Weekly Challenge: The Bathroom

Good morning!  Let’s talk about your toilet.

How’s that for a blog opener? Just makes you all happy inside, doesn’t it? I’m going to be honest right now. I hate to clean the bathrooms. HATE. IT. I mean, no matter what you do – unless you clean it three times a day every day – some nastiness is going to creep in there. Soap scum? Yuck. With all the geniuses in the world, no one has invented a soap that doesn’t leave scum? Really? Mold that makes it onto your shower curtain liner seemingly overnight; yes, even on those “mold resistant” liners. Toothpaste in the sink. Male individuals in the family who just can’t quite hit the target, if you know what I mean.

A funny aside. Every time I complain about my kids’ bathroom (the boy is 22; the girl is 20), my son blames my daughter for the toilet being a mess. I look at him with what I’m sure is a look that indicates my complete disbelief. I certainly hope so. How many times do I have to explain this one? She is physically unable to do that to your toilet. Doesn’t own the “equipment.” Thus, she goes downstairs to another bathroom. It’s all you, buddy. All you. The 147 bottles of hair products in the shower….now, that’s her. But the toilet. Nope. Sorry, dude. You’ve got to clean THAT. (If someone could please explain to me why guys can’t hit the “target” which is a large, gaping hole…I would appreciate it.)

Anyway, back to the issue at hand. Most of us, I hope, do at least the bare minimum to keep the bathroom somewhat tidy every week. (I’ve seen episodes of “Hoarders” where that’s just not true.) I hope you keep it at some level beyond that of most public restrooms. Don’t get me started on those. Eww….

Thankfully, this is one of those times when once you’ve deep cleaned the bathroom, maintenance is relatively easy. Fifteen minutes is plenty of time to do maintenance cleaning once or twice a week. So we are addressing deep cleaning today, y’all. Grab your rubber gloves and let’s get to work. Seriously….get the gloves. You don’t want cooties, do you?

Each of these daily projects should take 15-30 minutes. Unless you have a palatial bathroom and a tub that is the size of a small swimming pool. I do not. I have two smallish full bathrooms and one “powder room.” The two that I am responsible for take me less than 30 minutes a week to clean completely. The one upstairs in the kids’ domain…that one takes longer when I’m brave enough to go there. I don’t get that brave very often. My daughter can usually only take so much and then she cleans it. Praise the Lord! (We figure we’ll just gut the upstairs when (if??) they move out.)

Gather your supplies: cleaners (for the tub/shower, toilet, mirror, etc.), scrubbers (brushes, rags, toilet bowl brushes, etc.), GLOVES, a new shower liner if needed

Shower Liners: If the shower liner is moldy beyond what a quick run through the washer can remove, replace it. They don’t cost that much. Truly, you can get them for less than $5. I don’t waste my money on the more expensive, “mold-resistant” ones anymore. Mold is gonna grow in there. I’d rather replace a $2 liner every month or so than a $15 one. But maybe that’s just me. I wash my liners at least twice before I toss them. I always buy white ones. I wash them in hot water (they are made for the shower after all) on the gentle cycle with a little detergent and some bleach. This is one of those cases where I do use bleach. (Vinegar might work, but I haven’t tried it.)

NOTE: If there is dirty laundry in your bathroom floor, remove it! NOW! Dirty laundry only belongs on a floor if it is being sorted for washing. I doubt you do that in your bathroom. Otherwise, dirty laundry belongs in a hamper or a washing machine. Wet towels that will be reused belong on a towel bar or hung over the top of the shower. They do not belong on the floor. Nothing belongs on the floor except the bath/shower mat and the trash can.

Day #1 – The Tub & Shower

Remove everything from the tub/shower – shampoo, soap, razors, etc. and set them aside. Throw them out if they are empty or you don’t use them.  Once the tub/shower is cleared of all stuff and the liner is washing, spray the whole thing down with your cleaner and let it sit for about 10 minutes. While you’re waiting, clean the mirror, empty the trashcan and replace the trash bag. Then scrub that tub/shower, top to bottom. Put some muscle into it if you need to. Banish the soap scum! (That may require quite a bit of manual labor.) Rinse it out well with warm water. To clean the grimy shower head, make a paste of baking soda and water and spread it liberally on the shower head with a toothbrush (an old one – not your husband’s) and let it sit a minute then scrub with the toothbrush. Put white vinegar in a container that you can fit around the shower head (a bowl or even a ziploc bag) then “dip” the shower head in the vinegar for a minute or two. Hear that fizzing? That’s cleaning in action. Run the brush back over it to get the loose stuff moving. (If your shower head is easily removable, take it off to clean it and follow these steps.) If your liner is washing, wait for it to finish, then rehang it. Straight from the washer…do NOT put it in the dryer! (I usually put mine in a basket to carry it through the house so I don’t have to worry about it dripping on stuff.) Just shake it out over the tub and rehang it. If you have glass doors on your shower instead of a curtain, clean it as you clean the rest of the area. Run the shower for a couple of minutes and move the shower head around to be sure everything is rinsed. If you forget to rinse, the cleaner may leave a slippery spot on the bottom of your tub or shower. You may slip on the slippery spot the next time you get in there. Be warned. Use glass cleaner or vinegar to polish up the knobs, bars, etc. – anything that needs a little shine. Close the curtain. You are done. (If you have a separate tub and shower, this may be a two-day job. If you have tile, well, you know about the grout scrubbing so plan on time for that.) Remove your gloves and walk away.

