How to Clean Your Bathroom Naturally with Branch Basics

By Marilee Nelson |

If you made it here, you're interested in (or have already started) your non-toxic cleaning journey.

As you continue, you'll slowly learn how to clean your home without using toxic chemicals. 

It's just as easy, effective, and long-lasting as using conventional cleaning products... but much healthier for you, your family, and the planet.

Next on our list? Bathroom! 

Yes, cleaning mold and grout and disinfecting your bathroom without harsh chemicals and toxic bleach is possible. 

These common bathroom cleaning chemicals are marketed as safe and essential. Yet, research plainly shows they pollute your indoor air and can lead to many negative side effects—even in small amounts or via passive exposure.

Why take the risk when you could clean just as well using non-toxic products?

In this article, we’ll teach you how to clean everything in your bathroom with our versatile products or other inexpensive and effective non-toxic products in your home.

Toxic Chemicals To Avoid In The Bathroom 

Chemical-based bathroom cleaners contain some of the most heinous and dangerous chemicals found in the average American home.

This may come as a shock, given how they are marketed as wholesome, safe, and effective. 

Yet, the majority of these chemicals have documented toxicity and safety risks ranging from acute poisoning to chronic diseases, reproductive issues, and even cancer.

Here are a few examples of chemicals to avoid in bathroom cleaners:

  • Ammonia: Ammonia hydroxide is considered a “high hazard” by OSHA and can cause:
    • Severe skin burns and eye damage
    • Irritation to mucous membranes
    • Respiratory problems
    • Life-threatening pulmonary edema
    • This chemical is also extremely toxic to aquatic life
  • Chlorine Bleach (sodium hypochlorite): An EPA-registered pesticide linked to:
  • Ethanol: A type of alcohol linked to an increased risk of developing cirrhosis of the liver and multiple forms of cancer.
  • Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives: These sneaky ingredients are carcinogenic and are used in many cleaning products under the names DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, quaternion-15, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (most commonly known as bronopol), and sodium hydroxymethylglycinate.
  • Fragrance: Synthetic fragrances are one of the world’s top allergens and may be made up of dozens to hundreds of undisclosed chemicals, such as asthmagens, endocrine-disrupting phthalates, obesogens, and potentially carcinogenic compounds.
  • PEGs/polysorbates: These petroleum-based compounds may contain carcinogenic chemicals like 1,4-dioxane. 
  • Quats: Also known as quaternary ammonium compounds or QACs, these ammonia-based disinfectants are common in Lysol and other antibacterial cleaners and potentially linked to:
    • Birth defects
    • Decreased mitochondrial function
    • Disruption of cholesterol
    • Inflammation
    • Neurodevelopmental issues
    • Proliferation of drug-resistant bacteria
    • Respiratory issues
    • Reproductive toxicity
    • Toxicity to certain aquatic life
  • Synthetic surfactants: These are used as foaming agents and to reduce the surface tension of water, which makes cleaning chemicals more effective. Synthetic surfactants, such as Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPEs), have been banned in other countries due to disrupted physical function and fetal development. They are also toxic to aquatic life. (Sources 1, 2)

These are just a few examples of the ingredients we expose ourselves and our families to whenever we clean using conventional cleaning products.

In an ideal regulatory situation, agencies would better warn consumers about the potential harms of these products' short- and long-term effects, if not ban them entirely.

Until then, we must take the reins to become product advocates and choose non-toxic products whenever possible.

Learn more in: Natural Cleaners vs. Chemical Cleaners: The Scientific Difference.

Materials Needed For Cleaning Your Bathroom Naturally

The materials needed for non-toxic bathroom cleaning are similar to what you’d use with synthetic products:

  • Microfiber cloths for surfaces, glass, and mirrors
  • Scrub brush, for sinks, tubs, and showers
  • Toilet brush
  • Grout cleaning brush
  • A microfiber mop or steam mop for floors
  • Pumice stone (if removing hard water stains)
  • Optional: unbleached paper towels if that’s what you like to clean with

Countertops

Branch Basics Bathroom solution utilizes natural, non-toxic surfactants, like Decyl Glucoside and Coco-Glucoside, to break up dirt, germs, and grime, allowing you to wipe them away with ease.

How to Clean Bathroom Countertops using Branch Basics:

For DIY non-toxic cleaning, follow the same procedure using your own All-Purpose solution or distilled white vinegar.

For countertop stains, we recommend mixing a little Oxygen Boost (a powerful non-toxic bleach alternative) with the Bathroom solution and allowing it to dwell for 15 minutes.

3% Hydrogen Peroxide is also effective for removing stains and disinfecting.

Branch Basics Starter Kits contain everything you need to make Bathroom solution and to replace every cleaner and laundry product in your home with just one Concentrate.

