Cleaning the shower is about as much fun as cleaning the oven. That is probably why we all put it off until it is absolutely necessary. Successfully completing this tedious chore does not mean you have to resort to the use of potentially toxic chemicals in your bathroom.
On average, household cleaners like the shower cleaning agents sold at big box stores, contain approximately 62 different toxic chemicals. Exposure to the noxious fumes and artificial fragrances (regularly and over time) could cause reproductive disorders, asthma, neurotoxicity, and hormone disruption.
The makers of chemical cleaners claim that the unregulated toxic ingredients in their products will not make you sick. But, is really is impossible to measure the potential risk of regular exposure over many years or what the combination of chemicals from random cleaners could mean for your health.
The body’s response to some chemicals used in shower and other common household cleaners can be rather immediate. Acute exposure can cause skin burns and headaches from contact or fumes.
A condition known as “toxic burden” could result when the body has experienced chronic exposure to various chemicals that are stored in the tissue at any one time.
Table of Contents:
Chemicals In My Store-Bought Shower Cleaners
- Triclosan – This synthetic agent can increase the growth of potentially harmful and drug-resistant bacteria. It is found in many antibacterial hand lotions, and liquid dishwashing soap.
- Quarternary Ammonium Compounds or “QUATS” – These chemical agents are often found in common household cleaners that are also noted as being antibacterial in nature, especially fabric softener sheets and liquid. Quats can cause asthma to develop, the enhanced breeding of antibiotic resistant types of bacteria and cause skin irritation.
- Ammonia – This chemical cleaning agent is frequently found in bathroom and glass cleaners, as well as in jewelry cleaners. Extended exposure to ammonia could cause both breathing and lung problems, especially in the elderly and in asthma sufferers.
- Phthalates – This chemical compound is typically found in both air fresheners, common household cleaners, as well as toilet paper. Due to proprietary laws, it would be rare for manufacturers to include phthalates in ingredient listings on the product label. It may reduce the sperm count of men who either have skin contact with the cleaner, or who merely inhale it when sprayed.
- 2-Butoxyethanol – This is a base ingredient in an array of multi-purpose household cleaners, window cleaners, and kitchen cleaners. The chemical compound can cause high levels of glycol ethers that could lead to severe liver and kidney damage, narcosis, and pulmonary edema, as well as a general sore throat when inhaled. When used in an enclosed space with poor ventilation, like some bathrooms, the 2-butoxyethanol inhaled could surpass the EPA workplace safety standard levels.
- Sodium Hydroxide – Many commercially manufactured drain cleaners and oven cleaners contain this chemical agent that is also commonly referred to as “lye”. It is corrosive, and may cause severe burns when it touches the skin or gets in the eyes. Simply inhaling sodium hydroxide can cause a sore throat that will last up to a week in some cases.
- Chlorine – In addition to swimming pool cleaners, chlorine is also commonly used in mildew removers, toilet cleaners, urban municipal tap water, and laundry whitening agents. It can cause chronic thyroid disruption and respiratory problems when exposure is acute.
Don’t Be Lured By ‘Greenwashing’
Just because a product has the words “green,” “biodegradable,” or “natural” on the label, that does not mean that it is non-toxic or even low-tox.
Read the fine print, which might detail how many days it takes for the cleaning product to biodegrade – taking 3 to 5 days is a whole lot longer that immediately after use.
Sometimes, greenwashed products make a great sounding claim, like being CFC-free without explaining what that means, which may not be much of anything since CFCs are already legally banned.
Without further ado, let’s see some natural shower cleaner recipes you can try today.
Daily Cleaning Spray
This is the easiest and cheapest recipe you can make.
Simply pour equal parts of water and distilled white vinegar into a squirt bottle, and spray the shower each time you get out to prevent film and scum build up. It will also prevent the growth of potentially harmful bacteria.
The vinegar smell will dissipate in about 10 minutes. If the scent bothers you too much, add in a few drops of essential oil – lemon is recommended for a clean and fresh scent.
Weekly Cleaning Paste with Baking Soda and Dish Soap
Combine up to two cups of baking soda, three or four squirts of liquid dish soap, and a little bit of water to make a scouring paste. The water is just to get the paste-like consistency.
This natural low-tox paste will break up oils, grease, and grime that builds up in-between thorough cleanings once or twice a month.
Usage: rub the scouring paste on with a sponger or stiff-bristled brush, then turn on the shower to rinse it away after light scrubbing.
After photo of shower area that has been treated with the paste. I only let the paste settle on the area for roughly five to seven minutes.
I wiped it maybe twice, taking about five seconds, and all the ick and grime was gone. Once I turned on the shower to rinse off the paste, the residue and streaking was washed away as well:
Mold Deep Cleaner with Scouring Power
Get rid of all the mold and mildew that grows in-between the crevices or even cracks of a shower stall.
- 7 cups of water
- ¼ of a cup of distilled white vinegar
- ½ of a cup of baking soda
- Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle. Remember the baking soda will fizz when exposed to the vinegar, so use a large spray bottle and fill it in the sink to avoid having another mess to clean up.
- Once the fizzing subsides, screw the lid on the spray bottle and shake vigorously for 30 seconds.
- Squirt the shower mold cleaner inside the stall, or on the tub surround liberally.
- Allow the foaming all natural cleaning solution to settle on the cleaning area for several minutes.
- Using a damp cloth, wipe down the shower stall or tub surround.
- Run the shower to wash away the remains of the mold cleaner completely.
Here’s the video for the shower cleaner spray based on distilled white vinegar and baking soda:
Degreasing Mold Cleaner
- 12 ounces of distilled white vinegar
- 12 ounces of liquid dish soap
- Pour the vinegar into a microwave safe bowl.
- Heat it through until it is hot to the touch, but do not bring it to a boil.
- Pour the still hot distilled white vinegar into a spray bottle.
- Add in the liquid dish soap.
- Screw the lid onto the bottle.
- Shake the spray bottle with the natural DIY shower cleaner spray vigorously for about 30 seconds.
- Spray the shower (this works on the commode and sink as well) to melt away scum and grime build-up.
- Allow the spray to settle for a few moments – to overnight for deep gunk build up.
- Rinses away the spray and enjoy a nice clean shower.
Glass Shower Door Cleaning Paste
Combine one part water to two parts baking soda to make a spreadable paste. Allow the mixture to settle before gently scrubbing it around the glass.
Use a natural DIY rinse comprised of equal parts distilled white vinegar and water to remove the paste while creating a streak free shine.
In the video below you can see our shower cleaners in action:
Use these natural shower cleaning recipes alone or in conjunction with each other to keep the bathtub and wall surround of shower stall both looking and feeling clean. They are super easy and cheap to make – and honestly do not require much elbow grease to use.