From Spotlight: Create a Bathroom Oasis — That’s Efficient Too!

Green Clean Your Bathroom for Pennies

Green cleaners can be eco-friendly and kind to your wallet. Here are 6 ways to shine your bathroom on the cheap.

Image: Janine Lamontagne/Getty

Commercial green cleaners can kill your budget as you save the planet: That’s why they’re called “green.” But not all eco-friendly cleaners cost a lot. We’ve found store-bought green cleaners and everyday pantry products that will scour your bathroom for pennies per gallon.

So don’t throw dollars down the drain as you become chemically independent. Try these green cleaners; they’re kind to the environment and to your wallet.

Toilet Transformers

Commercial toilet bowl cleaners contain poisons that can literally take your breath away: bleach, ammonia, hydrochloric acid, and naphthalene.

Instead of using toxic substances, add half a cup of a green all-purpose cleaner, like Biokleen’s (around 30 cents/oz), to the toilet, then sprinkle in an ounce of baking soda (8 cents/oz) into the bowl. Cost: About $1.30 total per use.

If you want extra bleaching power, use hydrogen peroxide (5-10 cents per ounce) as an all-purpose cleaner. Fill a dark spray bottle with 1:1 water/hydrogen peroxide. Spray directly on toilet seats or around the rim. Brush and flush. Cost: About 5-10 cents per flush.

Drains Declogged

Instead of pouring industrial-grade acids down your drain to dissolve hairballs, pour in a half-cup of baking soda (8 cents per ounce) followed with a half-cup of vinegar (About 3-5 cents per ounce). Cover for at least 30 minutes, and then flush with boiling water. Cost:  About 44-52 cents/treatment.

If rock-hard clogs resist the baking soda-vinegar method, try an enzyme-based cleaner like ZEP Drain Defense Liquid Pipe Build Up Remover (17-20 cents per ounce), which contains eco-friendly microbes that eat away clogs. Cost: $11.20 for 64 ounces.

Or you could push it out with a plunger. Cost: $5.

Sinks and Vanity Solutions

Green clean scum and toothpaste-covered sinks and vanities with hot water and a natural dishwashing soap like Mrs. Meyer’s (30 cents per ounce). Cost: 60 cents per wash.

To disinfect, make a soft scrub mix made from Women’s Voices for the Earth’s green all-purpose cleaner recipeCost: Around 48 - 80 cents.

Or make the creamy soft scrub mix of baking soda, castile soap, glycerin, and essential fragrance oils from that site that will foam up and clean away dirty sink and vanity problem. You can store for up to 2 years and get multiple uses out of it. Total Cost: Around $4.60

You can use the soft-scrub mix all over the house, and castile soap (About 80-90 cents per ounce) can double as a body wash or shampoo.

Mirror and Glass Miracles

White vinegar (About 3-5 cents per ounce) will green clean glass and mirrors. Add a quarter cup of vinegar to a 32-ounce spray bottle, and then fill with distilled water (Around 2-4 cents per ounce), which doesn’t have tap water’s murky-making minerals. 

Spray on and wipe with microfiber cloths, which are washable, reusable, and much less messy than newspaper or paper towels. Your mirrors will be streak-free for significantly less money than if you used a chemical glass cleaner.

Green Clean Grout

A soft-scrub mix of baking soda, castile soap, and essential oils will green clean the dirt, mold, and scum that darkens tile grout. 

A mop bucket of vinegar-based all-purpose cleaner will make tile floors shine. And borax can green clean mold from shower tile and grout. Mix one cup of borax (Around 72 cents); /1 gallon of water. Scrub with a stiff-bristled brush. 


Alyson McNutt English

Alyson McNutt English writes regularly about home improvement, decorating, and “green home” tips; her work has appeared in magazines like Pregnancy, Kiwi, and Parenting and on many websites, including and