Monday, May 30, 2011

Twice the Shine in Half the Time

Here's a confession. When I was growing up, I loved to clean my bathroom. It probably helped that it was my own bathroom so I didn't have to clean someone else's mess, but there were often times when I would volunteer to clean my mom's bathroom, too. The thing I loved? That the cleanliness was so evident by all the shiny porcelain and chrome. The bathroom more than any other room sang of my cleaning gusto. I grew up in a culture of instant gratification and, for me, bathroom cleaning was it. I remember my mom on several occasions telling her friends that I was the best bathroom cleaner that she knew. I even used a toothbrush to clean around the faucets. I'm afraid my mom might have been ashamed of me until my most recent discovery.

My husband on the other hand probably has a very different view of me and my bathroom cleaning skills. In fact, when we decided to split up our house cleaning duties by floors (he upstairs with the bathroom and me downstairs with the kitchen), I was more than thrilled. See, when we moved into our fixer-upper, our bathroom was pretty nasty. There was a giant concrete river through the floor where someone had decided that was an easier solution than replacing the tiles after a pipe leak had caused them to rip up some of the floor. And our sink was that old fake marble and it would never shine. No, bathroom cleaning was not a pleasure. Then we updated our bathroom and refinished an old claw-foot tub. But the new coating on it seemed to collect soap scum and "dea"(the Korean word for skin slough), as we call it in our house, and it took more than a decent amount of elbow grease to get it anywhere near clean. I was glad to be relieved of the job.

No shining this old thing, bleh!

Slowly though, things started to change. My husband has a real gift for Swiffering and he started doing the downstairs floors which I wasn't going to complain about. But then it came up that maybe I could clean the bathroom from time to time. Oh, and there was the mildewy shower curtain that I had promised to try to clean. After a few weeks of procrastination and then a few weeks of a cold, I realized I couldn't put it off anymore. In an attempt to find a way to clean off that stubborn mildew I came across this website, 1001 Uses for White Distilled Vinegar.

Best friends a bathroom cleaner could have.

While the vinegar did a decent job on the shower curtain, I can't rave about the results. It was still a bit mildew stained, but really, it was a lot better. But what I've come to tell you today is that my love for bathroom cleaning has returned. My husband doesn't even have to ask.  Perhaps this is a trick that our grandmas knew a long time ago, but now-a-days the scent of most bathroom cleaners sends me over the edge. Toxic, nose-burning, headache causing, totally not necessary. Three simple ingredients are all you need and I bet you might have them in your pantry; distilled white vinegar, table salt, and baking soda. These will clean up a porcelain tub, sink, and toilet in a jiffy with little to no elbow grease and will make them shine like new. I just bring a little bowl of each with me as I clean.

For bathtub and sink:
Wipe down with a vinegar soaked paper towel or soft cloth. Now put some baking soda on a sponge and wipe it on. It will fizz a bit as it reacts with the vinegar. I really don't scrub much at all, just make sure you get it all over. Now rinse. To bring it to a shine, dry it with a soft towel.

For chrome fixtures:
Mix a bit of salt and vinegar. Rub over fixtures. Rinse and dry.

For toilet:
Wipe toilet with vinegar. Pour 1 cup vinegar in the bowl and let it sit a few minutes. Then put in about 1/2 tablespoon of baking soda (I usually just dump what's left in in my bowl after cleaning the sink and tub) and let it fizz. Brush it with your toilet brush and flush. So simple!

I really think that you will be surprised at how easily and effectively these everyday ingredients tackle soap scrum, tub rings, and germs. I'm sure I won't be buying anymore chemically bathroom cleaners if I have anything to say about it.

Let me know if any of you try this out or if you have any other vinegar tips!


  1. Finally a use for Morton's salt! I am going to try this tonight in the kitchen as it is my turn to clean it. I use vinegar and warm water to do my tile floor, and when the tub and shower just needs to be cleaned but not scrubbed. Great tips!

  2. A vinegar rinse is good for your hair, too!

    When we moved here I bought cloth shower curtain liners. I love them. They are so easy to wash, thrown in with some towels. Plus they don't collect mildew as easily.

    I've tried using a vinegar solution on hard water deposits on my sink, but it didn't work, i want to try a different type of formula. I use all greenworks or seventh generation stuff in my bathroom because I hear you, I HATE that smell! And getting it cleanly scrubbed gets rid of the germs... I hate that yucky feeling of all those chemicals sitting on the surfaces killing the germs. Yuck.