Green Cleaning Your Bathroom

A bathroom cleaning compilation! Who could ask for anything more?!  

You can find all this info scattered around the blog already, as evidenced by my many links below to previous articles. While I have discussed each element of the bathroom, I’m sure you’ve been hankering to have it all in one spot! So here it is!  

It doesn’t take much to green clean a bathroom. It doesn’t take many products. It doesn’t take much money. It doesn’t take much time. When I taught my kids to clean their bathrooms, they were pleasantly surprised to realize they could do it well in under 15 minutes. It had loomed larger in their eyes. 

Most bathroom cleaning can be done with Castile Soap. This means that you can clean your bathroom without having to track down special bathroom cleaners, because you’re cleaning the bathroom with what you already have in your bathroom to clean yourself.  

Follow this thought. 

You can clean your shower as you’re cleaning yourself.  

You can clean your bathroom while your toddler plays in the tub.  

You can prep for guests with hand soap!  

What a difference from what the marketing machine will tell you! That you need a different product for every different surface in the bathroom! If you’re a bit dubious about the efficacy of soap to tackle germs and grime, check out a couple articles I’ve written that discuss how soap works and why it’s all you need: “Who Gave Soap a Bad Name” – one of the first blog posts I ever wrote – and “Ditch the Antibacterial: Soap Is All You Need.” 

Dr. Bronner’s has two products that can clean bathrooms: Pure-Castile Soap and Sal Suds Biodegradable Cleaner. Both work great, and I am just as likely to grab one as the other. Most of the time, I grab what’s closest. Unless there are ants.  

For some reason, recently ants love my bathtub. I guess it is a very nice bathtub. Must be the jacuzzi jets I never use. For ants, I rely on the eradication power of Castile soap. Did you know it could do this? (Time out for a tangent, but if you’re up against ants: Spray ant-infested surfaces with the Castile All-Purpose Spray, as seen in another of my very early videos! Make sure you spray the ant trails and the points of entry. Get rid of what they’re after, as much as you can. Let the spray sit for several hours. Then, wipe off with a damp cloth.)   

The best part of green cleaning the bathroom? No fumes. No residues. And since this is a place where we go au natural, this is important. We don’t want to bathe with the residues of harmful cleaners. 

Needed (and some optional) Supplies: 

Learn more about making the first three items in my GIY Starter Kit video

  • All-Purpose Spray made with Castile Soap (1/4 c. in 1 qt. water) or Sal Suds (1 Tbsp. in 1 qt. water) with an optional 20 drops of tea tree essential oil 
  • Shaker jar with baking soda optionally scented with essential oils 
  • Glass Cleaner made with a 50/50 vinegar/water solution or pure club soda 
  • Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap or Sal Suds Biodegradable Cleaner 
  • Karen Logan’s GIY Soft Scrub  
  • Brushes in a variety of sizes – I have a 2”x4” one, a round 3”, a small grout brush, and a toilet brush 
  • Absorbent, lint-free, washable cloths. I use microfiber cloths which I wash in Patagonia’s Guppy Friend bag. I buy the cloths from the automotive care section. 
  • High quality squeegee 
  • Mop bucket & mop (mine is microfiber so I can wash it easily) 

Sinks, Tubs, Showers:  

Clean your surfaces with the gentlest method that will get the job done. If All-Purpose Spray and a soft cloth will get the surface clean, go with that. If it needs a little more umph, ramp it up with the GIY Soft Scrub or a sprinkle of baking soda. Vinegar is another way to dissolve soap scum and water spots, but not all surfaces can withstand the acidity. Start with a cloth to wash surfaces. If more is needed, use the brushes.  

General Cleaning: For light, regular cleaning, spray thoroughly with All-Purpose Castile or Sal Suds Spray. If there’s soap scum built up, sprinkle the surface or your cloth with a bit of baking soda, or use the GIY Soft Scrub. Scrub surfaces down. To make sure the cleaner has a chance to latch on to all the germs, let the solution sit on the surfaces for a few minutes. Then rinse either with a wet cloth, or a swish of water. For extra sparkle, dry with a cloth.  

Be sure to focus on washing faucets, knobs, and handles. Objects our hands touch are where germ transfer is most likely to happen. As we head into cold & flu season, and continue to live with COVID, these surfaces could take a daily wash. Soap works in two ways to combat such germs. Primarily, soap removes all germs. Regardless of what it is – bacteria, virus, spore, parasite – soap latches on to it and carries it away. Give it a few minutes to get itself situated, and soap is the best and safest cleaner we have at home. However, there is a second ability of soap that works against certain germs: enveloped viruses – which include influenza and coronavirus. Soap breaks down and deactivates these germs, as explained by Pall Thordarson in her article which appeared in The Guardian, “The Science of Soap.” 

