Make your own eco-friendly shower tub and tile spray
Save money and the environment with this super-easy, eco-friendly bathroom spray
If you found this page, you are probably looking for a more green way to keep your shower curtain, tub and bathroom tile sparkling clean. Well, I can tell you, I found one, and it's amazingly simple. In fact all you need is a spray bottle and equal parts white vinegar and water.
I did not figure this out on my own. Years ago, somewhere along the way, I read about it in a book, or saw it on a public television show. I'm not sure where I found the formula. I've been using it for a long time now.
Replaces the multi-chemical commercial sprays I used to buy
Mind you, I'm not one of those women who spends hours every day doing housework. I like the tools and cleaners that require little or no elbow grease and that keep my hands out of buckets. Before I found this formula, I employed those shower sprays that keep hard water deposits and soap scum from building up on tile and shower curtains.
As my green consciousness grew, however, I could not continue buying one-use containers filled with toxic chemicals. My cleaning agents of choice today are baking soda and vinegar. They are amazingly effective and versatile. So it's almost a no-brainer that a dilute solution of vinegar would be enough to keep mildew and soap scum at bay in the shower and tub
This spray does not erase the need for periodic cleaning and scrubbing, especially here in San Francisco where mold seems to be as endemic as the ants in these ancient, musty buildings. But it does mean I need scrub only once a month or so, and with far less effort than I would without the spray.
Here, with photographs, a quick how-to for making your own shower curtain, tub and tile spray, beginning with the materials you will need.
What are your primary reasons for using environmentally-friendly cleaning agents?
What kind of vinegar you use matters - Plant derived, or petroleum product?
I use organic white vinegar because it is made from plants and not from petroleum distillates. It's that simple. The fewer fossil fuels my choices involve, the better, and even a little decision like this makes a difference, over time.
Surprised to learn that vinegar is sometimes made from petroleum? I was too. Shocked, I might add. Several articles discuss the subject, but the one I like best at the moment is this one, on the blog Tiny Choices: Is vinegar made from petroleum?
I trust the Spectrum brand--so far, and their bottles are made of glass, so are especially good for those of us trying to eliminate one-use plastic containers from our lives. As a greenie, I do have mixed feelings about this because I go through a lot of vinegar and Spectrum does not offer gallon sizes.
It's important to label your bottle
Especially if more than one person is likely to use your shower, it's important to label the bottle so everyone knows this bottle has vinegar in it.
Vinegar is a mild acid and, if mixed with chlorine bleach produces a deadly, odorless gas. Always label your home cleaners so there is no mistake what is in them.
You probably have everything you need in your cupboards right now
In addition to the vinegar, you will need the following tools and supplies, all of which you probably have in your cupboard.
- A clean, reusable plastic spray bottle; re-purposed bottles are fine, but be sure whatever chemicals were in them previously are completely washed away; some chemicals react dangerously when mixed with vinegar.
- A peel and stick label so you can label your bottle
- A Sharpie permanent marker to mark the label
- Heavy duty, clear plastic packing tape to seal the label
- A funnel that fits the opening of your bottle
- A one-cup or more measuring cup
Eco-friendly shower, tub and tile spray - Keeps soap scum and mildew at bay
This spray is so easy to make and so inexpensive that it will take you longer to read this page than ever it could possibly take to measure out the two ingredients and fill the bottle.
For safety purposes, I put a homemade label on my spray bottle so guests and my sweetheart don't mistake it for something else, and also to remind them never to mix this solution with bleach.
As you may know, chlorine bleach and vinegar can combine to make a deadly, odorless gas. Whenever I make a cleaning solution involving vinegar, whether it's dish soap for the kitchen, homemade window cleaner, or this spray cleaner, I label the bottle so everyone who picks it up knows not to use it with bleach.
Time required: 5-10 minutes, including making the label
- Repurposed plastic spray bottle (or new if you want one that matches your bathroom décor)
- Large removable label
- Clear packing tape
- Organic white vinegar
- Indelible ink pen
- Liquid measuring cup
- Funnel that fits bottle opening
1. Print or hand-write a label as shown in the photograph. Include the name you want to give your homemade product. I call mine "Shower Tub and Tile Cleaner."
Include the recipe on the bottle for other household members who may need to refill it when you're not around. My spray bottle holds two cups liquid, so I fill it with one cup each vinegar and water, and I mark that on the label. Adjust for the quantity your bottle holds.
Also, be sure to include the warning not to mix with bleach. This is an important safety issue.
2. Smooth the label onto your bottle and completely cover it with clear packing tape, making sure the edges are well sealed. This will keep it looking nice a long time.
3. Measure equal quantities water and vinegar, enough to fill, and pour through a funnel into the spray bottle. That's it!
4. Spray the dilute solution on your shower curtain liner, tub and tile after every shower.
5. Follow with a squeegee to remove excess moisture, and dry your chrome fixtures with a towel.
This eco-friendly shower curtain drapes beautifully like cloth, repels water like plastic and is made of non-toxic material
Don't forget to spray your shower curtain liner
Spray your shower curtain liner too, especially along the bottom. In the past, to prevent mildew build-up, I had to wash my shower curtain liner every two or three months.
Once I started using this spray, that frequency dropped to once or twice a year, or more accurately, about every eight or nine months.
The shower curtain liner in my bathroom is the same as the one you see here. I've had it for several years. We spray it with this solution every time we shower, and it still looks nearly new. I buy this one because it is made of eco-friendly, non-toxic PEVA and does not off-gas like vinyl liners do.
After you spray, give your shower a quick rub-down with a good squeegee to keep it squeaky clean
Couple your spray with a good shower squeegee - To give your shower that just cleaned sparkle
After I spray my shower curtain, tub and tile with my diluted vinegar solution, I use a squeegee similar to this to remove excess moisture from the tile. I also wipe down the chrome fixtures with a towel to keep them shining like new.
Because vinegar is an acid, I would not omit these steps, just in case over time it might have an effect on the grout or chrome. I've been using it for years with these added steps, and my shower fixtures and grout are still as good as they were when we moved in to this apartment several years ago. See the photographs below.
Living in moldy San Francisco isn't always easy - But our tile and grout aren't badClick thumbnail to view full-size
Thank you for checking out this greener-living tip. I'd love to hear some of yours, if you'd care to share.
© 2014 Kathryn Grace