Thursday, May 3, 2012

Scrub a dub dub.

It may start off innocent, but this post is a lot of overshare. About my bathroom. I don't even want to claim it fully - the bathroom in my apartment that I rent and have used for almost a year. My temporary bathroom that I have no control over sewage-wise, water-wise, or anything beyond the functions that I can see. So we're clear?

As I mentioned before, I was out for two weeks gallivanting around the UK (there's another out for you). I cleaned and scrubbed the apartment before I left, as that's a ritual instilled in me from my mother. Upon my return, however, not all was still sparkling. But that was fine. I expected some dust and whatever spinning around in the air to rest on my side tables.

I was not ready for my toilet. And I didn't take a picture of it because that's gross. I'll just detail it for ya. I opened the lid (I keep it shut after my  third-grade teacher told us a rat climbed up his water pipes and appeared in his toilet in the morning - no idea if it's true, but it's induced nightmares and there will be no rat visitations on my watch) and okay. Stopping that sentence before it's five lines by itself. So I opened the lid to my toilet to the grossest water. It was like sulfur water - that clear orangey tint, the smell (though not total rotten eggs, but not the smell of nothing that I expect with a toilet) and rings of the orangey color. The water in the bowl was way low so the rings suggest that the water had been varying on its own - disconcerting enough.

But stop right there. There was nothing in the toilet when I left. Nothing. It was scrubbed clean. I know this for a fact because I've returned from shorter vacations to this same toilet strangeness. Those times I thought, 'Maybe I didn't fully flush (you do have the hold the handle down for longer than the standard).' But I assure you that was not the case.

Regardless, at this point, I had a gross toilet and I had to clean it. But starting this post with how I cleaned a gross toilet would be gross because you would assume it was my gross toilet. I want you to know that it was the toilet's own shady doings that made it gross. The toilet (or more likely, the sewer system) is shady and gross. Not me.

But I had to deal with it. I didn't deal with it right away though. First I scrubbed the tub.

Nice, smooth transition, no? Yeah, I know that's a no.

Moving along into another aside. I made my own laundry detergent about a year ago. It was sparked by Pinterest, the exorbitant price of Tide, and the fact that my allergies were so nutso that I was breaking out in hives after a casual walk down the street some days. The latter point was the most influential. I thought that it might help my system to have the items that surround it most closely (my clothes) be as chemical and stimulant-free as possible. So I made my own laundry soap following this recipe.

Short story of that short story? I had some leftover borax and Pinterest told me that I could wash the tub with it. So I threw some soap in the tub, turned the tap on lightly, and used a stiff scrub brush to scrub.

The results don't read too well in pictures, but the tub is cleaner. These pictures were taken on the same setting, before and after washing (so within a 30-minute window), in the same poor lighting of my bathroom, from the same angle. No editing.

I don't know if I can tell a difference between the two because I saw the difference in real life or if I'm pushing the idea.

I was happy with the borax, and even happier to have a use for the stuff since it's been sitting on the shelf for months. Before I put it away, I browsed through the slew of uses for borax that it illustrated on the back. Lo and behold, toilet cleaner was one of them. I was so happy with the tub that it was worth the shot. I poured in my estimation of 1/4 cup of borax into the toilet, swished it around with the toilet brush, then let it sit overnight. In the morning, I flushed, and THE TOILET WAS SPARKLING. At this point, I was kicking myself for not taking a before picture. It would've been gross, but the after would have been soooooo worth it.

Now I'm ecstatic. I threw out the chemical-based toilet cleaner immediately, which made the striving-to-live-green-and-natural girl in me quite excited. I'm a total convert and am excited for the next miracle borax will work.

I'm sorry that was so long and wordy. I really debated this post because, well, toilets are gross. I was so impressed that I couldn't not share, though. The proof is in the pudding though - what've you go to lose?!

Is that the expression? Do I have to show a before and after picture for their to be pudding? I'm trying to say, 'Give it a shot!' in my non-borax endorsed opinion.

Any green living tips that totally won you over? I'll admit, I'm kind of wishy-washy. I'm totally green and natural in some areas, then not so much in others. I'm trying to be more environmentally friendly every day and in every way though. Baby steps.


  1. looked up the Swedish translation of "borax." turns out, it's "borax."

    i love alternative cleaning products and use diluted vinegar for so many things (especially for spraying in the toilet/shower when i'm in-between deep cleans because it kills smells and bacteria and minimizes build-up.

  2. i'll have to start spraying the shower between - i hate cleaning the shower and it always lingers longer than it probably should. but i strongly encourage a box of borax to your natural cleaning arsenal - i made laundry detergent from it, now i clean the bathroom with it, and it even had carpet cleaning and other tricks on it. i'm not sure if the lack of translation is a good or bad sign though...


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