cleaning sink with scouring powder

Grandma and Mom used to scrub the sink with Ajax scouring powder after washing the dishes. They used it to clean the bathtubs, too. I think they felt that they needed that combination of grit and bleach to clean and disinfect their porcelain sinks and tubs.

But I always hated the harsh bleachy smell and the gritty dust that the scouring powder left behind. So I was really glad when they switched to a milder cleanser called Bon Ami. It contained no chlorine, dye, or fragrance so it didn’t have that bleach smell. Its natural ingredients weren’t nearly as abrasive as Ajax or Comet, so it could clean more surfaces without scratching them. It’s still available today and I think it is a great nontoxic alternative for bleach-based cleansers.

In my home, I love to use baking soda for scrubbing the sink and tub. Mixed with a little dish detergent, the baking soda becomes a really effective cleaning solution. To sanitize the sink, I use Aunt Elena’s solution: a mixture of vinegar and water.

Another option I found on the internet recently is a homemade foaming cleanser. Here’s the recipe: Mix a little dish detergent in baking soda and just enough water to make a  paste. Spread this on the surface that you are about to clean, then spray a mix of vinegar and water on it to make a foam. I found that this is an effective cleaner for my sink, tiles, and even the grease in the oven. I can loosen baked-on grease can by letting the paste sit for an hour and then spraying the vinegar mixture on the spot and scrubbing off the grease.

We don’t need to use strong chemicals and harsh, gritty scouring powder to clean and sanitize our sinks and tubs. I’m happy I’ve found some natural, earth-friendly substitutes that are nontoxic and inexpensive, too!

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By Joanna Lacey

Joanna Lacey lives in New York and has collected thousands of ideas from the frugal habits of her mother and grandmother. You can find her on Facebook at Joanna the Green Maven.