Natural Bathroom Cleaning

natural bathroom cleaning tips

Other than the kitchen, bathroom cleaning takes the most amount of time and work to clean since it has so many different types of surfaces and because, by its nature, it is a place that needs to be cleaned often because it’s frequency of use.

If you are like me, cleaning the bathroom is most likely one of your least favorite cleaning activities. Luckily, a checklist and some natural cleaners can make quick work of cleaning the bathroom.


Just like windows, mirrors can be cleaned with a 50/50 vinegar and water mix in a spray bottle and wiped with old rags from cut-up t-shirts or newspaper (paper towels leave a lot of residue with this method).

The easiest way, if you have them, is to use microfiber cloths (1 regular one wet, and one polishing one dry, or just one regular wet one and one regular dry) to clean without the need for chemicals at all.

Counters, Tile, Shower, Tub

If you have it, you can use microfiber for all of these. I’ve even found it to be effective on soap scum in the shower.

If not, there are other natural options that work great too:

  • A 50/50 vinegar/water solution will clean tile, counters, cabinet fronts and soap scum in the shower
  • A baking soda and water paste will clean stuck on gunk in the shower and tub (use vinegar instead of water for really tough stains)
  • For grout, I sprinkle baking soda on the floor and spray with undiluted hydrogen peroxide and scrub with a gentle toothbrush
  • For stained tubs and really, really tough messes, this homemade scouring powder works great, though it isn’t needed for regular cleaning
  • For wall tile, painted door frames, spots on the doors, outside of toilet, etc, my homemade all purpose cleaner will clean and disinfect


About once  a week, I sprinkle some baking soda around the inside of the toilet to coat, then dump a cup of undiluted white vinegar into the water. I use a reusable toilet brush to scrub and the chemical reaction of the baking soda and vinegar removes stains and any lingering smell. This also works externally (I use on the bottom of the toilet and the floor) to remove that “boy” smell from bathrooms.

I’ve also found that the urine smell that can linger (especially with potty-training boys) is often hiding in the hinges of the toilet seat and under the bolt caps on the side of the toilet. At our house, these get removed every 2 weeks or so and thoroughly cleaned.

I finish up toilet cleaning with a spray and wipe down with undiluted hydrogen peroxide.

Air Freshening

Products like Febreeze and Lysol spray have a host of chemicals that can be really harmful, especially to children. To freshen the bathroom without the toxins, try these natural ideas:

How do you clean your bathroom? What is your least favorite room to clean? Let me know in the comments below!

Bathroom cleaning can be a nasty job, but these tips and suggestions can make it easier and less of a chore when it gets dirty.

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Reader Comments

  1. Thanks for the shout out! Also, I so glad that you are encouraging people to use non-toxic cleaners. My grandmother told me a blood-curdling story about one of her little guys drinking bleach and there is a similar story in my husband’s family. Another time a friend accidentally used ammonia in her BBQ sauce because she mistook the bottle under her sink for the ACV. In the end, nobody had any after she tasted it but it sure scared me. There are better ways to clean!

  2. I use the vinegar/water solution for most general cleaning, but one of my tools in cleaning the bathroom is a stainless steel scrub . . . goodbye soap scum! And pumice stones work well for hard water stains in the toilet bowl.

  3. Surely hydrogen peroxide is a harmful chemical?

    • It is actually rated much safer than any other cleaning products. You can even get food grade if you are concerned. Personally, I use regular hydrogen peroxide on my teeth and gums for natural whitening.

  4. I just started making a citrus/pineapple enzyme base. It is supposed to be similar to what Bio Kleen uses in their Bac Out line. It is still fermenting, but I can’t wait to try it out. Supposedly you can use it on basically any surface (even your skin). 

  5. I too use a cup of baking soda in the toilet but don’t find I need to also add the vinegar (though I am sure when I let it get bad the vinegar would require less scrubbing). I am definitely going to try your scouring powder. I use 50/50 vinegar/water for most everything but it doesn’t seem to work when things need a good scrub (I too have two little boys under age 5).

