Homemade Bathroom Cleaner & Toilet Bowl Cleaner: 17 Days of Natural Cleaning


Ahhh. Don’t you just love cleaning the bathroom?

Especially a boy’s bathroom. I know you just cringed because if you have boys you know exactly what I mean.

I have tried everything I could find in the cleaning aisle to get rid of that smell. They would work for all of 20 minutes and then it came back. Now, I really believe the smell never left. I think the cleaners just interfered with my sense of smell and that made me think it smelled better. There is some research on that to back me up. They actually do deaden the nerve endings in nasal passages. (source)

When I started using natural products I made an amazing discovery. Baking soda and vinegar completely remove boy bathroom smells.  The vinegar (acetic acid) liquefies the odor-causing urine salts to neutralize its odor and remove stains. I’ll tell you specifically how I do it.

First, because boys are unaware of how to aim anything but bows and arrows, slings, rubber bands, and hunting rifles, you will have to remove the left over evidence caused by this lack of knowledge. I just sprinkle some baking soda over the area and let it soak up the evidence. After a few minutes I sweep it up. At that point I spray my boy-bathroom cleaner on the floor and base of the commode. I let that sit while I clean the rest of the bathroom, about 5-10 minutes. After I am done with the rest of the bathroom I simply wipe it up. That’s it. Really. You thought it was going to involve a bulldozer or tile replacement, didn’t you?

Another tip for you if you have tile is to use an oil to place on the grout. This prevents the urine from penetrating the grout. I just pour some melted coconut oil into a cup and use a paintbrush to put a thin layer on the grout around the commode. I wipe the excess off and it is good for about a month. You’ll know it is working because you’ll see beaded up boy evidence on it from time to time. Be forewarned, this does cause some discoloration on the grout but since the urine does too I don’t care. I’d rather oil discoloration than urine discoloration. I know I could seal it with a commercial product but since I am trying to stay away from that and because there is absolutely no ventilation in the boys’ bathroom, I’m not going to do that.

Homemade Boy-Bathroom Cleaner (can also be used as after shower spray)

  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1/2 cup distilled water
  • 10 drops of essential oil (I use Thieves oil)

Add all ingredients into a spray bottle. Give a soft shake to combine.

To use simply spray onto affected area. Let sit for 5-10 minutes. Wipe clean.

Homemade Bathroom Cleaner

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/3 cup Castile soap
  • 3 tbsp. washing soda
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 20-30 drops of essential oil ( I use sage and lavender)

Add baking soda into a large, deep bowl. Slowly add vinegar. It will foam up as it reacts. This is a harmless event. Add remaining ingredients into bowl. Mix well. Spoon into a small container.

Before using this solution I spray my all purpose spray over the area I want to clean. This solution helps to break down any hard water residue which will make it easier to clean the soap scum. To use, add a layer to the bathtub or shower. Allow it to sit for a few minutes. Scrub off. Rinse. Repeat if necessary.

NOTE: I feel it is important to note here that after using commercial cleaners for several years you will have a build up on your tub or shower. I thought that I was getting my tub clean with those cleaners until I used this homemade solution. The homemade cleaner caused the buildup of  residue from the commercial cleaner to come off revealing a clean tub like I had not seen in years! The reason it works so well is because the molecules in soap include a “free end” that is attracted to fat molecules. Soap attaches to soap.

Soap scum is broken down soap molecules which consist of soap and the fat that was used to make it. Soap scum is worse in hard water. To sum it up, if you use soap and fat to clean with then it removes the left over soap and fats. Awesome, right?

Homemade Toilet Bowl Cleaner

  • 1 cup distilled water
  • 1/2 cup Castile soap
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 20-25 drops of essential oil ( I use tea tree and any citrus)

Add baking soda into a large, deep bowl. Slowly add vinegar. It will foam up as it reacts. This is a harmless event. Add remaining ingredients into bowl. Mix well. Funnel into a container. I use a BPA free toilet bowl cleaner container from a natural cleaner that I had. I wouldn’t use the commercial ones just because plastics leach chemicals.

To use squirt around the rim of the commode. Allow the solution to work for 5-10 minutes. Scrub with a toilet brush. Flush.

Shower head Cleaner

  • 1/3 cup of baking soda
  • 1 cup vinegar

To use, remove your shower head and place inside a large, deep bowl. Add baking soda. Add vinegar. Allow it to foam up and work its magic. Let it sit for an hour or so.  Rinse well. Replace shower head and run water through it for a few minutes to remove left over baking soda and vinegar.

Download Boy-Bathroom Cleaner, After Shower Spray, Homemade Bathroom Cleaner and Toilet Bowl Cleaner Labels

For best results, print on mailing labels or Avery sticker paper. After adhering to bottle, use contact paper over the label to give it added protection.

