My toxicity wake-up call
My wake-up call came when I heard that the air inside my home is most likely more polluted than the air outside.
Scary! Appalling, even! Because of this, being the rule-follower that I am, I applied this newfound knowledge to quickly detoxifying my home. Since we have young children, whose bones and organs are still developing, I especially want to keep my home as toxin-free as possible. If this sounds overwhelming to you, please note that I make these changes in baby steps – time and money don’t allow for an overnight toxin-free home. Cleaning with toxin-free chemicals is a great starting baby step. They are cheap and easy to come by.
Scroll down for a VERY detailed list on deep-cleaning your bathroom without nasty chemicals. In fact, everything I use is so non-toxic, it could be put into your mouth.
I have created a printable checklist for you to print and laminate to keep in the bathroom for cleaning days. Be sure to read through this article for specifics, as I’ve made more detailed notes about cleaning and non-toxic chemicals, the checklist is just a cheat-sheet.
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My non-toxic disinfecting process
The one-two punch of hydrogen peroxide and white vinegar will kill most any germ. It does take a few minutes to do the job, however. Here is how I do a deep disinfecting in my bathroom with these two germ-fighters:
I screw a spray bottle top directly to a hydrogen peroxide bottle. Hydrogen peroxide should not be in contact with the light, or it will lose its disinfecting power, so don’t transfer it to a different bottle. Use the brown bottle it comes in.
I pour vinegar straight into a spray bottle.
For disinfecting, I spray hydrogen peroxide, immediately follow by vinegar spray, and allow them to sit for several minutes (or even dry on the surface). Then I will wipe down and polish with a microfiber cloth.
Caution: Vinegar *can* etch some surfaces (like the super-cheap laminate counter that was in my kitchen when we moved into our house…oops). I recommend doing a little spot test, or researching the type of counter in your bathroom before doing a heavy-duty spray of straight vinegar.
How to deep clean your bathroom without nasty chemicals
Step 1: Declutter your bathroom
- Grab a bag or the trash can.
- Launder all used towels and bathmats.
- Remove shower curtain and launder.
- Empty all cabinets and drawers, one at a time. (Don’t do more than one at a time, you might get it all out and not have time to put it away!)
- Clean the inside of the cabinet / cupboard with soapy water or a vinegar spray and a microfiber cloth.
- Declutter items you don’t need. Toss expired meds. Organize your cupboard.
- Empty the trash and clean the trash can (outside if it’s summertime!)
Step 2: Spray and scrub your bathroom
- Clean the light fixtures with a wet rag. The dust cakes onto them in the bathroom because of the steam, so the wet rag is a must.
- Wash walls and trim (top to bottom) with a wet microfiber rag. Spray on a half-water, half-vinegar solution if there is visible dirt.
- Wash the ceiling with a damp microfiber rag and a half-water, half-vinegar solution. (This could be a once-per-year task.)
- Wash doors, knobs and switch plates.
- Pre-clean the toilet, open shelving, countertop and sinks by taking items off them and dusting with a damp microfiber cloth, before disinfecting. This will get the hair and dust off so you’re not just rubbing it around! Plus disinfectant doesn’t actually work properly if you are applying it over dirt, dust, or grime.
- Spray outside of cabinets with a vinegar spray, and wash with a wet microfiber cloth.
- Clean the tub / shower with your microfiber rag, then spray with a non-toxic disinfecting spray like hydrogen peroxide, let it sit for a few minutes while you clean something else. (Check out housewifehowtos.com for a homemade soap scum remover recipe.) Sprinkle baking soda over the tub and handles, then use a green scouring pad to clean. Follow by spraying a vinegar spray on the tub to dissolve the baking soda, and wash everything down the drain. Pour a kettle of boiling water down the tub drain. After it has cooled, open the drain and clean out the fun stuff inside.
- Remove the toilet seat, preclean with your wet microfiber rag. Spray the toilet and bowl with hydrogen peroxide, follow with vinegar, let it sit a few minutes.
- Clean the outside of the toilet with a dry microfiber cloth. (Why dry? Because you are cleaning using the disinfectant. The dry cloth is better at polishing the surfaces as you go, and better about not spreading germs around.) Clean around the bolts. Replace the seat and don’t forget to clean it as well. Use your toilet brush to scrub the inside, not forgetting under the rim. Does your toilet brush need to be replaced? I pour a little hydrogen peroxide in the toilet brush holder to keep it clean.
- Spray countertops and sink(s) with hydrogen peroxide followed by straight vinegar and let sit. (If you are worried the vinegar might etch the countertop, you might want to look for alternatives or dilute your vinegar. It is most powerfully an antibacterial agent in it’s pure form though.) Let the cleaners dry on the surfaces or sit for several minutes. Go back and wipe with a microfiber rag. If you have grout, spray with soapy water, sprinkle with baking soda, and scrub with a toothbrush.
- Wash the mirror and any other glass surfaces. I use a spray bottle filled with water and two drops of dishsoap, with a surgical huck cloth.
- Take out window screens and wash them. Wash the windows and window sills.
- Wipe trinkets on shelves and counter.
- Wash floor registers / vent covers / toilet paper holder with a microfiber rag and soapy water or your vinegar spray.
- Remove fan cover and clean with warm soapy water, wipe the fan blades with a dry cloth before replacing the fan cover.
- Sweep and scrub the floor. This is the time to get down on your hands and knees and scrub, scrub, scrub! A microfiber cloth with your floor cleaner should work just fine. Get into the corners, edges, and behind the toilet, clean out that grime.
- Pour vinegar into a plastic sandwich bag and rubber-band it around the shower head for a few hours or overnight to break down hard water deposits.
- Pour a kettle of boiling water down each drain to clear grime buildup and kill bacteria.
Step 3: Repairs or Improvements
- Touch up paint where there are nicks or marks that don’t wipe off.
- Reseal grout lines if necessary.
- Check for caulk that needs replacing, especially around the tub rim and base.
- Check knobs and handles and tighten if necessary.
- Check for mildew or mold around the tub and shower
- Replace shower curtain liner, if necessary
- Is the toilet in working order? If not, mark down what needs to be replaced on your to-do list.
- Are there any small updates needed? Maybe a new toilet paper holder, or a new bath mat, light fixtures that don’t work well? Put them on your to-do list or home maintenance list.
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