Homemade Bathroom Cleaners

Brightly lit airy bathroom with white tiles

I had to do a super deep clean on the master bathroom today and I thought I’d post the recipes that I use for cleaning.

I am personally not a fan of a lot of cleaners out there- especially the bathroom cleaners.  They have so many chemicals and the odor is so strong… I can feel myself get a little woozy when using them in tight spaces.   Which means a lot of those products are probably not so great for me and for sure not so great for the kiddos.

So we switched to green cleaners a long time ago but I still have a clutter issue.  I found I had so many different products, it really gets annoying to sort through it all.

So I thought I would pass along some recipes for cleaners that you can whip up to get a good deep clean in the bathroom.  These are incredibly cheap to make and only require 3 ingredients in total!

Here is what you need:

  • Vinegar (I buy this in huge jugs at Costco for $3)
  • Baking Soda (again I just get the huge bags for $6 at Costco)
  • Dish Soap (for some reason blue Dawn seems to be the magic one but you can use anything you have on hand– this is NOT a nontoxic dish soap. You can use some of the green soaps like Method for a totally nontoxic bathroom)
  • Fragrance Oils (optional)
  • Dish Scrubber (optional)

and of course you will need a spray bottle.

Here are the recipes I use:

::To Clean the Toilet:

Mix 1 cup vinegar
and 1 Cup Baking soda

Method: I just dump each of them straight in the bowl because it is going to foam and fizz like crazy. Let this mixture sit for a bit and then just use your scrubber to clean around the bowl.

This should leave your toilet bowl nice and sparkly clean.  This is a great chore for the kiddos because it is fun to see this fizz up.

::To Clean the Mirrors:

1/4 cup vinegar
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon dish soap
essential oils (optional)

Mix all the ingredients above in a spray bottle and it works perfectly to clean the mirrors. I use either orange, lemon or lavender essential oils in my spray but you can skip that if you don’t have those on hand. Update: my new favorite is lime!  The bottle is $5 on sale at Whole Foods.

If you have cornstarch on hand you can add a teaspoon of that to help prevent streaks.  I didn’t notice a big difference either way when I tried it so I skip that.

Be very careful with the dishsoap. It you add too much the cleaner will leave a little soapy residue.

::Drain Cleaner:

1 cup baking soda
1/2 cup vinegar

Just go ahead and dump the baking soda into your drain. Now add the vinegar- it is going to fizz up so just enjoy the show.

Cover up the drain with whatever you have on hand- a plate works best. Let this mixture sit awhile- 30 minutes to an hour is perfect. Remove the plate and rinse with hot water.

This works like a charm for me when the shower drain gets all backed up.

::Shower Cleaner*:

4oz Vinegar
4oz Blue Dawn Dish soap

Just heat the vinegar in the microwave until nice and hot (about 50 seconds). Pour into a spray bottle and add the dish soap. You want to use blue Dawn dish soap for the best result.

Now squirt away and this should get rid of all the soap scum that you get in the shower. Let it sit for a few minutes and then just wipe it right off.

Our shower was pretty nasty and after using this on the stall today it really looks good as new.

Also you might consider one of those dish scrubbers pictured above. I got the Scotch Brite no scratch one at Target for about $3.

Use equal parts blue Dawn dish soap and vinegar inside the scrubber and keep that in your shower. Use it to scrub the shower when it needs a little maintenance to be nice and sparkly clean again.

(Thanks to reader Amy for this tip)

::Bathtub Scrub*:

1 teaspoon liquid soap (I used the soap we have right there in the bathroom)
1 cup baking soda
a few drops essential oil

Go ahead and mix all that in a bowl and slowly add water until you get a nice paste.

Rub it all over the tub instead of Comet.

Any nasty grout issues you might have in the shower or tub can also get taken care of by the scrub above or just plain old baking soda.  The corners of our shower get nasty and I sprinkle with baking soda and let sit for awhile and then scrub away and it comes right off.  The task is a bit more pleasant if you add a few drops of fragrance oil to the baking soda.

::Floor Cleaner:

If you have stone floors, you can mix 1 cup of vinegar with 1 gallon water and they will come out nice and clean.

How to make homemade carpet deodorizer- so fast & easy and leaves the house smelling incredibly fresh!

::Air Freshener:

I love baking soda as a carpet deodorizer and air freshener at my house.  If you are planning to either wash or vacuum the bathroom rugs you might consider mixing a little baking soda with a few drops of fragrance as a carpet deodorizer.

You can also use this same mixture in little jars to sit in the bathroom as a little air freshener.  Pretty jars are very simple to make for this project and you can get the complete scoop on that here.