Clean Modern Label

Vintage Antique Label

Classic Natural Label

Shabby Chic Label

Funky Fun Label

Traditional Contemporary

Simple Earthy

Other posts in this series: Homemade All Natural Cleaning Products


  1. Hi Amy, just found your blog and I wanted to let you know that by adding the baking soda to the vinegar you are getting rid of the vinegar. The chemical reaction reduces the acetic acid and baking soda to something called sodium acetate, water, and carbon dioxide (the bubbles). Sodium acetate is a salt, but the majority the left overs is good old water. To make our all-purpose cleaner, I use vinegar, water some ethanol and essential oils, but I don’t mix it with baking soda as that takes away the vinegar’s disinfection and cleaning properties. Just trying to be helpful. 🙂

  2. since the toilet cleaner is baking soda & vinegar, does it have a shelf life? can it really be made up ahead of time and stored and still be effective?

  3. So excited to try all of these but what is washing soda and where does one purchase it?

  4. Hi! This was great, loved reading it! 🙂
    I have a little problem in my bathroom, might need some help. I always get this funky smell from the drain and i don’t know how to get rid of it. It smells a bit like rotten egg… Can you suggest anything that might help to get rid of that funk? Thanks

  5. Danielle says:

    I absolutely love this series! Thank you so much for being dilligent on the natural and healthy aspect. Many bloggers focus on DIY cleaners being affordable so they compromise on the ingredients in their recipes.

    I am confused about the coconut oil you use in the bathroom recipe. Coconut oill is all the rage for cooking and personal use. The kind I’ve been able to find is solid. Is lliquid coconut oil available or do I need to melt the solid version?

  6. Thank you for posting this. There is currently a nice thick layer of baking soda surrounding my toilet and on the base of it right now. I went in there to use the bathroom (after my 5 year old) and there was pee EVERYWHERE!!!! All over the rim, seat, lid, floor, wall, trash can. I mean….i just don’t understand how that happens LOL! Anyway I’m always looking for natural ways to clean things and this rocks. 🙂 I don’t have any thieves oil but I do have tea tree so I think I’ll just use that in the spray mixture for now. I need to buy these supplies in bulk as I have FOUR boys!

  7. One of the worst culprits for holding that smell are the large screws that hold the potty lid on. You have to reach around the side of the toilet to get them (I personally wish I had a hazmat suit for when I have to get that close!). Apparently when boys overshoot and it hits near the hinge, it seeps down onto those hinges – and crystallizes – ew!. I’m sure your solution will work on them…just don’t overlook them. You can have everything else spotless, and still have odor if you miss them.

  8. Hi Amy! I’ve got all my ingredients now (I even went to the store to buy some Vodka!) I will be making my recipes shortly. Speaking of boy bathrooms…I’m hoping you might have a moment to answer a question. My son (age 4) had a nighttime accident in bed. I was able to wash the sheets & blankets, but I haven’t figured out how to get his big stuffed snake clean and free of the urine smell!! Any ideas? I tried the vinegar spray, but spraying wasn’t quite enough, I think I might have to actually scrub it.

    • What is the stuffed toy made out of? If it is filled with those filler bead things then it may be a lost cause. That stuff absorbs and does not release. The vinegar can’t get to it because they only absorb so much and then won’t absorb any more. If it is stuffed with cotton or polyester filler then you can toss it in the washer with some vinegar (I’d let it soak in the sink for a bit first).

  9. Hi Amy!
    These recipes look great! I’ve just started making natural cleaners and can’t wait to use them in my home from now on. I am so excited about using safer cleaners, saving money, and adding this regimen to my care and keeping of my home. I love that you use essential oils in nearly every cleaner.
    Where did you get the bottles that you use? I know you didn’t post a picture of them, so they may be all different bottles for all I know, but I’m having a lot of trouble finding good (inexpensive) spray bottles. I’ve looked online, and at Target so far, and can’t find bottles that I like. I ended up just purchasing a few bottles at the Dollar Tree and pouring out the contents, however the bottles themselves feel rather cheap and flimsy, so I’m not entirely satisfied. Do you have any suggestions about where to look?
    Thanks so much!

    • Sophia,

      My secret is that I buy bottles of natural cleaner, use the cleaner, then use the bottle. In most cases, reusing bottles is cheaper than buying new ones! And I love the fun shapes and sizes the natural cleaners come from. And you know they are BPA free (most anyway).

  10. I came over from Sisters In Bloom…and spent too much time here this morning. I have enjoyed visting your blog and I am excited to see how the Lord uses Sisters In Bloom.

