Bring Bathrooms To A Shine {Plus DIY Peppermint Cleaners}

Bathrooms are busy rooms and if they aren’t maintained daily, it doesn’t take long for them to get grunge-tastic.

WipingHere are several tips to help you bring them to a shine (and keep them that way), along with some nice homemade peppermint cleaners you can make.

  • Apply a thin layer of lemon oil to shower doors. This helps keep soap scum from building up by making the soapy water bead up on the glass and slide on down the drain. Pour 2 tsp of lemon oil on a cloth then wipe the doors. Do this every other week for best results. You can also try rubbing baby oil or shaving cream on your shower doors to keep them shiny and fog free. Shaving cream can also be used to remove built up soap scum on shower doors, walls and fixtures. More soap scum busters are on this page.
  • After each shower spray shower walls with cleaner to prevent soap scum and grime from building up, this helps keeps your shower shiny. You’ll find a bunch of recipes on this page along with tips for cleaning the shower door tracks.
  • Remove rings inside the toilet bowl by applying a paste of borax and lemon juice to the stain (flush first to make the surface wet). Allow to set for 2 hours then scrub. For a ring preventative measure, try pouring about 2 cups of vinegar in the bowl and allow to sit for a few hours before flushing (do a quick brushing before flushing). Do this every 2 or 3 weeks. See a quick tutorial at the bottom of this page for more step-by-step instructions for washing toilets.
  • Bring a sparkle back to those shower curtains by laundering them with a bath towel. Add 1 cup vinegar during the rinse cycle. You could also wash them by hand using a household sponge soaked in vinegar (will help remove mildew and soap scum).
  • Is your bathtub dingy and seemingly beyond repair? Here’s a tried-and-true method to bring it back to a shine: oven cleaner (for porcelain tubs)! You can also try a laundry detergent soak (for both porcelain and acrylic tubs). You’ll find all the details here.
  • Remove nasty hard water buildup around tap fixtures using paper towels soaked in vinegar. Wrap them around the base of the taps for several hours to break down the crud, then wash. See this page for easy ways to remove limescale using basic pantry items.
  • Remove hairspray and splatter buildup on mirrors by buffing with a lint-free cloth and a bit of rubbing alcohol. Two earth friendly DIY recipes for glass and mirrors: one cup cold strong black tea with 3 TBS of vinegar; or one part vinegar added to four parts water. Newspapers are great scrubbers to use for near-streak-free glass & mirrors. Also this old trick is handy to know: use shaving foam on mirrors to keep them from steaming up. See more recipes on this page.
  • No need for harsh chemicals to loosen up gobs of dried toothpaste and heavy grime in the sink, try this homemade mix that’s gentle on porcelain and brings back a shine: DIY Softscrub.
  • Use your favorite liquid dish detergent to brighten grout between tiles, just drizzle on a sponge or wet cloth and scrub. You can also use toothpaste. See more suggestions on this page.
  • There are lots of little nooks and crannies that hide germs and hold grime, use old toothbrushes to get right in there and gently wipe caulking, around faucets, vanity design features, shower tracks, baseboards, etc.
  • Things get pretty humid in this room, making it a perfect environment for mildew. Keep it at bay by spraying walls and ceilings with a 50/50 solution of 3% hydrogen peroxide and water, leave on (it will dry itself) and do this a couple times a year. Careful not to get this solution in your eyes when spraying. You can also use this on mildew spots (or try a straight dose of hydrogen peroxide for tough spots).

Easy Household Time Saver: Each day wipe down the sink, toilet and spray the inside of the shower with cleaner, empty the trash. Your bathroom will sparkle throughout the week!

Here are a few different recipes for homemade cleaners you might want to try (EO = peppermint essential oil)…

Shower Scrub:

1 cup baking soda
1/4 tsp EO

  • Mix the ingredients then store in a glass mason jar.
  • To use: Sprinkle on a wet sponge and wipe bath and shower walls. Rinse off with water.

All-Purpose Spray:

1 cup distilled water
1/2 cup household vinegar
1/2 tsp liquid castille soap
1/4 tsp EO

  • Mix ingredients in a spray bottle and shake before use.
  • To use: Spray on tiles and walls, wipe with a damp sponge.

