Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Best Way to Clean Your Bathtub.

Period.

Before I begin this story, let me show you the bottom of my shower. Don't look if you're squeamish. . . . I know, right? Nasty.

It's been like that since I moved into this apartment and nothing has been able to help it (don't even ask about the carpet.) I've tried a ton of different cleaners on that tub and even let it soak in straight bleach for a few hours: the results were patchy at best.

So I figured if I found a frugal and/or natural cleaner that actually worked on this kind of grime, it would be a great contribution to world cleanliness.

Tonight, I staged a science experiment. Here's what I used to try to clean my shower:
  • Half a grapefruit and some kosher salt. Completely ineffective. But it smelled nice.
  • Dishsoap. Nada.
  • Baking Soda. It seemed to work a little, mainly by abrasion.
  • Baking Soda and Vinegar. Adds drama to your cleaning routine, but not terribly effective.
  • 20 Mule Team Borax. Dude. This is the stuff.
I actually tried borax third and had to stop so I had dirt left to try my other ideas on.

That stubborn dirt and grime, impervious to bleach and every mainstream cleaner I tried, just melted away when faced with borax and a stiff-bristled scrub brush.

And you can't get much cheaper, either!


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What are your favorite frugal cleaning tips?

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383 comments:

  1. I'm going to have to remember -- Borax is magic! I love this post, nasty tub and all! I now dub this tub (hehe) 'Cinderella'. :P

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    1. Thanks for the comment, Cathie! :) I know, I was so surprised when the Borax actually worked. . . I was thinking, "Eh, well this stuff is a lot like baking soda, so it probably won't work either. . ." and was fully expecting to have to write a blog post about failure. ;) And then. . .Bam!

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    2. Tile cleaner for swimming pools, works great also.. Buy at a pool supply..

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    3. So Marissa, I just make the Borax powder into a paste and just let it sit and scrub? I also live in a apartment that came with hideous brown, 70's carpet and similar tub and tile job.

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    4. Pretty much! I just sprinkled borax onto a dry tub, and used a decently wet (and frequently rinsed) scrub brush to scrub! :) Gotta love those "holdover from the 70s" apts!

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    5. Will this scratch porcelain?

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    6. I don't think so, Sparky, but I'd try on a small spot first. :)

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    7. Marissa,

      Will this take water spots & mineral deposits off of clear glass shower doors? And is it safe for natural stone shower walls & floors?

      Thanks!

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    8. Mitch, I tried borax on my glass shower doors but found it to leave a powdery residue despite rinsing, so I'd stick to using it on walls and floors. :) And definitely be careful if you've got marble/natural stone. I don't, personally, but researching I found that some people recommended it and some people warned of scratching.

      For scum on shower doors, I recommend cooking spray. Spray it on, let it soak in, wipe it off, and buff it with a dry rag and it will not only be clean, but have a non-stick surface for awhile that slows future build-up. Not sure if it does the trick for mineral deposits or not, as I haven't any to test it on. :)

      Thanks for reading!:)

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    9. liquid fabric softener, spray on cabinets, wipe off

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    10. I was going to say, use a dryer sheet on shower glass doors. it gets rid of the built up soap/scum!! just wet it and rub. I usually do it while I'm in the shower, so it rinses immediately and no residue!!

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    11. Lemon oil to remove soap scum from your glass shower doors works well .

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    12. 50/50 mix of Dawn and Vinegar works for scum and glass, let set 5-15 min. depends how bad, rinse and wipe clean,

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    13. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Removes pretty heavy buildup without chemicals AND used monthly to remove light buildup keeps it shiny and sparkly. Almost effortless.

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    14. I know the stain in my tub are hard water stain. So you think the borax will do the job on those?

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    15. For soap scum and water spots, I use equal parts vinegar and Dawn dish soap. Heat vinegar in microwave until hot and pour into spray bottle. Add the Dawn soap. Put the lid on and gently shake to incorporate. You now have a powerful cleaning product that will melt soap scum and tub and shower buildup, clean sinks, appliances and just about anything. Just spray it on, scrub, rinse and be amazed. For tough soap scum build-up, spray the mixture on and allow it to sit as long as overnight. Then, scrub and rinse.

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    16. For soap scum and water spots I used old dryer sheet works great- and smells nice. Simple and effective-saw it on pinterest :)

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  2. My midwestern mom had us clean all of the porcelain with borax. Then one time she sprinkled a little on the floor in front of a crack in the wall for the ants that were coming thru. Cured that problem too!

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    1. Great stuff, isn't it? :)

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    2. I came to this site looking for spring cleaning tips and thought I was lucky to find the bathtub tip since I rent and have a NASTY tub too, BUT I am SO extra lucky today as I have a MAJOR ant problem coming in through the base boards in my bedroom. YEAH thanks for the tip

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    3. Borax is also great for getting rid of fleas!

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    4. fleas, how does that work?

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    5. You sprinkle the borax throughout the carpet in your home. Google it and you will see all kinds of ideas ; }

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    6. Borax works for fleas, I can attest first hand. I was desperate--they were attacking me, not the cat. Boy was I glad it worked, and it was way cheaper than having a pest guy come--who told me the Borax was bad for the carpet and it would be impossible for me to get rid of the critters on my own. Ha! I showed him!

