Happy Hausfrau: Unleash the Power of Grapefruit

I’m many things – a wife, a mom, a writer, a teacher, a cook.  But I’m also a housewife.  And I don’t want to be a crappy housewife (a little nod to one of the crappiest songs – and videos – of 2011.  Seriously, it makes Rebecca Black’s Friday sound like something Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote).

I’m always on the lookout for things that will help me do the hausfrau part of my life a little better.  After more than ten years at it, I’ve grown very fond of certain kinds of things.  Things that are useful.  Things that are simple.  Things that are green, that I don’t have to be afraid of storing under my kitchen sink where eager, small hands can find them.  And swallow them.  Nobody wants their kids to swallow this:

Over the years, I’ve developed a fondness for trying new things, even if they seem a little off at first.  Even if the hubster doubles over with laughter in the grocery store when I tell him I’m buying grapefruit to clean the bathrooms with.

Him: You’re buying grapefruit why, again?

Me: To scrub the bathroom sinks and tubs.  The kitchen, too.

Him: With a grapefruit?

Me: Yes.  And salt.

Him: A grapefruit and salt?

Me: Yes.  I don’t like the way the cleaners smell.

Him: Your smeller’s broken.

Me: Shut up.  I’m very busy and important.  (Stomps off toward the baking aisle in search of salt)

Right.  So, here it is.  The other day, I was cruising through the ginormous time-waster that is Pinterest, and came across this blog, which detailed how to clean your bathtub with nothing but a grapefruit, salt, and some elbow grease.  It immediately piqued my interest because (a) totally safe and green cleaning alternatives get my blood pumping, and (b) I cannot tolerate the smell of any cleaners thanks to the preggers hormones that have made my sense of smell as strong as a bloodhound’s.  I decided immediately I would try it.

I did a couple things differently than the tutorial.  First of all, they let their bathtub go uncleaned for a month.  Ew.  Ew, ew, ew.  I can’t do that.  Just thinking about it eebs me out, big time. *shivers*  Secondly, I used the salt I had on hand.  No idea if it was kosher or not.

Okay.  Here’s what I started with:

 One grapefruit, halved.  Salt, poured into a bowl.  I didn’t measure it.  I just poured what I thought I’d need.

I started with the kitchen sink as a test.  I dipped the grapefruit in the bowl, sprinkled salt around the sink, and got to scrubbing, ‘juicing’ the grapefruit as I went.  The salt and the grapefruit juice mixes to form a kind of grimy paste, and it scrubs beautifully.  Once the sink and fixtures were scrubbed, I rinsed them and dried them off.  Sparkly and clean!

But I was still a little skeptical.  My kitchen sink gets scrubbed several times a day (OCD much?), so it was time to move onto something a little more challenging.  I moved upstairs to my bathroom.  Even though we scrub our tubs once a week, I had noticed a couple days a go a little bit of mildew growing in some of the grout of the tile in my shower.

I went to town on it, and was amazed at how well it cleaned!  Same deal – dipped the grapefruit in salt, sprinkled salt around the tub, and scrubbed.  This time I simply wiped down the walls and tub with a damp rag.  It was amazing to see how the mildew and soap scum came right up.  Added bonus, when I was all done, I chopped the grapefruit and sent it through the garbage disposal.  Now my kitchen smells delicious.

I’m so stoked about this one, you guys!  Not only does it work (take that, T-man), but it works well, is totally green, and is budget friendly.  I cleaned my kitchen sink and two bathrooms (not the toilets) with one grapefruit and about a 1/4 cup of salt.  Here’s the price layout:

1 bag of grapefruit (about 10 in a bag) $4.00

1 container of salt (I’m guessing about 2 C. of salt in each container) $.50

I can clean 8 kitchen sinks, 16 bathrooms, and have a couple grapefruits left over to eat, for $4.50.  Not too shabby!

The Happy Hausfrau tried it so you don’t have to…but this is one cleaning alternative you should totally give a try!

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29 thoughts on “Happy Hausfrau: Unleash the Power of Grapefruit

  1. susielindau says:

    I wonder if it works on shower doors? I just got a case of grapefruit for Christmas that we will never be able to eat, so I will give it a try and let you know!
    Thanks for sharing~

  2. Natalie Hartford says:

    This is absolutely fantastic!! I always worry about how much “cleaner” residue is left and therefore a part of my baths and what that does to my skin and body. I love the idea of using something totally green that works. I can’t wait to try it out. THANK you Myndi!! Woot woot!!!

