My daughter loves to lick windows. She loves to eat raisins off the floor. She loves to drink her bath water. And she loves to stick her hands in her mouth. These hands have touched just about every surface in the house. From what I know about babies and toddlers, she’s not alone.
You may find this strange, but I worry more about the toxic cleaning chemicals that she’s ingesting from these surfaces than the germs I’ve killed with these toxic cleaning chemicals. Toxic cleaning chemicals mess up your hormones and can give you cancer. These toxic cleaning chemical companies (which shall remain nameless but I’m sure you know which ones I’m talking about) like to make you believe through their advertising that only their product will really kill germs. Very sneakily they’re also teaching our society that it is crucial to completely sterilize all surfaces in your house. This is not only unnatural, it is unnecessary, because living in such a sterile environment negates the body’s need to build antibodies and immunity against allergens. Germs give you a bug or a cold, but ultimately build your immune system. They like to make us believe that any natural cleaner doesn’t really do the job. But that’s the message that makes them millions of dollars and helps them monopolize the industry, doesn’t it?
Is there a way to clean my surfaces really well with ingredients that will not harm my daughter’s little developing organs when she sticks her hands in her mouth? Or drinks the bath water (yuck). These big companies like to make you believe there isn’t. But surprise surprise! They’re wrong. Soap and hot water are sufficient for cleaning 99% of the surfaces in your house. I think that the only exceptions are the toilet (feces, etc) and the kitchen sink (salmonella, etc). There ARE non-toxic ingredients that do a great job there. And you probably have them in your pantry or medicine cabinet:
- Distilled white vinegar
- Hydrogen Peroxide (3%)
- Lemon essential oil (optional)
- Baking Soda
- Cleaning materials: a bowl (with hot water), a sponge, a washcloth, and a toilet brush.
Distilled white vinegar and hydrogen peroxide both kill many germs when used alone, although not enough to truly disinfect a surface. When used together, they’re all you need. Because of this fact, a common mistake is to simply mix the two substances in a bottle and use them as a cleaning agent. Mixing the two, however, renders them both useless. They need to be used separately, the first being wiped or washed away before the second is applied. Keep both of them in a bottle with a spray nozzle. This just makes it easier to apply. Anytime you use the vinegar, you want to let it sit for 5 minutes to give it time to do it work. For the hydrogen peroxide, you need a dark bottle that does not allow light in. I use the bottle it came in and replace the lid with a spray nozzle. I add 20 drops of lemon essential oil (which is antimicrobial) to every 8 oz of hydrogen peroxide. Because using the hydrogen peroxide is the last step, it leaves the bathroom smelling nice and citrusy (not like vinegar).
Baking soda allows for some great scrubbing, neutralizes odors, and reacts with the vinegar creating a foam that lifts dirt, soap scum, and stains. I keep it in a glass container with some holes poked in the top for easy sprinkling.
So only for my toilet will I use all three of these ingredients. For the tub, sink, floor, and mirror, I use one or two of these three (because I’m all about keeping it simple and not spending more than 15 minutes cleaning my bathroom!)
FOR THE TOILET:
Spray liberally with vinegar and let sit for 5 minutes (you can clean the tub while you wait!) sprinkle with baking soda. Wet a sponge and scrub well. Wipe clean with hot water. Now, spray with the hydrogen peroxide, and wipe clean again. For the toilet bowl, pour in ½ cup of vinegar and ½ cup of baking soda. Let sit for 5 minutes. Clean with a toilet brush, and flush.
FOR THE SINK and TUB:
Spray liberally with vinegar and let sit for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with baking soda. Dip a sponge in hot water and scrub well. Rinse or wipe clean with hot water.
FOR THE COUNTERTOP:
If you have marble countertops (or floors, or any other surface) DO NOT use vinegar! It can stain marble. Wet surface, sprinkle with baking soda, scrub, and wipe. Spray with hydrogen peroxide, wet a sponge with hot water, and wipe clean.
FOR THE MIRROR:
I have found that hydrogen peroxide is less likely to leave streaks than vinegar. So, I spray the mirror with hydrogen peroxide, and wipe with a piece of newspaper or paper towel.
FOR THE FLOOR:
Vacuum. Spray with hydrogen peroxide, scrub, and wipe clean!
And there you have it! A clean bathroom with only 3 ingredients.
How do you clean your bathroom?