Your Bathroom Cleaning Guide

Zap away germs, grime, and other gross stuff from the most used room in your home.

Updated on June 21, 2017 21:06 pm

Samantha Echavez


The bathroom, according to Julie Edelman, author of Ultimate Accidental Housewife: Your Guide to a Clean-Enough House, is the most toxic zone in the house. "The bathroom is a breeding ground for so many different types of germs and bacteria that it might as well be someone’s science project. As if that weren’t bad enough, the bathroom also seems to be a clutter magnet," says Edelman.

Here are some ways to keep the often-used bathroom dry and clean:

Combating mould and mildew

Mould and mildew are fungi, and "they usually take up residence in places like bathrooms. They reproduce on anything and everything that remains wet for more than 24 to 48 hours."

Edelman notes, "If you see white patches on your wall or smell something with a musty, almost urine-like scent and no one has tinkled, you’ve probably got mould, which means [you have to] start cleaning pronto."


1. Let the sunlight in. Mould and mildew thrive in humid conditions, so keep your windows open to allow the steam to escape.

2. Use vinegar. "White vinegar can kill 90 percent of the bacteria in our homes and more than 80 percent of mould and mildew," says Edelman. Apply on a paper towel or microfibre cloth and wipe. Not liking the smell? Top it off with a disinfecting air freshener spray.

3. Add lavender oil. You can also mix a few drops of lavender oil and a cup of water and use the mixture to fight germs.

4. Keep ’em dry. Allow sponges, toothbrushes, and washcloths to dry out. "Toss moist sponges in the microwave and damp clothes and towels in the dryer, or let them hang out to dry in the good ol' sunshine," Edelman says.

5. Get a dehumidifier. This will remove moisture out of the air, cutting the lifeline of the fungi.

6. Turn to store-bought mould and mildew removers. Look for eco-friendly options, and don’t forget to wear your gloves before using.

Keeping scum away

1. Stock up on disinfecting wipes. Get into the habit of using them on faucets, sinks, tubs, and toilets.

2. Use liquid bath soap. According to Edelman, ditch your regular bar soap to limit the amount of soap scum that can form.

3. Use lemon oil or baby oil. Once or twice a month, "put some lemon oil or baby oil on paper towel and wipe key "scum zones" (sinks, tubs, and showers). The oil will cause the dirty water to bead and roll down into the drain."

4. Clean your mirror with shaving cream, then wipe it off with paper towels. "This will result in a clean mirror and one that will stay defogged after hot, steamy showers for up to three weeks," says Edelman.

5. Use a dab of toothpaste to clean your sink and faucet.

Cleaning your toilet bowl

1. Use effervescent tablets (antacid). "Plop two effervescent tablets in the bowl. Let them fizz and work their magic for at least 20 minutes. Flush and brush with a disposable toilet brush," says Edelman.

2. Even drinks can work for the bowl! Use cola or unsweetened lemonade to remove any rust rings or other mineral deposits. Brush and flush afterwards.

3. Clean toilet exterior with vodka or white vinegar. Wet a microfibre cloth towel with vodka or white vinegar and clean with it.

Keeping the bathroom floor clean and fresh

1. Use your hand vacuum to get rid of hair and dust on the bathroom floor.

2. Put on a pair of socks, then attach a disinfecting wipe to the bottom of the socks with a band or scrunchie, and mop away.

3. Use mouthwash. Put half a capful of mouthwash on your microfibre mop, then sweep. "Mouthwash will give your bathroom a fresh and minty smell," says Edelman.

Environment-friendly toilet cleaners and tools:

Effervescent antacid tablets for toilet bowls

White vinegar or vodka for toilet bowl exterior, shower doors, and walls

Biodegradable baby wipes for toilet bowl exterior, counters, and tub rims

Foam shaving cream to defog mirrors

Newspaper for lint-free wiping on mirrors and chrome; odor absorption

Toothpaste (nongel) for faucets and chrome fixtures

Leftover white wine for shower doors

White vinegar for shower heads

Source: Julie Edelman, author of The Ultimate Accidental Housewife

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