So there you have it.  You really just need the dish soap, baking soda and vinegar and you can clean the bathroom top to bottom.  Essential oils and fabric softener can also go a long way if you have them on hand.

And now you should have a lovely sparkly clean bathroom.

By the way, if you happen to have any issues with ants- you can see a simple, inexpensive way to get rid of ants here.


  1. Steph says

    Great tips! I’ve been using vinegar and baking soda as cleaners the last few months. My husband HATES smelly cleaners and I’m sure you are right that stuff can’t be good for any of us! Another tip I found a few months ago is using already used dryer sheets to clean, like instead of a sponge. So I now make a pile of them when I do laundry. I use them in the shower, tub, on the sink and countertops. I like that I use them and toss them. Thanks Charlene!

  2. sandra says

    Great to have all these in one place, thanks! You can use that air freshener spray for a second purpose by using it as a wrinkle release spray, it works just as well as the expensive Downy spray and makes your clothes smell great!

  3. Honey says

    Great tips!!Can you please post the recipe for an all purpose cleaner and a disinfectant too?

  4. Carol says

    Hi Charlene,
    Thank you very much for the tips!!!
    I am pregnant and have been avoiding cleaning the bathroom because of the strong odor cleaners.
    I can’t wait to try them later today.

    Thank you for the suggestion with the dryer sheets. I am going to try them later too.

    Thanks again for all the tips :)

  5. Charlene says


    That is how I discovered the air freshener aspect. :) I was trying it as a wrinkle release. I did not find it worked that well as a wrinkle release on the items I tested it on but it did make a little bit of a difference and then again I don’t use the other kinds of sprays anyway.

  6. Endcapps says

    Love your sparkling, clean bathroom! The blue Dawn dish soap will be $.49 after coupon next week at CVS! {I wonder why the blue Dawn works best?}

  7. Charlene says


    I was looking at the toxins listed for fabric softener:


    and I don’t see those listed for the Ecover ingredients:


    That is the one that I use. I have a recipe though for a totally non toxic room spray that I will share very soon. This baking soda and essential oil one would be a good alternative though:


  8. Amy says

    These are awesome! I came across a tip that I loved…..equal parts vinegar and dish soap in one of those sponge handle thingys. Keep it in the shower so you can do a quick scrub while you are in there. Brilliant! You could probably put any kind of cleaner you want in there. Now I’m thinking I want to keep those babies all over the house for quick clean up!

  9. Nerma says

    Umm, I see someone was looking for all purpose cleaner? For that you can mix 4 tea spoons of baking soda in a liter of warm water.
    And, Charlene, thank you for your wonderfull tips, It’s really helping me, because my family is alergic to a lot of chemicals that happen to be the main ingredients of some cleaners. So, this has been VERY VERY helpfull to me. Thank you so much! <3

  10. Allison says

    Do you have to make up the cleaners fresh each time you clean, or can you make them in a spray bottle and leave them for occasional cleaning?

  11. Charlene says

    Allison, I think they would be ok for occasional cleaning but I would freshen it up a little with the essential oils. The shower cleaner needs to be heated so that I would do from scratch each time :)

  12. Jessica says

    Did anyone have tips for DIY clothes softener? I have sensitive skin kids and would love to drop my expensive clothes softener. TIA

  13. Jessica says

    This is probably a dumb question, but does it make a difference whether
    I use regular White Vinegar or Distilled Vinegar? I’m not sure what the difference is and if it would affect the cleaning solutions.

  14. Amy says

    Jessica~ I use white distilled vinegar as fabric softener, I have a front load washer, just pour some in the dispenser and wash like normal :)

  15. Karole says

    Jessica, for DIY fabric softener, try 1/2 cup plain baking soda along with your detergent in the wash cycle. If that does not meet your satisfaction, put another 1/2 cup baking soda in the rinse cycle. Usually, the ‘need’ for softener is the residue of hard water and/or the detergent isn’t completely rinsed out. Children’s clothes are sometimes treated with fire retardants. It is recommended that fabric softeners are not to be used on treated clothes because it ‘diminishes’ the effectiveness of the fire retardants. I stopped using fabric softeners long ago because it seems to break-down some fabrics, it streaks some fabrics like silks, it leaves a residue on my washing machine and soils stick to the residue. Towels or items meant to absorb water are less absorbent. It makes fuzzies that attach to my contact lens or get into my eyes.

  16. Stephanie says

    I just tried the one for the bathtub, and it worked amazing!!! I’ve been trying to get our bathtub clean, ever since we moved into our new apartment, and the soap scum marked just wouldn’t go away!!! This did it in about 15 minutes!

  17. Misty says

    Hi Charlene! A few questions:

    For the toilet cleanser & drain cleaner, is the entire amount the recipe needed for one toilet/drain, or will the recipe amounts work for a few?

