Monday, August 31, 2015

Once and For All: Bathtub Cleaner Challenge


When we re-did our bathroom, my friendly neighborhood all-around-builder guy put in a new tub and shower. At the home improvement (meh) store, I chose the unit. One of the things that caught my eye was the pebble pattern at the bottom of some of the tubs. Somehow, I just knew that would cause me problems so I continued to search for the perfect alternative. No go...all the units of the correct size had the bumpy pebble pattern - no slip, they brag! 

"This is going to be a pain to clean, I'll bet, " I commented to the bath department expert (who was working part time during his middle school break 'cause Dad worked there). 

"No, it's a snap to clean. Everything just wipes away on this surface", he said with all the confindence of a slightly post-pubescent man who might have cleaned a bathroom tub...once. 

Planning for the day when I knew I'd be proven correct in my assumption this tub would be ridiculous to clean, I thought about trying to get his cell phone number - in case it didn't "just wipe out." 

That may sound ridiculous, but it is better than my first thought: get the phone number and call Mr. Fixit, Jr., screaming "TUB LIAR! BETRAYER! LUCIFER OF THE LOO!" every single time I had trouble with those pebble-y bumps from Hades.

I hate to say I told me so, but I told me so.

At this point, male readers may want to go and do something masculine and testosterone-laden...unless you do your own cleaning, in which case, stick around!

Many of the over the counter cleaners make me wheeze like an old accordion. I'm forever searching for one thing that works well on that rough surface of the tub; if it doesn't work, then I'm left with my head hanging over the tub inhaling mystery vapors till it makes me sick. Cleaning should not be that hazardous.

I thought I'd ask my friends what they used. The thing about women is we all think we know the BEST products. Start a conversation with an inquiry into the best cleaning product for anything and someone will take a stand worthy of Custer. We love our products, whether or not they really are the best. I needed to narrow down the list and test some.

As I've been downsizing, I decided I wanted as few cleaners in the house as possible. Multi-purpose is the word of the month. Once and for all, I had to know which cleaner worked best and a taste test didn't seem like the route to take. With purpose and malice aforethought, I kept a soap scum spot for my test.

The contenders from my cupboard of cleaning fun:


First of all, I like to refer to Internet rumor and commercials for my information. A Facebook link frequently reminds readers that "professional cleaners use white vinegar and Krud Kutter" and nothing else! I'd love to call all the professional cleaners (not that I think a commercial would exaggerate) and ask them personally, but I don't have that kind of time. So, I bought some Krud Kutter a while back. It does work well on some things and does reasonably well on soap scum. 

The next thing I use is a homemade mix of 50/50 white vinegar and Dawn dish washing liquid. No joke, this is amazing low-cost stuff and I sing its praises pretty regularly. Then again, I never really tested it side by side with other cleaners. The joke may be on me.

Last, there's Clorox...who can deny that Clorox is a powerhouse cleaner. It's so good that they put it in OTHER cleaners. 

Let's test them:
Using paper towel squares, I folded them into 4x6 rectangles and soaked them in each cleaner. Then I put them in the tub side by side on the offending soap scum patch. 

"I'll get you, my pretty," I  hissed.

Immediately, eyes began to roll and whispers of "what are you doing?" began. As far as I can tell, the whispering did not come from the paper towel rectangles...and I know that no one in my house would stand and poke fun at my efforts. Nooooooo...that would never happen....

Hubzam and I ran a few errands and I was nearly gleeful to see the results when we returned. I'M A NERD, PEOPLE. 

And the winner is, once and for all...come one, guess before you click...
Dawn and Vinegar! That stuff is amazing. The other two weren't even a close second, but Krud Kutter was better than straight Clorox.

Thank you for stopping by for this installment of ONCE AND FOR ALL! 

50 comments:

  1. Have you tried a power sprayer? Not only is it effective it's fun. You might even get your husband to do it.

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    1. Sure...on the OUTSIDE. You chuckle because you don't have to clean my bathroom (it has a revolving door and is rarely free...).

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  2. I love that the cheap option won in the end! Just goes to show that marketing is king.

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    1. When cheap is BETTER, oh man - yeah!!

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  3. I'll tell my wife. She cleans everything with Clorox and the fumes about kill me.
    You should still get that guy's number.

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  4. COOL! Never heard of the dawn and vinegar combo. Thanks for the tip!!!

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    1. Mix it up in a spray bottle and you'll think it's the bomb.

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  5. Good morning, dear Cherdo!

