Cleaning Bathroom Naturally: Bathrooms have a host of cleaning issues: soap scum, hair spray, moisture, hard water, limescale, and more. Learn how to clean the toughest messes—even rust, mold, and mildew—without dangerous chemicals!
SCOURING AND POLISHING
Make a difficult-to-clean showerhead sparkle with almost no effort. Fill a plastic food bag with white vinegar and a few drops of lemon essential oil, and secure the bag on your showerhead with a rubber band or elastic hair tie. The next morning, remove the bag, and wipe your showerhead clean. This method also works great on faucets.
Work from the cleanest area to the dirtiest to save on cleaning rags. Organize your bathroom cleaning schedule so that you start cleaning the “cleanest” area and end with the “dirtiest” (i.e., the toilet). If you clean your toilet first, you’ll need to use a new paper towel or cloth to clean your tub or sink, but if you start with the cleanest area, you may be able to use just one cloth.
Buff chrome with toothpaste. Put a dab of plain white toothpaste on a cloth, and use it to make chrome fixtures clean and shiny.
Wash your plastic shower curtain liner with your bath towels. Pop your shower curtain liner in the washer, and let the machine do all the work. Add your laundry soap and 1 cup of baking soda, then add a few towels to help scrub away soap scum and mildew and keep the curtain from ripping. Once the wash cycle ends, immediately remove the liner and hang it back up in the shower to dry.
Deep clean your exhaust fan by taking it apart. Sometimes your exhaust fan will get so greasy and grimy that you’ll need to take it apart and give it a deep cleaning. Gently pull the fan cover to remove it from the base. If the cover is really filthy, drop it in a bucket filled with hot water and dish soap, and let it soak while you clean the rest of the fan. Unplug the fan to prevent electric shock, then remove any screws holding the fan and motor in place. Carefully remove the fan and the motor. Wipe clean with a cloth repeatedly dipped in soapy water to remove stuck-on dirt and grease. Use your vacuum’s crevice tool to remove dust and debris from the fan base still attached to the ceiling, then wipe it clean with a damp cloth. Once all the other components are clean, scrub the fan cover with a brush or sponge, then rinse thoroughly. Dry everything completely before putting the fan back together.
Use plain white toothpaste to clean grout stains. Apply toothpaste on a toothbrush. Use it to scrub grout stains away easily, then rinse.
Keep cleaning sprays organized with a tension rod. Store your bathroom cleaning supplies in the cabinet beneath the bathroom sink for easy access. Install a tension rod in the cabinet, and hang spray bottles on it to organize multiple spray bottles and save room on storage.
Use a shoe organizer for extra product storage. Install an over-the-door shoe organizer on your bathroom door or in your linen closet to reduce clutter in your bathroom cabinets.
Make all-natural bathroom cleaning spray in no time. With soap scum, limescale, hair spray, and more, your bathroom can be a tough room to clean. Use this bathroom cleaning spray to cut through even the toughest dirt and grime and kill bacteria to make the job so much easier!
3/4 cup baking soda
3 tablespoons salt
1/2 cup white vinegar
3 tablespoons dish liquid (without Castile soap)
Essential oil for scent, if desired (citrus and eucalyptus oils kill germs and clean soap scum)
- Pour all the ingredients in a spray bottle, and add a few drops of your favorite essential oil(s) for fragrance, if desired.
- Shake before each use, spray surfaces, and wipe clean.
Wash your toothbrush holder in the dishwasher. Toothbrush holders can get seriously grimy if they’re not cleaned regularly. Instead of struggling to scrub it clean, let the dishwasher do all the work. Pop it in the top rack of the dishwasher to clean it effortlessly. This trick also works great for other bathroom accessories, including cups and soap dishes.
Make your own scouring paste with baking soda. Scour sinks, showers, and tubs with 1 cup of baking soda mixed with water or liquid soap to form a thick paste. Scrub as usual, and rinse clean.
Mix water spots with lemon. Rub a cut fresh lemon on chrome fixtures to remove water spots. Let it sit for a few minutes, and rinse with water and a microfiber cloth. This method can be used anywhere in your home, but it is especially great at removing mineral deposits and soap scum in the bathroom. Just be sure to test surfaces before applying since lemon can fade certain colors.
Wax chrome fixtures to make them shine. Use waxed paper to polish chrome and prevent water spots. Clean and dry your fixtures, then rub the waxy side on the chrome. This trick can also be used on the shower curtain rod to help the shower curtain glide across more easily.