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    7. Is the borax safe for the cats? I've used salt in the carpets for fleas, it worked, and when I shampooed my carpets, it helped with some of the stains.

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    8. Missy Shay--definitely keep it away from pets! I think it would be fine as long as you didn't let the cat in the boraxed room until it was thoroughly vacuumed/cleaned up. :)

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    9. The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser also works on the stain and buildup around the tile of your swiming pool too!!

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  3. Do you think it would work on marble? You can hardly use anything on it because it scratches easily. I already know the brush would be out.

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    1. You know, I don't have any experience with marble. :) You could try it on an inconspicuous spot with baking soda, maybe, as it has a similar texture. I googled borax and marble quick, and it seems people are divided. Some people say it's too abrasive, but this site actually recommends it for tough stains: http://www.marblecityca.com/granite-countertop/maintaining-marble-surfaces-for-a-lifetime

      Hope that helps, and thanks for reading! :)

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    2. No, don't ever use anything that is at all abrasive on marble! On our marble shower I just use white vinegar...spray it on the walls, let it sit for an hour or so, then wash it off. It's amazing how it cuts right through soap scum, etc. Works like a charm and won't damage your marble :)

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    3. I am a professional cleaning lady with 20 yrs experience NEVER EVER use white vinegar on any natural stone...it is an acid and will damage marble and granite. Trust me dont even try it. When cleaning any natural stone you have to use a cleaning product with a low ph. White vinegar is a great cleaning product for other things but not stone.

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    5. " NEVER EVER use white vinegar on any natural stone...it is an acid"
      "you have to use a cleaning product with a low ph"
      You do realise anything with a low pH is an acid.

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    6. I found the vinegar dawn recipie on pinterest and it worked wonders on my shower, but I have shared water stain (I guess it's what it is) its just a low spot in the tub that always keeps water in it. Anyway I will try the borox on it. My question is what to use to clean the granite counter tops if you can't use this vinegar mix???

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  4. I'm not sure what your carpets look like, but we have a cream carpet in our home and I have found that taking an iron, vinegar and a white terry cloth to the carpet always works.

    You might want to try spraying a mixture of 1/4 white vinegar and 3/4 water over the stain in question. Next place a clean, terry towel over the top and with a hot iron set to the highest level of steam, iron the stain right out. That's all there is to it!

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    1. Thanks Chenelle! :) I might try that on some spots. Unfortunately, I moved into an apartment that has probably had the same beige carpet since the 1970s--every time I vacuum it, without fail, an astounding, unending amount of dirt comes out of it. And there are burn marks, muddy spots, and frayed patches, and all sorts of stuff.

      I did have a young friend over on Sunday, though, who spilled some of his spaghetti sauce on the carpet, though, so your comment is extremely timely! :)

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    2. You need to do what I did. Get hold of one of the companies that demonstrates vacuums. Rainbow, Kirby, etc. Sign up for a free room cleaning. I had 3 a few years ago. Of course I didn't buy anything, but got my carpets cleaned.

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    3. Ha, that's pretty clever, Maya. :)

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    4. I use a carpet cleaner called "Incredible" and it has even taken out blood and red nail polish. It comes in a white bottle with red & blue lettering, $5.00. I get it at HEB or Bed-Bath-Beyond.

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    5. Marissa, if the carpet is that old it is highly likely that what you are sucking up is parts of the cArpet fiber and not just dirt...if that's the case not even a Kirby can cure it...just clean as you do and wear socks :)

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    6. Aw, darn! Well, thanks for the insight, Cindy! :) Maybe I can just lobby my landlord for new carpet. . .

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    7. I have a battalion all my own of carpet cleaners, hardwood floor cleaners, spot bots.....of ALL the cleaning products I have tried, the best one for getting rid of my Serial Pisser, as well as a set of triplets and newborn, is 1/2 Windex, kind with ammonia if stains are really ugly, and 1/2 hot hot hot water. Not boiling. But hot. Works. Like. A. Charm!!

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  5. Where can you get Borax...I have never heard of it!!!

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    1. i got it at the Publix in orlando fla. near the bleach dept. it comes in a box. about $5.00 a box

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    2. Most grocery stores have it in the laundry isle.

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    3. http://www.20muleteamlaundry.com/store-locator -- there's a list of all the major chains that carry borax. :) It's pretty easy to find! And yep, pretty close to $5 per box.

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    4. Borax use to sponsor a western show on TV when TV was still black and white! Dates me, I know, because I cannot remember the name of the show! Wagon Train?? ;) Borax has been around for decades! Thanks for the post. I need to get a box.

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    5. yep it was "Wagon train" hence 20 mule team borax. I used to think it was because of the show now I think its because of its uses I use it in my stainless steel dishwasher. No more hard water build up. Now on to my tub.

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    6. got mine at walmart

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    7. Thanks for the reminder about Borax... baking soda was disappointing for me too. Borax has been around for 4,000 years according to Wikipedia.

      And about that tv show... "Death Valley Days, a radio and television anthology dramatizing true stories of the old American West, particularly the Death Valley area. The program was created in 1930 by Ruth Woodman and broadcast on radio until 1945.
      From 1952 to 1975, Death Valley Days was produced as a syndicated television series. The product is named after the 20-mule teams that were used by William Tell Coleman's company to move borax out of Death Valley, California, to the nearest rail spur between 1883 and 1889."

