Between stray hairs and mildew stains, cleaning the bathroom is not exactly an activity most of us look forward to. However, in order to maintain your bathroom as the self-care sanctuary you deserve, regular deep cleanings are a must.
Microbiologists suggest you should be giving your bathroom at least a minor clean once a week.
The good news? It doesn't have to be a long, arduous ordeal. There are plenty of bathroom cleaning hacks to help you tackle this activity with precision and speed. This way you'll have more time to spend doing the things that are truly important, like pampering yourself in your spotless bathroom with a bubble bath and a face mask. Here are 40 genius bathroom cleaning hacks you need to know.
1. Make a Plan
Decide on the areas you need to target, and create a checklist. That way, if you get tired, you won't get off track and will know exactly where you left off should you need to take a break. Do you need to focus on the floors? Or the bathtub's walls? The checklist will also help you determine the supplies you need to clean successfully.
2. Bathroom Mirror
Bathroom mirrors attract embarrassing splatters that can be hard to remove without a cleaning agent. A simple chemical-free way to clean your mirror is by using a soft cloth and strong black tea (such as Lipton). The tannic acid in the tea cuts through grime. Dip the lint-free cloth in the brewed tea and rub it on the bathroom mirror in circles. Use a clean cloth to dry your newly cleaned mirror.
3. Toilet Bowl
Having a clean toilet bowl is an important part of having a clean bathroom. While it's a chore you might particularly dread, some simple ingredients from your pantry can help. Pour ¼ cup baking soda and ¼ cup white vinegar into your toilet, and let it sit for 15 minutes. When your timer is done, scrub the toilet bowl with a brush and flush.
4. Chrome Faucet and Fixtures
The very reason you selected your chrome faucet and fixtures is probably the same reason you need to deep clean them. The sleek, sophisticated aesthetic marred by residue probably doesn't fit with your bathroom's design scheme. To deep clean your chrome faucet and fixtures, dab a small amount of baby oil on a clean towel and polish.
5. Soap Scum
Nothing's worse than cleaning something to find out it really isn't clean, and that there's soap scum residue, like after you take a shower. A shower should cleanse itself while you cleanse your body, right? Not quite. Using cooking spray (yes, you read that right), spray it on your shower doors and walls, and let it sit for five to 10 minutes to let the oil cut through the scum and lime deposits. Rinse with soapy water.
6. Clogged Drains
If you have hair, you've probably clogged a drain. Instead of grabbing a chemical-laden detergent or splurging on a plumber, try a home remedy involving Alka-Seltzer tablets. Drop four Alka-Seltzer tablets down the clogged drain, followed by one cup of distilled vinegar. After 10 minutes, rinse with boiling water.
7. Shower Head
If your shower head could use some attention, turn to vinegar to help. Remove your shower head. Fill part of a plastic bag with vinegar, and drop the shower head into the bag, ensuring that it's completely covered by vinegar before securing the bag with a rubber band. Soak for an hour, and remove. It will look almost brand new.
If your tile needs scouring, create your own blend of cleanser by mixing one cup of kosher salt, one cup of baking powder, and one cup of Borax in a jar. Once they're all combined, shake to blend the materials, sprinkle on areas that need scouring, wipe with a sponge, and rinse.
If the grout between your tiles is looking a little dingy, turn to a cotton beauty coil and bleach to deep clean. Soak the coils in bleach, and place them on the grout lines or in the nook where the tub meets the tile. Let the coils sit overnight before removing them and rinsing.
If your bathtub could use a good scrub, use a grapefruit and salt. Cut the grapefruit in half, and sprinkle the pink side of the fruit with salt. Next, wet your tub, and sprinkle additional salt on the bottom and use the fruit as a scrubber. Rinse the tub to reveal how clean it is.
11. Clean the Sink
Likely your sink needs only a light clean. Spray the sink's bowl with a cleaning agent and gently scrub. Rinse with water, and your sink should be sparkling. Be sure to inspect your faucet and handles for any residue, as those elements tend to attract soap and toothpaste splatters.
12. Let the Toilet Brush Dry
While you'll likely feel like you've overcome your biggest challenge once you've cleaned your toilet, don't be in such a hurry that you ruin your clean floors by dripping toilet water all over them. One way to let the brush dry in between cleanings is to wedge it between the toilet seat and the bowl.
13. Tackle Hard Water Stains
If your fixtures have hard water stains that won't seem to go away, the answer is in your kitchen: lemons. Cut a lemon in half and use it as a scrub brush. Voila!
14. Make the Glass Shower Door Shine
If your shower door is in desperate need of a good clean, the easiest way is to use a Magic Eraser. Scrub the door with the eraser and rinse off to reveal shower doors you can see out of.
15. Remove Porcelain Stains
If your porcelain sink is riddled with stains, first spray it with dish soap and detergent. Next, spray with bleach and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Wipe it down, and your sink should shine. If you still see some stains, target them by spraying
16. Get Rid of Mildew
If you're tempted to ditch your shower curtain because mildew has taken hold, take a step back and use baking soda and vinegar to help. Before you worry about causing a science-class level of eruption, know it will be contained in your washing machine. To get rid of mildew, place your shower curtain in your washer, and add a half of a cup of baking soda to your detergent. Set the washer to a warm wash. Just before the rinse cycle is set to begin, add half a cup of white vinegar. Once your curtain is washed, allow it to dry completely before reinstalling it in your damp space.
