The Big Spring Cleaning Series: Bathroom Guide

 

The Big Spring Cleaning Series: Bathroom Guide

12/04/2016 / Added By

Put your hands up if you love cleaning your bathroom!

*tumbleweed rolls silently past*

Okay, me neither. In fact, I’d go as far to say that I absolutely loathe cleaning the bathroom.

At least, I used to.

Big Spring Clean Bathroom

I used to hate cleaning the bathroom so much that I would put it off for as long as I could get away with (Yes, sometimes it would get pretty gross). And because I put it off so long, the grime, soap scum and mildew had time to accumulate, making it an even more loathsome and difficult room to clean.

It was a never-ending circle of hate and dirt.

However, I learnt that the secret to cleaning the bathroom, is to clean it regularly.

Regular cleaning and prevention-techniques stop the bathroom from becoming hard work.

This guide shares everything you need to know about cleaning your bathroom, including the tips and tricks you need to maintain your efforts and prevent future build-ups.

FREE: Download your printable bathroom cleaning checklist, with extra tips and tricks!

 

Your Spring Cleaning Bathroom Guide: Contents

Click on one of the links below to jump to that section of the guide. Alternatively, keep scrolling to read the entire guide.

 See Also: The Big Spring Cleaning Series: Kitchen Guide

Getting Started

Cleaning the bathroom isn’t exactly the most glamorous of tasks, but it’s an important room not to overlook!

Leaving it too long between deep-cleans can result in built-up layers of soap scum and mould which can be difficult to remove.

Before you get started, make sure you give yourself enough time to do the task properly.

You’ll also want to make sure have the right tools/cleaning solutions you need. There’s a list below that complements this guide.

I’ve also put together a FREE downloadable/printable PDF with a checklist of all the points included in this guide, as well as some other tips and tricks. 

 

Your Cleaning Toolbox

Make sure you have everything you need in the 'essential' before you start cleaning your bathroom.

Essential

Optional

Rubber gloves

Face mask (to avoid chemical fumes from bleach)

Bleach (or natural alternative)

Essential oil of choice (for fragrance)

Tea tress oil

Squeegee

Vacuum

Castile soap

Duster(s)

Borax

All-purpose bathroom cleaner

Hydrogen peroxide

White vinegar

Lemon(s)

Microfiber cloth(s)

Shaving foam (for mirrors)

Q-tips

 Baking soda

Mop

 

Spray bottle(s)

 

   

Homemade vs. Store-Bought Cleaners

There’s something of a debate when it comes to cleaning products.

Although effective, commercial cleaning solutions tend to include a cocktail of harsh chemicals which can be harmful to both your health and the environment.

Homemade DIY cleaners are considered more ‘eco-friendly’, but aren’t necessary as effective, and certainly aren’t always as convenient.

In reality, it’s down to personal preferences when it comes to your home and your cleaning habits.

If you’d like to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of homemade and store-bought cleaners, check out my previous blog post and infographic on the topic: Dishing the Dirt: Homemade vs. Store-Bought Cleaners [Infographic]

 

Bathroom Cleaning Basics

I like to start with the basics, working my way towards the smaller more finicky jobs.

PRO TIP: Before you start cleaning your bathroom, fill your bathtub with a couple of inches of VERY hot water. The steam will make it much easier to remove dirt and grime when cleaning. 

 

WINDOWS

Bathrooms windows are particularly susceptible to condensation and mould, so it’s important to check and clean your windows regularly.

You can clean your window frames and tracks easily with a damp cloth. If you have some particularly grimy nooks and crannies, you can use a Q-tip dipped in white vinegar.

How to clean wooden sills and frames:

  • Painted – As long as they are in good condition, you can use warm soapy water. If they’re not in good condition, you may need to consider re-painting them after cleaning.
  • Stained/Varnished – Use warm water will a little detergent added.

For the glass panes we all know that you can use a commercial window cleaning solution for a clear, streak-free finish.

But did you also know you can get the same effect with a microfiber cloth? If your windows are in need of a deeper-clean, use one wet microfiber cloth first, followed by a dry one. You can achieve fantastic results without the need for any cleaning solution!

Preventing condensation on your windows

Condensation is the result of water in the air settling on a colder surface. Over time, condensation can lead to damage by peeling paint off windows and walls, and causing mould to grow.

Prevent condensation from occurring by providing good ventilation. Methods include opening a window, installing an extractor fan or using a de-humidifier.

 

CEILING & WALLS

Have you ever mopped your walls before? Ever since I discovered The Painless Way to Wash Walls, I’ve never gone back!

