How To Clean Your Bathroom

Mother drying son with towel after bath
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Even with a busy schedule this quick bathroom cleaning routine can provide an end-of-day retreat and protects you and your family from potential health risks.

Imagine a spa experience in the comfort of your own home. Ah… the pristine jetted tub set atop cleanly grouted tile, vanity fixtures and mirrors sparkling under a polished chandelier, and wisps of lavender scent fill the air. Then, in barges reality: kids, dogs, roommates, double-shifts, and yes, your dirty bathroom.

Bathrooms are the perfect environment for pathogens and bacteria. E. coli, salmonella, and staph bacteria can live on hard surfaces for hours and even days. Fungi such as athlete's foot, mold, and mildew can multiply in a bathroom's moisture-rich environment, especially without proper ventilation. According to the CDC, hospital stays or even death, can result from food-borne pathogens left on surfaces in the form of fecal matter. Respiratory diseases, such as asthma and allergies, can be triggered by incessant fungi.

Fear not. A bathroom cleaning routine is just the ticket for disrupting potential health hazards and can transform any bathroom into your own personal retreat. To clean your bathroom let's start by pulling together the supplies you'll need. There are, of course, many commercial cleaning products that you can use in your bathroom cleaning chores, but we also offer some green, environmentally friendly options for these products.

You Will Need

  • Multi-surface cleaner (disinfectant)
  • Tub, tile and grout cleaning (scouring powder)
  • Toilet bowl cleaner
  • Glass cleaner
  • Microfiber cloth (lint-free cloth)
  • Cleaning rags
  • Toilet brush
  • Broom
  • Wire tie

You Might Need

  • Duster with telescoping handle
  • Cleaning gloves
  • Bucket
  • Small squeegee
  • Face mask
  • Paper towels

Recipes for Green Cleaning Solutions

If you want to be green in your cleaning and avoid the use of harsh, chemical-based cleaners, here are some recipes for environmentally friendly cleaning supplies.

Multi-Surface Cleaner

Mix 2 cups of distilled water with ¼ cup Castile soap in spray bottle. If you prefer a scented cleaner, add 15 drops of lavender essential oil. Date and label the ingredients on the bottle. (Castile soap can be substituted with Dawn liquid soap.)

Tub, Tile, and Grout Cleaner

Option 1: Make a paste out of baking soda and undiluted hydrogen peroxide. Use small, sturdy brush to scour.
Option 2: Buy a four-pack of Magic Erasers to scour off stains and soap scum build-up.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Sprinkle baking soda in the toilet, then dump a cup of white vinegar in the bowl. Scrub with a brush.

Glass Cleaner

Mix a solution of 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 water in a spray bottle. Date and label the ingredients on the bottle.

Microfiber Cloth

Microfiber cloths can sheds fibers into water treatment plants and waterways, creating problems similar to the issues posed by the microbeads found in some cleansing lotions. As a substitute for microfiber cloths, use old ripped-up cotton T-shirts to polish fixtures and clean mirrors. Wash and reuse.

Tips

If you have multiple bathrooms to clean, consider buying a storage caddy for easy transport of supplies between rooms. (Caution: Keep cleaning supplies out of reach of small children.)

Bathroom cleaning products in bucket
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Wether you purchase brand-name cleaning supplies or make your own (see recipes above), it's helpful to gather supplies together in a caddy or bucket for easy use.

Routine Cleaning

Need to set up an everyday (or every week) routine for cleaning your bathroom? Based on suggestions from hotel maids to housecleaning gurus, this three-stage cleaning routine is easy to set up and implement.

Stage 1: Pre-treat and Prepare for Cleaning

  1. Pre-treat toilet bowl with toilet bowl cleaner.
  2. Pre-treat tub and shower stains with multi-purpose cleaner.
  3. Clear off countertop, putting items away or temporarily setting them aside. Toss expired or empty containers in trash.
  4. Use a toilet bowl brush to scrub bowl. Be sure to scrub under the rim inside the bowl.
  5. Flush, rinsing off the brush. Set the toilet seat on the handle of the brush, so the brush drips fall into the bowl.
  6. Wrap a cleaning rag on the end of your broom handle. Secure the rag in place using a wire tie. Working from top to bottom, dust vent fan cover and corners of the ceiling. Gently dust light fixtures as you work your way down the walls.
  7. Dust the window blinds. Optional: use a duster with a telescoping handle.
  8. If there is a lot of hair and debris on the floor, sweep.

Congratulations. You're a third of the way done.

Stage 2: Mirror, Vanity and Sink, Toilet

Now for the main cleaning duties. Warning: Before using a scouring cleaner, test it on a small area to make sure the surface you're cleaning won't be damaged.