Use shaving cream to polish chrome. Shaving cream also works great on chrome fixtures to give them a streak-free shine. Apply a dab of shaving cream to chrome, and buff with a damp cloth.
Save money by making your own bathroom foaming hand soap refills. Keep that empty foaming soap dispenser, and refill it with water and 1–2 teaspoons of liquid Castile soap or natural dish soap. Add 15–20 drops of your favorite essential oil for an aromatherapy boost. Ylang-ylang, patchouli, and lavender are all great choices for bathrooms.
Kill germs with all-natural DIY disinfecting wipes. Keep these wipes on your counter to quickly clean and disinfect bathroom surfaces.
11/2 cups water
1/2 cup vodka
3 tablespoons liquid Castile soap or Sal Suds
40–50 drops grapefruit essential oil
Washcloths or other soft fabric squares
1-quart glass Mason jar (widemouthed jars work best for easy access)
- Mix the ingredients in a Mason jar or other glass container with a lid. Screw the lid on tight, and shake well to combine.
- Add as many washcloths as you can fit into the container. You should be able to fit at least 6 regular-sized washcloths. Old cut-up towels and T-shirts also work well. Replace the lid, and shake again to wet the cloths.
- To use, remove a cloth, wring out the excess cleaning liquid back into the container, and wipe surfaces clean. When the washcloths get dirty, launder with other cleaning towels, and reuse.
Clean and disinfect bath toys with a vinegar soak. Fill a bucket or sink with water, and add 1/2 cup of white vinegar per 1 gallon of water. Soak the toys for 15–20 minutes, then scrub with a clean sponge or cloth. Rinse well, and lay on a towel to dry.
Use body wash to reduce soap scum buildup. Washing with body wash instead of soap will reduce soap scum buildup in your shower or bathtub.
Zap mold from around the tub without scrubbing using hydrogen peroxide and a cotton beauty coil. Soak a cotton beauty coil (used for perms) in hydrogen peroxide, and lay it on moldy caulking around the top of the tub. Let it sit overnight, then rinse. The mold will be gone!
Scrape away soap scum with a putty knife. Use a plastic putty knife to remove soap scum from shower walls and doors without scratching.
Eliminate soap scum from shower doors with natural hair spray. Spray shower doors with hair spray, wait for 5 minutes, then rinse with soap and water to remove soap scum with ease.
Remove water stains from shower glass with shaving cream. Apply shaving cream to glass surfaces in your shower. Let it sit for 15–20 minutes, then wipe with a cloth.
Use a squeegee to wipe water from shower walls. Wipe shower walls and doors with a squeegee after every use to remove moisture that may encourage mold and bacteria growth.
Whiten grout with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Sprinkle grout with baking soda, and spray liberally with hydrogen peroxide. Let the mixture bubble for a few minutes, then scrub with a brush or old toothbrush and wipe clean.
Remove bathtub rings naturally with a grapefruit. Dip 1/2 of a cut grapefruit in salt, and use it to remove bathtub rings in record time! The citric acid in grapefruit cuts through dirt and soap scum, and salt works as an abrasive to scrub away even the toughest stains. Squeeze out the grapefruit juice as you scrub for even more cleaning power.
Scrub your bathroom without hurting your arm by using a drill. Buy a brush to attach to your drill, and let it do all the scrubbing for you!
Whiten shower tiles with hydrogen peroxide. Wipe the shower dry with a towel, then spray liberally with hydrogen peroxide. Let it sit for 10–15 minutes, then scrub tiles and grout clean with a brush, scrub sponge, or toothbrush.
Clean and sanitize with all-natural homemade bleach alternative. This DIY bleach alternative will clean and disinfect all your bathroom surfaces without the health dangers of chlorine bleach. Plus, it’s incredibly cheap to make with just three simple ingredients.
11/2 cups hydrogen peroxide
1/2 cup lemon juice
12 cups water
1-gallon glass jar or jug
- Mix the ingredients in a 1-gallon glass jar or jug, and stir gently to combine.
- Put the solution in a spray bottle, and spray surfaces liberally. Let it sit for a few minutes to work its magic, then wipe or rinse clean. You can use this solution to clean all over your bathroom. This recipe will last several months when stored in a cool, dark place.
