Thursday, April 5, 2012

Bathroom Cleaning Day

UGH!  I absolutely hate cleaning bathrooms!  Ummm…that’s why I pay someone to do them for me. *sheepish grin* Don’t judge.  Once upon a time, I was sofa bound.  I don’t say “bed bound” because they couldn’t keep me in bed, but I couldn’t make it past the sofa.  A decade of undiagnosed Lyme disease will do that to you.  But I was going to keep this house clean and organized and I was going to take care of my family on my own IF IT KILLED ME … which it almost did (that’s another story for another day).  Eventually, I gave in (something about not being able to lift my head off the pillow -still on the sofa- or open my eyes enough to chew some food) and we hired help.  Fast forward ten years, I am able to do most household jobs on my own, but I can’t clean bathrooms, yet (I have a doctor’s noteJ).
Today, she ran out of bathroom cleaner and I didn’t have time to run to the store.  My neighbors would have been happy to share, but I insist that all our cleaning products be natural.  One whiff of a cleaning agent and I get a headache for the rest of the day.  The same happens with perfumes and colognes.  I think that may be part of the reason why I don’t like big formal gatherings.  Ten minutes into a wedding reception and my head is ready to explode. 

Anyway… we ran out of bathroom cleaner and decided to make our own.  Of course, we could only use things that we already had at home since, as we already established, I didn’t have time to run to the store.  I did have time to go online and on Pinterest, however.  I found a lot of ideas; most involved vinegar and I have a big bottle because I use it for a lot of stuff at the barn.  I tried different combinations and this is what we decided to stick with:

All-Purpose Bathroom Cleaner
½ cup hot vinegar
1 tablespoon corn starch
2 tablespoons dishwashing liquid
Plastic spray bottle (we always seem to have new ones around the house)

Heat the vinegar in the microwave.  Pour into the spray bottle.  Add the corn starch and the dishwashing liquid.  Put the top back on the spray bottle and swirl until the ingredients fully mix.  (Shaking will probably create a lot of bubbles...so I didn't.)

There was a lot of discussion online about which dishwashing liquid works best.  On our first batch, we used the green Dawn, on the second batch we used the green Palmolive, and on the third batch we used an orange store brand … no difference, from what we could tell.  The vinegar is the real cleaning ingredient in this mix.  The dishwashing liquid is mainly so the vinegar has some stick-to-it-ness and clings onto the surface being cleaned.  By using corn starch, another thickening agent, we were able to get away with only using a small amount of dishwashing liquid.  Not only is the corn starch less expensive, but I was afraid that if I used too much dishwashing liquid, it would take forever to rinse off the cleaner.  Each batch was enough to clean an entire bathroom.  I suppose we could just triple the recipe, but I suspect that the “hot” vinegar is an important ingredient so we heated up the vinegar and made a new batch for each bathroom. 

To use, spray the surfaces to be cleaned.  Let sit for 15-20 minutes; scrub with a sponge if needed and rinse well with cold water and a cloth. 

While the bathrooms were being cleaned, the house smelled “vinegary”, but that’s WAY better than “Cloroxy”!  Big Sis wanted to know why the house smelled like salad.  Brother was concerned about the “toxic smell” in the house.  I really need to insist that he eats more salads, if not for nutritional reasons, at least so he can recognize the difference between a dangerous chemical and vinaigrette.  Goo has her nose in a book and is probably completely oblivious to what’s going on outside her room, so no comment from her (this time).

Since this worked so well, we've decided to continue to use it and not buy any bathroom cleaner at the store.  Periodically, we get some blue stains when the water is getting hard (we're on well water).  Those blue stains are tough to clean.  I haven't found a natural cleaner that will do the job, but now I'm inspired to make my own.  I'm thinking Borax, washing soda, vinegar ...
Oh, if my chemistry teacher could see me now! 

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