healthy and affordable alternatives for cleaning bathrooms?


Hello,
We are searching for health-friendly ways of cleaning the bathroom. Chlorine bleach is effective and cheap, but not good for the lungs. The local hippie store has some Super-Dee-Doo-Dah that is organically blessed by a certified Deadhead -- however, it is out of our price range.
Anybody got something that is effective, healthy, and cheap?
Thank you!
Ted Shoemaker
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On Sat, 04 Aug 2007 10:38:26 -0700, " snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com"

Keeping a bathroom clean and mildew free is easy. I use household bleach one a week to clean and sanitize the toilet--I don't see a better treatment than this, and it doesn't produce a lot of fumes (provided you keep the ammonia away). But, for all the other surfaces, you can use white vinegar or household ammonia. The shower/tub needs special attention--you can keep this clean and shining by using an old terry bath towel to dry all surfaces after each use, no after-shower sprays needed. A powerful bathroom fan (in humid climates) on a wall timer will help dry your bathroom quickly, prevent mildew/mold, and save energy by turning off the fan after 15-30 minutes. I like to use a little dilute ammonia water to wipe counters and floor. Using ammonia on some floors will dull them, in that case you can use dilute white vinegar to clean the floor. Occasionally you may need a foaming bathroom cleaner that removes tough soap scum--I buy the $1 Bissell pressurized cans at Big Lots. A paper towel wet with vinegar will remove crust buildup around fixtures by applying the wet towel for a couple hours, then rinsing with cool water.
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The fumes from chlorine bleach are giving us problems. No, we're not mixing it with anything. The bleach itself is rough on some people's lungs.
What about oxygen bleach? Does that clean and disinfect well?
Ted Shoemaker
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wrote:

yes, it is. why are you using it?
bleach has a couple of things it does well in very small quantities: it can whiten porous surfaces (including fabric, but NOT including non-porous bathroom surfaces such as toilets); it will kill mould (but unless your bathroom's mouldy, using it in a bathroom is just nonsensical - and if your bathroom IS mouldy, you should find the problem is not one of a weekly kind if you get rid of it outright in the first place); and lastly, it will "kill germs" - however, one feature of things like toilets is that people will insist on pooing in them - as a result, they can be a bit germy (although less than you think), but unless you intend eating your dinner out of it, it doesn't present a problem of any kind.
bathrooms mainly need physical cleaning, to get rid of watermarks, soap scum, dust, hairs, that slimy stuff that rings the tap, etc. bleach doesn't help with this. it's physical action that does the work. cream cleanser, or baking soda, or just a good scourer provide the oomph to lift up the solids to rinse them away.

yeah, but again, you don't need it, and it still smells awful, and it won't help.
just use a bit of either ordinary bathroom cleaner (and you only need a bit) or any of the standard other things (baking soda, etc) and a bit of elbow grease. most of the "germs" disappear right along with the solids they were living within, and your bathroom's clean, and you haven't given yourself or the water downstream any worries. the reality of bathrooms is that it's incidental solids that make it look dirty - there's no outrageous quota of "germs" in there waiting to kill you. clean up the solids & the bathroom is clean.
bleach (in a proportion of about 5% or less) is the fastest thing to deal with mould or mildew (say on ceilings or grout.) but as a general "cleaner", it just does not rate. :-) kylie

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On Mon, 06 Aug 2007 15:15:55 -0700, " snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com"

Oxygen bleach may remove stains but not a good disinfectant. You can use iodine (can stain some materials) or isopropyl alcohol to disinfect.
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Phisherman wrote:

If you put a drop of contaminated water into a test tube of bleach solution, in many cases the microbes will be dead in an hour. Bleach still has serious drawbacks for household cleaning.
1. When wiped over a surface, it may not kill in the time available. 2. Soil on the surface may neutralize it. 3. It's not a good cleaner, so dirt on the surface may protect microbes. 4. It has trouble penetrating the cell walls of some kinds of microbes. 5. It is not effective against /giardia lamblia/ or /cryptosporidium/. 6. It is caustic to eyes, nose, skin, and clothes.
In a pool, bleach must disinfect quickly to protect health. They make it work fast by adding a chemical to adjust the pH. This also makes it less caustic.
Baking soda is sold under different brand names to adjust the pH in pools. A dilute mixture of bleach and baking soda in water is very effective for cleaning and disinfecting citrus fruit.
One company has three patents on a chemical sold to adjust pH and stop algae in pools. That chemical is mostly borax. They're the ones who patented using it in a swimming pool.
Borax in laundry detergent works very well with bleach in a washing machine. It's a very good buffer, a good cleaner, and a bacteriostat/fungistat. That means it will help keep a surface sanitary after you have cleaned.
Borax alone is a pretty good cleaner. It can make a bleach solution less caustic and more effective.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

I keep a shaker of baking soda in the bathroom. My scouring powder stays on the shelf because baking soda works better.
Borax is cheap and only about as toxic as table salt. You add only a little to water because only a little will dissolve. It helps clean and stop the growth of mildew and bacteria.
Adding equal measures of bleach and baking soda to water makes a better cleaner and disinfectant than just bleach. It's also milder to the skin and nose.
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On Sat, 04 Aug 2007 10:38:26 -0700, " snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com"

Yes, a chlorine-based bleach solution meets two of those requirements, and baking soda is a great cleaner for bathroom surfaces.
Chlorine bleach is a worthless cleaner, but a mighty fine disinfectant. You have to remove any organic matter before applying the bleach solution. At the concentration needed for disinfection, in a ten-minute contact period, a solution of about 1:32 is sufficient--and there will be virtually no chlorine smell.
Speaking of chlorine smell, Phiserman said, "I don't see a better treatment than this, and it doesn't produce a lot of fumes (provided you keep the ammonia away)." People around swimming pools often complain about the chlorine smell, but they are not smelling chlorine: they are smelling *chloramines*. Those are compounds containing chlorine and amines--ammonia. And guess where that ammonia comes from. :-)
________________________ Whatever it takes.
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