Use clear nail polish to stop rust. Paint that rusty shaving cream can with clear nail polish to stop the rust from transferring to other areas. Let the polish dry before putting the can back in the shower.
Mix hard-water stains from tub jets without scrubbing. Fill your tub with hot water, making sure to cover the jets completely. Add 1/2 cup of washing soda and 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide or white vinegar. Run the jets for 10–15 minutes, then let it sit for 1–2 hours. Empty the tub, and refill with cool water. Run the jets again for around 10 minutes, then drain.
Store shaving cream upside down to prevent rust stains. If you keep your shaving cream in the shower or on the bathroom counter, you may struggle with rust messes caused by the metal can reacting with the moisture in the bathroom. To prevent these rust stains, turn the can upside down, and store it on its plastic cap.
Scrub away rust stains with cream of tartar. When metal containers rust, they can leave a mess on your sink or tub. To remove the stain, mix 1 tablespoon of cream of tartar with 1/4 cup of baking soda, then add hydrogen peroxide to form a thick paste. Apply the paste to the rust spot, and let it sit for 20–30 minutes. Scrub, and rinse clean.
Add some natural aromatherapy to your shower with fresh eucalyptus. Grab some fresh eucalyptus from your local florist or garden center, and hang it on your showerhead to make your bathroom smell amazing. The heat and steam from your shower will release calming and therapeutic natural oils in the eucalyptus that can also relieve cold and cough symptoms.
Give mirrors a streak-free shine with vodka. Spray straight vodka on mirrors, and wipe clean with a microfiber cloth, paper towels, or strips of paper bags. This method also works great on windows. Don’t have any vodka on hand? You can also use hydrogen peroxide or a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water. You may have heard that newspaper is a great lint-free way to clean mirrors and windows, but brown paper bags and coffee filters are actually better choices.
Disinfect toothbrushes with hydrogen peroxide. You should replace toothbrushes every 3 months or after illness, but you can also disinfect your toothbrush in between replacing by soaking for 5 minutes in hydrogen peroxide. This also works for mouth guards and retainers. Rinse well with water before use.
Prevent foggy mirrors with shaving cream. To keep bathroom mirrors from fogging after a shower or bath, put a protective layer of shaving cream on your bathroom mirror, then buff dry with paper towels or newspaper to remove streaks. This protective barrier should last several weeks. Don’t have shaving cream in the house? You can also use a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water. Spray it on your mirror, and buff with paper towels or brown paper bags for a streak-free shine. This should last several days.
Defog mirrors quickly with a hair dryer. Is your mirror already fogged up? You can remove fog by drying your mirror with a hair dryer. Then, use one of the previously mentioned preventative strategies to prevent fog the next time you shower.
Use a broom to make scouring the bathtub so much easier. Do you have trouble bending over to scour the tub? Use a clean broom and some DIY scouring paste or Sal Suds to get the tub sparkling clean without the workout! Bottle brushes and dish wands typically used in the kitchen also work great for this purpose.
Soak grime away from clear plastic faucet handles with vinegar. To clean clear faucet handles, you’ll need to take them apart. Carefully pop the cover off the top of the handle with a flat-head screwdriver to access the screw underneath. Remove the screw with a Phillips-head screwdriver, and disassemble the handle. Soak the handle in white vinegar for 10 minutes, then scrub grime away with a toothbrush. Use cotton swabs to reach into tiny crevices, then rinse well. Clean the faucet and the base of the handles with scouring paste or cleaning spray, and rinse. Make sure everything is completely dry before reassembling.
Hide a chipped tile with matching nail polish. Paint a chipped tile with nail polish that matches the color of the tile. The small brush will ensure accuracy in even the smallest chips.
Bend your toilet paper roll to prevent unraveling and waste. Bend your toilet paper roll into an oval shape to keep kids and pets from releasing too much and wasting paper.
Soak toilet siphons in vinegar to keep your toilet clean longer. Toilet siphons are the holes under the rim that water runs through when you flush. Clean your toilet bowl as you normally would, making sure to scrub the siphons under the rim. Next, shut off the water to the toilet using the knob behind the toilet. Flush the toilet 2 or 3 times to empty the water tank, then pour a bucket of water into the bowl to completely empty the toilet. Dry under the rim, and cover each siphon with a piece of duct tape. Lift the flapper inside the water tank, and pour white vinegar to fill the rim. Allow it to sit overnight. The next morning, remove the tape, and flush the toilet a few times.
