How to Clean Your Bathroom…Naturally

Whether you’re trying to minimize your carbon footprint or are concerned about the effect harsh chemicals may have on your family’s health, switching to natural bathroom cleansers is a great choice. Although there are tons of “green” bathroom products available in stores, in most cases it’s cheaper and more effective to make them on your own. And, chances are, your kitchen cupboard is already stocked with many of the ingredients. From cleansers made with grapefruits and lemons to vinegar and baking soda, here are some of our favorite natural and homemade bathroom cleansers.

Grapefruit & Salt Tub Cleaner

If your bathtub has unflattering rings or rust that won’t go away, try this grapefruit/salt combo on the grime. All you’ll need is one grapefruit and ¼ cup coarse kosher salt. One medium to large grapefruit will clean your entire bath or shower from top to bottom, including the fixtures. Depending on the space and severity of the grime, use a half a grapefruit or more than one grapefruit. Once you’ve cut the grapefruit in half, sprinkle the top liberally with salt. Wet your bathtub, and sprinkle the remaining salt around the bottom. From there, use the grapefruit to scrub around the tub, making sure to “juice” the grapefruit over the fixtures while picking up spare salt along the way. Once you’re done, rinse away the pulp, juice, and toss the grapefruit in the trash.

Baking Soda & Vinegar Tile Cleaner

To make a daily-use tub and tile cleaner on your own, all you’ll need is baking soda, lemon juice, salt, dishwashing liquid, and vinegar. Mix ¾ cup baking soda, ¼ cup lemon juice, 3 tablespoons salt, 3 tablespoons dishwashing liquid, and ½ cup vinegar in a large bowl. Mix together and pour the mixture into a plastic container. When you’re ready to use the cleanser, simply shake and/or pour a small amount onto a rag or directly onto the area to be cleaned. Scrub and rinse with a wet rag. Note: if you’d like the cleanser to smell like oranges, lemons, or your favorite scent, add ten drops of essential oil once the liquid has been mixed.

Baking Soda Air Freshener

If you’re tired of using bottle after bottle of air freshener, try adding a simple, natural scent to your bathroom with a basic baking soda-based room freshener. All you’ll need is a mason jar, ½ cup of baking soda, essential oil of your preference, and a tapestry needle. Simply pour ½ cup of baking soda into the Mason jar and add 8-12 drops of essential oil of your choice. If you’re unsure about how much essential oil you should be using, start off by adding less oil. If it’s not strong enough to scent the room, add more. Poke holes in the lid with the needle, and you’re good to go. If you’d like to improve the look of the Mason jar, glue some pretty, designed paper to the top of the lid or tie a bow around the neck of the jar.

DIY Foaming Hand Wash

Finally, if the frequent trips to Bath & Body Works are breaking the bank, you can make your own DIY foaming hand wash using unscented castile soap, coconut oil, and essential oils. Here’s how: add 2 tablespoons of castile soap and 2 teaspoons of fractionated coconut oil into an empty foaming soap container (if you don’t have one on hand, they’re available for purchase online), add 10-15 drops of essential oil, and fill the rest of the bottle with water, leaving enough room for the pump to be inserted. Screw on the pump, shake gently, and say hello to your very own DIY foaming hand wash. Note: the holidays are right around the corner, and this makes a great, homemade gift for virtually any friend, family member, or co-worker.

Company’s Coming! Clean Your Bathroom in Five Steps

For many homeowners and renters, cleaning the bathroom is their least favorite chore- one that’s often put off until it absolutely must be cleaned. But, what happens when your in-laws call to say they’re on their way and you don’t have the time, patience, or products required for the deep clean your bathroom deserves? If you’re crunched for time and your housekeeping reputation is on the line, here are some tips that will make your bathroom sparkle in minutes so you can put on a pot of tea and welcome your mother-in-law with open arms.

1. Remove Any Countertop Clutter

For best results, start at one end of the bathroom and make your way to the other side, removing anything that’s cluttering the countertops along the way. Toss any eye wrinkle creams, toothpaste containers, or mascara tubes into a bucket or container and place the container under the sink. If you think your visitors will take a peek behind the shower curtain, organize the shower caddy and remove any shampoo or body wash containers that may be sitting on the edge of the bathtub. While you’re at it, empty the trash can and straighten any hand towels you may have hanging for guests.

2. Dust and Sweep

To get rid of dust, especially in hard-to-reach places, grab a duster with a long handle and remove any cobwebs or visible dust accumulation. If you, your partner, or your children blow-dry or straighten their hair on a daily basis, there’s probably a lot of hair that’s accumulated on the floor. Instead of sweeping the hair into a dust bin, which often takes more time than it should, run the vacuum across the floor until the hair is gone. To save time, vacuum the area outside of the bathroom and any carpet in the living room or family room while you have the vacuum available and/or plugged in.