    I needed to check the header to make sure I was on The Flipside. For a moment I thought I landed on Consumer Reports Dot Org. :) In addition to elbow grease I would like to recommend that you add another weapon in your grime fighting arsenal - a jackhammer. I am familiar with Dawn and Vinegar. Tony Orlando's backup singers are now performing in a Vegas act with comedian Gilbert Gottfried, hence the new name. Dawn and Vinegar are the opening act for former Star Search Male Vocalist Grand Champion Krud Kutter.

    Happy Monday, dear friend Cherdo!

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    1. Oh, brother, how many times to I have to assert my independence from the false framings of the world? I'm a flipster, brother. I do what I want. I've got 24 hours to fill every day and there's no way I can put that in any box. Besides, I'm trying to up my "sassy" as much as possible.

      And the search for the perfect cleaning solutions are on the schedule! Less, less, less. Throw it away, pitch it out, use less (and wisely) and move forward! This is my mantra for the next month.

      I've got the hardest water on the planet. It takes NO time at all to get something in those little ridiculous pebble grooves. Who thought of that, anyhow? No...don't tell me...I need to reach retirement without committing a felony and that knowledge would interfere with my goals.

      Monday is off to a grand start! Have a great day, Shady!

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  6. Thank you for the very important tip for cleaning! I find it amazing that you could create this entire blog from your research on the products! And I'm quite sure you need to do a commercial for the vinegar and dish soap. Alex can smell the vinegar instead of the Clorox. I hate the smell of Clorox. Now I'll never buy another cleaner, and vinegar is really cheap! Have a good week!

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    1. NO JOKE: You have to try this stuff. Get a clean squirt bottle and mix it up 50% white vinegar and 50% Dawn. This might not click right away because you have a brand, spanking new house, ha ha. But this is amazing stuff. You WON'T want to buy another bathroom cleaner.

      And yes, Linda, I can talk about anything ad nauseum....it's my idiot savant gifting, as opposed to something useful.

      Take care, girl!

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  7. My wife is addicted to cleaners. Our cabinets are filled with dozens of containers.

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    1. I'm a little like that, too, and I am gonna change change change, brother.

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  8. The cats hate clorox smell here, so use natural stuff. Never tried dawn and vinegar though

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    1. Please the cats, first and foremost. I sent this recipe to them with love.

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  9. Nice little experiment. I've never tried dawn and vinegar. Thanks for the cleaning tip! :)

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    1. You don't realize how awesome this is yet...get your squirt bottle ready.

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  10. Oh, wow... I love this!! Something new to try. Sending hugs!! Dawn and white vinegar 50/50, who would have guessed? I have an army of over the counter flops that have never worked.....and I've had similar talks with store clerks too 'in the know' like you had. Made me laugh :)

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    1. You are describing my cleaning product experience, too. I'll buy the stuff thinking "hey, this is MADE for the task" and it is a bunch o' bunk. Try it! Get out your squirt bottle! It will change your life...at least your tub cleaning life.

      "Made me laugh" is the nicest thing you can say to me. Thanks, Sharon!

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  11. Thank you so much for saving me from smelling horrific fumes! I have gallons of vinegar in my garage (I keep meaning to make my grandmother's Sweet Green Tomato Pickles, but keep forgetting) and can certainly get my hands on Dawn dishwashing liquid.

    I feel so relieved. My lungs thank you!

    (Bowing)

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    1. Amen, sistah! I can't breathe when I use some of that stuff, so I am on a life-long quest for simplicity. It really works!

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  12. When i first started reading this I was thinking "Vinegar". I have used this and it works. If one needs a bit of a scrub effect, add baking powder. Bleach is only good to disinfect or a strawberry stain or something like that. Once a month I take 1/4 cup (if not less) and place it down the drain and add vinegar-cleans the pipes. Once that is done I take hot boiling water and flush it. No issues with the pipes! i recall a young man once telling me how well a cleaning product works. i asked hi if he still lived at home. He stared at me and said, sheepishly, "yes". I then asked when was the last time he cleaned the bathroom. He couldn't tell me. I saw a scuff print on the tile floor at Sears and proceeded to try to rub it out as he said it would...it didn't. Poor boy

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    1. He probably never cleaned anything.

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    2. The combo of white vinegar and Dawn is something magical. I'd love to give credit to whoever came up with this in the first place.

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  13. I've never done Dawn and vinegar as a combo. I'll keep that in mind.

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    1. I wouldn't have, either, till someone told me to mix it in a spray bottle. It's ingenious.

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  14. Great minds think alike. I use Dawn and vinegar. I never have to scrub the toilets if I dump about a cup of bleach in them once a week. I don't even buy Clorox. I get the store brand bleach. People who buy real Clorox are big spenders.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. At Case de los Cherdo, we have a septic system that I have been afraid to mess with in the past...but that is changing. Phooey on the septic system! Dumpin' Clorox for all it's worth! (For the record, I use the word Clorox in a non-brand name way).

