RealSimple.com
Tim Evan Cook

Haven of mildew and mold, this is probably your least favorite room to clean. It takes a little effort to scrub the toilet and clean the grout, but the flushable wipe makes sanitizing a snap.

If You Have 15 Minutes

  • Start with the sink. With flushable wipe in hand, clean the sink (the room’s focal point) and its fixtures, concentrating on the grime-friendly seams where the two meet.

  • Speed-sanitize. Grab another towelette to clean the edge of the bathtub, the toilet seat, and the toilet exterior. Finish up by shining the mirror with glass cleaner and a cloth.

If You Have 30 Minutes, Add the Following

  • Squirt bowl cleaner around the inside edge. Let it sit for a few minutes, says Sarah Smock of the Memphis-based cleaning service Merry Maids. While it’s soaking, use a wipe or a fresh cloth and all-purpose cleaner to clean the seat around its base and hinges. Return to the bowl and give stubborn rings a scrubbing with a sponge or a brush.

  • Deep-clean the toilet, part 2. If your bowl is porcelain, try rubbing a natural pumice stone (available at most hardware stores) on lime, rust, and hard-water stains. Keep the stone very moist throughout the process and it shouldn’t scratch.

If You Have an Hour, Add the Following

  • Damp-mop the floor. Use a wet mop with a pivoting head to get into awkward corners between the sink, the toilet, and the tub.

If You Have Half a Day, Add the Following

  • Scrub down the shower and the tub. Spray the shower walls and the tub with all-purpose cleaner. Scrub from the top down so the tub floor gets the full benefit of a soaking to dissolve buildup.

  • Remove mildew, mold, and other stubborn bits. For lime scale–laden shower doors (they look white and murky), speed-cleaning expert Laura Dellutri recommends a wiping down with lemon oil. To dislodge mildew and mold, apply hydrogen peroxide straight from the bottle (wear rubber gloves to protect your hands). Let it soak in for five minutes, then scrub with a grout brush.
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