have at home," says Bowen. "Take half a grapefruit and pour a layer of salt over the top. Then rub the grapefruit on the affected areas and you'll see the soap scum start to lift. The grapefruit's citric acid and the coarseness of the salt work together to power through stubborn scum."
Be Mindful of Solution Ingredients
The most common active ingredients in bathroom cleaners are quaternary amonium (quats) and bleach, according to CleanWell CEO Stew Lawrence. "These ingredients may cause skin, eye, and respiratory irritation and they typically require proper ventilation because of the fumes they produce. Cleaners and disinfectants with these ingredients must be used with caution and the directions for the proper personal protective equipment should be strictly followed."
Don't Underestimate the Tools
"Sometimes a gentle scrub brush (or even a toothbrush) can be quite useful to remove soap build up or get to hard to reach places," says Katie Jennings, manager of consumer technical insights at Seventh Generation. "For some surfaces (like natural stones) it is a good idea to test new products in an inconspicuous spot first to make sure the cleaner doesn’t damage the surface."