February 22, 2012

Cleaning Week - Day 1 - Sinks & Showers

Happy Hump Day! 

I've received some requests to write about cleaners so the next week will be dedicated to this theme.  I'm still trying out different products and recipes and appreciate any additional information or experiences you would like to share.

Yesterday, 2/21/2012, the U.S. government announced new rules to promote purchases of biobased soap and other supplies.  Although I'm not sure how these rules will be implemented I applaud this effort to move away from synthetic chemical based cleaners and use less (or non) toxic products for cleaning our hands and our public buildings.

Avoiding synthetic cleaners and opting for natural based cleaners is a good choice for avoiding adding harmful substances into your home when cleaning.  There are a number of brands available these days and I like Dr. Bronner's and Seventh Generation brands, which are widely available.  I also really appreciate the transparency these brands espouse by clearly printing all ingredients on their products.  This is something which most 'major' cleaning brands have been reluctant to do and have been taken to court to provide consumers with more information.  Cleaners don't have the same requirements that food products do to disclose their ingredients so it's largely up to voluntary disclosure by producers.

Many cleaners can also be made at home of common ingredients that you probably already have.  The following items can go a long way in cleaning your home easily, cheaply, and safely:
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar (white)
  • Lemons
  • Salt
  • Club Soda
If you need some lemons, don't forget to add your guess to last Saturday's post to get some for free.  Here's where the guesses stand to date.  Add your guess by this Friday, 2/24, for a chance to win. :)

Here is my method for cleaning sinks and showers.


  • Drains
    • Put 1/2 cup of baking soda in drain, add 1/2 cup vinegar.  Wait 10 minutes, then flush with boiling water.
    • If you remember making volcanoes in grade school it's the same bubbling and fizzing action at work to clean out your drain.
  • Sink / shower surface cleaner
    • Make a paste of baking soda and water (approx. 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/8 cup water but varies).  
    • Spread paste over basin and let sit for a couple of minutes.  
    • Scrub with scouring pad (use a cloth / less abrasive pad for porcelain and tile, or a more abrasive scrubber for stainless steel).  
    • Rinse with water.  
    • If the basin looks a little filmy, use a little vinegar to run over the basin for a clear finish.
Hopefully these recipes work well for you!


On a somewhat related note, I read James Altrucher's posts pretty regularly and really liked today's post on how to be more productive / positive.  In my efforts to be more healthy, be greener, etc. it's often easy to get discouraged.  So many small steps seem like a meaningless drop in the bucket - I put a banana peel in the compost bin and then walk out to the street and see a barrel of toxic waste being poured into the gutter, for example.

This post is a good reminder that there are endless negative thoughts we can think but ultimately they won't do much for us other than being a distraction to the good we can do.

No one is completely perfect, and no one is completely evil.  We're all flawed and learning as we go, trying to make it through life.  Our problems, and their solutions, are created by the collective 'us' and what the future is like will be decided by the accumulation of all our daily choices and actions.  A good act or decision, regardless of scope or size, is still a good act.  I think it's a good reminder and motivator to remember that doing the right thing in small ways can make a big impact over time.


  1. Any suggestions for cleaning floors? Wood and tile?

  2. Thanks for the question / suggestion Rico. I'll be sure to cover this in a post(s).

  3. I use Dr. Bronners and Seventh Generation too. Love them both and you can probably use on the floors as well. As a heads up, I bought the 7th Gen - All Purpose with Thyme scent since the Free & Clear was not available. That scent was harsh!! I'll not use anything but Free & Clear from now on. It's so nice to clean the shower and not need a face mask. :) - My next project is to find a suitable homemade fruit & veggie wash. I hear grape seed extract is a good ingredient but I haven't researched. Maybe you can share your findings?
    ~ Peace