For Floors:

1 gallon hot water
2 TBS liquid castille soap
1/4 tsp EO

  • Mix ingredients in a large bucket.
  • To use: Mop floor.

Mold Remover:

1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup salt
1/2 tsp EO

  • Mix ingredients in a spray bottle, shake well before use.
  • To use: Spray mold then leave sit for a few minutes before wiping off mold.

For Toilet Bowls:

1 cup baking soda
1 cup vinegar

  • To use: First drizzle baking soda into the bowl. Top with vinegar. Allow to fizz for 10 minutes then use a toilet brush to scrub. To finish things off, wipe underneath the seat and around the rim with a damp cloth that has a few drops of EO.

Here are a few hints and tips I’ve collected to wash down a toilet, meshed in with instructions on how to wash it from top, down and all around. This is NO ONE’S favorite job I’m sure. Yuck.

*For stain toughies, try one of the methods below:

  • Plop a couple denture cleaning tablets in the bowl and soak overnight. Scrub in the morning then flush.
  • Pour a tablespoon or two of orange Tang powder crystals in the bowl, swoosh around, soak for an hour or overnight, then flush.
  • Pour a cup or so of bleach in the bowl, swish around and soak overnight.

For hard to remove water lines (mineral and hard water deposits) on the inside of the bowl, a few different tips:

  • First empty the water enough so that the water level is well below the stained line.
  • To lower the water level either dump a pail of water in the bowl or turn the water off (tap behind tank) and flush down what’s in the tank.
  • Soak paper towels with vinegar, then firmly stick the wet vinegar towels around the inside of the bowl, covering the stain. Let it soak for several hours, remove paper towels then try scrubbing with cleaner.
  • Make a paste of Borax and vinegar and apply generously to ring, let sit for a few hours then wash well.
  • Try a nylon scrub pad with Barkeeper’s Friend or ZUD
  • Use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser
  • Wet the stain line well then rub gently with a wet pumice stone. Rubbing too hard or with a dry stone on a dry stain line will scratch the porcelain. Be careful.

Don’t forget to:

  • Regularly remove all lid and tank covers as well as floor mats to launder.
  • Scrub the bowl vigorously and scrub well right up under the rim.
  • Take a small scrub brush (old toothbrush works perfectly) and scrub the lid hinges too. Slide your wash cloth underneath the hinges–gross!
  • Wipe the top, underside and edges of lid & don’t forget to wipe down the handle.
  • Wipe down the tank lid and the tank itself.
  • Wipe the base of the toilet all around from back to front and from top to bottom, get right into the grooves of the porcelain. Wash the floor all around from back to front, pay close attention to the crevice where the toilet and floor meet.
  • When finished, flush for fresh water. If you used a scrub brush, add some bleach to the bowl and let the brush sit and soak in it for awhile to clear out the grodies before putting it away.

Important: Wash the cloths and rags separately from the rest of your towels and laundry and only use those cloths for the toilet and surrounding area. Your family, and your visitors, will thank you.

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    • Mrs. Salber

    Consider this thought about bathroom sinks: majority of stains result from toothpaste, which is water soluble.

    After you get out of the shower and dry off, take your bath towel and soak a corner or so of it with water, a large enough corner to cover the stains. Lay the towel over the toothpaste stains and leave it there for awhile. The water softens the toothpaste. The toothpaste, in turn helps make the sink shiny!

    I leave mine there all day while the kids are at school. When they come home and see it, they know to use the towel to finish wiping the toothpaste stains, then the towel gets put in the wash.

    • Suz

    I keep a tinted spray bottled filled with 1/2 hydrogen peroxide and 1/2 water to spray and clean… In the kitchen, I clean down my countertops, cutting boards and stove; it’s a great grease cutter and leaves your stove nice and shiny… In the bathroom; I spray with the solution and wipe it down, it does not leave a residue and afterwards it’s germ free… It’s great on windows and glass also, does not streak and kills germs… No smell… It does not damage septic tanks… This solution will also clean blood stains… If you have blood on cloth you can spray it and then wash as normal without clorox it comes out…. Also cost effective….

