How to clean the bathroom

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Some people love cleaning, and I think I’m one of them. 

It can be so satisfying to see clear counters and a spotless stove top, or to take a bath in a sparkling tub. But for others, cleaning may be just another chore—especially when it comes to cleaning the bathroom.

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Cleaning is easy to put off, but it’s much better for our health and happiness if we keep the bathroom free of germs and bacteria—although there are more in your kitchen, believe it or not. 

Adria Hall, owner of sustainable shop Koko, sums up how many of us feel about cleaning: “I live with three boys, so cleaning the bathroom is easily one of my least favorite chores, yet once it’s done, I always feel so much better!”

There are a handful of ways to simplify your bathroom cleaning routine. First, clean in small bouts more often; this will keep your bathroom looking clean and only takes 5 to 10 minutes. It also makes your “big” cleans—around 45 minutes— quicker and easier, since you’re wiping surfaces down more often. 

Plus, doing small bouts of cleaning more often will save you from having to dig out the rubber gloves and bleach for a super grimey clean.

Tip 1: Start small

Cleaning every surface in your home will make a major difference.

Whether you’re just tidying up or doing a seasonal clean, when it comes to how to clean the bathroom there are several surfaces you’ll want to tackle: the counter, sink bowl and drain, toilet bowl and seat, tub and tile, windows, and floors. 

Yes, this is pretty much the whole room, and it may seem like a lot, but it’ll make a difference and take your bathroom from functional to enjoyable. 

Listing the cleaning necessities is one thing, actually doing the cleaning is another. I like to start by sweeping the floor, because it’s a simple task that only takes a few minutes. It makes me feel like starting with a fresh canvas. 

Tip 2: Clear the space

Remove items from the space to clean with ease.

A pro tip from Roman Peysakhovich, CEO of national house cleaning company Onedesk, is to remove items from the bathroom. “Remove all of your products from the shower and/or bathtub,” he says. “Next, throw all used towels and rugs outside the room. Don’t forget to move any items from the counters outside the bathroom, as well. Lastly, grab any trash cans and empty them.” 

By doing this, you can zoom from one surface to the next without rearranging items, making the overall clean quicker. 

Tip 3: Clean smarter not harder

How do you clean your toilet?

Adria Hall says, “To get started, I drop a Mama Suds Toilet Cleaning Tab in the toilet bowl. These are so cool—like bath bombs for toilets because they have the same fizzy technology! I searched for years for a good plastic-free toilet cleaner and this one hits all the marks.” 

You can also use a powerful toilet bowl cleaner like Lysol Power Toilet Bowl Cleaner or Clorox Toilet Wands, which are what I used doing chores in my parents house. 

Tip 4: Find an all-purpose cleaner that’s right for you

Use the same all-purpose cleaner to make the process quicker.

Cleaning is so much quicker when you’re only using one or two products instead of one for each surface. 

While the toilet cleaner fizzes and cleans, I like to switch gears to other surfaces. You may opt for a cleaner like Filo or Blueland that you can make by dropping a tablet in water. 

You can also use popular proven germ-killers like Clorox and Lysol Wipes since the bathroom is known to house many germs. 

Tip 5: Be thorough

When cleaning the tub or shower, start at the top.

When it comes time to tackle the shower and tub, start at the top. I like to spray the shower walls first, and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. 

Then, I wipe downwards with a towel or rag, and I do the same thing with the tub and any pockets in the shower. Don’t forget to spray faucet handles and spouts, too, as these tend to collect residue from soap and shampoo. 

Once I’ve wiped the shower clean, I turn the water on all the way to hot, and let it run for a minute or two. 

If you need to clean your tub drain, this is a good time to pour in a solution and let it work its magic. I use Draino every few months when the water doesn’t seem to be draining as efficiently. The Green Gobbler Drain Clog Dissolver has over 38,000 5-star review on Amazon, so, although I haven’t used it personally, it seems like a great option. Just remember to rinse the drain cleaner after the allotted time (maybe right before mopping).

If you’re really aiming for a spotless bathroom, remove the shower curtain and liner off the rod and wash them in your washing machine or soak them in the sink with a capful of all-purpose cleaner. 

For glass shower doors, consider using vinegar. Brad Roberson, president of Glass Doctor, says, “If you always seem to have spots on your shower door, you can easily soak a few paper towels in distilled white vinegar, then lay them over the splotches in a single layer. Let the paper towels sit for 15 minutes. Once the time is up, remove them, rinse the area and wipe dry. Because the spots are caused by mineral buildup from hard water, they can be prevented by simply wiping down the doors after you shower.”

If you have glass doors instead of a curtain, spray them with a trusted glass cleaner and wipe dry with a microfiber cloth.

Tip 6: Don’t overlook your grout

Does your grout need some love?

We rounded up a few different ways you can clean your grout, but regardless of what you choose you’ll want a few supplies to help you tackle it: a grout brush or old toothbrush, grout cleaner or an alternative, and a bit of patience. 

Adria’s process is simple enough. “On days when I feel like my tub and floor need a little extra love, my holy grail cleaner is the Humble Suds Scour Cleaning Paste,” she recommends. “I apply a small amount of the paste and use an old dish brush or pot scrubber to gently scrub grout lines, tile, faucets, and areas that have soap residue or mineral deposits… it’s so powerful that it easily cleans the gross crud that gets stuck in grout throughout your bathroom.” 

Tip 7: It’s toilet time

Use a disinfectant cleaner that you trust.

Next, clean the toilet. This is my least favorite part, and I’m sure there are plenty of people who feel the same. But, let’s be honest: No one wants to see (or use) a dirty toilet. 

To clean the toilet, start with the top of the tank so you can use it as a surface for cleaning supplies. Then wipe down the lid and seat, letting the spray sit as your cleaner recommends. 

Obviously, you’ll also want to clean the toilet’s bowl. Use a toilet brush and a toilet cleaner or a capful of a concentrate you trust, and don’t forget to give it a flush once you’re done. 

Doyle James, president of Mr. Rooter Plumbing, recommends a DIY solution to make a squeaky clean toilet. “Mix 1 cup of baking soda with 15 drops of tea tree essential oil and 15 drops of lemon or orange essential oil,” he says. “Let the mixture sit in the bowl for 30 minutes and scrub with a bowl brush before flushing.”

You’ll also want to wipe down the outside of your toilet, because it can be sticky and dusty as well.

Tip 8: Finishing touches mean a lot, so don’t forget them

You'll be satisfied when you finish the job.

The remaining tasks are typically quick. Spray and rinse the sink bowl and drain. Clean the mirror and windows throughout the room with a glass cleaner or white vinegar

Don’t forget to wipe the counters down; this step has such a satisfying outcome, because the cleaning really starts to feel complete. 

The last step is to mop the floor. You may opt to sweep or vacuum, since you may have stirred up some dust and hair. Make sure to empty the trash before mopping so when you leave the room you can let the floors dry. 

Tip 9: A good clean doesn’t mean expensive supplies

You don't need pricey tools to be an effective cleaner.

When cleaning the bathroom, I bust out my cleaning supplies that have seen better days. Cleaning the toilet, tub, and sink is different from cleaning dishes or kitchen counters, so it doesn’t need to be glamorous. I use old toothbrushes and dish brushes as spot scrubbers and grout cleaners, and you can always cut up old T-shirts or pillowcases to make rags that you won’t mind getting dirty. You can also use Swedish dishcloths, ratty dish towels, and even your stinky sponges to achieve a spotless clean.

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