Mirror:

  1. Spray visible spots on mirror and medicine cabinet and wipe clean with rag.
  2. Spritz entire mirror and shine with a dry microfiber cloth.

Vanity and sink:

  1. Spray the vanity top, sink, and toilet with multi-surface cleaner.
  2. Wash the vanity top and sink with a wet rag.
  3. Spray multi-surface cleaner on the cabinet face and wipe down with your rag. For tough stains, scour with tub, tile and grout cleaner.

Toilet: To clean the toilet, first put away the toilet bowel brush. Use additional multi-purpose spray as needed. Frequently rinse your rag in clean water from the sink, bath tub, or a bucket.

  1. Starting at the top of the tank, wipe down the tank and proceed to the handle, toilet lid, seat, and rim.
  2. Finally, wipe down the outside of the toilet bowl to its base.
  3. Rinse off your rag and spray multi-surface cleaner, then wash the floor around and behind the toilet.
  4. Scour stubborn stains with tub, tile and grout cleaner.
  5. Optional: Remove toilet seat by unscrewing it from the bowl. Clean and replace.

Once you have completed Stage 2, rinse out the sink and polish the faucet and toilet handle with a microfiber cloth. Wipe down and return items to the vanity where they belong.

Stage 3: Tub, Shower, and Floor

Tub:

  1. Remove shampoo bottles and other containers.
  2. Spray tub with multi-surface cleaner and wash away soap scum with a rag.
  3. For stubborn stains, scour with tub, tile and grout cleaner.
  4. Rinse any residual detergent away with clean water.
  5. Shine the faucet, and handles with a microfiber cloth.
  6. Wipe down and replace shampoo bottles and other containers.

Shower:

  1. Remove shampoo bottles and other containers.
  2. Spray shower with multi-surface cleaning spray and wash away soap scum with a rag.
  3. For stubborn stains, scour with tub, tile and grout cleaner.
  4. Rinse any residual detergent away with clean water.
  5. Dry glass shower door and shine shower head and handles with a microfiber cloth.
  6. Wipe down and replace shampoo bottles and other containers.

Tips

Tip: To prevent water spots from accumulating on shower doors and tile, consider leaving a small squeegee in shower to be used after each use.

Floor:

  1. Use multi-surface cleaner and a wet rag to mop up the floor.
  2. To clean floor grout, scrub with a small, sturdy brush, using tub, tile and grout cleaner.
  3. Empty the garbage can.
  4. Put dirty rags in laundry room.

Remember to wash the door knob on the way out. You did it!

How to Clean a Shower Head

Shower head with lime
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If you notice that your shower head is not spraying evenly, you may need to remove the calcium build-up.

Over time, shower heads can become clogged. Pour vinegar in a bag and attach the bag to the shower head with a wire tie. Make sure the head is soaking in the vinegar. Let sit for half an hour, then use a brush to scrub off the lime build-up.

To remove tougher calcium deposits, remove the shower head and soak it in a bucket with a brand-name limescale remover, such as CLR. Follow the product manufacturer's instructions.

If your shower head has seen its better days, consider upgrading to a new shower head. It's easy. Just unscrew the old shower head and replace it with a new one. Pick up a roll of plumber's tape and wrap it around the pipe nipple before screwing the new shower head in place. The tape will help prevent leaks at the connection between the pipe and the new shower head. For more complicated shower heads, follow the manufacturer's directions.

Cleaning a Badly Neglected Bathroom

Routine cleaning is the ideal, but it isn't always possible. Most everyone has encountered a truly gruesome bathroom from time to time—one that hasn't been cleaned in months. When this happens, it may fall on you to be the hero. If the bathroom surfaces are in good condition underneath the grime, the following preparations will make this unpleasant job doable.

Preparing to Clean a Neglected Bathroom.

  1. Wearing a face mask (optional) and cleaning gloves, walk through your bathroom with a large garbage bag and throw out any expired or empty containers along with any garbage, old magazines, or broken toys. In this situation, consider the motto, "If in doubt, throw it out." Set bag aside for Steps 3 and 5.
  2. Using a box, second garbage bag, or unused storage areas, remove all items from the vanity top, shower, and tub. Shake out rugs and put them in the washing machine. If necessary, wash or replace the shower curtain along with any dirty towels.
  3. Sweep the floor and empty contents of the dust pan into garbage bag.
  4. Spray every surface of the bathroom with multi-surface cleaner.
  5. With a roll of paper towels in hand, quickly wipe off the top layer of grime from every surface in the bathroom. It's best if you start deep in the room, working your way toward the door. Throw all used paper towels in the garbage bag and bring it out to the trash.

Take a breather. You are now ready to begin Routine Cleaning (see above).