  6. Hi, I just found your site for the first time. Great post! I use vinegar or more often a citrus infused vinegar as my primary cleaner, but I do the same as you and use both vinegar and bicarb soda in my toilet. I keep meaning to try a bicarb paste on the grout in my shower…

  7. I purchase inexpensive washcloths (like the kind you can get in bundles from Walmart) and use these instead of paper towels. they can be used to absorb grease in the kitchen or to wipe up a spill, etc. then they just get tossed in the washer. i have not purchased paper towels for several years now.

  8. I purchase inexpensive washcloths (like the kind you can get in bundles from Walmart) and use these instead of paper towels. they can be used to absorb grease in the kitchen or to wipe up a spill, etc. then they just get tossed in the washer. i have not purchased paper towels for several years now.

  9. I purchase inexpensive washcloths (like the kind you can get in bundles from Walmart) and use these instead of paper towels. they can be used to absorb grease in the kitchen or to wipe up a spill, etc. then they just get tossed in the washer. i have not purchased paper towels for several years now.

  10. How do you feel about the new popular vinegar and dawn dish soap as a tub/shower cleaner? Is that safe to use?

    • I started to use the 50/50 vinegar/water solution with a little dawn in it and I love it for the bathtub and shower. Just spray it on and it takes very little scrubbing to get a clean tub and tile.

      • My mother in law has very hard water with a ton of calcium and rust in it. She bought one of those kitchen sponge things that has a handle you can fill with dish soap. She fills it half way with vinegar and then adds whatever dishsoap she has on hand. It works like a charm.


  11. Hi, i have tried cleaning with vinegar but the smell….. It is very strong and a few times i even became nauseous after using it. Any ideas how to reduce the smell / or any alternatives to the vinegar please? thanks

    • I add 100% pure essential oils like Orange or Lavender.

    • I add essential oils(lavender or peppermint to my vinegar/water mix.or any that u like.

  12. I’ve been trying to figure out this crust bi-product in my daughter’s potty chair for a while. I found out its urine scale via a yacht forum, lol! They mentioned vinegar wouldn’t be acidic enough and there is a descaling product sold in stores. I was able to remove it by sprinkling citric acid in the potty and left it for 15 minutes. It came right out! I’ve always had luck with baking soda and vinegar in the toilet… I’ve learned potty chairs are a whole different specimen! 😛

  13. I tried the vinegar and water mixture today, and it works wonderfully for mirrors, glass and tiles. I’ll never go back to chemical products!

    Though, I think I’ll try adding essential oils because the vinegar smell was quite strong!

  14. Hello, I have septic tank, I am always careful of what I clean with. I tried the toilet cleaner! YAHOO! It removed rust, smell, stains, and I have not killed the bacteria in the septic ( which is very important
    Thanks, Rhoni

  15. This may be a dumb question, but….what exactly do you clean your toilet with (not the bowl; the whole toilet) If you use cloths, do you wash them immediately after? Will washing them in hot water be enough? If so, do you keep them somehow separate from your kitchen cloths? I waste so many paper towels cleaning the toilet… 🙁

      • And you throw them in the wash to re-use them?

        • If you were worried about getting the clothes mixed up, just use a laundry marker to define toilet from kitchen 🙂

        • Use different color rags for different rooms

  16. I cannot seem to get the ring off around the toilet. I tried baking soda and vinegar as well as Borax with vinegar with no luck. I am afraid to try the pumice stone as I don’t want to scratch up the toilet. Any suggestions would be great!

    • A pumice stone will work with hard scrubbing. However, I have just read to use lemonade koolaid. Sprinkle in toilet and swish around in the toilet bowl. Leave overnight and see what happens. I’m trying it tonight good luck.

      Linda K

      • denture cleaning tablets….about four…leave in overnight…should do the trick!

