Better than the nasty chemicals

Homemade Natural Sink and Shower Cleanser

by Carissa Carrington

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We are fortunate to have two bathrooms, with a glass-walled shower downstairs. Since it is used exclusively by my two teens, I told them when we moved in that they would be responsible for keeping it clean. I provided a bottle of cleaner, spray foam that changes color, special brush heads to clean the toilet without having to touch anything but the handle, and even an outrageously expensive bottle of bleach based cleaner, "guaranteed" to keep your bathroom sparkling clean.

You guessed it; the bathroom is rarely cleaned and occasionally looks like a science experiment gone horribly wrong. I usually break down and clean it when I just can't stand the sight. A few weeks ago, I noticed a distressingly gross orange scum coating the shower walls and floor. I sprayed a cleaner, let it sit for a moment, and then tried wiping it down. The scum stubbornly refused to budge.

Looking around, I noticed several tubes of almost empty toothpaste. I grabbed a sponge with a scratchy side and put a line of toothpaste down the middle. Then I sprinkled some baking soda over it. With just a little scrubbing, the scum came off and the glass looked brand new! Plus it had a great minty smell. The fresh scent lingered for days. The best part is that the shower is still sparkling with no sign of discoloration.

I also used my homemade cleaner on the sink and the toilet, which were none too clean to start with. It also worked great and didn't take much effort. I used up a couple of ends of toothpaste, cleaned the entire bathroom, and cleared some of the clutter from the cabinet.

Baking soda is one of the most versatile and economical cleaners, and it is very safe for the environment, your family, and your pets. The sponges are inexpensive as well and are cheap enough to be thrown away after a few uses, so germs don't build up. Using coupons and watching for sales, you can often find toothpaste for free or very little.

A lot of people are trying to get away from the harsh chemicals that crowd the stores' shelves in the cleaning aisle. Most of the ingredients are unpronounceable, and some even contain known agents that can cause cancer or other serious conditions. Even a trace amount is too much if it puts our families at risk. It makes you stop and think about all the chemicals that are washing down the drains, eventually making their way into the water supply.

Now I don't expect to make a mint from my homemade toothpaste and baking soda cleaner, but it was very easy and most people already have the ingredients in their home. This is just an example of thinking outside the box and trying different combinations to make natural cleaners that get the job done, and leave your shower stall sparkling.

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