NTKOG #13: The type of hippie/vegan/freegan chick who eschews store-bought fungus-blasting cleaning products for biodegradable homemade concoctions. (Look, these projects can’t all be glamorous.)
I am: eco-friendly only inasmuch as you’re considered kind of a dick if you’re not, in this day and age. There. I admitted it. I recycle in my home and generally when I’m out, as long as it’s not too inconvenient; I own dozens of reuseable grocery totes and make some sort of an effort to remember them; I walk instead of driving when I’m not in a huge rush (or when parking’s going to be a hassle.)
I am not: too trusting of any cleaning products not bearing a big-name slogan in neon colors.
The Scene: My apartment’s semi-grungy bathroom, which is monochromatically Navajo White — except for huge swathes of baby blue paint dripping down the tile walls, and streaks of blackish dirt covering every surface. Because the shower curtain had been covering the only source of natural light when I first viewed the bathroom, I didn’t realize how bad things were; the only thing I had commented on to the previous tenant was the bathtub, which she had assured me she had cleaned thoroughly, despite the asymmetrical grey stains starting halfway up the walls and darkening as they oozed toward the drain.
“I scrubbed the shit out of that tub!” she assured me, not once but twice.
Well. Thanks for getting the shit out. But you didn’t have time to go after the soap scum too while you were down there?
Armed with nothing but a package of microfiber cleaning cloths, a sponge, a box of Arm & Hammer baking soda, a gallon jug of vinegar and an on-sale container of Dawn dish soap (combined value: $5), I closed myself into the bathroom and prepared for battle.
The four accumulated years’ worth of soap scum came out of the tub fairly easily, once I rinsed the tub with vinegar, then sprinkled it all with baking soda and sponge-scrubbed until my arms were asleep. It was so successful that I used the same basic trick on the walls and floor, except I blended the baking soda in with dish soap until it formed a frosting-like consistency (that made me quite unreasonably hungry), then used it to scrub. At that point I noticed that the top inch or two of every single tile on the wall was coated in layers of three different colors of paint. Apparently whoever painted the bathroom was too lazy to buy painters tape and so decided they’d just “be really careful” — essentially the painting equivalent of the pulling-out method of birth control. Awesome, guys. Really great.
The Verdict: Dang, guys. This all-natural cleaning idea is amazing. My few basic ingredients did a stunning job taking up four years worth of accumulated soap scum, dirt, dust, bad paint job, rust, everything! And all without even a single paper towel, too! Although I definitely had to put in a few hours and a lot of elbow grease, pausing in my toils every so often only to curse the fucking Swiffer generation, who apparently either cannot recognize dirt & scum, or else perhaps encourage it under the delusion that it contains anti-oxidents.
Turns out I was totally wrong about this whole hippie cleaning thing. It’s significantly cheaper than store-bought products, and works just as well, if not better. Although I still stand firm in my reservation that the kind of girls who use all-natural cleaning supplies are much the same demographic as those who choose to use “keeper cups” instead of tampons and are thus generally to be ignored by polite society.
Bonus Tutorial: How to clean a fucking bathtub (especially if you are of the Swiffer Generation)
This is very complicated, guys. It’s totally effin’ brain surgery.
- Empty all of your shampoo, shaving cream, etc, out of the tub, and make sure your bathroom is well-lit.
- Dampen a sponge and sprinkle baking soda all over it.
- Choose a reasonably clean part of your tub and scrub it as hard as you think humanly possible (or even harder, if you can!) for forty-five seconds. Note the color that the patch is, post-scrubbing.
- Scrub the rest of your tub until it matches the color achieved in #3 (reapplying baking soda and re-wetting sponge as necessary.)
- THAT’S FRIGGIN’ IT! Go clean your bathtub, 20-somethings. It’s beyond overdue.