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  15. DOC CHERDO ~

    >>... LUCIFER OF THE LOO!"

    Ha! That's a real winner!

    I started to clean my bathtub once. Said to myself: "Right after I drink this beer."
    That's as close as I got to cleaning a bathtub... once.

    Actually, I appreciate this tip. Being a lifelong bachelor, I really do ha--- er... I really SHOULD have to clean my own house. So, I can use all the cleaning tips I can get. Seriously!

    OK, so WHITE VINEGAR and DAWN dish washing soap, mixed 50/50. Can that be used on things other than just the bathtub? Kitchen counters?

    What else should I know?

    Usually I just spray a little Windex in the air and say, "DONE! ...Time for beer".

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. Grab some empty spray bottles - I'm-a gonna school you, good buddy. Use the 50/50 Dawn & Vinegar in the tub, shower, sink, kitchen, etc. Use it heavy around scum or scale (like at the base of faucets, etc. On a counter, use less or use mixture below. Let it sit just a bit, then scrub.

      For windows and mirrors, use vinegar + warm water in equal parts. Dry with a soft, lint-free cloth OR some folks swear by newspaper.

      If you want, you can drink Root Beer while you're doing it. Sort of a compromise that gets my seal of approval (insert rabid seal noise).

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    2. Thanks, DOC!

      I am going to copy and save this. (If I can't find someone who wants to clean my house for $3.50 an hour, I'll try it myself.)

      >>... Let it sit just a bit, then scrub.

      Scrub? You mean I have to "scrub", too? I thought you just sprayed this stuffs on and it cleaned by itself!

      Believe it or not, I already knew about the newspaper for drying mirrors, and I'm one of those peoples who swear by it.

      And what's the best solution to use for mopping tile floors, good buddyette?

      Root Beer? Alright! I love Root Beer. Well, actually, there's only ONE brand of Root Beer I enjoy. With your approval, I'm going to buy a whole case of it for next weekend when I start cleaning my house.

      The only good brand of Root Beer:
      http://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/27114/181698/

      ~ D-FensDogG

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  16. I'll try Dawn and vinegar. It's better than just pretending.

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  17. I have passed this on to Laurie (yes, I read it so I'm low-T, but not that low-T!)

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    1. I want a report back...I need someone to back me up here, Chris.

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  18. You mean Windex doesn't work for everything?

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  19. Yay for Dawn and Vinegar! I usually fill the tub, sink, etc with water and pour in some vinegar and let it sit for an hour or two--love the results.
    One time I had a toilet that kept overflowing every time someone pooped. Snaking the drain did not help. Finally I filled the bowl with vinegar and let it sit overnight, flushed and did it again the next day two times and all that night. On the third day, my brother-in-law showed up with a plumber friend they were going to use a camera and I said it was all fixed. It flushed like a dream. I told the plumber, vinegar will dissolve anything. Never had any trouble again with that toilet.

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    1. Vinegar is the answer to all questions! It's official!

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  20. I've been using vinegar and Dawn for years. Sometimes 50/50 distilled water and vinegar.

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    1. The 50/50 water/vinegar is what I use for windows and mirror.

      I knew we were like minded.

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  21. Dawn and vinegar are amazing, Cherdo! I love the results. :)

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    1. Yay! Did you use it before you read this? It's crazy how good that works. Thanks,Linda!

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    2. Hi Cherdo, yes I have been using it for a couple of years now. It is great! Sorry about the double comment, I don't know why this happens to me sometimes because I don't click twice or anything. LOL! :)

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  23. What was the name of the lady who was famous for giving cleaning tips on various TV shows in the late seventies and through the eighties? It's on the tip of my brain, but may have slid off, a side effect from the fumes.
    I swear by Formula 409 myself, and they don't pay me.

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  24. Krud Kutter! That is literally the best cleaner name I've seen in a while. I'm disappointed it didn't work. Buut... I've found Dawn works wonders on literally everything (from shower scum to fleas on my dog) and use it for practically everything. I'm wanting to go more "organic" and have tried different combinations of baking soda and vinegar and lemon. All work moderately well, especially on my garbage disposal.

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  25. Now I am all ready to go clean the shower and tub..... thanks for the tips and the humorous way you you presented it. Vinegar does have more uses than on salads, in pickles and for mixing with baking soda and simulating volcanoes/

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  26. In case you have any of your excellent tub cleaner left over, my wife uses white vinegar as an herbicide --especially for bermuda grass growing between pavers. I got her to add a little dishwashing soap as a surfactant. Works good and is cheaper than commercial herbicides.

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Thanks for your personal yada, yada, yada,
Love, Cherdo