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Clean Your Bathroom Without Chlorine - Send Bugs, Grime and Lime Packing!

Updated on June 17, 2009

If you think that the only way to get your toilet clean and bacteria free is to pour on the chlorine and stand back - I have news for you! Some of the best cleaners for your bathroom - including your toilet - are already in your home. In fact, they may be on the shelves in your kitchen.

There are many quick, easy and inexpensive ways to clean up virtually any surface in your home, without the use of harmful commercial chemicals. So, there's no longer any reason not to love your home and love the earth.

Here's more good news: if you use these cleaners, you will save a lot of money! Instead of high-priced commercial products, you'll be using your own home-made versions at less than a quarter of the cost (in most cases) - all without leaving a mark on the earth.

Everyone recognizes the Heinz vinegar bottle - but any brand of 5 per cent vinegar will handle most cleaning jobs.
Everyone recognizes the Heinz vinegar bottle - but any brand of 5 per cent vinegar will handle most cleaning jobs.

Vinegar Cleans Almost Anything

Simple household vinegar might be one of the best cleaners already on your shelves. It can be used for a host of cleaning jobs. Not only does it clean; according to Heinz company information, the same vinegar that you can buy at the store as a condiment actually kills 99 percent of bacteria, 82 percent of mold, and 80 percent of viruses. That's pretty good for something that the British eat on french fries!

Everyone has a bathroom mirror - and if yours is like mine, it's constantly covered in grime, toothpaste residue and finger marks from kids who like to draw on a foggy surface. Why not use a bit of home-made window cleaner to have that mirror sparkling again?

Window Cleaner Recipe

  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon liquid detergent
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • Spray bottle

You can use this exactly as you would a store-bought product.

While you can use straight vinegar and water to clean any glass surface, you might find that you aren't getting those windows as clean as you'd like. It's because some store-bough products have residues, such as waxes, that are left on the glass surface to help prevent fogging. The small amount of liquid soap in this recipe will help to remove that.

For most surfaces, using vinegar straight from the bottle will work wonders. It deodorizes very effectively and the smell of vinegar will be gone in just a few hours. Do pay attention to the type of surface that you clean with vinegar - as a mild acid, it can damage or bleach color out of soft surfaces.

Don't like the smell of vinegar? You can simply rinse down your surfaces with the fragrance of your choice! Just add 4 drops of your favorite essential oil to a pint of water, and use this with a microfiber cloth after cleaning. However, let your vinegar cleaner dry on the surface first, if you want to ensure the antibacterial action.

Full strength vinegar will often remove mineral scale from your shower head. Soak it overnight in a bowl full of vinegar, sufficient to cover the shower head. In the morning, the limescale will often be gone.

Baking Soda Does More Than Freshen

Baking soda is another great everyday item that will solve a host of bathroom cleaning problems, from a dirty oven to your bathroom shower stall. Baking soda's unique cleaning power is the ability to cut greasy or scummy residue. As a result, it's great in the kitchen - but will also work in the bathroom, for that dreaded soap scum on your shower or tub.

A real plus fro baking soda is that it's also completely safe for you to use! In fact, baking soda is so mild to the people and pets in your home that you could even use it in a baby's bath to clean and soothe skin.

Here's a great recipe that will help you to wean yourself from other commercial tub and shower cleaners.

Creamy Scrub

  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • enough water to moisten (without dissolving the baking soda)
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable glycerin

You can make this cleaner in large batches, and then store in a jar. Simply apply to bathroom tile, shower or tub and use as you would any scrub. It's non abrasive and safe for most hard surfaces.

Tackling the Toilet

Cleaning a toilet is one of the worst jobs - and yet, it's also the one housekeeping chore that people really want done right. While the kitchen sink (particularly the drain) generally has more microbes than any other location in your home, it's still the toilet that we think of first when we think of germs.

This fear of germs can drive many otherwise "green" consumers to purchase all sorts of nasty chemicals for the toilet. However, here's a fast and simple toilet cleaner that will not only kill germs but also handle stains and limescale.

Monique's Favorite Toilet Cleaner

  • 1 cup of citric acid (as a dry powder)
  • 1 cup of baking soda

If you aren't familiar with citric acid, it's a mild acid that is found in fruits and vegetables. Citrus fruits get their name from this compound; fruit like lemons and limes are the best natural source of it. Citric acid is also a natural water softener. You can often find it at a bulk food store - or a drug store. Of course, many online retailers will carry it - and you can buy in bulk, which saves packaging and money!

Keep your ingredients for this cleaner in separate containers until you are ready to get to work. Then put about 3-4 tablespoons of each in the toilet. Once you put the second ingredient in, the combination will start to foam.

You might even think that it's going to overflow - but that should not happen unless you use too much each ingredient! If it does foam too much, use your toilet brush to keep the water in the toilet moving as this will also keep the foam from coming over the lip of the toilet.

Let this mixture bubble for a bit. You can start to scrub while it's bubbling, if you like! Once it settles down completely, your toilet should need a minimum of scrubbing (because the mixture will have removed a lot of the dirt without muscle). It should also be free of bacteria and germs.