Learn more in: 

Sinks

Cleaning bathroom sinks can be an especially dirty job.

Here’s how to clean and disinfect your sinks using non-toxic products.

Basic Sink Cleaning Method:

Follow the same method using your favorite DIY bathroom cleaner, such as homemade baking soda soft scrub, vinegar, or peroxide.

Deep Sink Cleaning Method:

For a DIY method, we recommend a natural scouring agent, like baking soda or a homemade baking soda soft scrub, and possibly a non-toxic bleach alternative, like vinegar, or lemon juice. or peroxide.

To disinfect, follow the procedure as outlined in How to Naturally Disinfect Surfaces (A Complete Guide).

Need a better scrubber? Check out our Natural Brush to complete your kit.

Mirrors

From toothpaste spatter to fingerprints, bathroom mirrors often need regular attention. Here’s how to get a streak-free shine minus the ammonia.

How to Clean Bathroom Mirrors with Branch Basics Streak-Free:

  • Spray mirror or microfiber cloth with 1-3 sprays of Branch Basics Streak-Free
  • Wipe, going in the same direction using a microfiber cloth (microfiber cloths are preferable to paper towels because they will not leave behind lint or dust).
  • Buff the mirror for a streak-free finish.

Streak-Free is one of our most beloved solutions because of its cost, (it only takes 1 drop of Branch Basics Concentrate to make an entire bottle of Streak-Free!), simplicity, and effectiveness. 

If you’re crazy about clean, smudge-free, streak-free mirrors and glass you must try Streak-Free.

Non-toxic cleaning pro tip: Fill your Streak-Free solution using distilled water, as the minerals in the water can cause streaking. 

For a DIY option, use vodka or 3% hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle, following the same directions. 

Bathtubs & Showers

Non-toxic cleaners are essential for bath and shower cleaning due to the general lack of ventilation in these more enclosed spaces.

Plus, you need a cleaner that works on soap scum, mold and mildew, dirt, and grime without leaving behind any toxic (or slippery!) residue.

Branch Basics products are ideally suited to meet these requirements, and they’re super easy to use.

How to Clean Bathtubs and Showers with Branch Basics

Deep Cleaning Method:

For Glass Shower/Tub Doors:

  • Spray mirror or microfiber cloth with 1-3 sprays Streak-Free solution. 
  • Wipe, going in the same direction using a microfiber cloth (microfiber cloths are preferable to paper towels because they will not leave behind lint or dust).
  • Buff the mirror for a streak-free finish.

For Hard Water Stains on Doors:

  • Follow the above cleaning procedure using Streak-Free.
  • Next, spray down with undiluted distilled white vinegar and let sit for at least 15 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Wipe away and repeat until all stains are gone.

Keep it Clean! Additional Non-Toxic Tub/Shower Cleaning Pro Tips:

  • A squeegee is an excellent tool to hang in the shower for your family to use on glass doors and tub-shower combos to remove moisture and prevent hard water stains and mildew.
  • A quick wipe-down of sealed areas with a dry cloth will help prevent mold and mildew from forming.
  • If you have a shower curtain, have your family leave the curtain drawn to allow it to dry more efficiently. 
  • We’d also recommend investing in a cloth shower curtain you can wash and launder every 1-2 weeks to prevent mold build-up.

Get more tips for using Branch Basics and DIY cleaners in: How to Clean Your Shower Naturally.

Grout & Tile

You have many options for cleaning and removing dirt, stains, grime, mildew, and mold from grout and tile.

How to Clean Grout Using Branch Basics:

  • Spray grout with Branch Basics Bathroom liberally.
  • Mix Oxygen Boost and water in a small bowl.
  • Using a small brush, scrub mixture on the grout, adding more spray as needed.
  • Let sit for 10 minutes or more before wiping or rinsing the solution off.

Baking soda and/or peroxide also work wonderfully as non-toxic DIY grout cleaning options.

How to Clean Shower Tile Using Branch Basics:

A DIY all-purpose spray or vinegar solution are also excellent for cleaning most types of shower tile.

How to Clean Porcelain or Ceramic Floor Tile Using Branch Basics:

  1. HEPA Vacuum or use a dusting microfiber or broom to remove dirt and dust from the floor. 
  2. Spray the floor with Branch Basics All Purpose or use a more diluted solution if the floor is sticky when dry. (You could also put All Purpose or 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon Concentrate per 2 cups of water directly in a spray mop.)  
  3. If needed, use a scrub brush to remove any caked-on mess. 
  4. Otherwise, wipe clean with your mop or microfiber cloth. 
  5. Dry with towels if needed.

