I first want to wish my beautiful daughter Stephanie a very Happy Birthday!  She is one of the most wonderful people I know!  I’ll be sharing what I am doing for her Birthday breakfast (Saturday) and Cake in a few future posts.

I recently had a disaster of a problem that I needed to find a way to fix.  The problem was rust stains and lime stains, along with dirt that was ground into a tub, shower, sinks, and a couple of toilets.  One of the tubs was so bad I wasn’t sure what to do. I tried a few store brand cleaners and they just didn’t work all that well,  The elbow grease required was intense.  I searched and searched for ideas online, but I really didn’t like the majority of the ideas.  Nor did I really want to use strong chemicals to clean this.

Something clicked in my head about how vinegar cuts lime in coffee makers and borax does a great job of  cleaning too.  So I took my spray bottle and filled it with white vinegar and a small amount of borax, and a dash of dish soap. I thought what the heck.  I have nothing to lose if this doesn’t work and lots to gain if it does. I then headed over to the house that I was cleaning and sprayed this solution all over the disgusting tub.  I sprayed and sprayed until every inch of the tub stall was covered.  I walked away and went into other rooms to work on other things.  About 1 hour later I came back and climbed into the tub with a bucket of hot water and a sponge with a scrubber on one side. I first washed down the walls with the sponge and hot water.  The rust, lime, and dirt just washed away.  There were still some rust spots that needed to be scrubbed down with the scrubber side of the sponge.  It was amazing. 

This was the worst tub I have every seen and I had no idea how I was going to clean it.  The tub does not drain very quickly.  I attempted a baking soda and vinegar drain cleaner, but it didn’t work. This usually means there is a lot of hair in the drain.

The bathroom has no natural light and the shading is not showing how bright and shining this is.  I was so impressed!  I wish I could show you how great this looks. But no matter what it still looks better than before.

Incredible rust, lime and dirt bathroom cleaner.**
2 cups vinegar
1 TBSP Borax
1 tsp washing liquid (dawn)

Use a funnel and put the borax into the spray bottle then add the vinegar.  Add the washing liquid and shake.

I would add some type of essential oil as this smell is over powering.  I had to walk away quite a bit because of the smell and come back.

The sinks weren’t much better. They weren’t as daunting of a task as the tub though.  I missed taking a picture of the first sink before I cleaned.


Sink I forgot to get a before picture


This was an easy fix.  Spray the cleaner from the tub, let set for a half hour.  Wipe with the sponge, rag, what ever you use.  If still not clean, sprinkle baking soda onto the sink and scrub with scrubber part of sponge.

Toilets I won’t show.  Use your imagination if the tub and sink were this bad, you can imagine how bad the toilets were.  I wanted to use borax and lemon juice  I tried it, but the toilets were so bad that didn’t work,  I have read lots of ideas to clean a toilet.  The one way that has been mentioned was a pumice stone to clean the toilet.  Here’s the problem with that.  I am not sticking my hands down inside a nasty toilet.  Even with gloves on I am not putting my hands into a toilet.  Don’t even get me started on the germs that are now on the pumice stone.  The germs may disappear, but I will still see them on the stone.  Sadly I decided to use the Works toilet cleaner.  I hate the idea of all those chemicals, but this was giant job and it took 2 full bottles, but the toilets are shiny and clean.

***To clean porcelain***
Use 3 TBSP Borax to 2 cups Vinegar and 1/2 TBSP Dish Soap.
It took some doing but creative living really does work!



  1. I tried this. It works.

    Like you, I tried store brand products. I was using The Works monthly but was worried about the harsh chemicals ruining my tub. I am even leaving one tile un cleaned to show my husband it worked!

    Thank you!!! ☺

  2. My toilets aren’t getting airflow because of the lime buildup. I’ve used vinegar/dawn to clean showers and sinks but the toilets need some more help.

      1. Thank you Patty! I have heard that but have never tried it. We have horrible water here in Florida. Normal cleaners just don’t work well. I’ve gotten to adding baking soda with vinegar after I clean the toilet to get the lime off.

  3. Thank you so much, Sue. I try so many household cleaning recipes that don’t work, that I didn’t hold out much hope for this one. But, wow! This stuff is awesome! I live in an old rental with an old well-used tub. I was just looking for a frugal, diy shower cleaner – I never imagined it would make the tub look new, but it did. I made all my friends come over and marvel over it’s awesomeness with me. Thank you again for posting things that you have actually tried and had success with. Hats off to you for being an honest blogger.

  4. A Happy Birthday to your daughter,thank you for sharing your cleaning solution.This is the first time that I’ll be looking forward to cleaning my bath/shower..thanks again

  5. Forgive yourself if you need to use harsh cleaning product to clean up these issues for the first time. If you are moving into a new place, there are sometimes horrors you need these products to get rid of. Lime scale, soap scum, ground in dirt, a rusty dishwater, filthy washers and dryers. Dirty paint, water stains filthy stoves and ovens and refrigerators. Some times getting to clean,takes strong cleaners. I have multiple chemical allergies, so hiring a professional cleaning service works for me! After the heavy cleaning is done, including cleaning and painting walls and ceilings, pack up the stuff and store it safely for your next hazardous chemical hand in or pickup. Now things are clean you can use organic agents to keep it clean! Just know that if you have to use the bad stuff to get it clean. Include cleaning drains too. If you do this before you movein, no one will suffer from chemical Off-gassing. My disabilities preclude me from kneeling, scrubbing and sanetizing, and my husband won’t clean it the way I want, so I have to get a service. Don’t forget to have the carpets cleaned before moving in, If any floors need repair and refinishing this should be done. If necessary, replace kitchen floors, all that being newly done before you move in, and an insect control spraying will all off gas and home should smell fresh. Then maintain the home on organic cleaning methods. Don’t for get to clean Windows, Storms, and screens. MaryAnn Coy

    1. Thank you for all your suggestions MaryAnn. This was a few years ago and we were cleaning up a rental home. It was awful, but everything came out great. I even learned a lot about cleaning my own stuff from that mess.

  6. Thank you. I was going to purchase a caustic smelly cleaner to just clean my rust and lime scale covered bathroom. This product could only be used on my toilet not my sink. I found your article at 2 am and said to my self, excitement on Saturday night. So I mixed up a batch and poured this into my toilet and an hour later a 20 year old toilet without any rust or line scale. It is amazing how a small bit of clean can perk up a room. My grandma and my dad always told me that when it comes to clean borax is a good thing that i will now be using. No more smelly chemicals.

    1. That is wonderful Jana! I am so happy it helped! I know how frustrating toilets can be. I have my own issues cleaning toilets. I hate touching them! I would be the perfect person to purchase those disposable toilet brushes, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. So I buy two at the dollar store and throw them away.

      My grandmother used to tell me anyone could have a clean house. Even if you are poor and have no money you have hot water and soap. She was one amazing woman. She raised 7 children with that philosophy and passed it onto me.

  7. Have to try this, was bout to try that clr lime away stuff but wasn’t sure if it would hurt the tub, will let u know the results.

    1. I hope it worked Sharon! I actually used lime away previously on another bathroom. It didn’t damage anything, but I am very concerned it would not only damage the fixtures, but the smell. Using it in such a small area that smell is caustic and could damage lungs.

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