Monday, March 17, 2008
Everyone seems to be afraid of bathroom germs. After all, we deposit bodily excretions in the toilet (the gentlemen of our acquaintance probably sprinkle a bit on the floor too). We brush our germy teeth and spit into the wash basin. We shed dead skin cells plus the accumulated dirt and grime of the day onto the floor of our shower where it then flows down into the dark and dank drain. The moist humid air created from shower usage gathers on the ceiling and in the crevices of our bathroom tile making a perfect home for mildew and mold. It's no wonder we view the bathroom as a large and disgusting bacteria or fungus, reaching out to grab us with imagined germy tentacles. So, armed with a battalion of incredibly toxic cleaners we do battle on a daily basis to slay the demon bacteria. The problem is that while we are busy killing bacteria and fungus, we are also creating a toxic environment for ourselves and our families. The solution then, is to find a safer way to keep the bathroom space clean and fresh. The baking soda and salt mixture that I mentioned in my previous posting is wonderful to scrub tubs, sinks and toilets. Salt has long been known to be a natural antiseptic and disinfectant. Remember gargling with salt for a sore throat or after oral surgery? If you have non-porcelain sinks and / or tubs, a paste of borax (found in the laundry section) and baking soda with a little spritz of vegetable based soap will do a great job of cleaning. Distilled white vinegar in water with a few drops of one or more of the known antibacterial essential oils (tea tree, lavender, thyme and rosemary) is good to spray on toilet seats and door handles. To clean your drains, pour a cup or two of vinegar down them once or twice a week. If they seem a bit sluggish, pour some baking soda down the drain and follow with vinegar. A lot of fizzling will occur and some gunky looking stuff might bubble out. Follow with very hot water 10 minutes later. Then scrub your sink with your baking soda / salt mixture. For mildew and other fungal growth, try hydrogen peroxide, a paste of water and borax or washing soda (also available in the laundry aisle) or 100 proof alcohol. Remember to wear rubber gloves you have designated only for bathroom cleaning. Even though these ingredients are environmentally sound, they can still irritate your skin if exposed over any length of time.