    For the bathtub scrub, could I keep this paste in a sealed container for later use or would it dry out?

    For the shower scrub, what is the benefit of heating the vinegar? I have been using a mix of equal parts cleaning vinegar, lemon juice, blue dawn and water in a spray bottle (not warmed) and it works really well on soap scum and as an overall cleaner, but I do wait about an hour for it to sit on the soap scum. I’m wondering if warming it would shorten that wait.

    Thanks so much!

  18. Misty says

    Hi Charlene! A few questions:

    For the toilet cleanser & drain cleaner, is the entire amount in the recipes needed for one toilet/drain, or will the recipe amounts work for a few?

    For the bathtub scrub, could I keep this paste in a sealed container for later use or would it dry out?

    For the shower scrub, what is the benefit of heating the vinegar? I have been using a mix of equal parts cleaning vinegar, lemon juice, blue dawn and water in a spray bottle (not warmed) and it works really well on soap scum and as an overall cleaner, but I do wait about an hour for it to sit on the soap scum. I’m wondering if warming it would shorten that wait.

    Thanks so much!

  19. Tay says

    I’m sure most of these work great but doesn’t combining an acid like vinegar and base like baking soda just neutralize the other and basically create saltwater?

  20. Charlene says

    Tay have you tried it? I have found these to be extremely effective cleaning agents. If I added salt to a cup of water I would not have the same results plus baking soda isn’t going to scratch delicate surfaces. If you want to research the science behind combining vinegar and baking soda, that might be a great project for you. Personally I only care about simple and safe results and I can see they work with simple results. I have heard scientists say that the two products neutralize each other but I would love to see one of them actually test the theory on a burned pot. I have found vinegar and baking soda make a dramatic difference on pots in particular- unlike any cleaning product I have ever tried.

    I would recommend actually testing these recipes yourself and see what you think ;).

  21. beverly says

    Along with the vinegar and water for floors, add rubbing alcohol also for extra cleaning

  22. Bette-Ann says

    I can not thank you enough, I am blown away by several factors regarding your shower cleaner recipe! Running a rescue house with many special needs pets, I tend to overlook my own desire for cleanliness because my energy goes to the animals first…. I used to use Tilex which sent me to the ER on one occasion….who doesn’t have vinegar and blue Dawn at the ready? The ease with which soap scum and dirty tile came clean required little more than product application and brushing! I am about to clean an old wood floor, long in the tooth and in critical need of refinishing…..I will turn to you for tips with this project as well….if you have special input please e mail me….Blessings and heartfelt thanks once again!

  23. says

    Someone asked about Dawn – why it works. Has anyone else noticed that using Dawn for dishwashing (by hand) just shreds their cuticles? As far as I know, Dawn is the only brand that just tears up my skin on my hands within a few days of using every day. I suspect this is related to why we find it so powerful in small parts in these cleaning recipes.

  24. Bette-Ann says

    I am replying to the message about Dawn tearing up cuticles-I’ve had no such issues. Mom of 10 rescue pets-several elderly and special needs-my hands are in hot water and Dawn morning to bedtime! I love this product, between its incredible cleaning power, adorable duckling image, the company’s commitment to donating a percentage of profits to wildlife rehabilitation/oil spill removal and the way it works wonders with ultra awesome and cheap non toxic heated vinegar-thus dynamic duo simply can not be beat!

  25. Maenwyn Rati says

    For a good kitchen/bath cleaner where bacteria is an issue, mix
    Tea tree oil or lavender oil to the baking soda
    Water mixture. Both kill germs and leave a nice

  26. Marsha Wolfe says

    I use baking soda and vinegar and it works fine for me!A natural disinfectant. A friend told me that cider vinegar is just as good, with a more pleasant smell. I’m going to look into that!

  27. Lauren Schwartz says

    Do any of these remove the toilet bowl ring from hard water? I’ve tried so many commercial cleaners with sub-par results.

  28. Velinda says

    I love blue dawn! One of my favorite recipes is equal parts dawn and peroxide as a strain treatment. I gets rid of yellow armpit stains. Last week it took the sharpie marker out of the shirts that were in the load with the pants that my daughter left the marker in :/. My go to treatment for everything!

  29. E.Shores says

    Amazing cleaning recipes! My sister’s son has allergies to some of the ingredients of the common cleaners and I think that your cleaning recipes are good substitutes! Thank you a lot for sharing them here!

  30. julie says

    I have been using home made cleaners for the past two years, but could NEVER get my shower properly cleaned. Your recipe for shower cleaner just made my life so much easier! I no longer have to buy gross smelly cleaners! Thnkas!!


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