Friday, August 14, 2009

Tiny Bubbles...

The last few Cleaning Days we've talked about store-bought cleaning products that are easy to "convert to cheap" with inexpensive, homemade and safe solutions and projects.

This week we'll perform another frugal hijack: The Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner.

 I didn't buy into the hype of this product when it first came out - it seemed like a big waste of money to me, not to mention that we try to avoid chemicals in our home where we can. Besides, the reviews were mixed. And then there was that wicked pride: Puh-LEEZE. I don't need a little machine in my shower to keep it clean! I'm a BOOTCAMPER!  But then again, cleaning the shower is soooo...not fun. It's necessary. (Bootcampers, read that last line again!) But not fun.

Shannon at the hilarious blog Rocks in My Dryer  recently wrote about the Scrubbing Bubble Craze.

"'Really?' I thought.  'Have we as a nation gotten so lazy we can't even scrub our own showers?'
And then I stopped to try and remember the last time I gave my shower a good scrubbing.  And then I shut up."

Good point, Shannon. I do scrub my shower, but it is, as I said before, so...not fun.

 So when someone sent me a coupon for a huge discount on one of these "tools for lazy people", I confess, blushingly, that I bought one.

And it worked! You do have to start with a clean shower. (No problem, right? We REALLY scrub our tubs and showers on Cleaning Day, Week 1.) But for the in-between weeks, it does a good job of conquering soap scum and keeping mildew at bay.

Then the refill bottles ran out. And I knew, that as happy as I was with this little brilliant bit of battery-powered technology, I wasn't spending $12 a month on something I was able to do for a dollar and some elbow grease.

Then it occurred to me: We use natural homemade solutions everywhere else in the home...why not here as well?

Homemade Automatic Shower Cleaner Solution Recipes

For a solution much like the store-bought version:
3/4 c hydrogen peroxide
10 drops dish detergent
1/2 c. white vinegar
Fill to top with warm water.

Super cheap and easy, but a little stinky:
Pour in 1-2 cups plain white vinegar
Fill to top with warm water.

Still a little stinky, but more powerful:

Pour in 1-2 cups plain white vinegar
Add two squirts of dishwashing liquid
Fill to top with warm water.

Anti-fungal and smells "clean":
40 drops of Tea-Tree Oil
Fill to top with warm water.
(This does build up over time, but shouldn't be a problem in you are deep cleaning your shower monthly, as taught in Bootcamp for Lousy Housekeepers.)

Store bought, but better for your braincells and the planet:
Try a product like Method Daily Shower Spray. It comes in a big refill bottle, and works well, even diluted down with water to 50% strength.

"Okay, Heidi, I've got my refill soltuion created....but I can't get the dratted lid off the solution to refill it! Argh!"

I hear ya. Here are simple instructions: Grab some pliers. Grab the empty solution bottle. Grab your husband. Tell him you NEED that cap off. Look at him adoringly. Lefty loosey. Voila! It really does come off, but it just takes a lot of brute strength to break those little internal prongs. (They're trying to make us buy their refills, those tricksters!) Once you get the lid off the first time, it shouldn't be an issue for future refills.

Here's another great tip: When you go to put the refill back in the unit, put a piece of masking tape over the hole in the cap. This keeps it from leaking all over when you flip the bottle. The tape makes a new seal, which will be punctured when the refill is inserted.

Want to save even more money? Two words: Rechargeable batteries!

Have fun with Homemade!

Now get to work!

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