Painless Way To Wash Walls

Simply mist a mild all-purpose solution onto to your walls using a spray bottle, and mop the wall!

Bathroom paint

If you have walls/ceilings in your bathroom that aren’t tiled or protected, it’s important to use bathroom paint to prevent the effects of moisture and condensation over time.

Bathroom paint differs from ‘normal’ paint by including anti-microbial mildew-inhibitors as well as having a tougher finish, making it easier to wipe down painted surfaces if needed. 

Cleaning mould off painted walls/ceilings

It’s best to start with a mild approach, and move onto stronger methods only if necessary, to avoid damaging/removing the paint.

This method by Katie Berry recommends starting by using a mixture of borax (2 tablespoons), white vinegar (1/4 cup) and warm water (2 cups). Pour into a spray bottle and apply to the wall, before wiping clean. Spray again and allow the solution to sit for 10 minutes before wiping dry.

If this doesn’t work, Katie recommends using a stronger mixture of bleach (1/4 cup) and warm water (2 cups). 

 

TILES & GROUT

You can also use the mop-the-wall technique (seen above under Ceilings & Walls) to clean your tiles.

Simply use a spray bottle filled with your preferred all-purpose cleaning solution, and spray onto the tiles. Then use your mop to work the solution and clean your tiles.

NOTE: Grout is a porous material, and you should AVOID using acidic solutions such as vinegar on porous materials. 

How to clean black mould on grout

Grout is porous and absorbs oils from shampoos, conditioners and soaps, which can lead to mildew growth that can spread to the tiles it surrounds.

The ‘natural’ way:

Tea tree oil is a natural fungicide that is effective at killing black mould and mildew. It also works as a prevention agent, helping you to keep mould from developing again in the future. Here’s how you can use teat tree oil to kill black mould:

  1. Combine 1 teaspoon of tea tree oil with 1 cup of water

  2. Stir/shake thoroughly and put the mixture into an empty spray bottle

  3. Spray the mixture onto tile grout and wipe clean

  4. As a mould prevention measure, apply the tea tree oil – then leave to dry

Note: When purchasing tea tree oil for mould cleaning, check the label carefully for the active ingredients terpinen 4-ol and cineole. Tea tree oil is toxic if swallowed.

The ‘not-so-natural’ way:

Sometimes you need something a bit stronger to tackle particularly stubborn bouts of mould and mildew. Some good products (with good reviews) include:

I’m also particularly fond of this grout cleaning brush – but you can also use an old toothbrush for great results. 

PRO TIP: Use cotton wool soaked in bleach (use rubber gloves) to remove black mould on the sealant around your shower/bath. Place the cotton wool over the mould and leave overnight. 

 

THE SINK

Know what material your sink is made from - this is crucial as some cleaning methods can cause damage if used on the wrong material.

  • Porcelain – stone-like material that is extremely durable. Use an abrasive powder on stains and add a little bit of water. You can also use a pumice scouring stone on porcelain tubs.
  • Enamel – common in older tubs and very sensitive to bleach (can cause rust-like stains)
  • Acrylic – closely resembles plastic and may bend in some places – stay away from abrasives. Acrylic tubs require more frequent washing than other materials.

If you’re looking for a natural sink cleaning remedy, try half a grapefruit dipped in salt. 

 

THE BATH

Again, it’s important to know what material your bath is (see sink section above).

Always ensure you rinse and wip down your bathtub after every use - this is the best way to prevent grime and soap scum for building up. 

Cleaning bath toys

Bath toys - rubber ducks

Clean bacteria and mildew from bath toys by giving them a vinegar-water bath. Fill a bucket or large bowel with warm water, adding ½ cup white vinegar per gallon of water. Soak toys for 10 minutes, then rub gently with a sponge and allow to dry. The acetic acid in the vinegar cuts though dirt build-up and works as a natural disinfectant.

 

THE TOILET 

It’s not exactly glamorous, but the toilet needs to be cleaned by somebody. As long as you clean your toilet regularly, it’s not as bad as you might initially think – it’s just the idea of cleaning the toilet that puts people off.

Most people prefer to use bleach, which is extremely effective at killing germs and bacteria, as well as leaving that ‘clean’ smell afterwards. If you’re using bleach – especially in a small bathroom space – I would always recommend using a face mask to avoid breathing in the fumes, as they can be harmful.

If you’d prefer not to use harsh chemicals, you can follow this method on Clean & Scentsible.

  1. Pour castile soap down the sides of the toilet and thoroughly scrub with a toilet brush.

  2. Add between ¼ - ½ cup of borax and scrub to form a thicker foam.

  3. Use an old toothbrush to clean around the rim and siphon jets.

  4. To get a little further into the jets, soak a paper towel with the foam and place it around a metal hanger to really get up behind the rim.

