This week’s boot camp is about green cleaners. Lots of urban homesteaders are into doing things with less chemicals, more frugally, and more self-reliance. Using or making some green cleaners around the house is a great skill to add to the homesteading arsenal.
The thing is, I don’t really use any cleaners in the house. I use good old baking soda and white vinegar, and lemon juice. And I think these have been talked about an awful lot on the internet already. So while I can wax on about how effective these normal household items are to clean with, I am not sure I have much new information to offer as far as ingredients go. Here it is, none the less.
I can tell you that these things really do work in Colorado where the water is hard and full of minerals that build up on everything. Like my shower head, all covered in calcium build-up (or is that lime scale? or… ??):
To get that puppy clean, first I tried just straight up vinegar with a grout brush. Which did a pretty good job.
But I kind of needed something that would stick a bit better so that the vinegar could sit and work at it for me. I’m all for scrubbing if it means I don’t have to use CLR, but if I can not scrub, that’s even better. So I mixed some vinegar with some corn starch. And poured the gloopy paste all over the shower head. And then, while I let that sit, I used some on the tub faucet that is always sticking and tough to pull the shower lever thingy on (wow – the technical terms in this post are astounding). Then, after I got impatient, I rinsed the shower head off… pretty good, eh?
It’s not perfect or anything, and probably if I had been a little more patient, it would have been, but I think it was decent. What’s even better is the mix worked on the tub faucet puller thing.
On to the rest of the bathroom! Here is what I use:
Like the package says, there are hundreds of uses for baking soda. That’s why I have a huge bag of it. In the bathroom, I use it like most people use Comet. I use it to scrub down the sink and tiles and tub. And it works.
So what about the throne? Well, lots of homesteaders are either into saving water or have male persons in the house. Or both. And so the toilet often gets stained from letting the yellow mellow. And in our house, that hard water alone can leave a ring. The best cleaning tool I have for cleaning a stained toilet is a pumice stone.
The first time I used it, I was scared to death. I thought for sure I was going to scratch the porcelain and end up with a horrid looking toilet that I was going to end up replacing. But that was needless worry. It worked great. And as far as I can tell, it didn’t scratch a thing. First I don my rubber gloves and do a scrub with the toilet brush and a flush so the water in there is clean. I don’t put any cleaners in there. Then I grab the pumice stone.
I scrub around the water line, in the hole and under the rim. It gets everything off. You can see that the corners of my stone are getting rounded off. The stone crumbles instead of scratching the bowl. It works. The toilet is sparkling. After that, I will throw a splash of vinegar in the toilet and use the toilet brush again, for good measure. Clean as a… well, not a whistle, but you get the idea.
I also use vinegar and water mixed in a spray bottle to clean the mirror with a lint-free cloth. And to clean the floor. And to spray down the shower walls.
How do you clean your bathroom?