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Bathroom Cleaning Myths

Otherwise Known as “Advertising”

We’ve all been suckered into buying something we were convinced would be the answer to our cleaning woes. An ad appears during our favorite TV show and the carefully selected words promise near miraculous results for arguably the worst job in the house, the bathroom. Let’s take a fun moment and pick these commercials apart.

Ads versus Reality

An animation of fierce bottles spray themselves into a tub while an army of mean-looking bubbles scours every inch in record time followed by starbursts and happy music. A deep and authoritative voice claims that this product does all the work for you!

First of all…HAHAHAHA!

Clearly, the people who came up with this concept have never cleaned a dirty bathtub…like ever. There’s a reason nobody wants to do it. Who believes a bunch of cartoon cleaning bubbles are going to come save the day? The point of these ads have always baffled me.

As a professional cleaner, I can tell you the reality is…unless you don’t actually use your tub or shower, cleaning it will take some scrubbing on your part. Even if the product of choice says it can dissolve soap scum on contact (nothing will), it still needs to be wiped off and rinsed. And if you’ve avoided the chore, like many do, you may end up settling for “less than fully clean” until it becomes a behemoth and maybe even a health issue.

You’re Thinking About Bleach Now, Amirite?

How did I know that? Because of “advertising”.

Many believe that when the mold invades the bathroom from overuse and under-cleaning, a solid blast of bleach will kill it, and all will be safe again. Enter tweeting birds and sparkles. This is as conditioned into our minds as driving on the right side of the road is. It’s automatic.

But here’s the truth. Not only does bleach NOT kill mold well, it only bleaches it, leaving us to consider it gone when it’s not. To be fair, it does kill some mold, but only on non-porous surfaces (think tub, sink, toilet). It is ineffective on grout, caulking, drywall, wood and any other porous area. And I don’t have to tell you about the fumes…super-duper toxic my friends. It’s not earth-friendly in any way, shape, or form.

You know what keeps mold from growing? Air.

Mold grows and thrives in stagnant moist environments like… bathrooms. Those annoying vent fans are there for more than just odor eradication. No fan? Open the window during or after a hot steamy shower or bath. There should be one or the other, as required by building codes. Older homes may be grandfathered in but check with your local code enforcement office.

If you can’t stand the sound of your bathroom fan or maybe the window is painted shut, drying out the shower and/or tub after everyone is done (every day!) will also be a non-toxic way of keeping things clean, dry and mold-free.

More Reality

The irony of most bathroom mold and mildew cleaners is that if you look at the instructions (you should anyway), they read: “use only in a well-ventilated area” and then proceeds onto the emergency procedures for contact with skin, eyes, lungs, or accidental ingestion. BTW, if you had a “well ventilated area”, you wouldn’t need a mold and mildew cleaner.

But it’s not just the cleaners for the bathroom that are toxic, the products in the bathroom that linger in the air as well. Everyone’s hair care products (shampoo, conditioner, detangler, styling products, hair spray, etc.), soaps and body washes, deodorants, colognes, and perfumes, lotions, and so forth mix with the moisture in the air and make keeping it clean a nightmare, let alone breathing.

Real Scrubby Bubbles

Next time you need to clean your tub (I know…it sucks), use baking soda and vinegar instead! Spray the tub with a 1:1 diluted vinegar and water spray. Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda around the ring or where soap scum tends to gather…the drain and faucet end. Allow those bubbles to do their work (about a minute), then use a blue scrubby sponge (not green…green sponges are bad!) to scrub. Rinse thoroughly, feel around for sticky areas, and repeat if necessary.

The abrasive side of your sponge will be pretty gummy. It can be rinsed off, but… Here’s some food for thought…that’s what you are putting on your skin when you shower.

Please feel free to add your thoughtful comments or questions below!

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