  5. Allow the foam to sit for 10-15 minutes before giving a final scrub and rinse.

Cleaning Under The Rim Of Your Toilet

PRO TIP: Always close the lid when you flush – keeping the lid open allows bacteria to spread into the air and land on multiple surfaces in your bathroom.

DIY toilet fizzies

The best way to control toilet stains and odours is through day-to-day maintenance. This DIY solution is a natural way to keep your toilet clean and fragrant, and creates 30 “toilet fizzies” – enough to last you a month!

DIY Toilet Fizzies

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • ¼ cup citric acid
  • ½ teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon hydrogen peroxide
  • 15 to 20 drops essential oil (of your choice – this is to add fragrance)
  • Sheet pan
  • Parchment paper
  • Spray bottle (optional)

Directions:

  1. Mix the baking soda and citric acid in a bowl

  2. In a small glass, mix together the vinegar and hydrogen peroxide

  3. Drop by drop, add the vinegar and hydrogen peroxide to the baking soda and citric acid (if you add the liquid all at once, you’ll have a huge mess due to the chemical reaction)

  4. Add the essential oil and gently mix

  5. Use a one-half teaspoon to scoop and mold the mixture into small half rounds and then tap onto a parchment-covered sheet pan (you can spritz the rounds with equal parts vinegar and water to create a crust, which helps hold them together)

  6. Leave to dry for at least 4 hours

DIY Toilet Fizzies 2

 

THE SHOWER

Clean plastic shower curtains and liners by washing in the washing machine with regular detergent (be careful – this can sometimes remove the design on the shower curtain). 

Cleaning the shower head

You can easily clean your shower head by filling a ziplock bag with a white vinegar and water solution, and securing the bag around the shower head with an elastic band.

Leave this to work overnight, and simple remove in the morning to reveal a clean shower head!

Cleaning A Shower Head

Cleaning shower screens & doors

The easiest way to clean glass shower screens is with microfiber cloths. I tend to use two; one wet and one dry. If your shower screens aren’t caked on with soap scum (see below), this method works well without the need for additional cleaning solutions!

A squeegee is your new best friend when it comes to cleaning your shower. Whether you’re using store-bought cleaners or a homemade solution, work from the top and use your squeegee to remove excess water after every shower. This will make your shower dry quicker, preventing mould and mildew from forming.

 

THE BATHROOM FLOOR

Different floor types require different cleaning methods.

Wood

Vinyl

Stone

Ceramic Tile

Standing water can discolour and/or damage wood floors. Instead, use a specialist hardwood cleaner and microfiber mop.

Remove stains from vinyl floors as soon as possible. If allowed to set, it can be extremely difficult (if not impossible!) to remove.

Stone floors are often pre-treated before fitting (if not they will stain easily).

Warm water is usually enough to keep tiles clean. You can use a mild detergent on tougher stains (or a steam mop, if you have one).

Avoid soaking laminate flooring with water, which can seep into the seams causing them to swell.

Don’t saturate your vinyl. Too much water will work its way into the cracks, seams and edges. A well-rung mop is fine.

Sealed stone floors can be cleaned with a mix of mild detergent and water. Avoid using white vinegar, lemon or ammonia, as the acidity damages the stone.

Tiles look hazy? You may be leaving too much soap residue after cleaning. Remove this film with an all-purpose cleaner.

When cleaning, follow the direction of the natural grain. This ensures embedded dirt is removed.

 

Reconstituted stone needs to be re-sealed every 2 years.

Never use harsh abrasive cleaners that might scratch the glaze.

 

 

Cleaning the bath mat

It's important to keep your bath mat clean, as it's a hotspot for habouring germs and bacteria. Because it often gets damp, you should ensure it gets a chance dry fully in-between washes, to prevent mould and mildew developing (as well as that unpleasant 'damp' smell).

  • Fabric Bath Mat - Simply pop in the washing machine! For stubborn stains, you can use a store-bought stain remover.

  • Rubber Bath Mat - Place your rubber bath mat in the washing machine on a gentle hot cycle with a couple of small towels.

  • Wooden Bath Mat - Wooden bath mats are effective alternatives because they dry quicker, are eco-friendly and are easy to clean! To clean, imply wash your wooden bath mat in warm soapy water, rinse well and towel dry. Bamboo bath mats naturally resist fungi. You can use food grade mineral oil to make your bamboo bath mat like new!

 

THE EXTRACTOR FAN

An average sized bathroom extractor fan that’s used one hour a day will exhaust over 2,000,000 cubic feet of air a year (the equivalent of the air inside 1,000 homes).

