How Baking Soda Took My Bathroom from “Yuck” to Yes!
I’ll admit it. I don’t always practice what I preach. I love the idea of greener, simpler cleaning products. I’m also addicted to those chemical-laden cleaning products that instantly transform a foul bathroom into something more shiny and apple-scented. I know that what I’m paying for isn’t as safe or as economical as those natural and cheap remedies that often contain vinegar or baking soda. I just needed to try it.
Frustrated by the dark black residue that was taking over my tile grout, I resolved to do something about it - today. With 3 little boys in the house, it was impossible to keep my bathroom clean for very long, and the years of mud, sand, and you-know-what had left permanent reminders of their rambunctiousness. Simply put, I had white tile and black grout. It was really bringing me down.
I took a quick inventory of my bathroom cleaning supply. Toxic, toxic, and even more toxic was the order of the day, but I had a headache, and didn’t feel like putting on my rubber gloves and handkerchief. I grabbed a box of baking soda from the cabinet. It had been successfully keeping my husband’s teeth whiter than usual, so it had to work on grout, right?
I dumped a bunch in a bowl, added just enough water to make a “paste” and went to work, carefully placing an even amount of paste down each line of grout. Then I took the most frayed-looking toothbrush from the toothbrush holder (sorry, Kylin) and began brushing where I applied the paste. Three words entered my mind: “What the _____ ?”
I couldn’t believe the results. Less than a minute after I put the stuff on, I had sparkling (no kidding) white grout in the areas I cleaned. A bit of water rinsed it right off, and when my toddler came busting through the door to use the can, I didn’t have to scream at him to avoid the toxic run-off from my cleaning project. (It was, after all, just baking soda.)
(Small area of bathroom tile after baking soda treatment See how dark the "before" areas are?)
Just for fun, I used some actual high-powered bathroom tile and grout cleaner, designed for such a task. It burned my eyes as it came out, and after 5 minutes of setting on a reserved area of grout, took some of the black stuff off – kind of – with a lot of scrubbing. Afterwards, I felt dirty, and considered hiring a HAZMAT team to rinse off my bathroom floors.
(Bathroom floor after chemical cleaner. The cleaner didn't get into every bit of the grout, leaving it looking cracked.)
The choice for me was clear. All-natural, really effective grout cleaner for under a buck at my local grocery store (and the cost of a trashed toothbrush)? Or that $4 specialty poison that works almost as well and leaves me coughing and frightened for the little toes that walk over it days later?
Is it really even a choice?