Humanity has had an on-and-off relationship with sanitation and plumbing, dating back thousands of years. However, widespread indoor plumbing in the Western world is a relatively recent invention, developed less than 200 years ago.
Since moving toilets indoors, people have grappled with how to keep bathrooms clean. Though cleaning products have come and gone over the years, a few constants have stood the test of time.
Cleaning experts agree that, second only to developing a repeatable cleaning system, the main trick to keeping a space clean is the order in which you clean it. You want to go from top to bottom and left to right for the most efficient cleaning routine.
In simple terms, start with the highest objects or surfaces. If you’re going to clean the ceiling, start there. If you’re going to dust or clean light fixtures, those are next.
Likewise, picking a consistent starting point and working around the room to your right ensures you aren’t cleaning inconsistently and wasting energy or making a bigger mess by jumping from spot to spot.
A dirty mirror can make even the cleanest space seem dingy. There are some mirror cleaning basics you should know.
If your mirror has a frame, clean that first. A dingy frame has the same effect as a dingy mirror; cleaning it second will smudge your mirror.
You can use commercial glass cleaner and paper towels. A more economical and environmentally friendly method, however, is vinegar.
Use a 1-1 mixture of vinegar and water in a reusable spray bottle, and wipe with a clean microfiber towel. Use distilled water if your house has hard water to avoid hard water stains.
Wipe in small circles, starting at the top and moving left to right as you wipe down.
One warning for keeping your sink sparkling white: avoid abrasives. Abrasive cleaning materials will scratch, degrade, and cause pitting no matter what material your sink is made of, making it harder to clean over time and more likely to hold dirt and grime.
For cleaning solutions, use white vinegar or dish soap. Plug the sink and add a few inches of hot water, a dot of soap, or two cups of vinegar. Wipe the mixture onto the faucet using a clean cloth, and let everything sit for ten minutes.
Drain the sink and use a clean microfiber cloth to dry everything.
Countertops can be crafted from various materials, yet the basic cleaning techniques remain. First, remove everything from the countertop and wipe it with a clean microfiber cloth to remove dust and grit.
Simple dish soap is the cleaning solution of choice. Place a small dot, the size of a dime, directly on the surface, then use a clean microfiber cloth to lather it.
As with mirrors, work in circles from left to right. For more extensive counters, add soap whenever you stop seeing bubbles. Then, use a damp cloth to wipe the soap away.
Shower and Tub
There are a few simple steps to maintain a clean tub. First, use a bucket of hot water to rinse the tub out and get it wet. Coat the tub in baking soda.
Fill your bucket with hot water, and use a scrubbing sponge or stiff brush. Dip it in the water and scrub the tub. Use the bucket of water to rinse the sponge or brush, or add water to the tub as needed.
After you’ve scrubbed the tub – and the fixtures – use the bucket or the shower head to rinse the whole thing down. Wipe and polish the fixtures with a clean microfiber cloth.
Often the dirtiest part of the bathroom, the toilet doesn’t need to be a problem. Regular cleaning makes it possible to avoid stains or hard water build-up in the first place. There are some handy tips to remember to keep the porcelain throne looking fresh.
Start with one cup of white vinegar and one cup of baking soda. Mix and rub the mixture into the interior of the toilet, starting from under the rim and moving down to the water. Let it sit for 30 minutes.
Add two more cups of vinegar to finish activating the baking soda, and scrub with an abrasive sponge or scrubbing brush. Flush the toilet to rinse, then wipe the exterior with disinfectant wipes.
For more robust stains, use a toilet cleaner with bleach. Consider consulting a professional for really caked-on stains. They can safely use acid-based cleaners to remove the stains.
If you don’t have a bathmat, consider getting one. In addition to keeping water off the floor, most bath mats have non-skid undersides to prevent bathroom accidents. Cleaning service experts offer some simple solutions for maintaining them.
First, check the back of the bathmat. If the rubber is peeling or cracked, it’s time to get a new one. A cracked mat will quickly fall apart and may not provide the non-skid properties of a new mat.
If the mat’s underside is still good, check the tags for the manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations.
Wash bathmats in cold water with regular detergent and stain remover. You don’t want to use vinegar or bleach on bathmats, as they can break down the rubber backing. While you can machine dry a bathmat, the heat will also degrade the support, so air drying or line drying is best.
Cleaning floors is the last step in any room, which will ensure the space looks spic and span.
Bathroom floors are usually ceramic tile, vinyl, or laminate; cleaning those is a cinch. For laminate, sweep daily and wipe down with a damp mop. Don’t use cleaning solutions—laminate fogs when you apply cleaners.
Vinyl is the same, but you should use a mild soap with a damp mop and rinse the floor with a clean mop to remove the soap film.
Ceramic tile also requires a good sweep and damp mop with detergent and a rinse after. You can steam clean tile occasionally to clean grout and restore the surface.
Finally, check what disinfectants are safe for whatever flooring you have, and disinfect around the toilet once a week.
Stay On Top of It!
For best results, you should clean your bathroom once a week and wipe down high-contact surfaces like the flush handle, toilet seat, and sink fixtures with disinfectant or a vinegar and water solution every other day.
One last tip is to close the toilet lid before you flush every single time to keep your bathroom as healthy and clean as possible. The high-pressure system in modern toilets can spray microparticles up to five feet, so be mindful of your toiletries. This simple step will make cleaning and maintaining your bathroom much more manageable.