Homemade Bathroom Cleaner
Why Make Your Own Bathroom Cleaner?
We’ve been over this before, as there are so many reasons to make your own cleaning products. It’s safer (scroll down for the truth about toxic chemicals in store-bought bathroom cleaners), it lessens your chemical exposure, it’s better for the environment, and it’s SO easy and actually fun to do. Why wouldn’t you make your own cleaning products?!
Plus, by making your own natural cleaning products, you’re voting with your dollars, sending a message to companies who use toxic chemicals in their products that it’s not okay and we demand more transparency and safety!
AND, AND, AND… If those reasons aren’t enough for you, consider just how much cheaper it is to DIY cleaning products. If you care at all about saving money, you need to be making your own bathroom cleaner (and all cleaning products!).
This entire homemade bathroom cleaner recipe cost me a whopping $1.29 to make. Compare that to most store-bought bathroom cleaners, which average around $10 per bottle. Take a look:
- water (FREE!!)
- baking soda (I paid $6.39 for 16 ounces, but I only used 1/2 an ounce = $0.20)
- white vinegar (I paid $11.67 for 128 ounces, but I only used 4 ounces = $0.36)
- castile soap (I paid $20 for 30 ounces, but I only used 1 ounce = $0.67)
- essential oils; I recommend tea tree oil (I paid $12.50 for 4 ounces, but I only used .02 ounces = $0.06)
Total cost = $1.29!!!!!!!
I mean, come on! At just over a single dollar to make an entire bottle of bathroom cleaner, you really can’t afford not to make your own cleaning products.
Did I mention this recipe takes less than 2 minutes to make? Once again, it’s as simple as pour, stir, spray and that’s it. Seriously. 3 steps, and the last one is the actual act of cleaning.
If you have 2 minutes to spare, shake this recipe up and pat yourself on the back for being such a far out frugal freddy!
Related: The best natural store-bought cleaners for those who would just rather pay someone else to do it.
THE TRUTH: TOXIC STORE-BOUGHT BATHROOM CLEANERS
Some days, when I’m writing these stories and researching the chemicals that are found in common store-bought products, the task isn’t as easy. Some products just aren’t as dangerous and toxic.
But when it comes to bathroom cleaners, my job of exposing the negative, harmful products on the market is so easy it makes me want to cry. And not happy tears.
Of the most popular store-bought bathroom cleaners on the market (that would be Clorox, Scrubbing Bubbles, Lysol and Tilex), every single one of these products is rated an F (the most dangerous score) by the EWG.
This is bad, people. So very bad. An F rating means the product contains significant hazards to health or the environment or poor ingredient disclosure, meaning brands don’t disclose their full ingredients list. HUGE RED FLAG. If the company won’t even tell you what’s in it, do NOT use it.
RELATED: Green Cleaning Routine
In fact, the following four super toxic ingredients are all found in these bathroom cleaners:
- Ammonium Chlorides: There are a lot of different versions of ammonium chloride in these cleaning products (none of which I can pronounce), but the important thing to know is that the EPA has concluded that this substance poses a high risk for human health. It causes asthma in otherwise healthy people and reproductive toxicity in animals. Pass.
- Butoxydiglycol: It’s hard to believe a chemical with evidence of respiratory harm, cancer and developmental/endocrine/reproductive effects is allowed into the products we use in our homes. But somehow butoxydiglycol is. In addition to pulmonary and respiratory harm, this chemical also causes serious eye irritation, has moderate acute toxicity to aquatic life and is riddled with impurities that are known to cause cancer, reproductive toxicity and genetic defects. Really? Please say no to any products with this chemical.
- Hydrochloric Acid: Not only does this dangerous chemical cause severe skin burns and eye damage, it’s also toxic if inhaled, causing pulmonary edema, asthma, respiratory irritation, skin irritation and eye corosion.
- Ammonium Hydroxide: This is that ammonia solution we all thought was so awesome for so long… as it turns out, ammonia not only harms sea life, it also causes respiratory damage and skin irritation, allergies and even vision problems.
All of this before you even consider that all of these store-bought bathroom cleaners also contain fragrance, another hormone disruptor and asthmagen with links to skin irritation, allergies, nervous system effects and acute aquatic toxicity.
Fortunately, this recipe for homemade bathroom cleaner will have you cleaning showers, toilets, bathroom counters and soap scum just as effectively (if not more!) without any of the negative side effects.
Cleaning Tips for DIY Natural Bathroom Cleaners
Rather than using ammonia, bleach and other toxic chemicals, this homemade bathroom cleaner is made with vinegar, baking soda, castile soap and essential oils. It’s all natural, made with ingredients you likely already have in your pantry or medicine cabinet and I swear to you, it is SO effective.
Vinegar is hugely disinfecting, killing bacteria, like salmonella and E.coli. It’s also excellent at preventing mildew when sprayed on shower walls. To use this bathroom cleaner, I spray it on the surface, let it sit for a minute and then use a bristle brush to scrub it clean.
Meanwhile, baking soda is an awesome air freshener as it neutralizes odors (remember how you put a box of it in your fridge to keep it smelling fresh?). Plus when you combine a base like baking soda with an acid like vinegar, they neutralize to make water and sodium acetate, which then acts as an abrasive that works to scrape away stubborn residues.
That being said, for really tough bathroom issues, it can be more effective to use baking soda and vinegar separately, as they don’t neutralize each other as they do when mixed together.
So follow this exact recipe, but leave the baking soda out. Instead, apply the baking soda directly to the mold/mildew/soap scum/stain and allow to sit for a few minutes. Then spray on the bathroom cleaner and allow to sit for a few more minutes. Scrub away and reveal squeaky clean surfaces!
Per usual, I rely on essential oils, rather than synthetic fragrance, to scent this bathroom cleaner. Normally, I recommend using crisp citrus oils like sweet orange, lemon or grapefruit or refreshing green oils, like bergamot, eucalyptus and basil. But this time, I’m going for pure Tea Tree Oil, which is naturally antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic, perfect for heavy-duty bathroom cleaning.
The scent of the tea tree oil and vinegar can be a bit strong at first, but I promise that it goes away after a few minutes and leaves your bathroom sparkling clean with a super fresh aroma.
Where to buy essential oils? I love Plant Therapy, whose oils are 100% pure, free from any additives, adulterants, or dilutions. Their facility is USDA Certified Organic, and their prices are also SUPER reasonable! Get 10% off your order of $50 or more sitewide with the coupon code ROOT10!
You can use this bathroom cleaner to clean countertops, showers, bath tubs and toilets. It’s pretty all-purpose when it comes to cleaning bathrooms, including getting rid of soap scum, mildew and mold.
If you’re looking for spray bottles, I recommend these glass spray bottles, which are the perfect size, pretty to look at and you don’t have to worry about BPA in the plastic. Happy Cleaning!
- 1 1/2 cups warm water (distilled for longer-term use or tap water for short-term use)
- 1 tablespoon baking soda (I recommend Bob's Red Mill)
- 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar
- 2 tablespoons castile soap (I recommend Dr. Bronner's Unscented)
- 20 drops essential oils (I recommend tea tree oil)
- Add the baking soda and warm water to a measuring cup fitted with a spout. Stir until baking soda is dissolved.
- Add the vinegar, castile soap, and essential oils and pour all ingredients into a bottle. Fit with a spray top. Gently swirl the bottle to mix the ingredients together. Use immediately or as needed.
Photo Credit: Heidi Geldhauser
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