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  6. That tub looks exactly like the tub someone I know had a long time ago in their apartment. We tried everything to get the tub to look normal. I think they even bleached it and nothing changed. I wish I knew about this trick I could have saved them from showering in flip-flops in their own place.

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  7. Do you know if the tub is fiberglass, porcelain, etc.?

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    1. I would guess that her tub is fiberglass. It looks just like mine and we have a shower/tub surround (and a cheap landlord) :) They tend to have those textured bottoms too.

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    2. Thanks so much; that's what I was hoping to hear! Headed to the store for Borax now.

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  8. I used baking soda, vinegar, and castile soap on my tub (which looked worse than yours) and the thing that worked was a magic eraser. I bought about 4 of the cheap ones from the dollar store, and it worked wonders.

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    1. There's something I hadn't thought of! :) Good to know. I was just about to get some for my walls.

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    2. I swear by magic erasers EXCEPT for in the tub - they become a small piece of nothing within minutes - I can use an eraser to clean alot but it would take about 6 if not more to do a bathtub, not that effective in my opinion.

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    3. Jenn, I totally agree with you. Another product that is OUTSTANDING is Easy Off with the blue lid. Spray it on, wait an hour or two and it just melts everything off. I was told to help keep off the scum was to buy marine (boat) polish but I haven't done that. Yet.

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  9. Borax is also good to get rid of those huge palmetto bugs, if you have that problem in your area. Sprinkle it into the palmetto bushes around your house and along baseboards if you have indoor bug problems. I've moved into some nasty apartments myself and have had to get rid of previous 6-legged tenants.

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    1. Oh, I had an AWFUL bug problem when I first moved in last year. Earwigs were the worst--I went through gallons of pesticide spray, never even thought of trying more natural methods. I wonder if borax would work? Hopefully I won't have an opportunity to find out ;)

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    2. If you have pets and end up with a flea issue, sprinkle borax on the carpet in your house, let it sit for a while, then vaccuum it up. Much safer than those flea bombs!!

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    3. If you want it to work for a LONG time for fleas, vacuum your carpets really well. Then sprinkle the Borax all over the carpet & brush it into the carpet with a broom & walk away. Do not vacuum it up right away, just wait until your next normal cleaning & vacuuming day to vacuum. You want it to work its way down I to the carpet fibers where the fleas go. We have 10 cats, all indoors, but we bring in fleas from outside after things like doing yard work, and when we see 1 of our cats start scratching we do the steps above & NEVER have a flea problem. And this way it will last for MONTHS! Trust me, they don't call us the "Cat Whisperers" for nothing! Lol!

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    4. Mitch is absolutely correct its the BEST long lasting flea solution if you have carpet. Before moving in anywhere we raked in Borax into carpet and didn't vac for 2 wks. and never a flea, and lived at beach in Fla. where sand fleas are big problem.

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    5. Borax is also great for any type of woodworm. If you notice little holes in your lovely wooden furniture then make a liquid with 1 part Borax to 6 parts water and paint it onto the wood with a brush to get it right in the holes.

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  10. have you ever tried to use a metal scouring pad w/scrubbing bubbles? It works great in our shower!

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    1. You know, I've never tried a metal scouring pad. I thought of it, but was afraid it would scratch! Is your shower fiberglass, too?

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    2. Metal pads will scratch porcelain and make grey-ish lines, so make sure you have a fiberglass tub, sink, etc.

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  11. I used this in the laundry but haven't tried it's cleaning powers..I must try this tomorrow..

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    1. Thanks for reading Shautel! Let us know how it went. :)

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  12. I have had my tub that dirty (thanks to bad drainage and two DIRTY kids) :) and I had TERRIFIC success with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and water. It even got off the residue left behind by the "no cleaning spray-on cleaner." :)

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    1. Yes, I've been hearing good things about magic erasers! I might have to try that next. :)

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    2. My tub looks like yours, and I am excited to try the Borax. I have tried magic eraser, because it has worked on so many other tough cleaning problems, but it didn't work on my tub

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  13. Does it work on Porcelin tubs and fiberglass? Our tub is fiberglass.

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    1. I'm pretty sure my tub is fiberglass, so it should! With porcelain, the only thing I would be concerned about is potential scratching.

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    2. There is a product that is called Pink Solution that I use on EVERYTHING! It is an enzyme based cleaning product. I use it to clean my tub surround, bathtub, sinks, mirrors(also added bonus is that it helps to block mirror fogging up after steam from the shower. This stuff is so safe that you can use it in your laundry, to wash your face and clean your pet. It is strong enough to clean your oven, and gentle enough to take 5 years of hairspray off my oak dresser without harming the wood at all! Made in Canada in North Vancouver, BC.

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    3. Where do you get pink solution never heard of it

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    4. Wow, another one I've never heard of. Thanks for the comment, Tarise! I'm with Amy, where do you get "Pink Solution?" Would it just be available online in the states, do you think?

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  14. Yes, the new Mr. Clean Magic Erasers for the Bathroom are excellent on the tub/shower! But I will keep the Borax in mind for other things too. Thanks!

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  15. I swear by a tub of hot water and several cups of plain, cheap vinegar. You let it sit several hours when you leave the house and it is an absolute miracle worker. You don't even have to have a scrub brush. It just melts it off. It also works in toilets, except, you only need about 1/2 cup for that.