  3. Tameri Etherton says:

    I LOVE this! I’m all about green cleaning and have used vinegar and lemon loads over the years, but never heard of grapefruit. I’ll definitely give it a try. Thanks for the super fabulous tip!

    By the way, I made the mistake of clicking on the crappy housewife link and watched almost the whole darn video waiting for it to get better. At the rappers, I had to bail. Kind of a catchy tune, now it’s stuck in my head. Eeek.

  4. rachelfunkheller says:

    Mynster! Hi honey, sorry I’ve been away so long. I have a friend who is an organic chemist and all he ever uses to clean anything in his house is plain old ammonia. If you are concerned that maybe the grapefruit isn’t getting all the germs and when your smeller is fixed, you may toss that in the mix. Great post my dear.

  5. Karen McFarland says:

    I don’t want to be, I don’t want to be, a crappy housewife! LOL!!!

    Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. Now try to get that stupid song out of your head.

    Since I too have a bit of German in me, I tend to lean on the clean side. And since most cleaners are soo toxic, I find that vinegar works for so many things. I add a little to the dishwasher for a spot free rinse and to the laundry to soften clothes. It really works and is cheap.

    Baking soda also is an old remedy for cleaning. But I hadn’t heard about grapefruit and salt. Very cool Myndi. I would think because its citrus it would work much like lemon does.

    See, these big coporations have trained us to buy these cleansers when really they are very harmful. Well one things for sure. You won’t be poisoning your children.

    Thanks Myndi! 🙂

  6. lynnkelleyauthor says:

    Wow, you’re even better than “Hints From Heloise.” That was a book on helpful household tips I think from my grandmother’s days! But this sounds great. I’ll have to try it, for sure. When I first saw the pic of grapefruit, I thought, this isn’t going to help me since I’m allergic to citrus fruits, but that’s only if I eat them. My husband can eat the leftover grapefruits. I’m amazed that you cleaned all that with only one grapefruit! Thanks for the hot tip, Myndi!

  7. Kara says:

    That is awesome! I love the smell of citrus and I love doing things “green”. At the moment I am smelling lysol my cleaning people just used to clean my house and I’m not liking it. I’m not complaining though, because my sister sends them over once a month to clean my mess, but just saying… Maybe I’ll leave them a bag of grapefruits and some salt next month:) !

    • Myndi Shafer...one stray sock away from insanity. says:

      LOL, Kara! If I had somebody over to do the cleaning for me, I’d probably get over the lysol smell a little easier…

      ‘Course, I’d probably just end up following them around re-scrubbing anyway. Even though my kids are fabulous helpers, I always feel like stuff isn’t REALLY clean unless I’ve done it myself. :/ I’m probably going to give them a complex or something.

  8. Marcy Kennedy says:

    I think you might faint if you entered my house. It’s a bit of a wreak right now 🙂 But I think you may have just solved one of my problems. I have extremely sensitive skin. When I say extremely sensitive, I mean that I have to use hypoallergenic laundry soap and fabric softener even though I don’t have allergies because my skin can’t tolerate the normal stuff. You can imagine how much fun this makes cleaning with harsh chemicals. And the fact that your grapefruit and salt is affordable is a huge bonus.

  9. Sheila Seabrook says:

    Oh, wow, I love this, Myndi! I hate the chemical smell of household cleaners but I love the smell of grapefruit. This is definitely going on my to-try list. Thanks for the great tip.

    And to you and your loved ones, have a happy holiday season!

  10. Fabio Bueno says:

    I got to try that!
    I have a similar recipe, only I use lime instead of grapefruit. And I add tequila. The house–well, everything–looks much better after I use my recipe. It’s a-maz-ing… 🙂

  11. Debra Eve says:

    I’m a bit embarassed about how excited I am to try this! Hubby likes plain old bar soap and fighting scum is a constant battle. I use good ol’ Bon Ami for most stuff, but sometimes it’s not enough. Thanks, Myndi!

  12. Jennifer says:

    Hey, Myndi! I knew about lemon and salt, but that was from lots of episodes of “How Clean is Your House” and those ladies are into SCRUBBING! So I never really tried it. But with your experience, grapefruit/lemons, here I come! And now if I buy a bag of lemons to cook with and never get around to it, I won’t have to throw them away.

  13. Lesann says:

    This is a great idea. Malt vinegar works great if you’ve got woodwork to clean and polish. Like several other nice people here, citrus of any kind and baking soda also work well.

    Incidentally, all are also effective at treating illness.

    Happy Holidays!

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