How to Clean a Bathroom

By: Natalie Yerger | Affiliate Disclosure

According to a National Cleaning Institute Survey, more than 50% of people dread cleaning the bathroom more than any other household chore. The bathroom is a natural hot spot for bacteria, mold, and fungus, and while cleaning the toilet is often described as the most repugnant of bathroom cleaning tasks, one study revealed that the shower curtain and shower floor can harbor up to 60 times more bacteria than a toilet seat. 

The bacteria types present on bathroom surfaces aren’t just visually disturbing—they can be dangerous. For example, Bacillus, a Gram-positive cocci, can cause skin infections, pneumonia, and septicemia. While it’s practically impossible to rid your bathrooms of every microscopic germ, frequent and effective cleaning can help maintain your bathroom’s sanitation and appearance and keep harmful bacteria at bay.

In this article, we’ll explain how to clean a bathroom and the best cleaning solutions for fixtures, walls, trouble spots, and more.

Preparing to clean your bathroom

Before you get started, clear your bathroom of obstructions, like clothing on the floor and trash cans by the toilet. Take dirty towels, bath mats, and toilet seat covers to the laundry room and throw them in the wash, and completely clear the countertops of toothbrushes, vanity trays, and soap dishes. Starting your cleaning ritual with a completely clear space will make the process go more quickly.

How to clean a shower

Routine shower cleaning should take place once a week. However, you may be able to stretch the cleaning frequency to every two weeks with about a minute of maintenance every time you use the shower.

Materials

  • Commercial shower cleaner
  • Grout cleaner
  • Chlorine bleach
  • A sponge or plastic mesh scrubber
  • Paper towels
  • Rubber gloves
  • A toothbrush
  • A squeegee
  • Drain snake

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. After ensuring the shower is clear of shampoo bottles and other bath products, put on your rubber gloves.
  2. Remove excess hair from the shower drain with a drain snake.
  3. Use the showerhead to wet the shower walls and shower door, checking for mildew or mold. If you have a shower curtain, throw it in the washing machine with two large bath towels and run it on the gentlest setting.
  4. Spray a commercial shower cleaner on the walls and floor of the shower and let it sit for about 10 minutes. 
  5. Use a sponge or mesh plastic scrubber to clean the walls and floor. Rinse with warm water.
  6. To clean the grout in your shower, mix one part chlorine bleach with two parts water. Apply the solution to the dirty grout and let it sit for 10 minutes.
  7. While the solution sets, scrub any tough problem areas with a toothbrush and then rinse away any debris with hot water.
  8. Finally, use a squeegee or disposable towels to remove excess water from your shower. Overlooking this step could cause water spots.

Best practices when cleaning your shower

  • Never mix cleaning solutions such as ammonia and chlorine bleach—this could cause toxic fumes.
  • In general, the longer you allow cleaning solutions to sit before rinsing, the better.
  • To remove tough stains from your shower, like rust or adhesive, create a paste composed of lemon juice and baking soda, apply it to the stain, and scrub it with a plastic scrubber. 

How to clean a tub

If you use your tub on a regular basis, it should be cleaned every week. If taking a bath is a special occasion for you, once a month should be adequate.

Materials

  • A bucket of hot water
  • Dish soap
  • A dry cloth
  • A scrub sponge
  • Baking soda

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Wet the tub’s walls using the spout or by filling a bucket with hot water and pouring the water all over the tub.
  2. Once the tub walls are wet, fill the bucket halfway with hot water and two tablespoons of dish soap.
  3. Sprinkle baking soda on all of the tub’s surfaces, then dip a scrub sponge in the bucket and scrub the tub’s surfaces.
  4. Rinse the bathtub using a hand sprayer or the bucket of hot water.
  5. Finish by polishing the faucet, drain, and handles and removing hard water stains with a dry cloth.

Best practices when cleaning your tub

If your tub is especially dirty or stained, you can sprinkle the baking soda directly onto the sponge after dipping it into the solution of water and dish soap. The direct contact of the baking soda with the stain, in combination with a little elbow grease, should do the trick.