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    1. Thanks Elaine! Good to know--I'm always up for expending less effort. :)

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  16. Magic Eraser is very good but be careful on wood. Walls, woodwork etc. It will rub off the paint.

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    1. Thanks for the caution! :)

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    2. I use Magic Eraser on my walls weekly, but they are painted in an egg shell. They will take paint off of flat walls, but with kids you need at least an egg shell so you can clean them. Egg shell has a very low sheen. People always comment on how clean my walls are, having 3 kids. Love the eraser!!!

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  17. Just curious - I'm guessing you had to wet down the borax somehow? Did you just dampen the tub bottom first, before sprinkling the borax on it? I can't wait to try this. I also have a bathtub with a textured bottom and I hate how nothing would touch the dirt stains, although they're faint and I'm sure I'm the only one that notices. :-)

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    1. Yes, I did that and also wet down my scrub brush. :) Hope it works for you! These textured bottoms are a pain.

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  18. I have to try this. never heard of this and from what I'm hearing it actually works

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  19. My mom told me to pour a thin line of borax on the cement block where our foundation met the drywall--to keep spiders out. I replenished it every season and my house was almost always spider free

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    1. Thanks Mary, I'll have to give that a try; I hate spiders!

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  20. My daughter's shower looked like that @ her apt. @ school. I used a Mr. Clean eraser and that did the trick. From here on, it will the eraser AND borax. Thanks!

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    1. Thanks for reading! :) I've been hearing good stuff about magic erasers--it had never occurred to me to use them anywhere except walls!

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  21. I found on another Pinner's page to use Vinegar and Dawn dish soap it works really well my tub looks better than before I moved into my Apt as well

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    1. Might try that! Straight vinegar didn't do much for me, but maybe the addition of dishsoap would help.

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  22. this is to funny my mother use to make my step father take a bath in this stuff know wonder her tub was so clean lol no foolen

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  23. my tub looked like this. I got scrubbing bubbles and sprayed it on there and let it dry for like 2 hours. went in and turned the water on used my rag and wiped it all away. I swear it works. I was shocked.

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  24. I manage an apartment complex with a lot of college students - the only thing I've found so far is oven cleaner to get that dirt and grim off of the tubs. I'm going to have to give this a try though, I'm tired of all the fumes from the oven cleaner.

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  25. awesome! I use this stuff that Shaklee sells called scour off. I have it on my blog. LOVE that stuff and it smells like cherry pits! :)

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    1. Mmm, sounds good. I've never heard of it!

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  26. I will have to try this and see if it works for me. I love finding new/old cleaning tips to share with my readers. Currently I am in love with baking soda, but I think there is room in my heart for borax as well.

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    1. Frugal power! :) Thanks for reading, Bobbi.

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  27. I gave my muddy dog a bath and then the bathtub died (lol!) and didn't drain for days. By the time we got the plumbing fixed it was days later and there was an awful ring and it was gross. I tried everything and nothing worked. In desperation I grabbed a magic eraser and it took it right off, I didn't even have to scrub!

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    1. I've been hearing about magic erasers a lot lately! :) They must really be magic!

      Cute blog! I love the images in your header.

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    2. I just literally lol'd reading 'and then the bathtub died'. !!! Thanks for the chuckles!

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  28. Melaleuca's Tub n Tile is the best cleaner for soap scum and mold I have EVER used simply because of cost, non-toxic and I don't have to use elbow grease!!! I simply spray, let sit for 5 or 10 minutes and then wipe clean with warm water. LOVE! Costs less than typical grocery store cleaners and works better!

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    1. Thanks for the tip! I've never heard of Melaleuca's Tub 'n Tile before, but I'm all for no elbow grease! :)

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    2. I have to disagree about the Melaleuca Tub n Tile. My best friend sells it and I own a cleaning business. So I was so excited to try it. It did absolutely nothing on the soap scum on walls or shower doors. I really wish it did, but it didn't. I have all my clients buying just 2 things. Dawn and white vinegar. I put some essential oil in to cut the odor. The longer it soaks, the better.

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  29. This looks amazing! Careful though - borax is a poison and can make kids and pets sick. (That's why it works on ants.) Rinse thoroughly before letting anyone use the tub and don't leave it where kids can reach. Just saying. This really is awesome though! :)

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    1. Thanks so much for the reminder, Emma! I totally wasn't thinking of that since borax is pretty well recognized for being non-toxic to humans as long as it isn't taken internally. But you did remind me of a cat I used to have that liked to lick the bottom of bathtubs after anyone had showered. (Yuck!)

      I think I might do a follow-up post to feature a couple of the caveats and ideas other commenters have left here, and I'll be sure to include yours!

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    2. I was just getting ready to ask "Is borax toxic"? I have a son with extreme lung issues. But could so use this in our old tub. It came with our house which was built in 1951 so you can imagine the tub. I keep it as clean as possible but it is so stained. But want to try to ant thing too. Did it put off the fumes like bleach and other cleaners? Because, he can't inhale that stuff.

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    3. Hi Tiffany! No fumes at all that I noticed. The only thing I would be concerned about is if he inhaled the actual dust particles while you were sprinkling it in the tub. After you rinsed it down, though, there shouldn't be anything irritating left. :) Of course, I'm not a health professional, though, so don't take my word as law.