    • We also have a terrible hard water problem with all kinds if colored scale in the toilets. Each bowl has it’s own oersonality- green lime scale in one, brown  rust in another. Tried everything- Lime-away, The Works, hours of pumice rubbing. Last week I drained as much water out of the bowl as I could, bought a gallon of white vinegar, and poured it in gently to fill above the highest lime or rust ring. Left it in over night. The next morning I used a ScotchBrite scrubby dish wand carefully marked for toilet bowl use so it doesn’t wind up in the sink. VOILA!!! If you have stains above the water line, place a tissue on the stain and spray w/ vinegar to keep it wet. Or let one edge touch the vinegar in tbe bowl so it continuously absorbs the liquid and stays wet over the lime scale like a poultice. Unbelievable how clean the bowls are! Throw out everything else, this really works.

    • I had no luck with borax and vinegar, either. After losing an entire cup of vinegar and 3/4 cup borax, it didn’t mix with the borax. So now it’s in a bowl I’ll put in the toilet, mix it around, and hope for the best. But I’ll never waste that much again.
      As for pumice, if you’ve just got a water line, make sure it’s wet, and it will work. More than that, use the suggestion of leaving it all overnight.

  17. Just what I was looking for. Great article. As you said, bathroom cleaning is one of the difficult part of house cleaning. Often I use house cleaning services to clean my house. Even they take some time to clean bathrooms. I am thinking of doing cleaning works my own more often so that I can save some money. Thanks for the great tips.

  18. Hydrogen Peroxide is extremely caustic and I won’t keep it in my house.

    • [caus·tic
      able to burn or corrode organic tissue by chemical action.
      “a caustic cleaner” ]

      Last I checked hydrogen peroxide does not corrode your skin. You are mistaken. Hydrogen peroxide is perfectly safe to use for cleaning, tooth whitening, wound disinfecting, and even ingesting.

      • Hydrogen peroxide usually sold at 3%. Caustic hydrogen peroxide is higher percentage of peroxide and needs to be diluted. 35% example

    • Growing up in a rural environment, we always used peroxide on cuts to ‘kill germs’! Pour a tiny bit on a cut or splinter and watch it bubble! When it no longer bubbles we figured germs are dead, and rinsed the wound. We all survived! Peroxide that you buy at the store isn’t that bad.
      We went barefoot all summer, and were outside most of the time – in creeks and ponds and were rarely sick… so, most germs and peroxide don’t really hurt. Some amount of regular outside ‘germs’ actually makes immune systems stronger… (not a fan of dirty bathrooms though so I’m changing from bleach and comet in the bathroom, and going to try the vinegar and baking soda methods!)
      My mom ‘made’ her own cleaning ‘products’… except it usually involved ammonia, or bleach…. ammonia for grease and bleach for germs.. – not together though!
      Love all the great ideas I get from this site!!!!!

      • That’s because it’s reacting with catalase positve bacteria such as Staph Aureus that is often found on skin and in wounds. Not because it’s caustic or dangerous. Our own bodies make hydrogen peroxide as a byproduct of some biological processes.

  19. I’m a germaphobe…so what do you do with the wipes/sponges/toothbrush/scrubber after you have cleaned everything??

    • All the rags/clothes/ect could go in the washing machine and the sponges toothbrush/scrubbers could go in the dishwasher.

      • Just don’t use dryer sheets with your microfiber rags. It will absorb the chemicals and streak when using them on glass.

  20. My bathroom floor has marble tiles which have become very smooth and slippery.

    How do I clean them and make them anti-slippery ?

    Objective is to make bathroom floor tiles anti-slippery.

  21. A great new eco-friendly line of cleaners is BioWorx. These products can be found on Amazon. Their shower cleaner dissolves soap scum (calcium stearate & magnesium stearate), scale (calcium carbonate), and sebum (the waxy oils our bodies produce).

  22. What do you use when baby poops in the bath? I’ve been using hot water and vinegar but does that sanitize as well as it should? Thank you!

