Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The quest for a daily shower spray recipe

Those of you who know me or have been following my blog for a while know that I love homemade cleaning products. I love them for a very good reason. I find they work better than the store bought kind for pennies on the dollar and are non-toxic and pleasant to use.

I have my favorites on my website for anyone to use:

Green Cleaning Recipes

Now, I'm trying to come up with my own recipe for daily shower cleaning spray and I find it's not exactly a straight forward process.  The commercial brands are expensive and most are toxic--definitely not something you want to routinely mist in your shower and breathe in or get on your skin. And they are stinky :-(

You want your shower spray to do at least two things well:

1. make water sheet off your shower walls in order to prevent water spots and to make the shower dry off quickly so mildew won't form
2. kill germs--especially mold and mildew, but also cold, flu and athlete's foot germs

You may also want it to break up hard water deposits and residue from soaps and hair products

There are all sorts of recipes and suggestions out there for formulas to make your own, but what will work for you depends on three main factors:

1. What materials your shower is made from
2. How soft or hard your water is
3. What products you use to wash your hair and body

Some of the homemade recipes contain scented bleach or ammonia. These are probably very effective, but not great things to mist around your living space and breathe in so I'll cross those off the list. And you never want to use the two together or to mix either one with vinegar or you will form a toxic gas.

Commercial dishwasher rinse agents are also sometimes added to help water sheet off and prevent water spots. Once again, you really never know what the manufactures put in these products. They are not required by law to list them. They probably work great, but do you want to breathe them in or get them on your skin? Products DO get into your bloodstream through your skin--that's why a hot bath with Epsom salts works for sore muscles. You are especially susceptible to this when your skin is freshly clean and your pores are open like after a nice hot shower.

Vinegar is an excellent product to use since it will break up hard water deposits and help to break up akaline deposits from soaps and shampoo products and it will kill germs. However, if you will want to avoid acidic formulas using vinegar if you have tile with grout or it will eat away at your grout. If you don't have grout and you do have hard water you may want a vinegar based formula. I used to use one that was made from vinegar, purified water, tea tree oil and a few drops of liquid soap with good results (but now I have grout).

Rubbing alcohol and peroxide can be used and also used in combination. They decrease the drying time and kill germs. The peroxide may even help keep your grout white. They have the benefit of not leaving a residue.

Essential oils can be added to help kill germs and provide a pleasant scent. Tea tree or lavender essential oils will kill germs as will other types of essential oils. Citrusy essential oils are very pleasant. Avoid using too much of these as they can add an oily residue. Don't use synthetic perfume oils.

Liquid soap or detergent can be used to break up the surface tension of water drops to help them sheet off the surface. Once again, you'll just want to use a few drops or you'll leave a residue. They also have the added benefit of helping to break up oily residue from conditioning products, lotions and body oils.

Borax or washing soda are sometimes added. These are alkaline and kill germs and can help protect your grout or caulk from acidic ingredients. These tend to change the scent of essential oils and will help neutralize the acidity of vinegar. Find these in the laundry aisle at the grocery store and dissolve them in hot water before adding to your formula.

Purified or distilled water is usually the base for all the homemade formulas--often more than half water and less than half other ingredients.

Commercial liquid all purpose green cleaning products can be diluted and used daily to help combat build up of hard water and personal care products. If doing this you'll probably want to dilute 1 part product with 10 parts purified water.

You can reuse another spray bottle to mix your formula or get a heavy duty spray bottle from the garden center.

If you give creating your own shower spray formula a try, leave a comment and let me know what you used and how it works.  I'd love to know!

CAUTION: homemade or commercial shower spray products can make your shower or tub floors a little slippery--be careful. Also, many of these ingredients should be kept away from children.

Other things to try:

* Get a shower squeegee and use it--especially if you have hard water
* Use gel products instead of bar soaps or creams as they wash away more easily (I love my bar soap though)
* Fresh air and sunshine. Mold, mildew and most other germs can't live in dry and sunny environments. The faster you can get your shower area dry the better. Always ventilate and open window blinds or curtains during the day if you have a window.
* A water softener--takes away the minerals and adds a tiny amount of salt which is also a germ killer.

1 comment:

  1. wow,fun fun.. hope u find some great recipes!