Making Do,  Tutorials and Tips

A Test of a Pinterest DIY Cleaner

Header vinegar cleaner

So bathtub cleaner is expensive. Cleaners in general are expensive. This is not news to anyone I’m sure, and it certainly wasn’t news to me. But with my financial situation set to become what it will at the end of this semester* it has gradually become more and more soul sucking to have to purchase these kinds of products. Not only are they expensive, but they smell totally noxious, and using them is a massive pain in the rump that leaves me with a headache from the odor every time. The idea that I was paying what I was for the “privilege” of cleaning just started to drive me bonkers.

My bathtub cleaner, despite being the best one I’ve been able to find over the years, was by far the biggest offender – expensive, horrible smelling, and still for some reason requiring massive amounts of scrubbing despite the guarantees on the bottle that it wouldn’t. None of this is helped by the fact that our bathroom is an interior room with no window or ventilation beyond the exhaust fan (which really only serves to de-steam the room, not fully ventilate).


So one day two weeks ago I got fed up. I was done. The tub had been let go a little longer than usual at that point due to an extra busy few weeks (see photo above for grossness – notice that I have NOT watermarked that photo…), and I was just NOT in the mood to spend an hour + on my knees scrubbing this thing out while the cleaner slowly gassed me. To Pinterest I went, where I found a recipe for a DIY cleaner that I had all the ingredients for.

Now this cleaner recipe has been done a thousand and one times – there are hundreds of pins on Pinterest from hundreds of blogs, many of which have the instructions directly in the pin description, and many of which didn’t even lead back to anything. And I have to admit – I simply did not have the time or the patience that day to try to track the recipe back to an original source. I did a search on Pinterest for “DIY bathtub cleaner,” read the first recipe that had ingredients I had on hand out of the pin description, shut the laptop and went. So if you happen to know who the “originating” blogger was (or the closest we can come to the originating blogger when something’s gone this viral) – please let me know so I can link to them.

But bottom line is, there’s a reason this recipe has been done a thousand times on a thousand blogs: it’s easy, and it works. Simply mix equal parts dish soap (most of these recipes call for original blue Dawn, but I used what I had here and it worked just fine) and white vinegar that’s been heated in the microwave, stick it in a spray bottle and you’re good to go.

Notched Bottle

The spray bottle I had on hand was actually purchased at Sally Beauty for about $2 – originally intended to test a DIY “Dry” Shampoo recipe I had stumbled upon. But I never quite got around to that, so cleaner bottle it became. And it conveniently has these little notches on the side to measure things. So I just dumped in the dish soap until I felt like stopping, and then looked to see how much that was (it was 8 oz).

I then measured out that same amount of white vinegar and stuck it in the microwave for three minutes. Can I just tell you how much I love my Pyrex liquid measuring cup? Because I love it. And it made this process soooooo easy.

Pour the vinegar into the bottle with the dish soap, shake it a little to mix (really, just a little – it will suds up pretty good), and done.

Vinegar measured out

I sprayed it all over the tub and let it sit for about half an hour and work its magic. It did make the bathroom smell like orange vinegar, but that’s sooooo totally preferable to whatever chemically awfulness normal cleaners have. I didn’t feel light-headed or like I was going to suffocate while using this product at all.

Now, I must admit I did do a super quick 5 second pass on the particularly icky parts with a scrub brush just to loosen some of the grime up – but in general this cleaner worked like a charm. A quick rinse and my tub was shiny again.

Well, except for the drain, which is old and has lost some of the lacquer finish in places so never really looks shiny and perfect. But the rest of the tub was clean as a whistle. Just look for yourself!


Overall, I give this DIY recipe a 9/10. The only way this could be better is if I could figure out how to get rid of the vinegar smell while it worked and make it smell like cookies or cake or something equally appetizing. Maybe I’ll work on that in the future. But for now, you can definitely call me a DIY cleaner convert. This cleaner apparently works just as well once it cools – but we’ll have to wait for next time to find that out for sure!

*I know, I know. This has been mentioned almost every single post for the last couple weeks and I’m sure it’s getting tiresome, but bottom line is that Magpie Making Do is a reflection of my reality – and lately my reality is consumed by this issue!

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  • justme3362

    This is great! I am one of the few people in the world who actually likes the smell of vinegar, so it’s perfect! Will be re-using my current shower cleaner bottle for this once it runs out!

  • Timiae

    Thank you so much for posting this! I will give it a try this week. I love vinegar for cleaning and use it in the rinse cycle of the wash and diluted with water for general cleaning of counters and such. I hate my commercial tub cleaner, it’s bleachy smelling and doesn’t really work.

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