Posted on May 12, 2011 by
At the risk of making every post I write for The Greenists a “Guess what ELSE you can do with vinegar?!” post, I’ve got one more for you. Seriously, people, it is a wonder substance. Can I help it if it’s a 200-trick pony? (Answer: I cannot. So let’s go with it, my friends.)
This time I’m taking it into my bathroom. My shower, specifically. Some of you know I spent a rather sizable chunk of the first quarter of 2010 without a usable shower in my home. It was for a good cause, because at the end of it, in place of the rusting metal tiles that I’d resorted to duct taping back on the wall as they came unglued (I wish I were kidding. It wasn’t pretty, folks), I had a gorgeous sparkling white tiled (fully waterproof!) shower that I’m no longer embarrassed to let guests see.
The beauty of a brand-new shower is that it looks clean even without cleaning it for a really, really long time. The drawback is that it tempts lazy people like me not to clean it for a really, really long time. Whether it’s reasonable or not, I’ve grown convinced that a generous application of daily shower spray after every use is a free pass not to scrub my new shower properly for several weeks on end. Which is all good and fine except that I am tired of buying plastic refill bottles of Method’s ylang ylang-scented shower spray. I’ve been on this beat long enough to know that surely I could make my own, right? Right. So I asked my cleaning consultant/doctor/navigator/recipe guru/general all-purpose resource (a.k.a., The Google) to tell me how.
As with most make-it-yourself ventures, the Internet had varying views on the best plan of attack. Even after quickly eliminating all formulas involving bleach and ammonia and other nasty things Greenists try to avoid, I was still left with a handful of recipes containing mostly the same ingredients in widely differing ratios. I decided to place faith in the law of averages and round the measures out somewhere in the middle. That meant the process for my semi-improvised shower-cleaning concoction went something like this:
- Find a large-ish spray bottle. (Conveniently, I had a recently emptied all-purpose cleaner bottle that was bound for the recycling bin, which worked out great for me.)
- Fill it about 1/3 full of vinegar. (Maybe a little less. Rumor has it full-strength vinegar can break down your caulk, so you don’t want to use too much, but one recipe I read called for half and half vinegar to water ratios, so if you keep it lower than that, I think you should be fine.)
- Add a tablespoon or two of liquid dish soap or a tablespoon of dishwasher rinse aid. (Some of the recipes I found called for the former while others used the latter. I decided to get crazy and use both. I know!—I’m a wild woman. Don’t fence me in, folks.)
- Fill the rest of the bottle with warm water and shake to combine. Then spray it like any other daily shower spray each time you towel off.
As usual, if the smell of vinegar bothers you, you can add a few drops of essential oil to the mix. I love the smell of my Seventh Generation Lavender & Mint dish liquid, and for me, that canceled out the vinegar scent sufficiently.
So. How does it work? Pretty well, I’d say! I’ve been using my home-made shower spray for several weeks now, and before I cleaned my shower for real last Saturday (by which I mean with a foamy, soap scum busting spray and a scrubby thing—I do clean hard core-ish on occasion, at least), I rubbed my finger along the inside of my tub and shower walls to check for the usual white powdery soap residue, and really only very faint traces of it were visible. I’d not only call that a success; I’d call it validation and verified proof that my “Shower spray = free pass to lazy, sporadic cleaning” rationale is fully justified. Hooray!
Now if only vinegar and eight seconds of my time could mow my lawn for me. Sadly, that’s one trick I think this pony can’t do.