Naturally Spray Mildew Away

Since I was a child I have always loved playing in the bath. I would fill it full with bubble bath and then pile all of my toys into the tub. One of my favorite pastimes was to color on the tiles with “Bathtime” crayons. I suppose that they were made of soap, and came in various colors for me to draw to my hearts content on the shower walls. My Grandma only consented to this game if I was willing to clean the tub after my bath. I never put up much fuss considering I thought myself the next Matisse. She would give me a soft sponge, baking powder, lemon, vinegar and “elbow grease” as she called it. After a few minutes of scrubbing and a rinse, the tub was good as new. From then on, I understood that in order to play in the tub, one must clean the tub.

As I got older, my bubble baths became fewer and fewer but I still enjoyed a good shower. I admit that I was not always so diligent about the nature of my cleaning products, but I was sure to clean my shower regularly and when it called for a deep cleaning, I always brought out my Grandma’s age old cleaning tricks and got the tub spotless.

Once I finally ventured into the world of roommate living, I found it very difficult to keep a clean bathroom. I was shocked at how dirty people would let the bathroom become, and more so at how little they knew about cleaning. I would exhaust myself every weekend trying to get the tub clean so that I could finally use it, but the soap scum had taken over. One day I discovered an after shower spray which seemed to be the cure to all of my problems. It cut through the soap scum right away and made it easy for me to clean the shower weekly. I found after a months use however that it was not  as magical as I had thought.

The shower spray chemicals are meant to leave a fine residue behind to keep soap from building up, which meant that each time I was bathing, I was soaking in the chemicals. It made my skin dry and flakey and my hair was stripped of it’s oils. Having ruined my bath time, I had to get rid of the shower spray and find a new solution.

I thought back to my Grandmas cleaning recipe and figured that some permutation of it would work as an interim cleaner. I started first with just lemon and water, but I found that wasn’t very powerful by itself and that it left a residue on the curtain. I then tried adding some vinegar which fixed the cleaning problem but adding a new issue of smell. After a couple trial and error mixes, I finally came up with a recipe that works well, is cheap and smells great:

Shower Cleaner Recipe:

1/3 cup white vinegar

10 drops tea tree essential oil

10 drops rosemary essential oil

10 drops sage essential oil

10 drops orange blossom oil

1/2 Tbl fresh lemon juice

20 oz distilled water

* Shake well before use

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After each shower, I spray a fine mist all over and it helps keep my shower clean without damaging my skin or hair when I bathe. I have tried a variety of blends, but I have found that rosemary and sage mask the scent of the vinegar best while something sweet like peppermint may make it more noticeable. Total, this costs me about .50 cents a batch to make, which makes it far more economical than any other cleaner. I also use all of the other ingredients for cleaning and personal use so it’s almost like no cost at all.

Granted there are natural cleaners to buy, but I still find more ingredients in their concoction than mine so I decide to keep it cheap and simple.

I believe in personal ingenuity. I think it is important for people to empower themselves by making things for themselves. I understand that an interim shower spray may seem extreme to some, so I make it myself. It is small steps like these that can lead to us minimizing our human footprint. I hope this inspires you to find something that you use on a daily basis and try to make it more sustainable and natural.

Denice Miller
Grocery Department