Thursday, February 27, 2014

Cleaning Products: Chemicals Vs Vinegar, Baking Soda

It seems everywhere you turn on the internet, someone is advocating natural cleaning supplies, from those hippie blogs to Martha Stewart. Two of the main suggestions is to use vinegar or baking soda. Here are my thoughts after months of testing:

White Vinegar

I'm all for the power of white vinegar. It is great for cleaning the fridge and kitchen counters (food safe) and it makes a great fabric softener in the laundry. It even helps keep my white bed linens white. I have even simmered it to deodorize my apartment after a hidden orange went bad. White vinegar is awesome in so many ways.

However, it is not awesome for cleaning white bathrooms. I have tried scrubbing the shower tiles, grout, and caulk with a mixture of vinegar and water, and then just vinegar. The vinegar worked fine on the tile; the soap scum came off easily. The grout was ok, but it never achieved that sparkling clean look Martha says you need. The caulk, however, was terrible. I could never get the mildew spots to go away by using vinegar.

Baking Soda

Baking soda really works for me when there is a really grimy spot. I put a little bit of baking soda on my scrubbing toothbrush and attack. The baking soda is great for adding a bit more power to your scrub. I found it to be a particularly effective method for cleaning around the sink faucet where things build up.

Baking soda did not improve the mildew spots on the tub caulking. I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed, and finally gave up. Perhaps this is a Florida issue; these less harsh cleaning methods may work in less humid climates where Martha lives. I succumbed to the chemical cleaning products


Buy tilex and possibly scrubbing bubbles. You can use the natural solutions like vinegar and baking soda in your kitchen where the grime is less serious, but you will want the chemicals when it comes to the bathroom or any other high humidity space. After spraying my tub and shower down with tilex just once, the mildew spots disappeared. I didn't have to scrub. All I did was spray and walk away, which amusing myself with rhymes apparently.

The caulk is now back to white, as is the grout, thanks to the easy to apply tilex. Scrubbing bubbles makes cleaning the tub much faster than vinegar or baking soda. Since I despise cleaning AND mildew, I will be sticking with my bathroom chemicals.

no mildew! thanks, tilex! go back to the kitchen, vinegar and baking soda!

Do any of y'all use less harsh methods of cleaning? Let us know what works for you! And no, I won't be sharing a picture of my mildew spots; while this is real life here at Posh Purpose, there are certain limits to what we deem appropriate photographic evidence.