Clean like Magic, the Safe Way: Limit Your Use of Harsh Chemical Cleaners

If you’d like to limit the harsh and caustic cleaners you use to clean your bathroom, here are some tips and suggestions. While Dawn dishwashing liquid is not entirely “green” (not completely chemical free) these suggestions have less impact on septic systems and ground water than harsh chemical cleaners do.

Bathroom sinks, tubs, showers, and toilets are made from vitreous china, porcelain enamel, or acrylic. Dishwashing liquid will clean all of these surfaces wonderfully; compare them to the kitchen items you wash with dishwashing liquid. Keep used plastic scrubbers from the kitchen and use them in the bathroom to get rid of difficult spots or stains. The original blue Dawn dishwashing liquid was formulated to break down grease and leave dishes and pans shiny and clean, and it will do the same for bathroom fixtures.

A “green” trick to clean chrome faucets and fixtures is to use white vinegar. The soap residue that collects on handles and spouts is unsightly and unsanitary. You can soften and remove it easily by soaking a paper towel or cotton cloth with white vinegar, and then wrapping it around the scummy area. Let it sit for about 10 minutes. When you remove the vinegar cloth, the soap scum should be soft and easy to wipe away. This vinegar method is NOT to be used for brass or colored fixtures, because the acid will cause damage to the finish.

If your chrome shower head seems clogged with hard water deposits, fill a small plastic baggie with about 1/2 to 1 cup of vinegar. Slip the baggie over the showerhead so that the shower openings are submerged in the vinegar, and tie the baggie to the shower head. Leave the vinegar baggie in place for about 10 minutes. When you remove the baggie, turn on the shower and let it run for a minute or so to rinse the vinegar. The hard water deposits will be dissolved and your showerhead will run freely again.

Another magic trick with vinegar is to use it in your bathroom drains. Simply pour about 1 cup of vinegar into each drain and allow it to sit for 10 minutes. Rinse with hot water. Vinegar will soften the soap gunk in the drain pipes and let it rinse away safely. Use vinegar to clean your drains about every 3-4 weeks. It is so much safer than commercial drain openers.

If you have noticed that the flush of your toilet is not as fast as it once was, it could be from hard water deposits. Under the rim of the bowl are a series of holes. These are angled and the tank water whooshes through them to get the spin on the flushing water. If the holes are becoming plugged with hard water deposits, the water flow will be compromised. Turn off the water supply to your toilet, and then flush the clean bowl. You want the tank to be empty. Press the flush lever to open the flapper at the bottom of the tank. Pour some vinegar directly into the flow hole under the flapper until you see it run through the holes under the rim. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, then pour a little more vinegar through. Repeat this until you see some dissolved deposits run through with the vinegar. You can help this process along by using a wire to poke under the rim into each flow hole and loosen the deposits, or just scrubbing with a brush will also help. Turn the water supply back on and let the tank refill.

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