  11. Awesome, awesome and yes, as the mom of two boys and a little grandson who is just now learning to potty in the pot – I have this info down. That is nice to know about the grout. We did use a commercial sealer when we built our house BUT since it is on the market I will definitely keep the coconut oil in mind for our new one. I am adding links to some of your post on my Living Simply page – Thanks bunches!

  12. Hi. I’m wondering which Castile soap you’re using. Is it the solid one that has to be grated or the liquid one by Dr. Bronner? Thanks

    • Wana, I use the liquid for my cleaning recipes and the bar soap to make personal care products. I am quite partial to Dr. Bohner’s but I am sure they are all similar in effectiveness. I just prefer Dr. Bohner’s because they are Kosher so I know there isn’t any residue chemicals or byproducts in the soap.

  13. LOVE this post! Too funny about boys not being able to point anything but guns, bows and arrows…so true! Looking forward to trying these cleaners. LOVING your series!

  14. Thanks for sharing these recipes, I’m saving them all! I especially can’t wait to try this one. I have three boys and like you said, the aim isn’t always there, especially in the middle of the night when they’re half asleep. I’m definitely going to try sprinkling the baking soda around the toilet and sweeping it up before cleaning!

    I’ve got a cleaning tip for cleaning the showers, sinks, etc. We have hard water and get a mineral crust anywhere the water sits. I was having a conversation with some older ladies at church, and one said something about “cleaning screen”. I listened for a few more minutes, then said, “Wait a minute, what is cleaning screen?” They said that it is a screen cloth, similar to the screening used for windows and doors but a little stiffer, that you can use to scrub tile, ceramic, etc. They buy it at the local janitorial store, and one of the ladies graciously brought me a piece to try out. It was awesome! It took off soap scum and hard water stains and everything. The shower looked especially great. It leaves a little bit of grit behind that just wipes right off. It can be used with or without cleaners, so is great for natural cleaning.

  15. Hey Amy! I love this idea… I have been waiting for shower and tub cleaner recipes. I have a question (for anyone really). Do you have to use the essential oil for cleaning purposes or does it just add fragrance? Just curious… I can get started sooner on this if I don’t really NEED the oil. Thanks for the awesome post!

    • Jill – there are several essential oils that have antiseptic & antimicrobial properties. Using tea tree oil (melaleuca oil), for example, amps up the antimicrobial properties of the cleaner. Thyme (thymol), Lavendar (Lavendula Angustifolia), Lemon, and Eucalyptus oils are just a few more.

    • I love it for the smell but it is mostly used for it’s antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antiseptic properties. You can use it without but the oils give it that much more power.

  16. I was wondering about using the after shower spray on tiled shower walls. I tried this once before, in a rental, and has trouble with the grout. Is the vinegar safe to leave on grout or should it be rinsed off?

    • Meghan, I use these on my tile but I know that not all tile is the same. My suggestion to you is to test an area before using it on all of the time. Some sources I have found state that vinegar will break down tile grout over time but so will commercial cleaners. If your tile is properly sealed then you shouldn’t have too much of a problem. You could dilute it much more or give it a rinse after.

  17. This post rocks Amy! thanks!

  18. Amy – you know what? One thing I love about you is how you just KNOW what I need! lol! I was TOTALLY gonna email and ask if you had a recipe for this! I HATE commercial toilet bowl cleaners – the fumes are awful – but if I’m gonna use something STRONG in my house, it’s gonna be in and around my toilet!!! You so ROCK!!! I have been following this series and am SO EXCITED about it. Been marking all the recipes so I can get them made up. And I LOOOOOVE the printable labels too. Seriously – you’re almost like a genie in a bottle – I wish for it and here it is. How do you do that???

    • Just call me genie! 🙂

      These are probably the products that get the most use in my house. I hate commercial cleaners for bathrooms. They make my hands crack and dry out. Ugh.

  19. Loved this Amy! I’d like to tell you that boys outgrow this, but we both know they don’t! lol
    Thanks for reminding me of my favorite bathroom reading…Hints from Heloise! Heloise would be proud of you!!! I know I am!!! Love ya!!!

    • I hoped and prayed these knot heads would learn to use the restroom properly. It hasn’t happened. I’m almost considering putting a sign on the backdoor that says, “boys bathroom”. Hey, it’s fenced in. 😉


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  3. […] Then, to top it all off, I went on a natural-cleaner-making spree and am pleased as punch about the wonderful smells and cleanliness around my house.  Amy Bayliss started this little foray with her 17 Days of Natural Cleaning Series.  (If you have boys and suffer from stinky bathroom sydrome, be sure to check out this post on Boy Bathroom Cleaner). […]

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