      I would be a little cautious sprinkling it for ants, though, if it's in a place where a breeze or draft might send dust up into the air.

      Thanks for reading!

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    4. Don't get Borax confused with Boric Acid. Borax is Boron which has alot of health benefits, also. But for sure, the Borax dust can still get to you. Ugh

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  30. THANKS SO MUCH for sharing! We are renting and my tub has looked like that also since we moved in 2 years ago! NOTHING would clean it!! YEA!!!! You made my night! -Gen

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  31. I have never heard of Borax third is this a typo or an actual line of borax? my tub has grease in it, the kind from an engine..NO KIDDING the neighbors say that the last tenant fixed up old cars and that he actually put the engine block in the tub, and it looks like it. I have used EVERYTHING I can buy at walmart it loos some better but definitely NOT clean. I am trying this ASAP

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    1. Haha! Sorry for the confusion! My "I actually tried borax third" meant borax was the third cleaner I tried. :) I used 20 Mule Team borax.

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  32. I agree with those who praise the "magic eraser." I tried everything to get the grime out of my non-slip tub bottom. The magic eraser worked like nothing else and the tub looks brand new!

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  33. When we moved into our house the previous owners hadn't done much to clean before they moved out. Our tub wasn't as bad as yours but we have a full fiberglass tub surround that was just grimey looking. I used all different cleaners and ended up using the green Scotch scrub sponges and good old elbow grease. Took a while but the tub and walls were beaming. Wish I knew about this before then!! Though, I suppose I got a good arm workout! :)

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  34. Very nice comprehensive list. I'm going to try doing these.

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  35. Would this work on a tub that has been painted? Ours was a hideous peach color and was sprayed white.

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    1. That's a great question, Debbie. . .and I have no idea! If you try it, let us know how it goes. :)

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  36. So the magic erasers are just this stuff called melamine foam and you can buy it in bulk on eBay for WAY less than Mr Clean. $6 for 30 pieces. http://www.ebay.com/itm/MAGIC-MELAMINE-SPONGE-CLEANING-ERASER-CLEANER-30pcs-/190488126320#ht_2567wt_947

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  37. Toilet cleaner ! The toilet cleaner called "the works" but be very careful and use some gloves and a scratcher. Scrub as soon as you squirt, otherwise it will leave blue. DO NOT GET ON CARPET. Ohhh...and it might smoke ! It works.

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    1. Wow! That sounds like some pretty epic stuff, Misty! :)

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    2. I have 3 boys and 'the works' WORKS!! I use the non-blue version. I also just squirt it on and leave it while I clean the rest of the bathroom and have found that I don't have to scrub! (i'm ALL about NOT scrubbing) : )

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  38. I am still a BIG fan of comet! I use it in the tub and especially find it works great in my stainless steel sink!

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  39. I've tried all the things that you tried except Borax, I didn't know, but wasn't surprised that it worked so well. I will definitely have my boys use that this weekend. I tried the grapefruit and salt and it took the soap scum off my shower very nicely. When I was young I took the dish soap and pretend i was getting the ring around the tub gone by squirting the dish soap all around the tub - again and again. The next day my mom asked me what i had used to clean the tub, and i ask what do you mean (i was playing not cleaning). Where the soap had drained down the side of the tub was white as could be. I don't remember what brand of soap my mom used. And I've used the baking soda and vinegar and it took cleaned the soap scum. I just can't stand the smell of vinegar. It's interesting how the methods work for some and not others. There are probable a lot of different factors that make bathtubs yucky and what will work to clean them. Thanks for letting me know about the Borax. I already have it because I use it to make the laundry det. I use.

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  40. My tub looks exactly like your before pic. Thanks for posting. I've tried everything!

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  41. Borax is one of the ingredients in homemade laundry soap. great stuff!

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  42. haha it sounds crazy but i had really bad acne for YEARS and the ONLY thing that got rid of it was something I found on a home - remedy website....borax. CRAZY! Using a little bit of borax as an exfoliant a couple times a week as well as drinking a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar was the ONLY thing that cleared up my skin. I guess it cleans up pretty much anything!

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    1. and as far as it being dangerous for kids and pets, i would probably agree. However, I wasn't drinking it. It was on every home remedy site i looked at for clearer skin. and I have no issues and have not been "poisoned." I know a lot of people that use it!

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    2. Yep, it's pretty epic stuff! I'm surprised it didn't irritate your skin, though, I wouldn't have thought it was mild enough for that! :)

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  43. I will have to try this!! I also have tried to clean our tub with EVERYTHING under the sink including baking soda and vinegar. The one thing that worked for the nasty almost impossible-to-clean-off-soap-scum was Goo Gone, yup thats right..Goo Gone. Worked like a charm, I had to go back and de-Goo the tub because the stuff is almost oily. For the de-gooing I just cleaned it up with Dawn dish soap.

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  44. and if you think borax with water is good, mix borax or baking soda with enough dishwashing liquid (dawn, palmolive, etc) to make a paste... it works like magic just with the green scrubbers, you hardly have to work at all!

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    1. Wow, that sounds epic. :) Thanks for sharing!

