Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Eco-friendly Bathroom Cleaning

This post was originally published on Serendipity Child on Sunday 17th March 2013

Let me just make things clear from the start because some people do get confused, I don't like cleaning, what I like is things being clean, there is a difference, and this is key to what follows.
Before I have a bath, I always give it a clean, I don't like that soapy scummy thing than stays on the bath after it's been used to shower in, so why would I let my lovely baby wash in a bath with scummy sides if I am not willing to? With that in mind I wash the bath before he uses it.  To maintain a bed time routine we wash him every night so, therefore, I wash the bath every night.  I realise this may sound excessive but it has actually made life a little bit easier easier and happier, so that can't be a bad thing.

The process of cleaning itself has also received a transformation of late, in the past I used ecover cleaners, or when that ran out I used whatever shampoo or shower gel we had lying around not being used.  But I was never really happy with how clean it was, there were still water marks and lumps of limescale here and there.  I started to use vinegar and bicarbonate of soda to clean the bathroom initially because I had run out of anything else and this was a last resort, (I had read about it somewhere)  to my happy amazement the more I used it, the cleaner the bathroom got, it is so much shiner than it ever has been.  I realise this may sound like a really dull thing to share, and I am not telling you to say "look how wonderful and eco-friendly I am" (clearly not that eco-friendly or I would have been doing this all along) or "aren't I amazing, I clean the bathroom everyday"  but we use the bathroom a lot and it being clean and tidy makes me happy, and knowing I am harming the environment and my health less also makes me happy so it might make you happy too (sharing the love).

Bicarbonate of soda and vinegar are far safer for the environment than the medley of chemicals that most bathroom cleaners contain which contaminate the waterways and use of valuable fossil fuels to extract, not to mention the risk of skin irritation and potential lung damage from toxic fumes and perfumes.  There is also less waste afterwards because I am buying less packaging so throwing less away, and it is waaaay better for the purse as well because bicarbonate of soda and vinegar are super cheap.
Here is what happens:
I go up to the bathroom at Boris' bedtime and hose down the bath and walls,  I then spray round the bath and walls with a solution of distilled malt vinegar and water (about half vinegar to water) then I sprinkle bicarbonate of soda on a loofah.  I then scrub round the bath and walls of the shower and the tap and shower fixings.  I do the same on the basin and spray the bowl of the toilet.  I then hose down the bath and walls and rinse round the basin with a cotton cloth. I sprinkle some bicarbonate of soda into the toilet bowl and scrub round with the loo brush, I then wipe over the whole of the toilet with a wet cotton cloth, then again with a dry cotton cloth (top to bottom with the bowl the last thing). I then run the bath and while the bath is running I do one of the following each day - spray the window and window sill with the vinegar solution and wipe with a cotton cloth, do the same on the mirror and shelf above the basin, spray and wipe the shelf behind the toilet, clean the walls, wipe the floor.

This whole process takes no more than about 7 minutes and means that every time I or a guest go in the bathroom I know it is going to be clean. Gone are the days when I would spend over an hour once a week cleaning the bathroom, an experience I used to dread, because it is cleaned so frequently the dirt doesn't get a chance to accumulate so it wipes away much more easily that is it has been festering for a week.  Quite often my husband will do the cleaning instead of me so that's even less work.  He was worried that the bathroom would end up smelling like a chip shop but the smell goes within a couple of minutes.

I get a big tub of bicarbonate of soda and a big bottle of vinegar from Makro because it's really cheap.  I think the bicarb was about £1.99 (1.15 kg) and the vinegar about £2.99 (5 litres).  I could get organic vinegar and bicarb from the True Food co-op if I was going to be really ethical, but it is more expensive and cost is more of a priority for our family at the moment.  I use a loofah to scrub with because I don't like the thought of the small pieces of plastic breaking off a conventional sponge and entering the waterways and I use cotton cloths that I cut from an old, thinning towel and hemmed.
I really hope I have encouraged you to have a go at using bicarbonate of soda and vinegar to clean your bathroom because it is far better than any conventional cleaners I have tried.
Let me know how you get on.


  1. This sounds like a great idea! My 23 year old son just began washing his hair with baking soda first, then rinsing with a vinegar/water ratio one part vinegar to 3 parts water for the rinse. He said his hair fells so good and no harsh chemicals or additives either.
    I am Scots-Irish and English, but native born Californian.
    Teresa in California
    Have a grand day!

    1. I tried washing my hair with baking soda and vinegar, not sure if I didn't persevere for long enough or what but I got an amazingly itchy scalp from it, I think it just dried my skin out too much. I use Faith in nature Shampoo and conditioner now.