Prevent toilet hardware from rusting with clear nail polish. Paint your toilet screws and chrome with a layer of clear nail polish to keep them from flaking and rusting.
Create a DIY toilet cleaner with germ-fighting hydrogen peroxide. You’ll be amazed by how well simple baking soda and vodka can clean your toilet! (This and all the toilet cleaning hacks in this book are safe for septic systems.)
1/2 cup baking soda
1/3 cup natural dish soap
1/4 cup vodka
30 drops eucalyptus or tea tree oil
3/4 cup water
- Mix the ingredients in a squeeze bottle. To use, squirt cleaner around the toilet bowl and scrub.
- Let it sit for 20 minutes before flushing.
Scour the toilet with cola. Pour a can of cola or other soft drink in the toilet bowl. Let it sit for an hour, scrub, and flush clean. The acid content and carbonation in the soda help remove dirt and hard-water buildup quickly and easily.
Make your own natural toilet bombs for hands-off cleaning convenience.
1/4 cup citric acid
1 cup baking soda
1 tablespoon natural dish soap
Silicone or plastic ice cube trays
- Stir the ingredients well to combine in a bowl. Spoon the mixture into silicone ice cube trays, press to tightly pack into cleaning tablets, and level off at the top of the mold. You can also use regular plastic ice cube trays if that’s what you have.
- Let them dry overnight, then pop them out of the mold. Store in an airtight container, such as a 1-quart glass Mason jar.
- Toss a bomb into the toilet, and let it work its magic. If your toilet isn’t very dirty, just flush once the fizzing stops, or you can brush the bowl to remove stains.
Remove toilet rings with vodka. Pour 1/2 cup of vodka in your toilet bowl at least once a month to clean and prevent toilet rings. Also, wipe the seat with vodka to clean and disinfect.
Save water with a soda bottle. If you have an older toilet that doesn’t have watersaving features, use this quick tip to save water. Fill an empty 2-liter soda bottle with water, and place it in your toilet tank. This will cause the tank to fill up with less water.
Remove mineral deposits from your water tank with vinegar. Cleaning your toilet tank regularly—at least twice a year—can extend your toilet’s life and make the bowl easier to clean. Shut off the water by turning the knob behind the toilet, then flush 2–3 times to empty the water tank. Remove the lid from the water tank so you can see when the water empties from the tank and can assess how dirty it is. If the tank is mildly grimy, just scrub it clean with an all-purpose spray or baking soda and a scrub brush or sponge. If you have mineral buildup in the tank, you’ll need to take some extra steps. Fill the tank up to the overflow valve with white vinegar. This may take 2–3 gallons depending on the size of your tank. Let it sit without flushing for 12 hours, then flush 2–3 times to remove the vinegar from the tank. Scrub the tank with an all-purpose spray or baking soda, and rinse with a bucketful of water to remove the cleaner. If you use baking soda to clean the water tank, rinse and dissolve it with vinegar after scrubbing to help remove it from the tank. Once the toilet is cleaned, turn the water back on, and use as normal.
Prevent your toilet from sweating with Bubble Wrap. Turn off the water valve, and remove the toilet tank lid. Flush 2–3 times to empty the tank, then line the empty tank with Bubble Wrap. The extra insulation will stop condensation by keeping the outside of the tank from getting too cold.
Keep your toilet clean without scrubbing. Fill a 16-ounce Mason jar with white vinegar, and punch 3 small holes in the lid with a nail. Place the jar upside down in your toilet’s water tank. Every time you flush, a little vinegar will seep out and freshen your toilet. Refill with vinegar about every 3 weeks.
Mix stubborn hard-water stains from your toilet with borax and vinegar. Pour 1/2 cup of borax in the toilet bowl, and use a toilet brush to distribute the powder evenly throughout the bowl. Add 1/2 cup of white vinegar, and let it sit for 30 minutes. Scrub away hard-water stains with the toilet brush, then flush.
Clear toilet clogs with boiling water. Fill a medium saucepan with water, and bring it to a boil. Carefully pour the boiling water into the toilet bowl to dissolve the clog.
Clean your plunger with dish soap and hydrogen peroxide. Add a squirt of dish soap and 1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide to the toilet bowl. Swirl your plunger around the bowl, then flush.