Special Notes: Know your surfaces. The Castile Soap and Sal Suds are safe for all surfaces. Generally, surfaces like granite, synthetic tile, ceramic, porcelain, enamel, fiberglass, acrylic, and even uncoated glass withstand the gentle abrasion of the GIY Soft Scrub or baking soda, when needed. Stiff brushes, however, can scratch acrylic, and vinegar can etch enamel. For a deeper dive into cleaning stone, check out my recent article, “Cleaning Stone with Castile Soap and Sal Suds.” 

Soft stones and highly polished surfaces should not be scoured with anything abrasive such as baking soda or stiff brushes. Nor should they be washed with an acidic solution like vinegar which can dissolve the minerals in soft stones and the finishes on high shine metals. This includes marble, limestone, and chrome fixtures.  

Therefore, always spot test your cleaning method before beginning a new regimen.  

Mirrors & Glass: 

Are we cleaning my bathroom mirror, or my kids’? Sometimes I think my kids mistake the mirror for the sink. I can’t otherwise explain how their mirror gets quite so coated from one week to the next.  

For average water spots and smears, spray the mirror with your GIY glass cleaner and then squeegee it off. If spots are more stubborn, spray with glass cleaner, wipe with a damp soft cloth, then squeegee. If glass is seriously grimy, wash the mirror first with All-Purpose Spray and a damp cloth. Then continue with glass cleaner. If you’re not a squeegee fan, use absorbent, lint-free cloths instead. 

Toilets: 

I clean toilets a different way every week. Variety is the spice of life, right?  

  • Method 1: Spray the bowl thoroughly with All-Purpose Spray and brush with a toilet brush.  
  • Method 2: Squirt a very small amount of the undiluted Castile Soap or an even smaller amount of Sal Suds directly on to the toilet bowl brush. Brush the bowl thoroughly.  
  • Boost for Methods 1 or 2: For extra scrubbing, sprinkle baking soda onto your toilet brush before scrubbing.  
  • Method 3: Squirt the GIY Soft Scrub under the rim of the bowl. Brush well.  

Whichever of the above methods you choose, let the cleaner sit in the bowl for 10 minutes for full effectiveness. Then flush. 

One thing you don’t want to do is squirt undiluted Sal Suds or Castile Soap under the rim of the toilet bowl like it’s conventional toilet bowl cleaner. That’s way too much. You will waste the product and be flushing bubbles for a week.   

For the outside of the toilet, spray thoroughly with All-Purpose Spray. Let sit for a few minutes. Wipe with a damp cloth. Dry for extra sparkle. 

Be sure to clean parts that hands touch super well. We tend to focus on the bowl of the toilet when cleaning, but the handle and the seat might be even more important. It is there that the germ transfer is most likely to happen.   

Floors: 

Sal Suds and Castile Soap are safe and effective on wood and tile. For mopping my whole house, I add ½ Tbsp. (7.5 mL) Sal Suds OR ½ c. (120 mL) Castile Soap to 3 gallons (12 L) of very warm water. I might add 20 drops of pure Tea Tree essential oil for some extra antibacterial power.  

For just my bathrooms, I mix 1 tsp. (5 mL) Sal Suds OR 2 Tbsp. (30 mL) Castile with 1 gallon (4 L) of water, with 6-7 drops of the tea tree oil. To avoid a bubble overflow, put the water in the bucket first, and then add the soap or Suds. Saturate then wring out your mop and mop your floors. There’s no need to rinse, unless you have standing water which needs to be absorbed.  

If you have a small bathroom, simply use the All-Purpose Spray. Wet your mop with plain water til it’s damp. Spray the mop with several sprays of the A.P. Spray and mop the floor.  

And that’s it!  

I know this is not the most romantic topic, but at least it’s simple. As I’ve said before, no one may notice when your bathrooms are sparkling clean, but they will certainly notice if they’re not. Such is life. I can assure you that this will give you a great sense of satisfaction. That’s definitely worth something. 

8 thoughts on “Green Cleaning Your Bathroom

  1. Oh I love the soap I bathe in it everyday the only problem I have is the build up of soap scum which I hate. I usually use cleaning products with bleach to clean but after reading this article I am going to try the soap and the suds of even the baking powder thanks for the advice

  2. Do you have a similar suggestion for those of us who do not have treated water?

    Thank you.

    • Hi Valerie – Thanks for commenting! I’m not following which suggestion you mean. Are you talking about hard and soft water?

  3. Thanks for the compilation! A couple of months ago, I asked for suggestions about what to use for orange hard water stains and wanted to follow up here. I had tried baking soda and Sal Suds, baking soda and castile soap to no avail. Vinegar, peroxide, washing soda, borax didn’t help … Elsewhere someone suggested lemon/lime Koolaid. I bought a packet and rubbed the powder directly into the stains, let set for awhile, then flushed. Gone! Hope this easy solution is helpful to someone.

    • Thanks so much for the follow-up, Carolyn! Lemon/lime Koolaid?! Who would have thought!

  4. Thank you for pulling all this information together in one place. I’m printing it and finding everything I need and my home will be green-cleaned from here on out!

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