You can use Branch Basics for other floor tile types, but they may require a more diluted solution. See: How to Clean Floor Tile Naturally for specific recommendations.

Mold & Mildew (on tile, grout, floor, etc.) 

Contrary to popular opinion, bleach, and bleach-based cleaners are no longer recommended for mold and mildew.

The reason is bleach only kills surface mold while providing moisture to subsurface mold, allowing it to thrive. Plus, as you learned earlier in this article, bleach is incredibly toxic.

Instead, try these non-toxic cleaning methods.

How to use Branch Basics to Clean Mold and Mildew in Bathrooms:

  • Sprinkle the affected area with Oxygen Boost. Wet the Oxygen Boost with a spray of Branch Basics Bathroom solution.
  • Let sit for 1-5 minutes (the longer, the better).
  • Scrub with a toothbrush or scrub brush to remove mold.
  • Rinse or wipe off with a microfiber cloth.
  • Finish by spraying straight hydrogen peroxide on the grout lines (you can add a spray bottle cap directly to your hydrogen peroxide bottle to make this easy), and let dry.

Since hydrogen peroxide has that wonderful “fizzing” quality, this method will also penetrate and kill mold at its source within porous surfaces. 

For lasting results, focus on controlling soap scum and humidity/moisture to prevent mold/mildew regrowth.

For more tips, see: How to Remove Mold and Mildew from Shower Grout Naturally.

Toilets

Toilets are considered the dirtiest place in the bathroom and require a thorough clean and disinfecting, especially if someone’s been ill.

Once again, this does not require harmful chemicals. Here’s how to tackle your toilets using non-toxic products.

How to Clean Toilets with Branch Basics:

  • Spray seat, sides, and floor around the toilet with Branch Basics Bathroom solution. 
  • Let sit for 1-5 minutes. 
  • Wipe with a microfiber or regular cloth. 
  • To clean inside the toilet, flush to wet, spray Branch Basics Bathroom solution, sprinkle Oxygen Boost around the bowl, then spray again. 
  • Let sit for 5-10 minutes, then scrub using a toilet brush and flush to clean. 
  • Repeat if necessary.

To disinfect, follow the procedure as outlined in How to Naturally Disinfect Surfaces (A Complete Guide).

For more tips and DIY options, including deep cleaning methods, removing toilet bowl rings, and more, see: The Best Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaners.

Floors

There are many ways to clean bathroom floors naturally. The first step is always to vacuum or sweep to remove hair, dust, and debris.

Next, try one of these options:

  • Use a steam mop.
  • Use Branch Basics in a spray mop, with a mop and bucket, with a microfiber mop at All-Purpose dilution, or a more dilute version, depending on your floors. See Branch Basics Ultimate Guide to Non-Toxic Floor Cleaning for details.
  • Try a 50:50 dilution of distilled white vinegar or lemon juice with water in a spray bottle with a microfiber mop.
  • Try using unscented liquid castile soap diluted in water with a mop and bucket or microfiber mop based on product usage instructions.

For additional information on natural floor cleaning, see:

Soap Scum

Soap scum is a reality for every bathroom, here’s how to tackle it naturally.

How to Remove Everyday Soap Scum Using Branch Basics:

How to Remove Stubborn Soap Scum, 2 Ways using Branch Basics:

  • Sprinkle Oxygen Boost and spray more Branch Basics Bathroom solution on tougher stains. 
  • Let sit and scrub clean. 
  • Another option is to mix Oxygen Boost and water in a small bowl. 
  • Using a stiff brush, scrub the mixture on soap scum, spraying more if needed. 
  • Let it sit for 10 minutes or more before scrubbing it again and wiping or rinsing the solution off.

As previously mentioned, straight vinegar is another excellent non-toxic option for removing soap scum.

Note: Although vinegar is a natural product, it contains acetic acid, a respiratory irritant, when made airborne by spraying. Ventilate when cleaning!

Therefore, if you’re sensitive, have a respiratory condition, have babies or young children in the house, etc., opt for another of these non-toxic cleaning options.

Drains

Synthetic chemical drain cleaners are responsible for thousands of poisonings, injuries, and deaths of children, pets, and adults every year and are some of the most dangerous cleaners out there.

They’re also terrible for the environment, and most plumbers do not recommend them due to the risk of pipe damage.

Bottom line: drain cleaners are a dangerous health hazard that are wholly unnecessary and have no place in a healthy and safe home environment.

Instead, opt for these non-toxic drain cleaners and methods that dissolve clogs and force them out of the pipes using pressure.

