Cleaning the bathroom usually goes to the family member who draws the short stick in the chore-assignment game. But these ten tips to make cleaning the bathroom easier will reduce the unpleasantness and make cleaning simpler the next time the task falls to you.
Daily Maintenance Is Key
You can make cleaning the bathroom easy by not letting it get too dirty in the first place. Keep a small portable vacuum handy and have a squeegee nearby. Vacuum the floor and rugs daily, and squeegee the shower doors after every shower. Wipe down faucets and the toilet handle with disinfectant wipes every day or two. If you’re lucky enough to have new, clean grout, make sure it is properly sealed to prevent moisture absorption and mold and mildew growth.
To make cleaning the bathroom easier, it’s essential to keep your bathroom dry. While that’s easier said than done, especially in large families with busy bathrooms and packed shower schedules, keeping the bathroom as dry as possible will make it simpler to clean. Mold and mildew love the damp, so use old, clean towels to wipe down wet surfaces. Make sure everyone in the family knows to use the exhaust fan when taking a steamy shower or hot bath, and open the window a crack in the spring and summer to help the bathroom dry out.
Launder the Shower Curtain Regularly
Most fabric shower curtains and liners can go in the washing machine, and you can simply hang them back up to dry. Include some of those old towels in the wash cycle to provide friction that will help scrub away soap scum and buildup. Wash the shower curtains once a week to keep them fresh and free of mold and mildew.
Give Yourself a Head Start
Pour three cups of distilled white cleaning vinegar into the toilet tank and let it sit while you’re clearing the bathroom and cleaning other fixtures and surfaces. Once everything else is done, simply flush—the vinegar will have cleaned the tank and help clean the bowl as you flush it away. You may need to follow with a toilet brush and some baking soda (which will react and start fizzing if there is residual vinegar in the bowl) to scrub away stains.
Remove Everything When Deep Cleaning
Your daily bathroom maintenance won’t require moving things around, but your once-a-week deep clean should. Remove all loose items, such as shampoo bottles, bars of soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste, washcloths, towels, and bath puffs, until the only things remaining are the fixtures attached to the walls or floor.
For ease of cleaning, use an environmentally friendly, non-toxic all-purpose cleaner or vinegar diluted with water in a clean spray bottle. It’s important that the spray bottle be new or absolutely clean, as vinegar can react with other cleaners and create hazardous gasses or acids that can burn your skin or damage surfaces. Spray all surfaces that require a good scrubbing and let your cleaner sit for 10-15 minutes; you can use that time to get towels into the laundry.
Cleaners made specifically to disinfect or sanitize surfaces may be available at a local or online janitorial supply store. Be sure to read labels, use products according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and heed all product warning labels.
Start at the Top
As with other cleaning tasks, it’s best to start at the top of the room and work your way down. That way, you’ll catch all the dust and grime you may dislodge from the light fixtures and window frames as you move from the bathroom ceiling down the walls, shower/tub, sink, toilet, and finally, the floor. Use a duster with an extendable handle to clean those hard-to-reach places high on the walls or on top of light fixtures—be gentle but thorough as you dust lights.
Dust the Exhaust Fan
Your bathroom exhaust fan picks up a lot of dust and grime as it pulls steam and fumes out of the bathroom. If the cover is removable, take it off and clean it. Do not reach into the exhaust fan to clean unless you are certain you have turned off the correct circuit—your aim here is to clean, not electrocute yourself! Don’t get any of the fan’s electrical components wet.
If you have hard water, you may notice the water pressure from your showerheads slowly decreasing. Pour some distilled white cleaning vinegar—which is less diluted than other distilled vinegars, usually to 7 percent acidity—into a plastic bag big enough to submerge your entire showerhead.
If your showerhead doesn’t detach for cleaning, secure the vinegar-filled bag around the showerhead with rubber bands. Let the showerhead soak for approximately 30-60 minutes, then rinse it or turn on your shower to dislodge the loosened mineral debris.
Grout is one of the peskiest cleaning tasks in the bathroom. A spray with vinegar, followed by a scrub with a toothbrush or grout brush dipped in baking soda, should have your grout looking good in no time.
For stubborn grout stains, make a paste of baking soda and water and leave it on the grout overnight. Rinse off the paste and wipe up with water in the morning. Once the grout is completely dry, use an appropriate grout sealer to help prevent mold and mildew from growing back. If you’re not up to that DIY task, contact a professional grout cleaning service that can do it for you. Either way, cleaning and sealing your grout will be worth it in the long run.
Clean the Sink
Spray an all-purpose cleaner on your sink and countertop and let it sit while you clean the shower. Then take a clean sponge or cloth and wipe down the sink and surrounding area. Pour some vinegar down the drain, wait a minute or two, and follow the vinegar with a bit of baking soda. That mixture will fizz and foam, loosening any gunk in the drain. Be sure to rinse the sink and drain thoroughly.
If you have stubborn mineral stains, vinegar can be used to dissolve them. Soak a cloth in a solution of half water-half vinegar and wrap it around or place it on top of areas that are crusted with mineral residue. Leave the cloth in place for several hours before rinsing the areas clean.
Finish With the Floor
If you’ve been sweeping or vacuuming daily, cleaning the floor shouldn’t take long. Whether your bathroom has porcelain or vinyl tile, be sure to use a cleaner that’s made for your particular floor surface.
Sweep first, then vacuum the floor with a hand-held vacuum to pick up any stray dust or dirt that might’ve dropped from higher surfaces. Follow that with a string mop that can get into nooks and crannies to ensure you clean the entire floor surface. Once you’ve cleaned and rinsed, don’t forget to dry all surfaces to keep mold and mildew from coming back.