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  45. Borax is also great for roaches. It is even packaged for roaches at my local feed store. Just put some in a plastic squeeze bottle like ketchup comes in and poof it into cracks, crevices and behind outlet covers. You can also wrap some in thin cloth and dust with it around base boards. Just enough for a light coating but not enough to see. You may see a lot of roaches come out looking for water in the next week but then they are gone. You have to do it again two weeks later to catch the newly hatched nymphs. Works on silver fish too!

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    1. Wow, thanks Dalton! Definitely good to know. :)

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  46. Your before picture is my the bottom of my shower stall. Ew. I will be trying this ASAP! Found your post through Pinterst.

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    1. Happy cleaning, Jodi! :) Thanks for reading.

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  47. Krud Kutter is a miracle worker! Non toxic to boot.

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  48. We moved into our dream home last year but the linolium in the kitchen is so dirty. Molly Maids couldn't even it get clean (GASP!).
    So, although a huge project, I think I will try the Borax. I'll go square-by-square and if it takes me a month, so be it!
    Thanks for the tips. Great blog... Found you through TN Mornings. :)

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    1. Thanks for reading, MamaUnderwood! :) Could I ask, though, how did you hear about me through TN Mornings??

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    2. I can't believe you wouldn't know... I guess they don't tell you!! How cool that I got to be thye one to tell you! hehe
      On their morning show, Kelly has a segment called "Kelly's Surf" where she showcases a super cool site (like yours) for viewers to see and know about. Yours was one of them one day last week... That's how I know about you. She was especially excited about your Spring Cleaning blog!

      http://www.fox17.com/newsroom/morning/videos/vid_37.shtml

      CONGRATS!!

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    3. Wow, thanks so much!

      A few people came over here mentioning Tennessee Mornings, and at first I thought it must be some blog somewhere. But then I googled it and was like, "Holy Moly!" I hunted around their site but couldn't find any information. Thanks for helping me out!! :)

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  49. One thing I don't see mentioned here is the use of liquid soap instead of bar soap. We had a really bad soap scum problem in both tubs when we moved in here. Finally used the vinegar mixed with cheap shampoo. Worked like a charm. But in my research I found that it is bar soap that causes the scum to accumulate. So once you get your shower or tub clean, simply use liquid bath soap and you'll never again have to use borax or vinegar mixtures or elbow grease. It's amazing! Liquid soap leaves NO scum.

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    1. Thanks for the tip, Julie! :) Personally, I use bar soap that my mom makes as a small business. I try to avoid the chemicals and weird ingredients in store-bought liquid (or bar!) soaps!

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    2. I stopped buying bar soap a few months ago and the shower has stayed pretty clean. My husband keeps complaining about the liquid soap even though I got him some "manly" soap but I tell him that when he starts cleaning the shower he can use whatever soap he wants. He hasn't taken me up on it yet.

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  50. Does anyone have some advise on cleaning the bathroom floor? My floor is stained around the toliet from the concret below the vinyl flooring. We have tryed several things but nothing has worked to get the stain out.

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  51. Hi, Marissa,

    Here's a tip that will speed up your time cleaning your tub with Borax. Instead of bending over with a sponge or brush, use a broom to scrub your tub and shower. It will save time and your back!

    Stacey

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  52. Hello there, I tried this yesterday (found it on Pinteresst!) and thought I'd add my two cents--I used a Magic Eraser instead of a brush (you could also use a homemade alternative like this: http://pinterest.com/pin/18436679694084425/). It was much easier than using a brush since it's abrasive, so I felt like it took less elbow grease to get the tub clean. Loved your post!

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  53. Hello: I know its wierd but i clean my shower with shampoo. I keep a sponge in the shower and put just a dab of shampoo on it and wipe down. Key is to rinse well. It even removes soap scum. I also use it in my toilet. Smell so much better than regular cleaner. On first glance would seem more expensive, but i seem to use more conditioner than shampoo, also occasionally i end up with a type i dont like much. Also travel and sample sizes seem to accumulate.
    Its not as powerful as borax but i wipe down several times in a week and it stays clean. laura

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  54. I love this idea.........So am I able to toss Borax on the glass shower doors and fiberglass shower?

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    1. Hi Kristen, I found borax to leave a powdery residue on my glass doors even after rinsing. :) I would recommend cooking spray for them. . . Spray it on, let it soak into the scum for a minute, wipe it off, then buff it with another dry rag. It will make them crystal clear and leave a bit of a non-stick coating on them for awhile, too!

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  56. I use a Magic Eraser. Works like magic.

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  57. Does anybody know how to get rid of hard water stains and mineral deposits from glass shower doors? The Borax didn't work. I am just shy of ripping the doors off and getting new ones, but these doors are still really nice, so I am trying to save them.

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    1. What all have you tried? :) I don't have very hard water, but I've had success in getting water spots off my glass doors by spraying them with cooking spray, letting it soak in for a few minutes, then wiping off with one rag and buffing with another. May not be strong enough for you, but possibly worth a try. Have you tried Vinegar mixed with dishsoap yet? I haven't tried it, but have been hearing rave reviews!

      Good luck and let us know the results! :)

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    2. What kind of cooking spray? Are you talking about Pam Cooking Spray?

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    3. Yep! I think mine is just a generic, kroger-brand canola cooking spray. :)

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    4. It's not especially frugal, but someone else mentioned oven cleaner.I buy a bottle of the liquid oven cleaner and dilute it with a little water in a spray bottle, spray all over tub/shower door, let sit 20 minutes, rinse. No scrubbing required. Citric acid seems to be the magic ingredient - the same stuff that cleans the mineral deposits off coffeemakers.