3. Alka-Seltzer in the Toilet Bowl?

Believe it or not, dropping a couple tablets of Alka-Seltzer in the toilet bowl is a quick and easy way to get rid of nasty toilet bowl rings- even if they’ve been neglected for a while. While the inside of the toilet bowl is important, don’t forget to clean under the seat and along the sides- areas where prying eyes may take a peak if they’re on the nosy side. This doesn’t have to be a complicated task- simply spray the outside of the toilet with all-purpose cleaner, and wipe with a clean cloth. If you have air freshener handy, spray a couple puffs into the toilet bowl before you close the lid; whoever uses the toilet next will be pleasantly surprised by the scent.

4. Pay Attention to the Mirrors

Since whoever uses the bathroom will likely look at themselves in the mirror while washing their hands, make sure that soap scum and toothpaste aren’t staring right back at them. Spray the mirrors with glass cleaner and rub in circles to prevent unsightly streaking. Then, use the same cloth to wipe over the rest of the vanity and the sink to pick up hairs, powder, and toothpaste residue. Grab a sanitizing wipe and focus on the faucet handles, the wall behind the faucet, and any light fixtures.

5. Focus on the Aesthetics

Now that your bathroom is (relatively) spick and span, at least to the naked eye, you can focus on sprucing up the area with flowers, candles, or air freshener. Although the space may be clean, certain smells may linger- especially if someone used the restroom a few minutes before your surprise visitors knock at the door. If you have a garden, run outside and pick some flowers and display them neatly on the vanity countertop. If you don’t have access to fresh flowers, light a candle or spray a few puffs of deodorizing spray to neutralize the odor.

Now that your bathroom is ready for visitors, take a second to survey the rest of the home. After all, a clean bathroom won’t matter much if the beds are unmade or the kitchen counters are cluttered with empty cans.

How to Remove Paint Splatters From a Vanity

Removing paint splatters and spots is a common problem, even if you’ve used plastic tarp, painter’s tape, and other protective measures while painting. The real challenge isn’t in removing the paint spills, but it’s in doing so without removing the finish of your vanity. One of a number of solvents might work, and it’s a good idea to start with the mildest one before working your way to stronger solvents that can more easily cause damage. If you’ve tried scraping off the excess paint to no avail, here’s some tips for removing paint splatters from your vanity.

What You’ll Need

When it comes to removing paint splatters from a vanity, it’s a relatively easy task with only a few necessary "ingredients". Here’s what you’ll need before you can start:

  • Mild soap
  • Bathroom cleaner
  • Water
  • Nail polish remover
  • Paint stripper
  • Soft cloths
  • Cotton balls

The best time to remove paint splatters and spills is when they’re fresh. If you’ve waited too long and a skin has developed, you’ll probably find that the paint is too difficult to remove by wiping it with a cloth. If this is the case, follow these steps to remove paint.

Steps to Remove the Paint

The amount of effort needed to remove the paint relies heavily on how long it’s been there and the condition of the vanity surface. Start by cleaning the surface and paint splotches with a mild soap or bathroom cleaner. From there, scrub the entire surface gently with a soft cloth. If the paint is fresh, this may be all that’s needed to remove the splatters. If the paint has already dried completely, it will be more difficult to remove. If this is the case:

  1. Moisten a cotton ball with nail polish remover.
  2. Rub it over the entire surface.
  3. As soon as the paint is removed, clean the surface with cleaner and water to remove any residue from the nail polish remover. (Note: if the nail polish remover is left on the surface of your vanity for too long, it can cause irreversible damage, so clean it off as soon as possible.)
  4. If the paint splatters remain, it may be necessary to use a paint stripper to remove it. Apply it very carefully, and spot check to avoid any damage.
  5. Once the paint is removed, clean the surface as usual.

Other Tips and Advice

To avoid unnecessary damage, always start with the least invasive removal method possible. From there, gradually work your way up to the paint stripper. Additionally, it’s best to spot test a hidden area of the vanity to ensure the products you’re using won’t discolor or change the finish and surface of your vanity. Finally, the longer you wait to remove the paint the more difficult it will be to get rid of. If possible, clean as you go – it’ll save you time and effort down the line.

The Benefits of an Eco-Friendly Bathroom

Whether you live in California or have heard the drought news from across the country, reducing your water consumption is as important as ever. While cutting back on water usage isn’t mandatory in every city or state, going green in the bathroom can not only save energy and water, but it can lower your monthly utility bills as well. Whether you're completely renovating your bathroom or are looking for ways to reduce your water consumption and be kinder to the environment, there are dozens of eco-friendly bathroom fixtures and products available from some of the most popular manufacturers. Here are some benefits of "going green".

