With covid19 continuing to conquer our country, news outlets, and minds, I find that it’s been a little trickier lately to stay away from single use plastics; I’ve had trouble with businesses accepting my reusable coffee cup, I’ve been jumping through extra hoops to continue to safely bulk shop, it’s been hard to shop for food plastic free, and I have definitely taken steps backwards in striving for zero waste. So I’m choosing to focus on progress instead of perfection. One of the things I want to focus on today is a small measure that can still have a big impact for a low-waste, eco-friendly journey, even amidst this strange and limiting time we find ourselves living in: a simple, low-waste way to clean.
Keeping a house clean isn’t always an easy task — it’s simple — but not easy. Whatever season of life we’re in, sometimes we just do not have the motivation or time to buzz around the whole house, dusting Snow White style, happily tidying up and scrubbing away. Something that has helped me immensely though is staying on top of the jobs that I know have a tendency to get bad quickly, and making sure they receive attention more frequently; I think of it as a favor my present self is doing for my future self. Another favor? Ditch those traditional cleaners; they come in plastic spray bottles, are 75%-90% water, and full of harmful toxins that truly aren’t necessary to maintain a tidy home. Stop paying for plastic and water, and try some old school DIY methods that are safer for you, safer for our environment, and safer for your wallet!
Today, let’s call our attention to our bathrooms. Here are some simple, safe, eco-friendly ways to clean the areas in your powder room:
castile Soap, baking soda + vinegar, water + vinegar spray (1:1)
For general upkeep, I’ll swoosh a healthy bit of Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint soap around the bowl, let sit a few minutes, then use a toilet brush to scrub and shine. For heavy duty cleanings, I’ll sprinkle in baking soda, add a good splash of white vinegar, and allow it to sit before scrubbing. I’ll then use with a vinegar spray and cloth to wipe down the top of the tank, the sides of the bowl down to the floor, and then the lid, rim, and seat (in that order).
Counters + sink:
water + vinegar spray (1:1), or water + castile soap (4:1)
I’ll remove soap holders and decor from the countertops, and spray down the surfaces with my vinegar spray before using a cloth to wipe them clean. I then add a few sprays to the inside of the sink and the hardware, then wipe away any soapy build up or water stains. I try to pay extra attention to the tight space behind the sink hardware where it’s hard to reach the creases of where the sink meets the counter and wall.
water + vinegar (1:1), newspaper or microfiber cloth
Moving on to the mirror, I’ll use the same vinegar spray to lightly coat the mirror, then wipe clean with newspaper. This is actually a little hack I learned from my dad when we would wash the car together; newspaper cleans glass well because of the papers high absorbency. It actually soaks up the liquid rather than just pushing it around, so it won’t leave streaks! I used to get so frustrated that the bases we live on would keep sending us newspapers, no matter how many times I requested to opt out… so now instead of immediately throwing them into the bin, they get added to my cleaning bucket and reused. If you prefer to recycle your newspaper, grab a microfiber cloth to wipe down those mirrors instead.
water + castile soap (4:1)
One of the blessings of having smaller bathrooms is that it takes me less than 5 minutes to get on my hands and knees and just wipe down the floors. I like to use castile soap and water, and I’ll just wet a rag or washcloth in the mixture, and get to scrubbing. I actually like this method better than mopping because I’m able to get into the tight places between the back of the toilet and the wall, and into the corners more easily. If you have a larger bathroom, you can use the same method but with a larger towel and do the “towel dance” where you swoosh it around by standing on it and doing the twist (great way to get kids involved in chores also, by the way), or by using a standard mop if that’s easiest for you!
Shower + tub:
water + vinegar (1:1), castile soap + epsom salt, or castile soap + baking soda
Cleaning the shower and tub is admittedly something I probably don’t do as often as I should. This isn’t because I’m lazy (okay, sometimes I’m lazy…) but because we use an organic vegetable oil based soap when washing ourselves, which is much less likely to result in soapy build up than traditional body washes or soaps. We unfortunately have had hard water in most of our homes, so the residue that eventually does build up needs a bit of grit to get cleaned efficiently. When it’s time for a good cleaning, I’m scrubbing and using a coarse mixture. For tub and shower days, I make a mixture of castile soap and epsom salt, then slather it all over. I’ll grab my trusty cloth (usually a thick washcloth) and get to work. After scrubbing, just run the shower to rinse. You could also use baking soda instead of epsom salt. One of my least favorite chores, but a little elbow grease does wonders and I’m always happy with the results!
I hope this post has inspired you to ditch those traditional cleaning products and lean into a toxic free home. If you have a least favorite chore, let me know what it is in the comments! Have some cleaning hacks of your own you’d be willing to share? I’d love to hear those, too! Happy Friday and happy cleaning!