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  58. We've filled our tub with water and put in a cup-full of fabric softener and let it sit overnight. Works like a charm, AND smells great! :)

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  59. I like to boil 1/4 cup white vinegar, remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup baking soda and about 1/8 cup of Dawn dish liquid. I use a kitchen sponge with a little scratcher on one side and rub it over my porcelain tub. Some say to let it soke about a 1/2 hour, but I immediately clean it right off for lack of patience. This also makes enough to clean my lavitory as well. Love it!

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  60. Borax sounds really cool... I clean my shower and tub with SHOUT it is the best. spray it on leave it for about 15mins. and take a scrubber to it, really you don't have to have a scrubber because it wipes off really easy but i use one because thats what i have in the bathroom. Shout works great on glass shower doors it takes the scum rite off. Shout works on mirrors no streaks and it keeps them from fogging up the best thing of all is there are no fumes from SHOUT!!!!

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  61. Borax is my new best friend. I use it in my laundry, my dishwasher and in my homemade cleaning wipes. Hooray for BORAX!

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  62. OMG you totally rock and I am going to clean my shower right now! Thanks for the tips!

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  63. I know it's not a green cleaner, but I've got to chime in anyway. Spray on oven cleaner knocks everything out on a shower or rub cleaning job, including the hard water stains on the doors. Use in a well-ventilated bathroom with gloves. Spray and leave for about 30 minutes. No scrubbing requires. I combine it with a magic eraser and use very little elbow grease.

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  64. My sister and I used to live in an apartment that had a fiberglass tub like that. It WAS clean when we rented, but over the year, the nasty built up, no matter how we tried to clean it. When we were moving, I apologized to the landlord, and he showed me his trick--toilet bowl cleaner. It took the stains right out!

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  65. I've never actually tried 20 mule team borax, I've always used vinegar and baking soda...however, you debunked that one ;) great post, can't wait to try it in my shower.

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  66. I also heard that 20 Mule Team Borax works to get rid of creeping charlie in your yard! This stuff is a modern day miracle product! :)

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  67. Ok I haven't tried the Borax yet as I just found this post BUT I have tried the mr.clean magic eraser on a tub that looks similar. I swear by mr. clean magic erasers EXCEPT for using in the bathtub!!!!! I have tried it several times for it to take atleast 6 erasers and still the tub was not acceptable!!! Not nearly! I only buy the mr.clean ones and at that price it isn't cheap, especially to NOT work. Even if it was the cheap ones I would prefer to NOT use 6 in one usage!! Borax for my bathtub here I come!

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  68. I just did this in my tub. Awesome! I'll never use anything else.

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  69. Our tub has been just like yours since we moved in. I scrubbed and scrubbed and used everything from nasty chemicals to baking soda. Nothing worked until borax, so THANK YOU!! :) I only had a sponge, but it still did pretty well. I'm going to buy myself a stiff bristle scrub brush and give it another go. You rock!

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  70. I saw way up where people were asking about shower doors. I clean rental properties after people move out and let me tell you....People can be nasty, we're talking DHS needs to take their kids away nasty. I have found a cleaner that works miracles on shower doors and walls, it's called AWESOME and you get it at Dollar Stores, Dollar General and Family Dollar and it only costs $1 (duh.) That stuff will eat through soap scum like crazy. It has saved me soooo much time. You spray it on and let it sit for a bit and it will just wipe off all the scum and grime. It also leaves a nice polished look. If it's not coming off easily, just spray a little more. It also works good on stains on carpet (that's how I found it.) It doesn't clean the bottom of tubs that are really bad dirty so I'm gald to have the Borax tip. I will definitley start using that.

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    1. I swear by Totally Awesome as well. It is the best thing I've ever used on greasy vent hoods and cabinet doors. I will have to try it on shower doors.

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  71. I too have tried everything to clean a shower...pool cholorine works great! just mix 1/2 and 1/2 water/chlorine and spray...make sure a window is open and no kis are around, it does get toxic. Then rinse away. its a miracle

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  72. Have used the vinegar and dawn -with magic eraser...wonderful
    The "works" is Great for cleaning glass-well everything- but if it dries on chrome it destroys it- and if you accidentally mix with windex it gives off toxic fumes... Believe it or not- if you have access to walnut leaves/branches..maybe even hulls..spread them around room- fleas leave! Grew up with a cat that slept with me- brown carpet- once a month or so break off small stems of walnut tree and put under bed..it was miraculous..and "green"... will try borax..my brother uses it...as it is healthier than other chemicals...

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  73. Sorry got carried away with fleas...HYDROGEN PEROXIDE...cheapest..it is all same- put a spray nozzle on ( they all seem to fit) and spray on stains in carpet- blot dry (or not) either way it works BEAUTIFULLY...can not tell you...friends dogs peed on carpet in office constantly..Hydrogen Peroxide started cleaning it immediately!!

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  74. My favorite thing is half warm vineagar and half dawn (the blue one) put it on the tub and doors or gass and leave it sit depending on how had it is mine was like yours so I let it sit overnight...the next morning I rinsed it out and used a scrub brush to get it off...EORKS AMAZINGLY!

