A very long confessional post about bathroom cleansers.

Something very momentous happened this week, an event that is quality-of-life altering for me.

Before I get to that, a little background information. Most of you who have known me for a while know that my go-to cleaning solution is white vinegar. I am, you might say, a white vinegar fiend. At any given time my house smells like an odd cross between a bakery and a pickling factory. There is, in my humble opinion, no better nor more cost-effective cleaner than white vinegar. Occasionally I will mix it up by using a hippie essential-oil based cleaner, but for the most part, it’s all white vinegar all the time.

Well, most of the time. There is an exception to this rule, and that is the bathroom sinks and toilets. When it comes to that, I go all out; I like the kind of cleaners that boast of killing off 99.9% of germs, the old-school, scrub-free disinfectants. When it comes to the bathroom sinks and toilets, the harsher the cleanser the better, in my opinion. I feel fine about this because, as I mentioned, I only use these cleansers for relatively small area, and so one bottle of cleanser can last…well, I don’t really know how long it can last. Months, I suppose.

So it was several months ago that I impulsively bought a different cleanser; it was on a price rollback, it promised to kill off 99.9% of germs – including staph bacteria, which is not something I had thought of before but sure am thinking of now – and it advertised a “spring-fresh scent.” Now, I am not the kind of person who actually sniffs cleansers in the Walmart cleaning solution aisle, because a) I don’t want to look like a weirdo, b) who sniffs cleansers anyway? Certainly not me, and c) it doesn’t seem like too big of a deal what your bathroom cleaning solution smells like.

Oh, the naivete. It turns out that it DOES matter, it matters a lot, because this cleaning solution was, while effective at its job, terrible in the scent department. It smelled like a chemical factory mixed with formaldehyde, which is not a scent I enjoy, nor is it one that I associate with “spring-fresh.”

And yet, I kept on.

I continued to use the abhorrent-smelling-but-effective cleanser, and every time I did – three times a week, because that is how often I clean my bathrooms – I would hate it. The bathroom would smell like a chemical factory with formaldehyde for hours afterwards, THREE TIMES A WEEK. So for a large part of the week, I basically hated my ill-scented bathroom and everything else around it.

Now, at this point, you might be saying, But Nicole, when you Kondo’d your life, you realized that saying goodbye to things that do not spark joy is the key to happiness and tidiness. Why did you not just get rid of the bathroom cleanser and buy another one, in a non-offensive scent?

Why indeed? Well, as it turns out, I can get rid of lipglosses that do not suit me after only one use, I can get rid of ill-fitting clothes that originally cost a tidy sum of money, I can donate an entire lifetime’s worth of compact discs because of Spotify, but I cannot get rid of any kind of household cleanser. I know! It was $2.99 worth of cleanser, that I used for MONTHS AND MONTHS, and yet I continued to use it until the bitter end.

Sure, I could have poured it down the sink, and although eventually that is where the cleanser all goes, for some reason I felt like that was environmentally unsound to do so all in one shot. Ultimately, though, it is probably to do with my Scottish ancestry. I also keep using hand soap until the soap itself is a centimetre long and a millimetre thick, and my long-suffering husband throws it out. I flatten toothpaste tubes until not another drop can be extracted, I keep shampoo and conditioner bottles upside down, probably using a ton more water in the shower as I violently shake out the last drops.

Once, I was watching a Shark Tank episode with my kids, who love that show. On it was a woman who had invented something called the Spaddy Daddy. It was a long, thin spatula that could be used to scrape out every last ounce of body wash, conditioner, or liquid soap out of a bottle, and all I could think was Brilliant. This woman is a goddamn genius. She is my people. I do no think the Spaddy Daddy is available in Canada, but it is clearly the greatest idea of our generation.

Side note: why has no one ever invented a nail polish in which the brush goes all the way to the bottom? It is impossible, not to mention eminently frustrating, to get any nail polish out of the bottle once it is less than 1/3 full. What a waste. Someone told me that this could be solved by putting nail polish remover in the bottle to get the last bit out, but that seems to me that it would compromise the integrity of the nail polish, and so I have never tried. Instead I throw the bottle in the trash, 1/3 full, a little harder than is necessary.

All of which is to say that I could not, and would not, throw out the gross-smelling bathroom cleanser, but this week, I FINISHED IT. I have started on a new, citrus-scented one, and my quality of life has improved immensely.


  1. Yes!! why hasn’t someone invented a super bendy lip gloss brush that gets ALL OF THE LIPGLOSS out of the tube? Sorry to shout but it just ticks me off how much lip gloss is left behind. Excellent post!!

  2. I am the same way with soap and toothpaste. I usually end up smashing the soap sliver onto the next bar. And I have been known to slice open a toothpaste tube to get to the last bit.

  3. I do the same thing with soap and shampoo, although I get very frustrated in my OCD-ish way when I can’t get a satisfactory amount of lather off my tiny soap sliver. I always think if I throw out the bottle with the last tiny bit of shampoo or conditioner or mouthwash – even if I already have a new bottle – that I will precipitate some future emergency where one more unit of the stuff would, like, save the world or something, but I threw it out.


  1. […] Who even cares, you might be thinking, but the thing is I’ve never had a gel pedicure and I don’t know what I will do if a) the polish chips or b) how to even remove the polish if it starts to grow out and look weird. I’ve seen ladies get gel polish removed at the spa and it seems like such an ordeal: toes wrapped in foil, some kind of buffing tool, etc. Now that I’m writing it down, it looks like possibly the stupidest blog topic ever, and that includes the time I wrote about buying the wrong scent of bathroom cleanser.  […]

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