Photo: Africa Studio/Shutterstock
Bathrooms are dirty places. Pee, poop, mildew, mold and plenty of moisture — it makes total sense why one would pull out the hardcore cleansers to clean and disinfect the loo. However, consider the effect of bathroom cleansers on indoor air quality. The EPA names household cleansers as one source of volatile organic compounds.
The Minnesota Department of Public Health also lists cleaning and disinfecting chemicals as a source of volatile organic compounds. "Studies have shown that the level of VOCs indoors is generally two to five times higher than the level of VOCs outdoors," they said.
One step you can take to reduce volatile organic compounds in your indoor air is to eliminate household cleansers that emit them. Bathroom cleansers frequently off-gas quite a bit. There's no need to worry about having an unsanitary bathroom. These DIY cleansers are air-friendly and get the job done.
Air-friendly toilet cleanser: One cup of vinegar and a squirt of liquid castile soap are all you need for a sparkling clean, deodorized toilet bowl. Pour in vinegar, squirt castile soap under the rim, scrub with a toilet brush, and flush. Add essential oils, like lemon or grapefruit, for a fresh scent and added disinfectant power.
Air-friendly mirror cleanser: Believe it or not, spritzing a mirror with plain water and then rubbing the mirror clean with regular, black and white newspaper is the best mirror cleaner around. For super greasy mirrors, add a drop of dish soap to the water spray.
Air-friendly tile cleanser: Moldy tile and tile grout are hard to get clean without cleansers that off-gas, like bleach. Soap actually feeds mold, so you don't want to clean tile and grout with it. Tile contractors recommend using a pH neutral cleanser to clean tile and grout, in order to avoid tile damage. One New York flooring contractor recommends cleaning tile with baking soda dissolved in water, and a grout brush.
Air-friendly tub scrub: Wipe the tub with undiluted white vinegar, then scrub with baking soda and a sponge. Rinse with water.
Related green cleaning stories on MNN: