If I were keeping track of the number of responses from my readers that are filled with praise and gratitude, there would be thousands of hash marks next to Tub and Shower Soap Scum Cleaner. And the word used most often to describe it? "Magical"!
But now and then, a response will report problems having to do with allergies and, well, that smell.
Dear Mary: I love your homemade formulas to make our own cleaning products. Many use Blue Dawn dishwashing liquid. I am allergic to Dawn soap, all fragrances and citrus, among other things. Do you have a suggestion for what I could use as a substitute? — Peggy
Dear Peggy: I do have an alternative for you to try as a substitute for the Tub and Shower Soap Scum Cleaner and all of our recipes that use Blue Dawn. Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile Baby Unscented Liquid Soap (you can find this on Amazon) appears to meet your requirements. It's pure liquid soap and quite concentrated; it has no fragrance and is organic and vegan. I am so sorry you have to deal with this health issue, but I'm confident that with the power of pure castile soap, you'll have great results.
I hope other readers who deal with allergies and other sensitivities let us know how this works for you.
Dear Mary: I have been using your recipe for Tub and Shower Soap Scum Cleaner to clean the shower (acrylic) in our home since I saw it in the newspaper many months ago. It works as well as what I had been using, Tilex Daily Shower Cleaner, and the cost to produce is amazingly low.
Now the problem: My significant other will not use the bathroom for hours until the smell wears off. I suppose it's the vinegar that causes tension in our household that I cannot afford. So, what can be added to the mixture to make it smell better and not make her gag? Any help would be appreciated on this issue. — Dick
Dear Dick: I can see the problem here! This Tub and Shower Soap Scum Cleaner is very powerful and super strong because it is highly concentrated. That contributes to its nearly magical properties.
The directive for how to use it is to spray it on and then leave it for hours, if not overnight, before completely rinsing it and all that disgusting soap scum, mildew and gunk that has built up over time. Leaving a window open during this time to provide ventilation is a good idea. Using it for maintenance is a little tricky, and that's where I think you may be creating this problem. If you use this for routine maintenance, you need to spray it on and rinse it off immediately. But I have another option for you.
For daily maintenance, make our Daily Shower Cleaner yourself. It's far less potent while being very effective. Hint: Twenty drops of an essential oil (lavender or lemon would be excellent choices) adds a pleasant fragrance.
DAILY SHOWER CLEANER
1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide
1/2 cup rubbing alcohol
1 teaspoon liquid dishwashing soap (like blue Dawn)
1 tablespoon dishwasher rinse aid (like Jet-Dry)
2 cups water
20 drops essential oil (optional)
Pour all of the ingredients into a 24-ounce spray bottle. Mix gently. Each day before you step out of the shower, spray the walls and then walk away.
This no-rinse, no-wipe, no-scrub shower cleaner spray is safe to use on glass, glazed tile, stone, tubs and shower curtains. The gentle formula contains no bleach, ammonia or harsh chemicals, and it won't scratch surfaces or leave behind a dull residue.
Store your daily shower cleaner in a dark cupboard, as hydrogen peroxide breaks down quickly in the presence of light.
For resources for the specific items above, go to EverydayCheapskate.com/scumissues.
Mary invites questions, comments and tips at [email protected], or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com, a personal finance member website and the author of "Debt-Proof Living," released in 2014. To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.