Use baby oil to polish porcelain easily. You don’t need to use toxic commercial porcelain polish to make your bathroom shine. Put a few drops of baby oil on a cloth, and polish sinks and toilet bowls until the porcelain feels dry. Don’t polish showers and tubs, since the oil may make the surface slick and unsafe.
Hang your toilet brush to dry before storing to avoid bacteria. Put the handle of the toilet brush between the rim and the toilet seat so the brush can drip-dry over the bowl.
Clean tight spaces at the base of the toilet with your vacuum’s crevice tool. Use the crevice tool to reach into tight spaces a broom can’t reach, and suck up dust and hair instantly.
Keep your toilet brush fresher with vinegar. Pour some white vinegar in your toilet brush holder to disinfect the brush and neutralize bathroom odors. You can also use vodka or hydrogen peroxide.
Close the lid on your toilet to keep your bathroom cleaner. When you flush the toilet without closing the lid first, you’re spreading dangerous germs all over your bathroom! Make sure everyone in your family knows to close the lid every time.
Clean and sanitize makeup brushes with Castile soap and hydrogen peroxide. Rinse makeup brushes, and wash with a small squirt of liquid Castile soap. Use your hands to scrub away makeup, dirt, and oil. To sanitize, soak brushes in hydrogen peroxide for 5 minutes, then rinse thoroughly, squeeze out excess water, and air-dry.
Avoid infections by throwing away old beauty products. Using old, expired cosmetics can cause bacterial infections, inflammation, and allergic skin reactions. Go through your products regularly to check your expiration dates and ensure you’re not using anything that could harm your health. Here’s how long these products should last.
Less Than 2 Months
Shower poufs and loofahs (3 weeks)
Sponges (7 weeks)
2 to 3 Months
Face masks and peels
Nonmetal nail files
6 Months to a Year
Lip gloss (6 months)
Lipstick (1 year)
Acne cleansers and creams
1 to 11/2 Years
Cream eye shadow
Bar soap and body wash
Face cream (in a jar)
Powder eye shadow and blush
Lip and eye pencils
Body lotion (in a jar)
Shampoo and conditioner
Body lotion (in a pump)
Brighten floors with hydrogen peroxide. Add 1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide to 1 gallon of hot water. Use the solution to mop tile and laminate floors to make them bright and clean.
Use shampoo to clean hairbrushes. Remove the hair from your hairbrush by raking a comb through the bristles. Rinse the brush in the sink with warm water, then add a drop of shampoo to the bristles. Use your hand to distribute the shampoo, then scrub away dirt and oil with an unused toothbrush. Rinse well under the faucet, soak up excess water with a towel, then allow to air-dry completely before using. Use this method to deep clean your hairbrushes at least once a month.
Clean hairstyling tools with a DIY cleaning paste. Hairstyling products can collect on your curling iron and flat iron, forming a burned-on mess that can make them difficult to use—and may be a potential fire hazard! To remove product buildup, make a paste with 1 part rubbing alcohol and 2 parts baking soda. Turn on your styling tools for about a minute, then shut them off. Apply the paste to your hot tools, being careful not to burn your skin, and let them sit for 10 minutes. For ceramic tools, use your finger to remove the buildup so you don’t scratch the surface. For metal, use a soft cloth to scrub clean. Once the buildup is loosened, wipe your tools with a wet microfiber cloth, and dry with a clean cloth.
Use nail polish remover and natural hair spray to clean up nail polish spills. Clean the spill as quickly as possible to keep the stain from setting. Pour nail polish remover on the spill, let it sit for 1–2 minutes, then wipe it up with paper towels. Scrub the spot with a damp cloth or sponge. If the stain is still there, spray it liberally with hair spray, and let it sit for 5 minutes. Wipe clean with a damp cloth or paper towels. Once the stain is gone, clean the area with soapy water or an all-purpose spray.
Eliminate urine stains and odors with vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda. This is a pretty messy job, so you may want to wear rubber gloves. Mix 1/4 cup of lemon juice and enough baking soda to form a thick paste. Apply the paste on urine stains on and around your toilet, including on and under the seat and the floor around the toilet. Pour 1/2 cup of white vinegar into the toilet tank, and let both sit for 20 minutes. Using a toothbrush dipped in vinegar, scrub the urine messes pretreated with paste. Pour extra vinegar on the paste to dissolve the baking soda, then wipe clean with a cloth. Flush the toilet 2–3 times to remove the vinegar from the tank.
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