Here's How To Clean Your Bathroom Without Toxins
When you're switching over to natural and nontoxic home-cleaning products, the bedroom and living areas feel like pretty approachable places to start. The kitchen? Sure. The bathroom on the other hand? That's one place where it can feel like more heavy-duty products are necessary just to get the job done.
Melissa Maker, the green-cleaning expert behind the book Clean My Space: The Secret to Cleaning Better, Faster, and Loving Your Home Every Day and cleaning company Clean My Space, is here to prove otherwise. Here, she shares the green cleaning supplies and routines that will make your bathroom shine.
How to clean your bathroom floor.
Bathroom floors are basically magnets for hair and grime, which makes them prime territory for a good vacuuming. "Hair goes everywhere, and if you don't catch it immediately, it can just go somewhere else," she says. But if your bathroom is too small for a clunky vacuum, she recommends what's known as the Cinderella technique:
Get down on hands and knees and use a somewhat damp (if you don't know what that feels like, imagine what it feels like when you sneeze into your hand) microfiber cloth to wipe down one end of the floor to the other, moving down ever so slightly until you get to the end. "Hands and knees is great because it allows you to visually see where the hair is," she says. From there, take a new microfiber cloth (she recommends these because their thin fibers make them super effective at catching dirt), and wipe down the floors one more time using a simple water and white vinegar spray.
How to get rid of grime in the corners of your tub or shower.
No need to reach for bleach here! Instead, Maker recommends reaching for a greener cleaner or using a mixture of equal parts baking soda, dish soap (any kind will do), and 10 to 20 drops of your favorite essential oil if you want a smell-good element. "This is a super-, super-effective cleaner," she raves. "Make a paste and apply it to the surface of your tub. Let it sit for five minutes or so, then take a clean sponge and scrub the area over. By the time the five minutes are up, the soap scum has no chance. Everything comes out nice and clean."
If you're dealing with more stubborn mold or mildew buildup that still won't go away, she points to Concrobium as a safer alternative to most heavy-duty cleaners. It's made without bleach, ammonia, or VOCs.
To keep buildup from happening in the first place, you can wipe down your tub or shower after every use and then quickly spritz a mixture of 2 cups of vinegar and 20 drops of tea tree essential oil for "a little bit of extra insurance," says Maker.
How to tackle the toilet.
If you want to go the DIY route, here's Maker's recipe for a toilet bowl cleaner. Spray the mixture around the inside of the bowl, leave it for a few minutes, scrub with a brush, and flush.
- ¼ cup Castile soap (or dish soap)
- ¼ cup hydrogen peroxide
- 15 drops tea tree oil
- ½ cup baking soda
- ½ cup water
Finish off your cleaning session by opening a window or running the fan to bring some fresh air into the space and keep the humidity down, and you're all set.
Emma Loewe is the Senior Sustainability Editor at mindbodygreen and the author of Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us. She is also the co-author of The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care, which she wrote alongside Lindsay Kellner.
Emma received her B.A. in Environmental Science & Policy with a specialty in environmental communications from Duke University. In addition to penning over 1,000 articles on mbg, her work has appeared on Bloomberg News, Marie Claire, Bustle, and Forbes. She has covered everything from the water crisis in California to the rise of urban beekeeping to a group of doctors prescribing binaural beats for anxiety. She's spoken about the intersection of self-care and sustainability on podcasts and live events alongside environmental thought leaders like Marci Zaroff, Gay Browne, and Summer Rayne Oakes.