The road to wellness isn't straight, clear, or predictable. It's a path you forge yourself.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Cleaning the bathroom the healthy way

I don't know about you, but conventional cleaning products make me sick.  (Especially mold-killer bathroom sprays.)  I used to always get an insane headache and have to go lie down after cleaning the bathroom.   No more!  I have found a healthy way to do it with natural cleaners.  Yay!

The book "Clean Home Green Home" by Kim Delaney has really helped me.  It tells you how to make your own cleaning products, not just for the bathroom, but for the whole house!  Today, I'll be sharing with you my new bathroom cleaning method that I learned from this book.

Shower, bath, and sink:
1.  Mix some baking soda with some regular dish soap to make a paste.  (Start with about a handful of baking soda, then add a little dish soap at time while stirring.)  Only make as much as you need because it does not store well.  (It just dries up.) Note: the book says to use "castille soap", which is vegetable-based soap, but I haven't been able to find any.  Dish soap is mild so I use that instead.

2.  Using a microfiber cleaning cloth (like the kind you get at Bed, Bath, and Beyond or Target), rub the paste all over the tub, tiles, shower head, faucets, etc.  Use an old toothbrush to get at the hard-to-reach places.  (The baking soda paste will scrub off grime, but is mild enough not to scratch any surfaces.)

3.  Turn on the shower and rinse.  Then, wipe with a another wet microfiber cloth.

4.  In order to shine metal faucets, rub with a dry microfiber cloth.

Note:  I know this sounds like a lot of microfiber cloths, but I only own 3 and I use them every week.  Then, I just chuck 'em in the wash with the towels.  It's better to use washable cloths than endless paper towels.  (...and cheaper in the long run!)

5.  In order to prevent clogs in the drains, boil a kettle-full of water and pour it down the drain.  (Once every 2 weeks or so.)  The boiling water will loosen any fatty soap deposits and help it slide down the drain.  If you already have a clog, don't get drano!  Pour some baking soda and vinegar down the drain.  It will fizz up.  Put a cloth over the drain and let it fizz for 5 minutes or so; then pour the boiling water.  I was amazed at how well this worked!  The best part is that there's no harmful chemicals going down and it won't eat your pipes. 

Natural Mold Killers:
1.  Plain old vinegar.  Just put it in a spray bottle and spray on the area where you want to kill/prevent mold.  It smells a bit funny, but once it dries the smell is totally gone.  Warning:  Do NOT use vinegar on tile grout, marble, or any porous surface!  It will eat into it.

2.  Tea tree oil spray:  Mix 2 cups of water with 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil (available at Whole Foods or most health food stores).  This is safe to use on tile grout and pretty much any surface.  I spray this mixture all over my shower and tub when I'm done cleaning it.  Then, you just leave it there.  It will kill and prevent mold.  Plus - it smells great!

Shower Curtain:
After each use, draw it across the shower rod.  (close it)  This way, it dries out better and mold won't grow as easily.  Once a week, I spray it down with tea tree oil spray. 

 Okay so this is the only area where I cheat and use a conventional cleaner.  Soft Scrub just works really well and I haven't found a natural product to match it.  I figure, using a little of it once a week isn't so bad.  Plus, it doesn't seem to give me headaches like other cleaners do.
If any of you out there have any natural cleaning tips, I'm all ears.  Happy (and healthy) cleaning! 


  1. Update: I found Castile soap on Amazon! Shadow Lake Pure Castile Soap.

  2. FWIW, castile is soap made with olive oil instead of animal fat. You can probably find it locally at health-conscious stores in the cosmetic section.

    Did you find that the vinegar evaporated, leaving no scent? I've not been able to get that result. I've tried a variety of cleaner recipes using vinegar, even adding essential oils to cover the scent or create a new one, and have not been successful. I smell vinegar until I clean *it* away.

    The Saltz Scents Facebook page has some other natural housecleaning solutions, I think. FWIW, fragranced house products are listed as one of the contributors to indoor VOCs, toxins, and a frequent cause of headaches for those of us who are sensitive.

    Make yourself room sprays with other essential oils or blends instead of using Glade, etc. Many essential oils are anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, germicidal, etc. so in proper concentrations, they can be used instead of Lysol to clean surfaces. Geranium, peppermint, eucalyptus and lavender are great environment cleansers as well as popular fragrances for soothing and/or uplifting.

    For myself, I've found Simple Green house-cleaning products to be the most natural, but they're not easy to find. Original Scent Pine Sol doesn't give me a headache, but the lemon-scented one is just awful.

    I recommend dye and perfume-free laundry products. Add a few drops of essential oils to your perfume-free dryer sheets and laundry soap if you want to give them a bit of a boost. I use "Don't Bug Me" and "Uplifting". When I wear the clothes or use the sheets, the scent is below my sensitive olfactory notice, but they still affect my environment. For instance, bugs sense the low level of scent and are more likely to stay away.

  3. Awesome, Kayla! It looks like you are in the know on this topic. I'm just getting started here. I guess we sensitive people have more motivation to look into alternative cleaning methods. :-)