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  75. Have you tried "Bar Keepers Friend"? You can get that, too, at the grocery store. It's a powder, but I know you can use it on countertops and stovetops and it will not scratch at all. It's like magic!

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  76. Interesting to read about the Borax, Marissa. Will definitely buy some and use this method! Loved reading all the comments people posted, too. Thanks so much!

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  77. I was so excited to find your post because I too have tried EVERYTHING to clean my fiberglass tub and NOTHING worked. I hate to be the downer in the group but I tried Borax yesterday and it didn't work either. :( I'm wondering if I didn't let it sit long enough. How long did you let it sit before you started scrubbing?

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    1. Hmm, weird! I didn't let it sit at all. Just sprinkled it on and started scrubbing it around with a wet scrub-brush. You DO want the scrub brush to be wet enough to kind of clump the borax into a paste. . .

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  78. My white porcelain tub is always a mess because I use essential oils. This morning I discovered that if you spray windex and let it sit, it will bust right through it with no scrubbing!!

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  79. BTW, is the borax effective on porcelain?

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  80. My grandmother taught me to do this when she got too old to clean her house and I would help her out. I learned alot of old fashioned cleaning from Grandma that works, is cheap, and won't take your skin off, lol. Nice work you are doing!

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  81. We had the same issue with the tub in our rental. It was so gross and I tried everything, or so I thought. Our final, last ditch effort, was lime away. Put it all over the tub, let it sit, then wiped it off and the dirt and grime came right with it.

    We have well water that is pretty hard and I'm guessing that's what causes the issues.

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  82. Well I gave it a serious shot, but just will cut through the lime (or whatever it is that builds up on the tub). I literally have to chip the stuff off, & it comes off in chunks. The far end of the tub was just grim & now that end is shiny clean. Thanks for the tip, but unfortunately it looks like I will have to use an acid cleaner on it.

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  83. We actually used a borax solution to rid our lawn in MN of some sort of weeds. It is wonderful, cheap, safe stuff to have around!

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  84. We actually used a borax solution to rid our lawn in MN of some sort of weeds. It is wonderful, cheap, safe stuff to have around!

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  85. My vet recommended using Borax for flea problem in the house (not on the cat!). It is safe for animals and children and takes care of ant problems too! Previously I had been flea bombing the house but worried it was unsafe for my grandbabies, that's when vet said, use Borax! Works like a charm. It is also wonderful to soak baby clothes to get out stains. I'm going to try it on my tub next. Thanks for the tip!

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  86. Marissa, I used "tidy bowl" when I cleaned homes on glass shower doors. Just run a bead across the top of the doors and let it run down, take a sponge or soft brissled brush to scrub it with and then make sure you rince it good, I am not sure if they sell tidy bowl anymore.

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  87. Man, I'm glad I found this. I've been trying to clean an old, porcelain tub for years.

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  88. Any tips on getting tough stains out of carpets? They are old soil stains from the previous tenants.

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  89. Another trick to clean a tub - get some unscented oven cleaner (I use Easy Off) wet the entire tub then spray with oven cleaner. Walk away and let it set for about an hour. Take a sponge or rag and wipe clean using hot shower water to wash it away.

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  90. My tub is so gross!!!!!!I,have hard water and my house is 86 years old and I think it is the original tub! Lol. I can't keep up with the black moldy crap. It is so embarrassing.. we keep our house very neat but if you ever looked in my tub you would think....Yuck!! I can't wait to try borax!!

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  91. I'm glad that I'm not the only one who has had this problem! When we moved into our apartment our bathtub was (and still is) so nasty. I've tried everything from Dirty Jobs cleaner to Scrubbing Bubbles to Vinegar and Dish Soap. Definitely going to try the Borax! Thanks!

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  92. My son moved out when he started college last fall. He moved into an apartment and within a couple of months, his bathtub looked worse than this one. People were "crashing" at his place and they'd shower and leave a huge mess, in the tradition that kids do that. 18 does not an adult make! (oh he hates it when I say that haha) He didn't know how to clean. I'd always done everything in the house and since he was "on his own", he didn't want me to clean for him. Finally it got so bad that even he couldn't stand it. So he asked for my help. But even I didn't know what to do with that mess because I'd always just used scrubbing bubbles because unlike him, I clean the bathroom 3 times a week. So the scrubbing bubbles didn't touch it.
    After looking online for answers, I finally found something i hoped would work! I microwaved white vinegar until it was hot but not boiling, and put it in a spray bottle. Then I mixed in Dawn liquid detergent and shook it up ... then, I sprayed it all over the bathtub then let it set there for about 20 minutes. I used a magic eraser (Oh I don't know what I did before those ... they are amazing) and I barely had to scrub. The disgust just came up so easily. His bathtub looked brand new. He was shocked because he thought it was hopeless. The only problem is, now he thinks there isn't anything I can't clean. Sigh!

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  93. If you want something that works like borax but is less toxic on the lungs try mixing castile soap & baking soda. Mix enough Castile soap (or dish soap) to the baking soda to make a paste, use as is or add some essential oils for a fresh scent. Use the paste with a cleaning brush and watch all the grim disappear! Not to mention a bottle of castile soap is approx $5 + the $1 for baking soda, means $6 for a cleaner that will last months. Even cheaper if you find $1-$2 bottle of dish soap! I believe Martha Stewart has a similar recipe on her website as well. :)

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