NOTE: Use your exhaust fan when running the shower; if using the tub, run it for a few minutes after. Close the shower curtain after EVERY shower and shake it to get as much water off as possible. After EVERY shower. Leave the bathroom door open so air can circulate. This will help cut down on the mold growth. Leave them steaming behind closed doors and those mold spores will reproduce like dust bunnies!

Day # 2: The Toilet

Might as well get it over with. Yuck. Gross. Eww. GET YOUR GLOVES! Everyone knows how to clean a toilet. It’s just that no one likes to. (If you do, I have three in my house that you are welcome to come and clean any time you want.) Lift the lid and seat and scrub the bowl. Get up under the rim really good. Really good. It’s amazing how dirty it gets under there. Amazing in a not good way. Scrub, scrub, scrub. Flush. Then clean the outside of the bowl, the lid, the seat, the side, the tank, the place around the bolts. All of it. Make it shine! Flush again for good measure. Again, remove your gloves and walk away.

Day #3: The Vanity or Sink Area

If you have a vanity with drawers and storage, then yes, now is the time to clean them out. Throw out old makeup…including your light blue eye shadow from 1985. Please. Clear the drawers of everything and return only what you use and need. Toss the old stuff. Toss it, I say! My towels go in the storage part of my vanity not the linen closet which is, mysteriously enough, located upstairs. Either way, fold them neatly and stack them neatly. Do the same with washcloths and hand towels. If you have a monogrammed hand towel that is nothing but holes held together by threads that you’ve had since your wedding day in 1990, you can throw it out. Yes, Aunt Martha gave it to you, but I sincerely doubt she remembers or cares. Get rid of anything you don’t use that may be hiding under there…hot rollers you never use, the third and fourth hair dryers, etc. Organize what you do need so that you can find it when you need it.

Once you’ve done that, clear the counter top of all the stuff on it. Hopefully, some of it found its way into storage already. Clean the counter top. Replace ONLY the stuff that NEEDS to be on the counter. For example, your toothbrush holder and soap dispenser. (If your toothbrush holder is totally disgusting especially in the bottom, put your toothbrushes in a cup temporarily and run it through the dishwasher or give it the baking soda/vinegar treatment. If you have to keep your makeup on the counter top, find a pretty tray or basket to “corral” them in and put them back in it when you’re done with them. Get one for you and one for your husband if you have room. Hopefully, his won’t have makeup in it. Anyway, try not to crowd the counter top or no one will notice that it’s clean. Clean the mirror again if it needs it and shine up the faucet and handles on the sink. Wipe down the front of your vanity and clean the knobs and handles. Replace the hand towel with a clean one. And, once again, walk away.

Day #4: Windows, Blinds, Curtains

If your bathroom has none of these, proceed to day #5. Rejoice! Cleaning blinds is another one of my least favorite things. Mini-blinds are torture. We finally were able to replace all of our mini-blinds with honeycomb light-filtering blinds (or something like that) that just need to have the vacuum brush run over them once in a while. Yay! But clean your blinds in whatever way it is that you do that. Wash your curtains if you can. If they aren’t washable, take them down and shake them out or put them in the dryer on the no heat cycle to get the dust out. Clean the window sill(s). If you get the urge to clean the window itself, go for it. I rarely get that urge. Spray some good-smelling stuff that won’t hurt the fabric on the curtains/window treatments. Walk away. (This is an easy day.)

Day #5: The Floor and Baseboards

Grab your vacuum cleaner…I hope it has a corner/edge attachment thingy. Vacuum the tops of the baseboards and the floor. Get behind the toilet and in all of the corners. Get under the edge of the vanity. Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum. Then mop. Mop, mop, mop. Get a warm, soapy rag and wipe down the baseboards. (And, again, if you have tile, there’s the cleaning the grout thing. If you can wait until spring cleaning, feel free. If you want to do it now so that your bathroom is completely completely clean, have at it.)

Can you smell the clean? Can you see the clean? Are you fixtures sparkling? Can you see the floor? Can you see your counter top? Can you find your brush?

Replenish your toilet paper supply…get a pretty little basket to keep extra rolls in so they are there when you need them. Add a candle and a small plant. Hang a pretty picture. It doesn’t take much to make any bathroom a little spa-like so that when Calgon takes you away, you actually want to go there.

These same cleaning techniques apply to the kids’ bathroom, the guest bathroom, the “powder room.” You can do the daily items in each bathroom every day, or you can tackle one bathroom per week. It’s entirely up to you based on how many 15-minute periods you want to spend each day cleaning a bathroom.

Just know…once this is done, maintenance is a breeze…and a lot less yucky!

Have a blessed Monday Tuesday!


P.S. Take “before” and “after” pics and share them with us. I dare you! Double dog dare! (Who can resist that challenge?)


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