At the end of a long, hard day, there’s nothing like soaking in the tub for a relaxing way to get clean and pamper yourself or your little ones. But no one wants to soak in a tub that’s got rings or leftover soap scum. Traditional toxic tub cleaners have no place in today’s natural home, so we’ve rounded up a few ways to implement green cleaning for bathtubs.

Tub cleaning for DIYers

The three musketeers of DIY natural home cleaning — lemon juice, vinegar and baking soda — can get your tub shiny clean and remove lingering bacteria in minutes. Mix one part vinegar to one part water and spray or wipe onto soap scum, mildew or mineral buildup. Hydrogen peroxide can also be used to get rid of bathtub mold, using one part peroxide to two parts water. Spray on, wait an hour, and wipe away stains.

Mix baking soda with a small amount of water to make a paste that will clean away rust stains. Or you can skip the mixing and simply use a damp sponge or cloth to scoop and scrub baking soda directly onto problem areas. Finish off the tub by wiping down with a mixture of water and lemon juice, or take half a lemon and run it straight along the cleaned areas. Lemon’s antiseptic and antibacterial properties together with its great fresh scent make it the ideal way to finish off a natural clean.

Serious tub scrub with castile soap

If you’re feeling brave and have some extra time on your hands, try making homemade castile soap, an ingredient in the following tub scrub recipe. Castile soap, which traditionally uses olive oil instead of animal fats, originated in Spain. In liquid or solid form, it is considered gentle enough to use on baby skin, yet strong enough to clean the toughest dirt stains. Modern recipes may use a variety of oils in place of olive oil, including sunflower, soybean and coconut.

Once you’ve taken the time to put together your own tub scrub, store it in an airtight container and it should last for at least a year.

For castile soap:

  • 2 cups sunflower oil
  • 5.5 ounces potassium chloride
  • 2 cups distilled water
  • Immersion blender (stick blender) or wooden spoon
  • Crock pot
Pour oil into crock pot set at high temperature. Mix potassium chloride and distilled water together to form lye, and then add to crock pot. Use immersion blender to mix all ingredients, or stir constantly with wooden spoon as it heats up. Once it reaches a pasty consistency, add 5 cups tap water and mix again with blender.

Let it cook for a few hours in the crock pot, checking every 30 minutes to an hour and mixing with immersion blender if necessary. The goal is to reach a smooth, jelly-like consistency. Once desired consistency is achieved, essential oils can be added. In addition to their fabulous aroma, certain essential oils including cinnamon, clove, geranium, lemon, orange and rosemary inhibit the growth of bacteria.

If the crockpot is needed to whip up something fabulous for dinner guests or time is of the essence, there are several companies (Kirk’s, Dr. Bronner’s, Desert Essence) that make liquid castile soap with a variety of essential oils.

For tub scrub:

  • 3/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup castile soap
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp vinegar
Combine baking soda and soap. Add water and stir well using a fork. Add vinegar and stir until the mixture is soft and creamy. Use on sponge or rag to clean tub and/or shower. You can double or triple this recipe, but be sure to store in completely airtight container or the mixture may dry out.

The best way to keep the tub clean is to regularly spray down the walls with a mixture of vinegar and water, along with lemon juice or a few drops essential oil for a more pleasant smell. This will prevent the growth of mildew, and keep away soap scum buildup. Keep a clearly labeled bottle under the sink, and give a quick spritz around the tub after each bath.

Know of other solutions for green cleaning for bathtubs? Leave us a comment below.