Friday, April 11, 2014

Greener Spring Cleaning: Part 5 (Homemade Toilet Cleaners)

If you missed my earlier posts this week, so far I have shared greener cleaning tips for:

Now, see if you can guess what I was using to clean toilets until recently... If you said "homemade all-purpose cleaner" then you can go right to the head of the class. You're such a good reader! Yep, that was my favorite for toilets (and literally everything else) until a couple of weeks ago, when I decided to switch it up a bit.

Today, I am sharing with you a few different recipes for homemade toilet bowl cleaners, and I have to say that I am waaaaaay more excited by this than I probably should be! Some are very basic and some take slightly more effort, but the end results are worth it.

Homemade Toilet Bowl Cleaner #1 (Vinegar)
First up, Green Grandma suggests that you need nothing more than straight distilled white vinegar for cleaning toilet bowls. Simply add a cup or two and walk away for a few hours. Then, come back and scrub the bowl.

This is my least favorite, to be honest. The vinegar alone doesn't cling or fizz or do anything that "shows" that it is doing its job. There is nothing else to make it smell a bit better; even though I am much more accustomed to the smell of vinegar, it is still a bit much when you use a large amount in undiluted form. (NOTE: I do realize that we do NOT need any fake fragrance to make everything smell "fresh" or "clean" -- that is a marketing gimmick. True "clean" has no smell.) Even though I know that this is perfectly effective for killing germs, it's not my first choice. It is, however, very cheap, very easy to use and completely non-toxic, so it deserves mention in the lineup of natural choices.

Homemade Toilet Bowl Cleaner #2 (Vinegar + Baking Soda)
Pour a cup of baking soda into the toilet bowl and then follow with a cup of white vinegar. You get the fizzing action and once it's done, you scrub the bowl. Baking soda neutralizes odors and vinegar kills germs. Straightforward, right? (You can adjust the proportions to your preferences.) You can also follow with lemon juice or a few drops of lavender essential oil if you want it to smell nice. Safe, cheap, effective, and you can easily do this with everyday kitchen items. No mixing or storing needed.

Homemade Toilet Bowl Cleaner #3 
I learned about this recipe at a MOPS meeting:
  • 3/4 cup baking soda
  • 3/4 cup white vinegar
  • 10 drops tea tree oil
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine baking soda and essential oils (Lavender smells nice and both lavender and tea tree oils have antiseptic qualities).
  2. Add vinegar to the toilet bowl and then pour in the baking soda mixture.
  3. Allow the fizzing of the chemical reaction to take place and then scrub with a toilet brush.

For all three of the above recipes I asked myself, "Now what about the rest of the toilet? The seat, lid, outside of the tank...?" These all have to get clean, too, so of course, I used that all-purpose cleaner and a sponge. Sometimes, this seemed like more work, so that was why I often just used the all-purpose spray cleaner for the whole shebang. One product, and done. 

Then, I tried this next recipe (also from the MOPS meeting), which calls for castile soap. It is far and away, my favorite homemade toilet cleaner. EVER! (In other news, I am really, really in LOVE with castile soap, and I plan to use it in my next batch of all-purpose cleaner, in place of dish soap.) Without further ado, here is my new FAVE homemade toilet cleaner recipe! (Who knew I would ever use that expression?)

{My New FAVE Homemade Toilet Cleaner}

Homemade Toilet Bowl Cleaner #4
  • 3/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon castile soap with tea tree (I used unscented castile soap.) 
  • 3-5 drops of tea tree oil (if using unscented castile soap)
  1. In a 2-cup measuring cup with a spout, or a measuring bowl, mix together the baking soda and water.
  2. Add castile soap (and tea tree oil, if desired) and stir.
  3. Pour into a squeeze bottle (I used an clean, empty condiment dispenser.) and make sure it is covered by a finger or cap. Then shake well. If you do not have a mixing bowl or measuring cup with a spout, a funnel may be helpful. (Remember, do NOT use old cleaning product containers from toilet bowl cleaners or that sort of thing.) 
  4. If the consistency is too runny, add a little extra baking soda. You want it to be thick enough to cling to the inside of the toilet bowl. (As another side note: You can make this recipe and yesterday's recipe for my other new favorite, homemade soft scrub, all with a single 1-pound box of baking soda!)
  5. To use, squeeze out enough to coat the inside of the toilet bowl. (The recipe said this makes enough clean two toilets, but I found that it was enough to clean three.) You can either scrub immediately OR you can walk away and let it set. I have tried both ways, but I can't say that I noted any distinct differences. Just do whatever is easiest for you.
  6. Now, as a bonus, I decided to clean the rest of the toilet with this cleaner instead of reaching my my all-purpose spray cleaner. I just put a small amount onto a sponge and wiped everything clean. Tip: Start with the less dirty surfaces (top of tank, handle) and work your way toward the germier surfaces (outside of bowl, where spray happens, if you have a boy) and so on until you have cleaned it seat and all. (Don't forget to clean your sponge. I put mine in the dishwasher, but it seems that there is a microwave cleaning method that I have heard about, too.)

So, there you go. Non-toxic, effective, and you can clean the whole toilet -- inside and out -- with this single recipe! It doesn't smell funky. It clings to the bowl very well, and you even get some fizzing action, if you like that sort of thing. The only possible downside is that you will need to mix up another batch the next time you want to clean toilets. (I had fun doing this, so I don't see that as a problem.)

Plus, putting it into a condiment dispenser? This is brilliant! I was so excited to hear this idea. If you make this one, don't forget to label your container with a permanent marker. Include the recipe, so you can make it again without looking it up. Enjoy!

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