When it comes to household chores, tackling the bathroom can feel like a daunting task. You may find yourself asking, “Where do I begin?” “Is my bathroom really that gross?” And if you have roommates, “Why do I have to clean it?”
If any of this sounds familiar, look no further than this handy guide to tackling the less-than-glamorous but highly necessary endeavor. All you need to get started are your five senses and some basic cleaning supplies.
When you walk into your bathroom, are you greeted with a nose-crinkling odor? Damp, unventilated bathrooms are breeding grounds for mold and mildew, which can quickly turn any room from fresh to foul. Before you go crazy scrubbing the tiles and grout, try these simple fixes to freshen things up:
- Change the shower curtain. This is a cheap and effective way to eliminate mold and mildew. When you notice a thin layer of grime and discoloration at the bottom of your plastic shower curtain, it’s time for a replacement. No need to clean it – just treat yourself to a new one. You deserve it. If you also have a decorative cloth liner, be sure to throw it in the wash every few weeks.
- Wash the towels. You know those hand towels that have been sitting in your bathroom for the last six months? I hate to break it to you, but they are NASTY. With every use, they accumulate dirt and bacteria, which can quickly contribute to that musty odor you smell. The same goes for your bath towels, which all-too-often go overlooked on laundry day. For best results, launder all towels at least once a week.
- Circulate fresh air. If your bathroom has a window, be sure to crack it open after steamy showers to prevent further mold buildup. Alternately, get in the habit of running your bathroom exhaust fan (that’s the loud thing that turns on when you accidentally hit the wrong light switch) for at least 30 minutes after you shower.
- Clean the toilet. Before you recoil in horror – it’s actually not so bad. All you need is a simple toilet brush and some toilet bowl cleaner. Just toss in some cleaning solution, swish it around with the brush, and voila! You will have a fresh, sparkling toilet in no time at all.
Is your bathroom mirror speckled with toothpaste residue? Do you see a thin layer of grime collecting at the base of your faucets? A simple visual inspection can be highly illuminating in letting you know just how dirty your bathroom really is. Try these techniques to turn your bathroom surfaces from scummy to sparkling:
- Clean mirrors. Mirrors are a dead giveaway of the last time you cleaned your bathroom. Luckily, just a few quick Windex spritzes and wipes with a paper towel will eliminate those unsightly toothpaste specks and random fingerprints.
- Wipe down surfaces. Remove all items from your bathroom sink and wipe the whole thing down with cleaning spray or a disinfectant wipe. Repeat this procedure for all bathroom surfaces, including the top of your toilet, the ledges of your shower, and any exposed shelves that may be collecting dust. Pro tip: Don’t forget to lift under the toilet seat, which is a scary area that is highly prone to stains.
- Check corners and crevices. Dust, hair, and debris love to accumulate in bathroom corners and crevices. Instead of avoiding these nasty little hiding spots, use a wet paper towel or disinfectant wipe to quickly clean out your corners. Take a wipe to that hard-to-reach area behind the toilet and between the wall.
Do you feel like you’re ice-skating every time you shower? Are your wet feet collecting hair and debris from your bathmat or bathroom floor? If so, your toes are telling you that your floors could use a clean. Try these solutions to keep your feet happy (and not hairy):
- Use Scrubbing Bubbles. Scrubbing Bubbles is a miracle when it comes to eliminating slippery scum. Just spray a layer onto your shower floor, wait a few minutes and rinse with water. If you’re feeling extra zealous, you can scrub stubborn scum with a brush.
- Wash bath mats. Like hand towels, bath mats also tend to be overlooked on laundry day. However, they can be magnets for loose hair, bacteria, and general debris. Be sure to toss your bathmats into the wash every few weeks to keep your feet clean.
- Sweep or vacuum floors. Bathroom floors easily conceal dirt and hair, especially if you have dark tile floors. When your bathroom floor is dry, use a broom to sweep out the corners and pick up any dust that’s settled in the grout. Better yet, use your vacuum to really get in there. This will take your bathroom cleaning to a whole new level.
Do you hear a suspicious gurgling sound when the water drains from your sink, shower or toilet? This is a clue that your pipes could be clogged with hair and nasty gunk. You might think to yourself, “Out of sight, out of mind,” but this type of issue will come back to haunt you later. Try these solutions if you want to be proactive:
- Snake the drain. Unless you’re very handy, you’ll probably need a plumber, or your super, to do this job. They basically use a long tool to extract all of the gunk that’s clogging your pipes.
- Use Drano: For a quick fix, pour some Drano down the clogged drain or clogged toilet. Just make sure that you won’t need to use the bathroom for at least 15 minutes after you apply it. The fumes can be toxic!!
Do you notice that your breath is tasting more funky than fresh? If so, it’s probably time to replace your toothbrush. The American Dental Association recommends getting a new toothbrush about every 3 months. Also, don’t forget to wash the cup or toothbrush holder that you keep your toothbrush in, as bacteria can quickly accumulate in the bottom.