  1. Remove your extractor fan cover (if possible) and soak in warm, soapy water

  2. Clean the fan of dust and other debris – use a q-tip to get into the hard-to-reach nooks and crannies

  3. Re-install the cover and turn it on to ensure it is working properly

Cleaning Bathroom Extractor Fan

If you can’t remove your extractor fan cover, you can try using a can of compressed air to dislodge most of the dust. 

 

BATHROOM MIRROR

Similarly to your windows and glass shower panels, the key to a streak-free bathroom mirror is warm water and a microfiber cloth.

If your mirror isn’t too dirty, simple use a damp microfiber cloth to clean your mirror, using circular motions. Repeat with a dry microfiber cloth and – voila!

If your mirror is a bit dirtier, you can dilute some washing-up liquid in warm water and use a sponge to remove the layer of grime, before buffing dry with your microfiber cloth.

How to prevent your mirror fogging

If you want to prevent your bathroom mirror from fogging up every time you take a shower, just grab your shaving foam!

It sounds odd, but shaving foam is actually a great deterrent for foggy mirrors. Simply wipe a layer of shaving foam over the surface of your mirror, and wipe clean with a towel. This should keep your mirror fog-free for a couple of weeks.

 

Additional Bathroom Cleaning Tips

 

LIMESCALE & HARD WATER

Those who live in a hard water area will know about the pains of limescale.

Limescale is caused when hard water leaves behind a residue of mineral deposits, called calcium carbonate, which builds up over time to form a stubborn, milky stain.

The easiest way to prevent limescale from becoming a problem in your bathroom is to keep a regular cleaning schedule; the longer the deposits are allowed to build up the harder they become to remove. 

How to remove limescale build up

The ‘natural’ way:

Calcium carbonate, or limescale, can be easily dissolved using mild acids, which is why vinegar and lemon juice both work well as a natural de-scalers.

Create a white vinegar and water mixture and use a spray bottle to spray the mixture onto limescale stains in your bathroom. Allow the mixture to sit before cleaning with a wet cloth.

Alternatively, squeeze lemon juice directly onto affected areas and leave it to sit for several minutes before wiping clean.

The ‘not-so-natural’ way:

Some good products (with good reviews) include:

I also found this brilliant-looking tool called Limey Tap Head which you can use to remove limescale easily from your tap’s spout. 

 

CLEANING YOUR LOOFAH

Loofah

I’d had the same loofah for almost a year before I discovered that loofah’s are a bacterial breeding ground

“Every time the loofah gets wet and does not dry properly, the organisms grow and grow. “You spread the bacteria that you washed off your body the last time,” Dr. Michele Green, M.D., New York-based board-certified dermatologist, tells HuffPost. “The loofah is spreading yesterday’s dirt back on your body.” When you’re sloshing that lavender-scented body wash all over yourself to get clean, you’re really scrubbing with lavender-scented bacteria.” - Kate Bratskeir, The Huffington Post

The worst thing was, I hadn’t cleaned mine once in that entire time - GROSS!

Since then I have bought new loofahs and made a conscious decision to keep them clean. The easiest way to do this is to give your damp loofah a 20 second blitz in the microwave at least once a week. It’s also important to allow your loofah to dry properly after each use.

PRO TIP: Dermatologist Melissa Piliang, MD recommends you replace your natural loofah every 3 to 4 weeks. Plastic loofahs can last for up to 2 months.

 

CLEANING YOUR TOOTHBRUSH

The easiest way to keep your toothbrush clean is to rinse it in hot water after each use and allow it to dry completely.

Storing your toothbrush upright is the ideal because it allows water to drain from the bristles. Have you ever noticed that scummy water that collects in the bottom of your toothbrush holder? Imagine that staying on your toothbrush and going into your mouth…no thanks!

You should replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months. 

Is it necessary to sanitize your toothbrush?

There’s been a rise in the number of toothbrush sanitizing claims and products recently. However, according the American Dental Association (ADA), so commercial products can sterilize a toothbrush and it is not necessary:

“There is insufficient clinical evidence to support that bacterial growth on toothbrushes will lead to specific adverse oral or systemic health effects.” - ADA

NOTEOral B state that you should never try to clean your toothbrush by putting it in the dishwasher or microwave, as the high temperatures can damage the brush.

 

Don't Forget: Download your printable bathroom cleaning checklist, with extra tips and tricks!

 

Did you find this guide helpful? If so, why not share it with your friends? If you have any bathroom cleaning tips of your own to share, either comment below or use the hashtag #BathroomBigSpringClean 

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