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Multi-Purpose Homemade Bathroom Cleaner & Soap Scum Remover

Keeping the bathroom clean can be a daunting task. We want to make sure the germs are wiped away as well the grime. The bathroom is the most frequented room in our house, and we want to make sure it’s safe for our families.

Cleaning the bathroom comes with two challenges: toothpaste splatter and soap scum.

I’ve tried other homemade bathroom cleaners with just vinegar as the main ingredient. They didn’t remove the grime as well as I would have liked.

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I like that ammonia, aka ammonium hydroxide, is a strong cleaner without the corrosive effects of bleach. I’ve ruined too many outfits from cleaning with bleach.

However, ammonia doesn’t have the germ fighting abilities of bleach or vinegar.

By mixing the vinegar and ammonia together with baking soda, I can clean and disinfect at the same time.

Household vinegar and baking soda have both been found to be affective against a number of germs commonly found in the bathroom. They’re also great for neutralizing odors.

Learn More: Antimicrobial Activity of Home Disinfectants and Natural Products Against Potential Human Pathogens

You do not need to tackle the entire bathroom in one day if you are limited on time.  You will soon find it easier to maintain a clean bathroom if you do a part of it each day.


The first step to cleaning the counter-top is to remove everything from its surface.  I use a laundry basket. 

Put any loose change in a change jar and loose hair pins in a box or plastic container. 

To clean, I used a simple solution of ammonia, vinegar, baking soda, and water in a quart sized spray bottle. I’ve found this recipe to be as effective as store bought cleaning products for a fraction of the price.

Bathroom Cleaner Recipe

1/4 c baking soda
3.5 c. warm water
3 Tbsp ammonia
2 Tbsp white vinegar
A few drops of essential oils for fragrance

Using a funnel, mix the solution directly in the bottle. 

I find that adding the baking soda first helps everything to mix together.

Carefully add in warm water, ammonia, and white vinegar.

If you have any essential oils, you can also use them to scent the cleaner.  I like citrus oils like lemon or sweet orange. Another good oil to use is tea tree for it’s antibacterial and antiviral properties.

Screw the sprayer onto the top of the bottle and shake gently to combine.

Label your spray bottle.  You wouldn’t want to accidently mistake the solution for water or a bleach solution. 

Anytime you use ammonia, make sure your bathroom is well ventilated and the exhaust fan is on. 

Do not use this cleaner before or after you use any cleaners containing bleach.  That means do not sanitize the countertop with Lysol or Clorox cleaner after you’re finished.  You could create toxic fumes that could easily land you in the hospital.

This cleaner worked great at cutting through most of the grime on my counters. 

It also made a good cleaner for the walls. 

The toothpaste grime was probably the most difficult to get off, so I sprayed it and let it sit.  A few minutes later, it came right up with small circular movements from the paper towel. 

It also made my grout white again.   

You may find that the baking soda leaves spots on your faucets. Use a wet papertowl to wipe the faucets clean, then dry with a clean paper towel.


I recommend saving your mirrors for last to avoid messing them up while spraying and cleaning the walls and counter-tops. 

If you’re looking for a good, homemade glass cleaner, this one seems to get the best reviews: Natural Glass Cleaner

Wipe with paper towels or a micro-fiber cloth until your mirrors are dry and streak-free.

You can choose which items in the laundry basket go back on the counter and which can be stored somewhere else. 

The bathroom counter becomes a catch-all for everything left in your pockets at the end of the day. 

If it does not need to be out, then store it in a drawer, medicine cabinet, or shelf. 

I have limited space, so I keep many of my lotions and hair products in a basket on the counter.  It makes them easily accessible without taking up too much space. 

Carry your basket around the house and put the rest of the items away
if there is anything that does not belong in the bathroom.  Don’t let your laundry basket become your new junk drawer.

Clean your bathroom a little bit every day, and the whole process will become easier and faster with time.

Amanda Gary

Sunday 9th of June 2019

Are you using regular "cooking" vinegar or Cleaning vinegar?


Sunday 9th of June 2019

It's just regular 5% distilled white vinegar.


Wednesday 5th of January 2011

Bonnie - I just scrubbed my bathroom today. I hate it too!! I use the same mixture but with vinegar instead of ammonia and I usually add a lemon essential oil. Jessica

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