How to clean a bathroom floor

Your bathroom floor should be cleaned weekly, as failing to do so can allow water to gather in areas that are susceptible to mold and mildew

Materials

  • A small broom
  • Paper towels
  • Vinegar
  • Dish soap
  • Swiffer
  • A disposable rag

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Sweep the floor using the broom, collecting dirt and dust in the middle of the floor. Scoop up the dust pile with a dust bin or paper towel.
  2. Fill your bathroom sink with warm water, then add ¼ cup of vinegar and one tablespoon of dish soap. Mix the solution until suds form, then dip a rag into the mixture and wring out any excess water. Use a rag to wipe down the bathroom floors.
  3. If you don’t want to get on your hands and knees to clean the bathroom floor, use a wet-dry mop, like a Swiffer, to mop the floor.
  4. Once you’ve wiped down the entire floor, lay a towel on the ground and use one foot to move it around the floor, drying each section.

Best practices when cleaning your floors

Don’t forget to clean hard-to-reach areas, like around the base of the toilet and under your sink, when cleaning the bathroom floor. For tiled floors and grout, use a similar cleaning process to that of the shower. Start with the cleaning steps above for bathroom floors and then use a baking soda and water solution to scrub the grout with a toothbrush.

How to clean bathroom walls and ceilings

Cleaning your bathroom’s walls and ceilings is usually considered part of a bathroom deep clean, so aim to clean these areas at least every six months. If splatters or spills occur near the toilet, sinks, or shower, or if your bathroom receives particularly poor ventilation, consider cleaning these areas more frequently.

Materials

  • An all-purpose cleaner
  • A clean cloth
  • Vinegar
  • A spray bottle
  • A microfiber mop
  • An old toothbrush

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Spray the walls and ceilings with an all-purpose cleaner.
  2. Wipe down surfaces with a clean cloth.
  3. Use a dry microfiber mop to reach high spots and corners (think: ceiling corners and ceiling air vents). 
  4. If you have tiled or natural stone-covered walls in the bathroom, mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spritz the solution on the surfaces, and wipe them dry with a clean cloth.

Best practices when cleaning your walls and ceilings 

  • Clean around cracks and crevices with an old toothbrush.
  • You can drastically reduce the number of soap spots, scum, and stains on your ceilings, walls, and tiled areas by wiping down wet surfaces after showering and using a ventilation fan.

How to clean your toilet

You should clean your toilet on a weekly basis. Thankfully, this is a relatively simple task. 

Materials

  • Cleaning gloves
  • A toilet bowl brush
  • Disinfecting spray and wipes
  • Paper towels
  • A toilet bowl cleaner

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Liberally spritz the exterior of the toilet with a disinfectant spray, including less visible areas like the back of the base and the underside of the seat. Let the cleaner sit for five minutes.
  2. As the cleaner sits, move on to the toilet bowl. Drain the water by turning off the cut-off valve and flushing the toilet, holding the handle down until the bowl is drained. Sprinkle or spray your toilet bowl cleaner liberally and let it sit for five minutes. 
  3. Turn your attention back to the toilet’s exterior. Use a paper towel to wipe away the cleaner residue. Paper towels are best for this task because they’re so absorbent and can be immediately thrown away.
  4. Use a stiff-bristled toilet brush and scrub the interior of the bowl, including under the rim. Turn the toilet’s water on again and flush to rinse.
  5. Finally, sanitize your tools. Prop the wet bristle brush under the toilet seat cover and pour a cleaning solution or bleach over the dirtied end.
  6. Clean the brush’s canister by filling it with warm, soapy water. Let the brush dry completely before placing it back into the canister to avoid bacteria growth.

Best practices when cleaning your toilet

Since this is a weekly task, it can be helpful to have your supplies organized in a handy bucket. Keep in mind that a cheap pair of cleaning gloves can take a toilet cleaning from unpleasant to disgusting by way of unwanted contact with certain substances, so we recommend finding a cuffed pair that prevent runoff from reaching your wrists and forearms.

How to clean your bathroom sink

The sink and faucet endure a daily barrage of dirt, grime, toothpaste dribbles, hair products, and more. You can keep it sparkling with regular cleaning, preferably at a cadence of once a week. When cleaning this area, we recommend caring for your mirror as well.

Materials

  • A scrubby sponge
  • A glass cleaner for the mirror
  • Two rags
  • White vinegar
  • An all-purpose bathroom cleaner

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Spray the mirror with glass cleaner and wipe it down with a rag.
  2. Wet the entire surface of the sink with warm water, ensuring the drain stopper is in place. 
  3. Allow the sink to fill with a couple inches of water, then add a cup of white vinegar to the sink. Allow the solution to sit for several minutes—this is important if the sink walls have hardened toothpaste or residue on them.
  4. Meanwhile, spray all-purpose cleaner on the faucet and wipe it down with a separate rag.
  5. Drain the sink and use the same rag to wipe it down to remove buildup and soap scum.
  6. Flip over the rag you used to wipe down the mirror and run it over the sink, countertop, and faucet to dry them off.