    • Your babies poop isn’t really that ‘toxic’.
      It’s just poop.
      Gross and smelly maybe, but not full of anything horrible. Just whats left after digesting food.
      Scoop the poo out, drain the water, clean if needed in your normal fashion, and all is fine!!!
      The surfaces of bathroom fixtures are made to be resistant to germs and bacteria, as long as there isn’t any scum on it!

  23. I use vinegar in the toilet and sink and for the tub I use baking soda mixed with dawn. Works great

  24. What is good for really bad hard water build up in the toilet bowl? We moved into a house that the toilet is just a nightmare with build up. I have tried so many different things but I only seem to scratch the surface of the build up.

  25. Azreyla,
    I too had the same problem with hard water build up. I tried everything. The only thing that finally worked was a pumice stone and good old fashioned elbow grease (and lots of it, lol). For the longest time I wouldn’t use a pumice stone because I thought for sure it would scratch the toilet bowl, but it doesn’t at all! It actually is kind of “soft” in that it “dissolves” as you use it. Now I use pumice stones all the time, we have very hard water. Love them!

  26. Thanks for the tips! But it took me several minutes to decipher this parenthetical instruction: “(1 regular one wet, and one polishing one dry, or just one regular wet one and one regular dry)”. I think it’s the use of the word “one” to mean both a towel and a quantity of towels, with the inclusion of a single “1”.

    I think it means: one wet towel (regular towel) and one dry towel (regular or polishing towel). Is that right?

  27. After cleaning mirrors use a small amount of FOAM shaving cream on mirrors and polish it onto the glass. The result no fog mirrors. Ps clean car windows with salt water and you will never have to deal with ice accumulation!!!

  28. I’m really keen to start cleaning using vinegar and have seen a number of mentions about adding essential oils. How much should I add to a spray bottle when cleaning the bathroom and kitchen? Which are the best ones to use? Thanks

    • Just a few drops. And any sent on the oils.

  29. Ran across this tonight.enjoying all the tips on the one on using the shave foam to polish .defog mirrors..gonna try that..

  30. Does it have to be white vinegar or will brown malt vinegar work as well?

    • I’d steer clear of it… might leave a residue.

      • any suggestions I have received were to use white vinegar.

  31. I love using natural products! I think that the idea with the vinegar is more than amazing! Thanks a lot for sharing it here! Regards!

  32. Thanks for your tips.

  33. Found out that vinegar and baking soda works great on cleaning my drains but My stopper in the bathtub is frozen in place due to hard water and nothing seems to work any ideas

    • I can’t remove the stopper in my bathroom sink, so I add enough water to the baking soda to make a thick liquid that I can pour into the drain, followed by vinegar and later by hot water.

  34. WOW! Thanks for the tip on getting the gray out of my bathroom sink….baking soda and vinegar. Love the explosion!

  35. Any suggestions for removing soap scum buildup from glass shower doors in a marble bath? (I’ve used the vinegar/dawn method on other surfaces and it was fantastic but vinegar isn’t good for marble so I’m looking for an alternative. I tried vodka, as suggested on another site, and it didn’t work. Thank you!

  36. I don’t know what to keep in the jar that holds my toilet brush!
    After you use the brush to clean the inside of the toilet, then what?
    I really am serious…i cannot tolerate anything anymore, but I can’t find a clue anywhere.
    Thanks for all the research and testing I don’t have to do!

  37. Baking soda and vinegar works very well for build up on toilets. It also works well to clear drains and smells coming from build up in drains. It may take a couple of doses to clear a bad clog but awesome. And as for complaints about vinegar smells it quickly disapates. I like the smell of vinegar.

  38. HI was looking for a ceramic shower tile cleaner. A girl on U tube said to use ration 1:1 vinegar and dawn. I saw no use for this as the tub already has soap scrum (soap) on the walls you are trying to clean so why add a slippery Dawn soap to the vinegar. .When I did what she said it just made my tile full of soap I could not remove.
    Just heads up. Yes vinegar full strength can give you a headache, keep all windows open if you are allergic to vinegar.