This is a very safe and effective cleaner that you could even use to soften your skin! The difference between what you do in a bath and what you do to clean is all about the amount of the solution that you use. You can make lovely scented bath balm for your next tub with the same combination of citric acid and baking soda - the same amounts in a whole bath - with the addition of a couple drops essential oil of your choice. For a relaxing evening bath, try a few drops of lavender.


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    • MoniqueAttinger profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Georgetown, ON

      I think it would work for this kind of bathroom enclosure - but I'd check with the manufacturer as to whether the doors can handle the specific ingredients in the cleaning formula!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Hi! I really don't like to use chlorine bleach when cleaning my bathroom since it s very harmful to our health. I contains very acidic formula that may cause us to be sick. I do cleaning process very carefully whenever I used it for very hard stains and dirt on the tiles, and showers. By the way, is this product can also clean bathroom shower enclosures espcially the glass panels just like this picture?

      Thanks! I hope you will help me out with this one ;)

    • MoniqueAttinger profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Georgetown, ON

      Thanks, Edward! Much appreciated... ;-)

    • Edward Dickinson profile image

      Edward Dickinson 

      8 years ago from Dallas

      Great "green" tips. Rated up and marked useful.

    • Domela profile image


      9 years ago from Maryland

      If you want to spend less time & effort cleaning the bathroom, teach/persuade/badger/cajole/bribe/do whatever you have to your husband and sons to pee sitting down. Not only does it eliminate the need for frequent cleaning because the commode is not getting hosed down every time they go to the bathroom, it's supposedly also helps prevent prostate cancer!


    • MoniqueAttinger profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Georgetown, ON

      Tess - some really good points here. If you are trying to save money, why spend on costly chemicals when you can clean just as well with regular white vinegar? I'm with you all the way! ;-)

    • profile image

      Tess Rousseau 

      9 years ago

      I've recently started using vinegar for almost all of my cleaning chores.  It really does work, is enviromentally friendly and much cheaper than the special cleaner that i was advised to use on my tile floors.  Special cleaner is made by Armstrong and has a 'skull and cross bones' as a danger warning on it and cost $22.99 per half a gallon.  Vinegar costs under $2.00 for 4Litres and doesn't post a Danger sign on it. You make the choice.

    • C.S.Alexis profile image


      9 years ago from NW Indiana

      I use vinegar by the gallons for many cleaning projects, great hub.

    • MoniqueAttinger profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Georgetown, ON

      RGraf - are these tips cheaper? Absolutely! I haven't bought toilet bowl cleaner, glass cleaner or any other sort of cleaner since I started using the recipes I share here. You don't need a lot of any of these ingredients - and all can be bought for less per package than any cleaner that I know of. (Keep in mind that you are using small amounts of each for any and all cleaning jobs...)

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 

      9 years ago from Wisconsin

      These are very good tips. I'll have to try them. In the end, are they any cheaper?

    • MoniqueAttinger profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Georgetown, ON

      LondonGirl - vitamin C is ascorbic acid. So citric acid is a different food-based acid... It's just another great ingredient you can add to your natural cleaning arsenal!

    • LondonGirl profile image


      9 years ago from London

      Citric Acid is vitamin C, isn't it?We use a lot of vinegar and Bicarbonate of Soda for cleaning - they are great, as you say, and minimise the whole family's exposure to chemicals.

    • MoniqueAttinger profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Georgetown, ON

      Rochelle - I'll have to check for you on vinegar and septic systems. You definitely don't want to kill your good bacteria that support your home's "digestive system"! ;-)

      fortunerep - anywhere you can use Clorox, you could definitely use the homemade vinegar spray. Clorox is much more dangerous to your surfaces (and more likely to bleach or damage) than vinegar! I actually read that for a really good cleaning of your kitchen cutting board (which can be a bacteria haven), you simply pour on pure 5 per cent distilled vinegar (that you buy at the grocery store) and wipe it all over the surface. Then, leave it damp with the vinegar overnight. The board will be completely bacteria and odor free in the morning, and the smell of vinegar will have disappeared overnight.

    • fortunerep profile image


      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Great ideas! Will def. use in the future. Could you use a spray mixture in the place of Clorox Anywhere?

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 

      9 years ago from California Gold Country

      Since we live in the country and have a septic system rather than city sewer lines, I cannot use chlorine, since it kills the essential digestive bacteria in the system. I'm wondering if vinegar is OK.

    • MoniqueAttinger profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Georgetown, ON

      Jmell - vinegar is just about the best thing for a whole host of cleaning challenges! I can do everything in my home with vinegar; baking soda; citric acid; and a bit of liquid soap.

      I even have a recipe for my own laundry detergent! ;-)

      I'll keep sharing those cleaning tips and eco-friendly ideas!

    • Jmell profile image


      9 years ago from El Paso, Texas, USA

      I'm right behind you Tess! I already have the vinegar and use it for my coffee maker about once a month to keep it operating smoothly.

    • profile image

      Tess Rousseau 

      9 years ago

      I'm really enjoying these hubs... Good work! I guess my next "green" purchase will be some citric acid.


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