Best practices when cleaning your sink

The most important thing to remember when cleaning your sink is consistency. It doesn’t need to be sparkling clean every time, but if you remove small debris, hair, and toothpaste globs on a weekly basis, your bathroom sink drain will be less susceptible to clogs, your mirror will be clearer, and you’ll prevent odorous bacteria from building up over time. 

If you want to speed up the sink cleaning process, mix vinegar and water in a spray bottle, spritz it on the counter and in the sink bowl, and scrub each fixture every week.

How to clean your countertops

Bathroom countertops should be cleaned weekly or biweekly, depending on how much use the bathroom gets. For example, a child’s bathroom with frequent spills should be cleaned weekly, whereas the bathroom of an adult who travels for work might need a simple wipe-down every other week.

Materials

  • An all-purpose cleaner
  • A sponge
  • A dry rag
  • Disinfecting spray or vinegar solution
  • Baking soda

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Wet a sponge and wipe down the countertops, then dry the countertops with a clean rag.
  2. If your countertop needs serious sanitation, use a disinfecting wipe or spray. Vinegar is also a natural disinfectant and can be mixed with water in a spray bottle and applied to the countertops. 
  3. For countertop stains, make a paste of baking soda and water.
  4. Apply the paste and then wait 10 minutes before wiping with a wet sponge and drying with a cloth.

Best practices when cleaning your countertops

The material of your countertops will dictate their cleaning needs. For example, laminate can be cleaned with bleach, vinegar, disinfecting wipes, and warm soapy water, but it shouldn’t be cleaned with steel wool as it can leave scratches. Granite countertops should be cleaned with warm soapy water only. Marble countertops can be cleaned with an all-purpose, water-based cleaning product but should not be cleaned with acidic-based products, as these can eat away at the marble surface.

Best bathroom cleaners

The best bathroom cleaner solutions for your space will depend on your cleaning preferences and the types of materials used in the bathroom. Nonetheless, there are a few that have consistently made it to the top of our list:

DIY bathroom cleaner solutions

Thankfully, there’s no need to spend an arm and a leg on bathroom sprays, pastes, and wipes. If you’re the DIY type or don’t have store-bought cleaners on hand, these homemade recipes can help.

  • Water and baking soda paste—This is a trusty combination known for fighting tough stains. Mix a teaspoon of baking soda with water to create a paste, and then rub it on grimy areas in the tub and shower. Let the paste sit for 30 minutes and then wash it off with warm water.
  • Essential oils, baking soda, Castile soap, and water—Combine one tablespoon of baking soda, two tablespoons of Castile soap, 20 to 30 drops of your favorite essential oil, and a cup of warm water. Spray this solution anywhere in your bathroom and then wipe it away with a clean cloth. 
  • White vinegar and dish soap—Pour a cup of dish soap and a cup of white vinegar into any old spray bottle. Gently shake the contents to create an effective tub or shower cleaning mixture.

Quick bathroom cleaning tips

We’ve said it already, but we’ll say it again: consistency is key when it comes to cleaning your bathroom. While you may not spend hours and hours in your bathroom, it still remains one of the most frequently used areas of your home. Schedule a weekly cleaning to avoid having to deep clean your bathroom once a year. This will also prevent you from having to call in an expensive home cleaning or mold service. 

In addition to consistency, here are a few tips that will keep your bathroom clean year-round: 

  • After your morning routine, take a few minutes to make sure all items return to their designated spaces. Put your toothbrush back in its cup, makeup in the drawers, perfumes on your vanity tray, and hair tools in the cabinets.
  • We recommend high-quality rubber gloves for all bathroom cleaning tasks. This will make the chores a little less gross and encourage you to maintain your bathroom cleaning schedule.
  • Wiping down the shower after each use, whether with a towel that’s about to be thrown in the washing machine or an old t-shirt, can greatly reduce the amount of moisture and mold that builds up in the grout. 
  • Turn on your bathroom’s ventilator whenever you shower or after you take a hot bath. Your bathroom is a hot spot for moisture, so doing everything you can to clear it as quickly as possible after each shower is essential to preventing bacteria, mold, and even rotted wood. 
  • Keep all your bathroom cleaning supplies in one accessible place. Have several caddies organized by chore so that you can grab everything you need in one swoop.
  • Always clean your bathroom from top to bottom, dusting light fixtures and shelves with a microfiber cloth before moving onto floors, corners, and crevices.

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