How to Unclog Drains Without Toxic Drain Cleaner:

  1. Check if hair or other debris is built up in the drain, and remove with a drain snake and/or plunger.
  2. If the drain is still clogged, pour ½ to 1 cup of baking soda down the drain, then slowly pour ½ to a cup of vinegar after it.
  3. Cover the drain and let sit for 15 minutes. You should see or hear bubbling.
  4. Flush with a gallon of very hot to boiling water. Repeat if needed. 
  5. Next, clean the area by spraying Branch Basics Bathroom solution around the drain. 
  6. Let sit for 5 minutes. 
  7. Rinse and repeat as needed.

Get more tips and helpful advice on how to unclog drains using natural products and methods in: Natural Drain Cleaners: 5 Safe Options for your Home.

Hard Water Deposits 

Hard water comes from excess minerals, such as calcium and copper, in your water source. 

These minerals can build up on shower doors, toilet bowls, chrome and other surfaces causing spotting, discoloration, and even damage to appliances like dishwashers and washing machines.

Given the cumulative nature of hard water stains, it is best to clean them off regularly to avoid stubborn build up.

Here’s how to remove hard water deposits naturally.

  • Spray solution Branch Basics Bathroom solution or distilled white vinegar on glass or surface and let sit for 10 minutes. 
  • Scrub with the abrasive side of the sponge or pad to remove deposits. 
  • Rinse and repeat if necessary.

It is helpful to keep a squeegee in the bathroom to remove hard water after a bath or shower.

Also, check out our video on how to clean glass shower doors

Have Questions? We’ve Got Answers

By now, you’ve likely realized that cleaning with non-toxic cleaners is very similar to cleaning with conventional cleaners—minus the fumes!

However, questions do come up so let’s dive into some FAQs.

How do I prevent soap scum from forming? 

Soap scum happens to everyone who uses soap or shampoo in a shower, tub, or sink.

The best way to prevent its formation and build-up is to wipe down or squeegee your bathing areas frequently and clean regularly.

Controlling soap scum will not only prevent build-up but is one of your best defenses against the formation of mold and mildew.

So, wipe down often and clean frequently.

What is the best way to ventilate my bathroom? 

If we had our way, building codes would ensure every bathroom had a window and an excellent ventilation fan.

Unfortunately, for most people, having a bathroom window that opens is a luxury.

If you’re in this boat, the best way to ventilate is to open the door and run your fan. If humidity is an issue, a dehumidifier is also a good option.

Keep in mind that non-toxic bathroom cleaning products (except for vinegar for sensitive people or those with lung issues) do not pose the same ventilation risks as synthetic chemical cleaners.

If your bathroom is poorly ventilated and you need to clean it with, vinegar, we’d recommend using a box fan in front of the door to draw out the vinegar smell. 

How often should I be cleaning bathroom surfaces? 

This depends on many factors, including how many people are using your bathroom and how frequently, if there are new babies or immune-compromised people in the house if you’re potty training (especially little boys!), and whether anyone’s been sick.

Generally, we recommend doing a full clean of your bathroom at least once a week, with wipe-downs a couple of times in between or as needed.

As mentioned previously, a wipe-down of the bath or shower after each use is helpful to control moisture and soap scum.

Given bathrooms are a hotbed for germs, it’s better to clear more frequently than less frequently.

Does Branch Basics work as a disinfectant?

Branch Basics products are not disinfectants, and that’s on purpose.

Instead of killing germs like disinfectants (which are also EPA-registered pesticides), which can leave behind resistant bacteria and superbugs whilst disrupting the microbiome, our products effectively remove germs.

Now, that’s not to say disinfecting is never warranted because it is (see the previously linked articles on how to disinfect naturally). 

However, in most cases, the removal of germs is preferable due to the health and safety risks involved with over-sanitizing.

We discuss this in detail, including the risks and benefits of sanitizing and disinfecting versus germ removal and when to do which, in: Is Branch Basics a Sanitizer or a Disinfectant?

Get Started With Branch Basics

Although bathroom cleaning is not what everyone looks forward to, it is so much more enjoyable when you’re not inhaling toxic fumes.

Interested in trying Branch Basics cleaning system for your bathroom?

Explore our Starter Kits, available in refillable plastic or glass, to learn more about our simple, effective, and economical non-toxic cleaning system.

For more information on non-toxic cleaning, personal care, laundry, and lifestyle tips, check out our blog, podcast, and Toss The Toxins Online Course.


 

Marilee Nelson

Marilee Nelson

Marilee Nelson is an Environmental Toxins expert who has spent nearly 30 years advocating for the chemically-sensitive and chronically-ill. She is a Board Certified Nutritionist, Certified Bau-Biologist and Bau-Biology Inspector and specializes in Food As Medicine. She has helped thousands of families and individuals identify, heal and recover from toxic exposures and is on a mission to revolutionize the way American families view their health.