17. Keep Bath Toys Clean
As cute as bath toys are, they can easily become magnets for mold, if not taken care of properly. At the end of each bath, squeeze any water out of the toys and allow them to dry. If, while you're squeezing, you notice black mold come out, dispose of the toy and replace with another.
18. Don't let the Trash Can get Smelly
No matter how frequently you empty your bathroom trash cans, they can quickly get smelly. With each trash removal day, sprinkle a small amount of baking soda in the bottom of the can to neutralize odors.
19. Don't Forget the Fan
If you hardly use your bathroom fan, you probably forget it's there, and it's collecting dust. If your vacuum can extend to reach your bathroom ceiling, great. Use it to remove the dust. If not, consider using canned air or another form of duster to do the trick. No matter what you do, be sure to do it before you clean your floors.
20. Clean Marble Stains with Bleach
Before you go dumping bleach on your stained marble heed this warning: try a small section first. Marble can be a tough surface to clean, but if you test beforehand in a nonvisible spot, and no discoloration occurs, you should be set. If your marble proves to respond well, soak a paper towel in bleach and place it on the stain. Cover the paper towel with a cup and let it rest overnight.
21. Clean Upper Walls with a Mop
Chances are, you can't reach the upper portions of your bathroom walls, and a lot of moisture can happen there. Using a flat mop, wipe the walls to remove excess condensation and prevent mold.
22. Organize Using a Metal Strip
Keep metal utensils and hair accessories from rusting in your bathroom by having a designated metal strip to adhere them to.
23. Clean Loofah
Use diluted bleach to cleanse your loofah of dead skin it has accumulated.
24. Reduce Rust with Nail Polish
Dab clear nail polish on the bottom rim of any can that tends to leave rust rings on your countertops.
25. Get Behind the Toilet Seat
Removing unsightly urine splashes behind the toilet seat can be easier said than done. If removing the seat to clean underneath it is not an option, use a knife to push disinfectant wipes behind the seat.
26. Throw Your Bathmats in the Wash
Before you begin your bathroom cleaning, throw your bathmats in the wash. Chances are, they're starting to smell. By the time they're done in the wash, you'll be ready to place them on your newly cleaned floors.
27. Coat Your Bathroom Fan in Wax to Prevent Dust
Once you've cleaned your bathroom fan of dust, apply a layer of wax to prevent the awful buildup again.
28. Clean Your Light Fixtures
Depending on the lighting situation in your bathroom, you'll likely need to cleanse your light fixtures. If your lightbulbs rest in a glass bowl-type of feature, remove it, and rinse in warm, sudsy water.
29. Get Rid of Toilet Tank Stains
Unsightly toilet tank stains? Drop a pair of denture tablets in your toilet tank reservoir and let it sit overnight to remove stains inside the tank.
30. Purge Your Medicine Cabinet
While you're cleaning, go through the contents of your bathroom cabinets and weed out anything that is expired or doesn't look good.
31. Take Care to Reorganize Your Cabinets
Deep cleaning your bathroom is the perfect time to make sure it's organized, so you can better use it moving forward. Take a note from Marie Kondo or The Home Edit to make your space one you'll want to keep up.
32. Cleanse Your Soap Dispenser
Between its soapy contents and being in the direct line of fire for toothpaste, your soap dispenser could use a good wipe-down from a disinfecting wipe.
33. Raise the Temperature
Let your hot shower run for a few minutes before your cleaning session commences to warm up the bathroom. Why? Most cleaning products work better at higher temperatures. Even a five to 10 degree increase will help.
34. Clean Toothbrush Holder
Similarly to your soap dispenser, your toothbrush holder also picks up lots of grime. If possible, consider running it through your dishwasher. If that's not doable, wipe it down with a disinfecting wipe.
35. Invest in Hair Catcher
If you'd like to prevent future drain clogs, buy a tub hair catcher to stop the problem before it happens.
36. Eliminate Urine Smell
If you have kids in the house, you probably have fought hard to get rid of the urine smell in your bathroom. This natural remedy helps: mixing baking soda, distilled white vinegar and lemon.
37. Store Your Curtain Differently
Increase air flow in your bathroom by storing your shower curtain in the middle of the rod.
38. Disinfect Toilet Brush Holder
One way to keep your toilet brush clean is by pouring disinfectant into your toilet brush's holder after each use.
39. Repurpose Dish Wands
Keep an old dish wand in your shower to scrub tiles while you bathe.
40. Use a Bleach Pen on Grout
For a quick touch up to make your grout shine, use a bleach pen directly on the grout line.
Spend some time using these hacks next time your bathroom needs a good clean, and treat yourself with some relaxing self-care as a reward for your hard work when you're done.
This post was originally published on May 18, 2014, and has since been updated.