    • Vicki

    I use a Swiffer on the long handle to clean the bathroom floor before I start using any liquids. (It’s hard to maneuver the vacuum in the bathroom.) The Swiffer picks up the hair and lint just great! Then, I use the drippy method of cleaning: Spray my home brew all purpose cleaner* on the sink, counter top, toilet – everything but the mirror. Fill the sink with water and use a damp cloth (I bought a stack of cheap wash cloths) to wipe the spray cleaner off all the surfaces – rinsing the cloth when needed. When I do the toilet I make the cloth really wet and let the water drip down and onto the floor. Pour a little spray cleaner into the toilet and use the brush to clean the inside. Empty the sink, spray with cleaner, and wipe out with the cloth. Spray my (also home brew) glass cleaner** on the mirror and wipe with a dry cloth. Use that cloth to wipe the faucet (makes it shiny). Last – use the wet cloth to wipe the floor from the farthest inside corner and proceed til you’re out the door. The drips from the toilet will give you enough liquid to wipe all over the floor. Ta da! Ten minutes – tops! Tub – separate project. *All purpose cleaner: Spray 9 bought in a gallon at the auto parts store – 1/4 Spray 9 to 3/4 water in a purchased spray bottle. **Glass cleaner: 1/4 white vinegar to 3/4 water in a purchased spray bottle. BONUS Mildew cleaner: 1/4 bleach to 3/4 water in a purchased spray bottle. Be careful not to get it on towels and rugs, and open the window (stinky!).

    • angel

    One of the tricks I learned in the Marine Corps was to use Pledge furniture polish in the shower. After cleaning just spray on and wipe off. It gave the walls in the shower a great looking shine and helped prevent soap scum or other buildup.

    • Samantha M.

    This may be a little off topic, but am very frustrated and needing some advice……

    The previous tenants that lived in my apartment were heavy smokers, and apparently smoked a lot in the bathroom. When they moved out, instead of washing the walls before painting they just painted over the nasty smoke buildup that had accumulated. Now whenever anyone takes a shower the humidity brings it out from behind the new paint job and drips on my freshly cleaned floor, sink, shower, self…you get the idea. Am I stuck swiffering every time I take a shower, or is there something that will fix the problem permanently?

      • Karen S.

      Look at your local hardware/ paint store for TSP (trisodium phosphate). Try a weak solution- strong solutions may remove some of the gloss from the paint. TSP is an EXCELLENT grease cutter/cleaner and is used to prep surfaces before painting. BE SURE TO WEAR GLOVES- it WILL dry your skin! TSP can also be mixed with bleach to remove mildew from non-porous surfaces.

    • Meghan

    Samantha, Try washing the walls in a vinegar/water solution. Spray & wipe them down. See if this helps. Good luck.

    • Naida

    Hi–I have peel and stick tile on kitchen floor–it was put down over cushion floor a few years ago — ever since black glue seeps up around the tile edges — here and there–is there any remedy to clean this recurring problem. —it’s a big effort to keep scrapping off. Thanks.

      • Nan TRAYLOR

      Try gue be gone or one of the oil based sticky removers the wash as you would wash the floor! Hope this helps. Also try bug and tar remover it removes the road tar on a car easily! Wash service afterwards to remove the cleaner! Hope this helps the tar remover melts road tar. It is in the auto department of the store. Good luck!

    • shirley

    where do I get Eo-peppermint essential oil-used in bathroom cleaning-thank you

      • Kim

      Most, if not all, of health food stores have a variety of essential oils. If you live near a Central Market or a Whole Foods, they will have it as well.

      • Ginny

      I got a large bottle (16 oz) at However, I never knew until I read this article that it was good as a mold cleaner too. I bought some to help as pest control. Had mice move into my cellar over winter. Exterminator told me put some paper towels soaked in peppermint oil in dixie cups around the corners of my cellar. It worked beautifully. No more mice, they hate the smell.

    • mel

    Someone gave me this tip years ago to keep my shower tiles sparkling. After I shower, I wipe down the tiles with a sponge and then an old towel. That’s it. I never have to do any more cleaning, ever. I do have soft water so maybe that helps.

    • Sharon

    I was really excited about your mold cleaner recipe since we seem to have one problem spot at the front door. I made up the recipe but the salt refuses to dissolve in the vinegar….very odd, I’m thinking !! Any tips on what to do or is it supposed to stay that way ???

    • Marilyn

    The contractor that put our handicap shower in used a glue that is kind of golden brown and looks awful. What can I use to clean it off. We later found out he was a fly by night.

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