Industry pros plot the path to a smarter, easier, more thorough scrub-down.
What's your least favorite spot to clean? Chances are, you just said bathroom, or more specifically, the toilet. We hear you. Deep cleaning the bathroom is often a dreaded chore, but when this room is sparkling, it feels amazing. Luckily, cleaning pros have shared their tips with us for smart ways to clean this space faster. So you can get it done quicker and spend more time actually enjoying your nice clean bathroom.
1. Clear bathroom surfaces, removing all toiletries and accessories from the counter-top, the tub ledge, and the toilet tank. Put away items that don’t belong and set the rest in a bin on the floor outside the bathroom. Toss used towels directly into the washing machine.
2. Liberally spray the tub, tiles, and the sink basin with an all-purpose disinfecting cleaner. Spritz the toilet exterior and the walls behind and beside it. (With each flush, particles can be launched out of the bowl up to three feet.) Spray the inside of the lid, the top and underside of the seat, and the rim of the bowl. Let the cleaner sit on all surfaces for 5 to 10 minutes. Squirt a ring of toilet-bowl cleaner under the rim of the bowl and let sit.
3. Dust upper areas (light fixtures, fan vents, cabinets, the tops of the door and window frames) with a telescoping microfiber duster. Spray the mirror with glass cleaner and, using a thin (not terry-style) microfiber cloth for glass and polishing, wipe in a tight S-pattern from top to bottom. (This is more effective than a circular motion, which actually redeposits dirt, leaving streaks.) If you’re cleaning more than one bathroom, complete the first three steps in each before moving to step 4.
4. Clean midrange and lower spots with a microfiber cloth lightly misted with all-purpose cleaner, working around the room in a circle: towel bars, windowsills, toilet-paper holder, and baseboards.
5. Spray countertops with all-purpose disinfecting cleaner and wipe dry with a clean microfiber cloth. Give anything that lives on the counter (soap dispenser, cottonswab container, etc.) a quick swipe with the same cloth and place it back on the counter.
6. Scrub the sink, paying special attention to the drain area. (Use the same cloth you used on the counter.) Rinse, then buff dry and wipe the faucet and the handles with a fresh cloth.
7. Deal with the trash can. Empty it and, if you don’t use a liner, spritz the interior with all-purpose disinfecting cleaner. Let sit for a few minutes, then wipe with a paper towel.
8. Handle the serious stuff. Using paper towels, wipe down all the pretreated parts of the toilet in this order: handle, tank lid, front of tank, top of toilet lid, inside of lid, top and underside of seat, rim of bowl, outside of bowl, toilet base, and around the back. Swap in a new paper towel as needed, and use an old, clean toothbrush to scrub out stubborn grime in nooks and crannies.
9. Clean inside the bowl. With the seat up, scrub the bowl with a toilet brush. Flush, then rinse the brush as new water flows in. Close the seat on top of the brush handle so it can drip-dry into the bowl (about 10 minutes or until dry) before setting the brush back in its holder.
10. Dry the pretreated walls surrounding the toilet with a paper towel. Then, with a dual-sided, nonscratching scrubbing sponge, wipe down the shower walls and the tub, using the scouring side as needed. (For glass doors, use only a soft kitchen sponge.) Rinse with hot water. If you don’t have a handheld showerhead, you can douse the area using a small bucket or a plastic container.
11. Squeegee the shower area to dry it completely. A fan can help get rid of moisture, but a squeegee is the most effective tool.
12. Vacuum to remove any hair or dust on the floor, then mop using all-purpose disinfecting cleaner. Start at the farthest corner from the door and work your way toward the entry. If hard-to-reach spots, like behind the toilet or under the vanity, are too narrow for the mop, get down on your hands and knees (just for a minute!) and use a microfiber cloth with cleaner to sanitize the area.
13. You’re done! Make a mental note to unwind later with a warm bath.
- Melissa Maker, the founder of the Toronto-based cleaning company Clean My Space and a YouTube channel and blog by the same name.
- Matt Moberg, the associate director of the Cleaning & Maintenance Management Institute, which offers training to cleaning professionals.
- Becky Rapinchuk, the Illinois-based author of The Organically Clean Home and the founder of the blog CleanMama.net.