Get a Sparkling Bathroom Once and for All with These 12 Expert-Approved Cleaning Tips
The pros share the best methods for making your bathroom shiny and clean.
The place where you brush your teeth in the morning and apply your pre-bed skin care routine at night, the bathroom is one of the most frequently-visited spaces in your entire home. And with much use comes a great need for keeping it clean. To streamline your to-do list and to use your cleaning time efficiently, we're sharing some of our experts' top tips for giving your powder room a good scrub.
While the order in which you clean the bathroom may change depending on the day or your needs, the tools you'll require will remain the same. Mary Gagliardi, also known as "Dr. Laundry," Clorox's in-house scientist and cleaning expert, says to round up a measuring cup ($15, macys.com), a two-gallon bucket, rubber or nitrile gloves, and a good non-scratch scrubbing sponge ($2.83 for three, amazon.com). Once you've corralled your tools, it's time to consider the room's biggest obstacles. If you're concerned about keeping a small space mess-free and sparkling, we're sharing ways to maintain your room while making the most of whatever square-footage is available. Or perhaps you're looking to remove mold and mildew—no matter your issue, our experts have the tips to fix the problem.
As a room full of different materials and surfaces, the way in which you clean will differ from area to area. You'll need to scrub your porous floors differently than non-porous ones, in order to avoid scratches and ruining finishes. But not to worry, we're sharing tips for every part of cleaning the bathroom. From the showerhead to removing water stains, we have the solution to your cleaning conundrums.
Routinely Clean Soap Scum
Whether your home is old or new, you're likely to encounter some soap scum build up over time. It normally requires consistent scrubbing to remove, but you can actually eliminate the scum with a piece of fruit you might already have at home, says Lauren Bowen, director of franchise operations at Two Maids & A Mop. "Take half a grapefruit and pour a layer of salt over the top. Then rub the grapefruit on the affected areas and you'll see the soap scum start to lift. The grapefruit's citric acid and the coarseness of the salt work together to power through stubborn scum," she explains.
A clogged showerhead is likely due to a buildup of mineral deposits from the water that flows through it, says Bowen. "Though a clogged showerhead can be frustrating, the individual mineral particles are small and will be easy to break down using the right solution. First, pour vinegar into a plastic bag that is large enough to fit around the showerhead. Then, using a rubber band or zip tie, secure the bag around the showerhead, making sure that the head is submerged. Leave it submerged for at least an hour, or overnight if you need a deep clean. The vinegar will loosen the mineral deposits naturally. After you have allowed the head to soak, remove the bag of vinegar and scrub away at the loosened material with a spare toothbrush until you've cleared away the buildup causing the clog."
Mildew can not only be unsightly, but it typically emits an unfortunate smell, too. "Baking soda's drying properties are effective in attacking existing mold, and also discouraging future mold growth," explains Bowen. "Combine a tablespoon of baking soda and some water in a spray bottle and shake it up to disperse the baking soda. Spray the solution on the moldy wall, tiling, or other bathroom surface that has growth. Using a sponge or no-scratch scouring pad, rub at the surface, and then wipe away with water. Spray the solution on the surface one more time and let it dry to prevent future mold and mildew growth."
Make Your Own Drain Cleaner
"You can make your own drain cleaning solution if you'd like to avoid a harsh chemical cleaner. Pour ¾ cup of baking soda down the drain followed by ½ cup of vinegar, and then immediately plug the drain with a stopper or rag," says Bowen. She recommends letting it sit for about 30 minutes. "During this time, the two ingredients will mix to create a chemical reaction that breaks down gunk and dirt stuck in the drain, removing the clog. After 30 minutes, remove the stopper and then carefully pour a pot of boiling water down the drain to clear the solution and rinse down the debris that was previously clogging the drain."
Don't Be Afraid of Using Store-Bought Products
Sometimes, a powerful cleaner is necessary, especially when mold and mildew are concerned. "It's so great when the product you use to get rid of mold and mildew also discourages it from growing again!" Says Gagliardi. "To discourage and prevent the growth of mildew and mold in the shower, I recommend using products that have specifically been designed and tested to remove and kill mold spores, such as Clorox® Disinfecting Bleach ($7.59, target.com)," she says. It's important to be careful when cleaning with bleach, however, so be sure to read the instructions prior to use.
Pre-Clean Before Disinfecting
Sometimes, really stuck-on stains need some help before you provide some elbow grease. "For visibly soiled surfaces, pre-clean surfaces before disinfecting," recommends Gagliardi.
Use a Caddy
Make shower space, says Gagliardi. "Don't try to crowd everything on the ledge of the tub or shower stall. Instead, get a caddy to get things under control. Pick a caddy with enough slots and space for all your shower necessities but not so many that it begs for clutter. Beware, however, as these caddies can be a haven for mildew."
Don't Forget Shower Liners
Washing a shower curtain liner once a month is an important part of keeping your whole bathroom clean, according to Gagliardi. "The liner (or the curtain if you have one that is waterproof) is basically the fourth wall of your shower, and the shower should be cleaned more than once a month, so don't neglect the shower liner or curtain!" she says.
Tackle Rust Build-Up
"Another pesky problem for bathroom fixtures is rust buildup," says Bowen. Luckily, a homemade solution can easily address this problem. "Combine equal parts salt and lemon juice, scrub with a sponge, and watch the rust wipe away easily. This homemade solution is acidic enough to remove the rust, while still being gentle enough to not damage your fixtures," she says.
Remove Water Stains
Removing water stains is a simple way to make a bathroom sparkle. "Combine equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle and shake it thoroughly to dilute the vinegar. Spritz the solution evenly over the entire surface that is stained," says Bowen. "Let it sit for about 20 minutes so that it can fully sink into the surface and begin breaking down the stain."
Don't Overdo It When It Comes to Cleaning Solutions
A little goes a long way when it comes to using cleaning solutions. "It is always best to follow the use instructions on the product you are using," says Katie Jennings, manager of consumer technical insights at Seventh Generation. "In general, it just takes a few spritzes of the cleaner and a soft, reusable cloth to properly clean and polish most bathroom surfaces."
Start with an All-Purpose Cleaner
While a disinfectant is a great tool to have in your bathroom cleaning arsenal, Jennings says to always begin with an all-purpose cleaner. "Using a general purpose cleaner to remove any build up, hair, pooled water, grease, or grime, before using [a] registered disinfecting cleaner (made to kill bacteria and viruses) is also essential as it allows the disinfectant to work properly," she says.