Friday, February 19, 2010

Creating a Clean and Green Space

February is Bathroom Month

When I set out to create today's posts I had originally imagined it would be a roundup of green cleaning products that would help you replace those harsh chemical cleansers that are so commonly sold for bathrooms. After a rather inspiring conversation with a
very smart women last night a little light bulb appeared over my head. I don't need to put together long list of new things you need to purchase. We're a smart group and I bet with a little research I could find simple and effective recipes for creating greener cleaners at home. I knew just where to start my search. This is such a riot, you're going to die when you see this book. I picked it up a flea market for $1 thinking it would make a funny wedding shower gift but I couldn't give it up.

America's House Keeping Book

How much do you love that it says "This cover is washable"? The book was published in 1941 so I figured at that time women might still be whipping up concoctions at home to use for cleaning. I flipped to the section about bathrooms and it turns out almost the entire bathroom can be cleaned with scouring powder, a cellulose sponge, and a long handled brush. My guess is commercially available scouring powder is what we now call Ajax but I'd like to believe my 1940's homemaker was making batches of her own scouring powder follow a recipe similar to this one:

1 cup baking soda
1 cup borax
1/2 cup salt
10 - 20 drops of a citrus essential oil (optional)

Tip: an empty Parmesan cheese container with a shaker top is a great place to store your homemade scouring power.

If you prefer a cleanser that is more similar to Soft Scrub you can try this instead:

1/2 cup soap flakes
2 tsp. borax
2 tsp whiting (calcium carbonate, a degreasing agent)
1 1/2 cup warm water

You can use either of these two cleansers on the tub, toilet, sink and tile surround. You'll need a few more supplies to get those faucets and mirrors sparkling but they are really basic and really cheap. To clean rust stains from faucets just rub with a cut lemon. Yup, that's it. To make your own glass cleaner you can try 2 tbsp. of white vinegar mixed with 2 quarts warm water or if the smell of vinegar bugs you try 1 tbsp. borax with 2 quarts warm water. The key here is to use a lint free cloth to get those mirrors spic and span. One last tip I learned from this book that is extremely helpful is to get in the habit of flushing your sink and tub drains with boiling water about once a week to keep them clear of hair. This way serious clogs won't develop and you can avoid having to use a seriously harsh drain cleaning solution like Draino or Liquid Plumber.

America's House Keeping Book

I had to include this shot of
Order of Work for Cleaning Bathroom. Get a load of that Daily Care list?! There are ten activities that it suggests should be done every day to keep the bathroom clean. Ahem, you must excuse me I have to run. It looks like I have some serious catching up to do.

Have a great weekend. Hopefully you don't spend the entire time cleaning your bathroom!

Photo Credit: Michelle Verdugo


  1. That book is fantastic. This reminds me that my bathroom needs a really good scrub.

  2. Wonderful ! I also have that kind of book, Larousse from 1926 !

  3. This book is amazing! I think I need a copy, haha.

  4. My god- what a find! I love old books & its just such a quirky & different addition to the 'bathroom' series you are doing- love it! :)