Conserves Water

According to a 2013 report from the United States Environmental Agency (EPA), each person in the United States uses an average of 100 gallons of water each day. Unfortunately, a part of that waste can be contributed to dripping faucets and toilets that don't stop running. If your home is one of the 10% that have water leaks due to old and ineffective toilets and faucets, you should consider an upgrade – one person alone would use 30% less water by upgrading to water-efficient fixtures and appliances. Whether you live in an apartment, a rented home, or a home of your own, it's a good idea to invest in water efficient fixtures.

Saves Money

Since eco-friendly bathroom fixtures and appliances conserve energy and water, homeowners are sure to notice a decrease in their energy and water bills. Traditional showerheads use an average of 2.5 gallons of water per minute, while water-efficient showerheads use just 1.5 (or less) gallons of water per minute. Similarly, replacing your old toilet with a low flow toilet can help the environment and your bank account. Depending on the fixtures or appliances you replace with water-efficient alternatives, you'll notice a decrease of 10-50% on your monthly water and energy bills. Over time, this can quickly add up to thousands saved per year.

Improves Indoor Air Quality

Before the 70s, every product seemed to be coated or made from lead – including faucets, paint, and other bathroom fixtures. If your home was built before the 60s, replacing the fixtures with eco-friendly alternatives will not only conserve water and save money, but it can improve the indoor air quality of your home. In order to truly preserve your home's air quality, switch to eco-friendly cleaners. Major cleaning brands have green cleaning products available that are affordable and easy for the public to get their hands on. Biodegradable and natural products will serve your home's cleaning needs without negatively harming the planet.

Durable & Sustainable

Eco-friendly homes require less effort to maintain since eco-friendly products tend to be more durable. Since installing green bathroom fixtures give you the unique opportunity to conserve our Earth's resources without having to change your lifestyle, you'll be actively protecting natural resources for future generations to come. With constantly dwindling natural resources, homeowners should make every effort to conserve what they can while they still have the chance. Since eco-friendly homes will only continue to grow in popularity, installing eco-friendly fixtures could even help you sell your home more quickly once you decide to put it on the market.

Hard Water vs. Soft Water

Most people assume that water is just water but, in reality, not all water is “created” equal. Typically, water falls into one of two categories: hard and soft. The difference has nothing to do with how it feels, and everything to do with the mineral content. Although both are safe for human consumption, some homeowners prefer soft water over hard water and vice versa. Knowing the difference between the two can save you money while improving your health.

As rainwater falls, it’s naturally soft. However, as water makes its way into our waterways, it picks up minerals, particularly calcium and magnesium. Since hard water contains essential minerals, it is sometimes the preferred drinking water. Although hard water tastes slightly better, soft water is preferred in most households for one reason: hard water is harsh. Hard water is to blame for dingy clothes, dishes with spots, soap scum accumulation, higher energy use, weak lather, and dried out skin.

Identifying Hard/Soft Water

The most common way to determine the hardness of water is by investigating the formation of suds when you use soap. There is less lather formation with hard water; instead, soap scum is produced. Additionally, hard water forms deposits through calcification that can clog plumbing. In swimming pools, a cloudy or milky appearance is a sign of hard water. While hard and soft water test kits are sold at most home improvement stores, the identification of soap suds is the easiest way to evaluate the hardness of your home’s water.

When it comes to hard water, it’s often classified into either permanent or temporary hardness. Hardness that can’t be “removed” via boiling is called permanent hardness. Since water hardness is caused by the presence of bicarbonate materials, boiling hard water can actually remove these materials – with the end result being soft water. If the water hardness can be “boiled out”, the water is classified as being temporarily hard. Note: permanent hardness can still be softened, just not through boiling.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Although soft water may be preferred for household chores, both types of water have their own advantages and disadvantages. Hard water typically has a more pleasant taste, and some people believe it’s better for your health because it provides the body with essential minerals. However, it can leave deposits and corrode pipes over time. Hard water tends to leave behind spots on dishes and in showers and bathtubs, and doesn’t produce much soap lather. In some cases, hard water can prevent water heaters and washing machines from working properly.

While soft water is better for the skin, better for cleaning clothing and dishes, and helps household appliances work more efficiently, the biggest drawback is that it does not taste as good as hard water. If you use tap water for drinking and cooking, expect a salty, flat taste.

How is Hard Water Softened?

There are several ways to reduce the hardness of water, including distillation, reverse osmosis, or, most commonly, the addition of a chemical softener. A high quality water softener system will give you well balanced water for your home. If you think you may have hard water, contact a commercial water filtration and treatment company for more information.