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Cleaning the Bathroom

Martha Stewart Living Television

The bathroom is an area where upkeep can easily fall victim to neglect. Cleaning it isn't usually a person's favorite job, and many of us tend to do it only after it becomes obvious that the bathroom needs attention. But a better strategy is prevention; mount short and frequent campaigns against dirt and soap buildup, and the task will never be insurmountable.

The most basic tools you'll need are assorted sponges, which should be color-coded: One color for the sink and bathtub, another for the toilet. Make sure that sponges meant for the bathroom aren't used in any other room in the house.

It's a good idea to avoid using abrasive cleaners on the sink or bathtub. Keep soap residue and mineral deposits from forming by keeping some inexpensive terry cloths around and wiping down the sink and tub after you've used them. If buildup does occur, tackle the problem with warm water and a mild detergent, and rinse thoroughly. Water stains respond well to a half-and-half mixture of vinegar and water, while mildew and more difficult stains may call for a mix of two parts water to one part bleach. To clean metal fittings, wipe with a damp cloth, and dry right away, or use a mild detergent if necessary. If fittings and faucets need intensive work, a product such as 7 Metal Cleaner will do the job without stripping the finish, and the fittings can be treated with a product such as FaucetBrite, which leaves a protective coating over the metal. Harder-to-reach areas of the fittings can be cleaned with a toothbrush. It's also good to remember that if you live in an area near salt water, use only chrome fixtures to prevent corrosion.

Flooring, wall, and shower tiles need to be wiped down frequently or mopped with a mild vinegar-and-water or bleach-and-water solution. For heavier cleaning, only use cleaners that are appropriate for the type of tiles you have: porous or nonporous. Porous tiles will need a stone soap; check the manufacturer's instructions for suggested products. For nonporous tiles, try a bleach and water or vinegar and water solution, while using a product such as Tilex on the grout and a solution such as Top Job or Mr. Clean on nonporous floors.

Finally, accessories such as a soap dish can be soaked in hot water in the sink -- before cleaning the sink itself -- or carefully wiped down if your soap dish is mounted. Toothbrush cup holders can be properly cleaned in the dishwasher.

We used an enamelware bucket, Mira Clean #1 all-purpose cleaner, and Mira soap from Miracle Sealants Company; phone: 800-350-1901 ext. 3012.

Comments (8)

  • articulate1948 11 Sep, 2014

    I buy those thin wash cloths for the bathroom to clean everything everywhere always buy white I use bleach. I have cats and the male likes to watch water everywhere so I am careful not to use anything toxic in my toilet. I also rent and am looking for ideas to organize in smaller spaces

  • peghogan 13 May, 2014

    I cannot find Mira Clean #1 in Canada, could you recommend a good substitute? Many thanks!

  • halihma 20 Mar, 2014

    Hi Martha, You are soo talented in everything in the home. On the page for (cleaning your bathroom) where did you get that light blue bucket for carrying the cleaning supplies. Would appreciate your response. Thank You Halihma

  • MsMiCruz 12 Dec, 2012

    My suggestion for dbarlog is to wash the shower curtain once a week in the washing machine with some bleach. I have had sucess with that and also leaving it pulled open after each shower. Its good that you leave the fan on - we do the same for about the same length of time. Hope this one tip helps.

  • dbarlog 7 Jul, 2011

    I need help about cleaning the shower liner curtain. It is a polyester type of material, and always gets mold at the bottom. Is it best to leave the curtain opened in the tub after a shower, or closed? Note: We have a skylight in our bathroom, which seems to be the cause. We also have a powerful ceiling vent fan, which we leave running for at least 20 min. after shower.

  • thespicychef 25 Sep, 2008

    After you thoroughly clean a glass shower door, I wipe it down with car wax. That will last several months and keep the soap scum from building up. In between all you need to do is wipe down after each use.

  • psr1lady 17 Jul, 2008

    Clean tile grout with peroxide and baking soda

  • psr1lady 17 Jul, 2008

    Suggestions: Clean tile grout w/ peroxide