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October 4, 2012
The Real Issue
How Do You Clean a Bathroom?
by Cyndie Swindlehurst


How do you clean your bathroom?

Step by step, please.


There are two ways to clean a bathroom: the easy way and the hard way.

The hard way is to clean your bathroom infrequently. The easy way is to clean it frequently.

You should also know that properly cleaning a dirty bathroom is not a quick job. Embrace the idea that cleaning the bathroom will take you at least half an hour. Plan for it.

On the plus side, cleaning the bathroom is an excellent time to get some reading done! So choose a good audiobook before you start. I like to listen over a speaker to avoid yanking out my earphone wires by accident. But I do have to pause the book from time to time because of the noise.

So here are my steps for cleaning a bathroom. There are a lot of steps, but each one is pretty short. Except for steps thirteen and fourteen. That’s where most of the work is.

This is what I actually do to clean my own personal bathroom.

1. If the kids are home, give them something really interesting to watch, play or do. This is one of those times when it is okay to let the TV babysit. Make sure the kids are not hungry. (Training your children to clean the bathroom is important, but it is a topic for another day.)

2. Assemble your tools and cleaning agents.

3. Go shake your rug outside. Then put it in the washer.

4. Turn on the audiobook.

5. Take everything but the toilet brush out of the bathroom. Anything dusty or mucky—trash can lid, scale, toothbrush holder — is cleaned. Anything empty or beyond cleaning or repair is thrown away.

6. Put up the toilet seat and apply the toilet bowl cleaner. If the instructions say to use the toilet brush now, then do so. Slosh some of the bowl cleaner from your bowl brush around the hinges that hold on the toilet seat. Put the bowl cleaner back under the sink.

7. Spray the mildew/mold remover anywhere that needs it. Then put the spray back under the sink.

8. Dust the blinds, pictures, windowsill, and anything else that needs dusting.

9. Plug in the vacuum and attach the hose. Pause the audiobook. Vacuum up all dry debris from the floor, tub, shower, counter, windowsills, baseboards, door panels, etc. You can even vacuum inside drawers or cabinets. Unplug the vacuum and rewind the cord.

10. Run hot water into the sink. Use some cleanser on a rag to scrub the sink and faucet. Pay special attention to the area around the stopper and the underside of the faucet. Rinse the sink.

11. Put in the stopper and add cleanser to the water as the sink fills. You don’t have to measure it exactly, but don’t pour in more than two or three glugs from the bottle, or you’ll end up with sticky film everywhere. Put the cleanser back under the sink.

12. Run some water in the shower stall and tub. Once they are wet, sprinkle in some Comet. Use extra Comet on very dirty surfaces.

13. Restart the audiobook. Clean the toilet bowl according to the directions on the bowl cleaner. You’ll have to hunt all over the package to find the actual directions amidst the warnings and safety instructions. Look for the part that says something like, “To Clean and Disinfect Bowl.”

14. Wash all surfaces with the rag and cleanser from the sink. Work from top to bottom, cleanest to dirtiest. In other words, start away from the toilet and work towards it. In my bathroom, that means starting with the door and doorknob, then the walls. Then I do the cabinet fronts, the counters, the tub sides and surround, the shower walls, the walls around the toilet, and the toilet.

15. After you clean the toilet, put your rag in the dirty pile and get a clean one.

16. As you scrub, rinse your rag frequently in the sink. If needed, and if you have two sinks, run water in the other sink for more thorough rinsing.

17. Monitor your sink full of cleanser water throughout. If it gets too dirty, drain, rinse, and refill. If your rag gets too dirty, swap it for a clean one.

18. Pause the audiobook. Turn on the bathtub tap for a few seconds and then attack the tub with the scrub brush. Rinse and repeat until it is clean. Do the same for the shower.

19. This is the point at which I use the Magic Eraser to deal with any stubborn stains or build-up. Depending on your bathroom’s particular needs, you may need to use LIME-A-WAY or other specialty products. Be sure to follow the directions on the package!

20. Turn the audiobook back on. Using the sink of cleanser water, wash the baseboards and floor. Give extra attention to where the toilet meets the floor. Do the floor in front of the sink last. When you have finished, drain the cleanser from the sink and scrub it clean.

21. Clean the mirrors with the glass cleaner and paper towels. Wash the shower door. Wash the windows. Shine your faucet and any other shiny surfaces. Use a paper towel to mop up any excess water.

22. Replace everything you took out in step five unless the item does not belong in the bathroom. Hang a fresh hand towel. Arrange things in an attractive way.

23. Empty the trash and wipe out the trash can. Put in a new liner.

24. Put away your cleaning supplies. You may have to turn off your audiobook at this point or you’ll miss something important to the plot. Put the rags wherever you keep especially dirty things before laundering.

25. If you follow these steps, you will end up with an extremely clean bathroom. You will also have enjoyed several chapters of a good book.

But what if you have company coming in ten minutes and you don’t have time for such a thorough scrub?

Here is the abbreviated version.

1. Get out your toilet bowl cleaner and mold/mildew spray. Use both as directed.

2. Remove everything that does not belong in the bathroom. Put away everything that does belong in the bathroom.

3. Vacuum up all dry debris; vacuum the rug or take it outside and shake it.

4. Use baby wipes or a rag with cleanser on it to wipe down the sink, counter, toilet, floor, and any visible dirt on walls or woodwork. Clean the doorknob.

5. Clean mirrors and shine faucets.

6. Hang up a fresh hand towel. Make sure any bath towels are hung neatly. Close the shower curtain.

7. Empty the trash.

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