Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Pristine Toilette

We clean our homes to rid it of bacteria, but there are some places where there is constant bacteria, and no amount of cleaning will change that for any significant length of time.  I'm talking about our toilets.  If you clean the toilet with a harsh chemical to rid it of all bacteria, someone in your household will then use the toilet and you're right back where you started.  Is it worth using a hazardous cleaner which threatens your health for the fleeting moments of a pristine toilet.

The most intimate we get with our toilets is sitting on them (unless we have the flu).  It's really not necessary to kill every possible germ.  And cleaning with simple and safe ingredients such as vinegar can get rid of most if not all bacteria without jeopardizing your respiratory system.

If you read the back of a toilet bowl cleaner--really read that tiny print that covers the manufacturer's butt, you might think again about using those products in your tiny, poorly-ventilated bathroom:

     DANGER: CORROSIVE.  Causes irreversible eye damage and skin burns.  Harmful if swallowed. Do not get in eyes, on skin or on clothing.  Wear protective eyewear (safety glasses/goggles), protective gloves and protective clothing.  Wash thoroughly with soap and water after handling and before eating, drinking, chewing gum, using tobacco, or using the toilet. Remove and wash contaminated clothing before reuse.  Do not breathe vapor or fumes.  Keep out of reach of children.

It may sound like you're suiting up for a Superfund site, but it's just cleaning your toilet.  Do you really think this is necessary?  Is the threat of these chemical toilet bowl cleaners worth the hour or so of a bacteria-free toilet?  Could you consider using vinegar instead of a toxic brew to keep your family safe and keep your toilet just as clean?

Safer Alternatives

If you are a busy person who does not want to bother making your own cleaners, buy a nontoxic brand like Seventh Generation or Mrs. Myers.  They're a bit pricier than the chemical variety, but way safer.

There are many recipes for low cost, safe toilet bowl cleaners.  If you do a search on-line, you'll come up with oodles.  I simply pour some white vinegar into the toilet bowl (maybe a couple cups--I don't know), scrub the bowl with the toilet brush and let it set until the next use.  Close your toilet brush handle under the toilet seat so the brush drips into the toilet bowl before storing the brush.  You can also add some vinegar to the tank of your toilet for a clean rinse next time you flush.  For an extra flourish, add baking soda to the vinegar--oh that is so much fun!

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