Bathroom Cleaning Basics

Bathroom Cleaning can be quick and easy. As in most green cleaning techniques, preventing dirt, scum and germs from building up is the most successful method.

bathroom cleaning basics

Bathroom Cleaning can be quick and easy. The key to a clean bathroom is to start with a basically clean shower, tub, sink, toilet, Jacuzzi, steam, walls, windows and floor. I’m here to help you get a handle on this all important, much used room that gets dirtier faster than any other room, besides the kitchen that is.

Bathroom Cleaning –  Prevention is the Key to a Low Maintenance Bathroom

As in most green cleaning techniques, preventing dirt, scum and germs from building up is the easiest, safest and most successful method for cleaning bathrooms; and it takes almost no time as long as you are organized and have the right non toxic ingredients.

Basic Bathroom Cleaning Kit:

  • Gloves
  • Cleaning, Drying and Polishing Cloths
    • cotton absorbent for mopping up excess water
    • microfiber pads or cellulose sponges (your preference) for light scrubbing
    • lint free towels for polishing glass and bathroom fittings like faucets and spouts
  • Scrubber Brushes
    • Soft toothbrush
    • Plastic or nylon bristled i.e. soft scrub brush
  • Squeegee
  • Vinegar—distilled, white, 5 percent made from grain–and water mixed 50-50 in spray bottle *
  • Hydrogen Peroxide 3 percent–straight in a spray bottle
  • Castile soap or mild liquid dish detergent
  • Baking Soda or Borax

*I have reported before not to use vinegar near grout but amend that warning to say that as long as you are able to rinse it completely away as you clean, it won’t harm sealed grout. If your grout has lost it’s seal, anything can and will damage it by wearing it away, not just acidic cleaners. Just to be safe, mix vinegar with half water before using around grout, and make sure you rinse it all away.

There are three scenarios to consider regarding bathroom cleaning basics. If you are lucky and blessed to have a brand new bathroom, all you have to do is keep it that way. If you have not let your bathroom go without cleaning for any long period of time, you are also way ahead and can follow the steps outlined below. But, if don’t have a brand new bathroom, and your bathroom is filthy it will need a super deep cleaning first. See my next post about Deep Cleaning Your Bathroom for instructions.

Let’s assume your bathroom is clean to start. Just a few small steps and you are good to go.

Before you begin, sweep or vacuum the floor.

  1. Toilet – there are two ways to handle this. If you have boys and men in your household, use distilled, white, 5 percent vinegar undiluted, or 3 percent hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle and spray all the surfaces of the toilet that are soiled. If you haven’t reached to the point in your green cleaning journey where you have vinegar in a spray bottle ready to use, then use an ammonia base surface cleaner instead.
  2. Toilets are in need of sanitization. Straight vinegar and/or hydrogen peroxide will kill off most of the germs. See my post on homemade disinfectants to read more about the science of disinfecting and sanitizing surfaces. Squirt some toilet bowl cleaner in the bowl. I like a cedar scented nontoxic toilet bowl cleaner for this. Seventh Generation and Earth Friendly make nice ones. If you are not dealing with guys in your house, just squirt in the bowl cleaner.  Leave it and move on.
  3. Bathtub and Shower first, before you splash water everywhere, (and this could save you a lot of time and energy), try cleaning and polishing the tiles in the upper half of the shower with a damp, not wet, microfiber polishing cloth or pad. If luck is with you, you”ll quickly be able to clean and shine half of the tiles in just a couple of minutes. For tiles below the level of the soap dish, or a persons waist, using a cellulose sponge or cotton cloth, whichever you prefer to clean with, and a little squirt of liquid soap, not detergent, and water, wash down the tile, grout, chrome, stone, and glass surfaces. Use a soft brush in the grout if necessary. Rinse with water. Then, this is the important key to keeping the surfaces clean and mildew free; dry everything but the glass with an absorbent cotton cloth. An old cotton diaper works quite well! Use a squeegee to remove excess water from the glass. This process should take no more than 5 minutes.
  4. Sink – Wipe down the sink, counters, and backsplash using the same method above. 1 minute is all you should need to do this. Don’t dry your sink yet since you are about to work on the toilet and you will need to rinse out in the sink. Mirror and glass surfaces can be polished using a non-toxic surface cleaner, homemade or commercial product is fine. Look for products without ammonia. All you need is a product with a little bit of non-toxic cleaning agent and surfactant. And maybe an essential oil based fragrance for some aromatherapy! Believe it or not, club soda also works really well to clean and polish glass. Don’t use newspaper unless you want to spread dark fingerprints around your bathroom.
  5. Polishing surfaces – Use a lint free cotton towel, such as bar towels made from flour sacks (easy to buy in the grocery store) to polish your glass, tile and chrome surfaces, throughout the bathroom.  You’ll need sunglasses at this point! Always wash the toilet last.
  6. Toilet again – If you have sprayed first with the mild disinfectant as directed in step 1, use paper towels to wipe down the outside of the toilet and discard. Then, using the same sponge or towel used to wash the tub, shower and sink areas, clean the toilet seat. If you haven’t needed the sanitizing step, just quickly go over the porcelain surfaces as well. Clean the toilet bowl with the toilet bowl brush and flush. You are done.
  7. Bathroom Floor is last. Using your Bonakemi mop or dutch broom and microfiber washable cloth or similar, go over the floor. For most bathroom floors, you need minimal cleaning agent. Soap on a stone or tile floor will leave a film, so just use warm water. Or if you feel like you need a product in addition to the warm water, try Bonakemi tile, stone, and linoleum spray cleaner. Or Bonakemi wood floor cleaner for treated wood floors. If your floor is untreated wood, just minimal warm water will do. Please see my post about surface cleaning for more details on cleaning different kinds of surfaces.
  8. Clean up the clean up! Gather your cleaning sponges and cloths and stash them somewhere to dry and later to wash in your washing machine, or immediately machine wash. do this separately from your regular laundry.

Bathrooms are one of the most used if not the most used room in your home. None-the-less cleaning it shouldn’t take more than 10 – 15 minutes if you are organized and understand bathroom cleaning basics!

Welcome to my website!

Julia has been practicing green cleaning for several years as the owner of As You Like It Home Cleaning and organic gardening for almost 20 years running Julia Houriet Custom Gardening. She studied landscape design at Radcliffe Seminars in Cambridge Massachusetts. Her expertise is gleaned from education and years of experience.

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  • valerie

    I have travertine (unsealed, I believe) in my bathroom shower. Everything I’ve read about cleaning this stone discourages the use of vinegar and other acidic products. What is your recommendation to clean this type of surface?

    • naturallybubbly

      Hi Valerie thanks for your comment. I am working on finding out the best ways to clean natural stone that has become very dirty. The best advice that may not be helpful is to make sure you don’t allow the soap and mineral deposits to build up on the stone in the first place. If it’s too late for that I would find out what the manufacturer recommmends for cleaning your sealed stone surfaces, use that, and then do your best to prevent residue build up in the future. Otherwise, you need to clean slowly, layer by layer with hot water, soap, and lots of gentle scrubbing and rinsing. I’m about to install a marble shower so I’ll be paying lots of attention to this issue in the coming months.

      • naturallybubbly

        oh i just noticed you say it’s not sealed but are you sure? IF it’s not sealed you may never get it clean since the stone is somewhat porous. . .

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