Tips To Make Cleaning Your Bathroom A Breeze

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Cleaning the bathroom is the most disliked chore in America, according to Martha Stewart. Considering we tend to avoid the tasks we dread the most, it's no wonder that toilets, sinks, and tubs are breeding grounds for germs. "The toilet harvests bacteria and stains from daily use inside the bowl, but to most people's surprise the outer bowl and seat is just as important to clean as the bowl," Val Oliveira,​​ founder of Val's Services, a Chicago-based cleaning company, explains to She also comments on the layers upon layers of grime that surround faucets and accumulate on bath tiles. In her words, "every time you shower, you are redistributing that grime and bacteria on anything that comes into contact with the dirty surface."

With this in mind, it's best to keep your bathroom surfaces clean or, in some extreme cases, risk developing E. coli-related physical symptoms like abdominal pain, fever, or dehydration (via HTV). Cleaning all the nooks and crannies in a bathroom can be intimidating. However, as proven by viral social media hacks and grout-busting ASMR, a few tips and tricks can make the process simple or even satisfying.

Know your chemicals

Unless you want to create toxic gas inside your bathroom, it's important to know your facts when it comes to mixing cleaning products. "The primary ingredient in chlorinated bleach is sodium hypochlorite," chemist Alexander Lu explains to Insider, suggesting that readers steer clear of mixing any additional cleaning products with bleach-based solutions. Specifically, ammonia and bleach (as well as vinegar and bleach) will combine to form chlorine gas. Also, avoid using bleach and rubbing alcohol together or risk creating chloroform. When in doubt, do your research — in this case, it's far better to be safe than sorry. Insider recommends opening windows while cleaning for improved airflow and wearing a sturdy pair of rubber gloves.

Start off slow

"For visibly soiled surfaces, pre-clean surfaces before disinfecting," Mary "Dr. Laundry" Gagliardi, Clorox scientist and cleaning expert, tells Martha Stewart. That might involve sweeping tile or wiping up dust with a microfiber cloth before going in with your mop and spray bottle. As TikTok creator @thecleaningcorner recommends, it's best to begin by cleaning the easiest surfaces before moving on to more challenging areas — it's like a pre-workout stretch. As a general order, @thecleaningcorner suggests "sink, tub, and toilet."

Toilet tablets are a simple solution to stains

"To get started, I drop a Mama Suds Toilet Cleaning Tab in the toilet bowl," Koko owner Adria Hall tells USA Today. "These are so cool — like bath bombs for toilets because they have the same fizzy technology! I searched for years for a good plastic-free toilet cleaner and this one hits all the marks." As @home_reimagined highlights on TikTok, denture tablets work as an easy alternative, clearing any pesky stains from your porcelain. Simply let them sit in the bowl for 10 to 30 minutes before going in with your scrub brush. Once finished, leave the brush to dry between the bowl and toilet seat — this will help prevent mildew build-up.

Some tools are unconventional

Citrus can be used for more than just lemonade, keeping avocados from going bad, and preventing colds. It's also helpful when it comes to hardened soap build-up. As Two Maids & A Mop's director of franchise operations, Lauren Bowen, tells Martha Stewart, "Take half a grapefruit and pour a layer of salt over the top," no chewing necessary. Next, "rub the grapefruit on the affected areas and you'll see the soap scum start to lift." How does it work? "The grapefruit's citric acid and the coarseness of the salt work together to power through stubborn scum."

Weekly washes prevent impenetrable grime

Better Homes & Gardens recommends running through a weekly to-do list when it comes to cleaning your bathroom surfaces. That way, you'll prevent layers of grime from accumulating. Start by scrubbing marble or granite countertops with a soapy water solution — don't forget to thoroughly dry or else risk creating a mold-friendly environment. Next, it's time to disinfect your regularly-used areas like the sink faucet and toilet bowl. Finally, clear the drain of any hair build-up and give the floors a good scrub. For more guidance, look to Apartment Therapy's 10-minute, 30-minute, and hour-long bathroom cleaning checklists. Alternatively, personalize your own with the help of dry-erase boards like this Amazon set.

Make your own cleaning potions

It's always helpful to keep a bottle of white vinegar in your home. According to The Spruce, the liquid is especially effective on those brownish hard water stains inside your toilet. TikTok's @char.charclark agrees. Start by pouring a cup of white vinegar into your toilet bowl, and let the liquid sit for 5 minutes. Follow it up with one cup of baking soda, and wait another 5 minutes. Finally, pour an additional cup of vinegar into the bowl before going in with your trusty scrub brush to remove stubborn stains. And, voila! Your porcelain will look brand new — well, almost. To clean tiles and the tub, Oprah Daily recommends mixing 1 ½ cups of baking soda with ½ cup warm water before adding in ½ cup liquid dish soap and two tablespoons of vinegar.

Turn on your favorite music

It's a fact: listening to music makes cleaning better. It also makes us more productive. As neuroscientist Robert Zatorre explains, "When you are perceiving very rhythmic sounds, particularly those that are used in music, these sounds engage the areas in networks of the brain that allow us to move and in particular to synchronize different muscle groups" (via The Simple Scrub). According to Healthline, certain types of music can also increase happiness. Next time you're scrubbing your bathroom, curate a playlist of upbeat tunes — "Uptown Funk" is a cleaning favorite, per The New York Post. If you're doing an hours-long deep clean, turn on a favorite podcast to pass the time.

Tile scrubbers keep you from bending over

Though TikToker @carolina.mccauley might use a high-powered tile scrubber to clean up years worth of shower grime, a simple, extendable pole — like this one from Target — will also do the trick. Most importantly, having a tool like this means you don't have to get on your hands and knees to disinfect your bathroom. You can also use it to reach all those high-up nooks and crannies. To really go after that grout, CNET recommends investing in a drill brush extension kit.

Invest in environmentally-friendly products

Though some brands are guilty of greenwashing, exaggerating their products' eco-friendly credentials with labels that read "all-natural" or "sustainable" in earthy fonts, it's not too hard to find authentic environmentally-conscious products after doing research. Select suggests looking for something called "ecolabels," which are, according to the EPA, "marks placed on product packaging that help consumers identify products that meet specific environmental performance criteria and are therefore deemed 'environmentally preferable.” Look out for compostable products like this Tushy toilet brush or these Method cleaning wipes. Over time, eco-friendly products cut down on waste, are generally safer for in-home use, and release fewer toxic chemicals into the environment (via Medical News Today).

Baking soda unclogs drains

Before resorting to Drano or other harsh chemicals, try using baking soda to unclog your shower and sink drains. TikTok's @annebehling.10 demonstrates the benefits of baking soda in a brief how-to. Start with ½ cup and pour it on top of the drain, pushing it down as far as you can with a spoon. Next, dump ½ cup of vinegar on top — this will create a volcano-like fizzing reaction. Finally, let it sit for 15 minutes before flushing the drain with a pot of boiling water. Baking soda also has deodorizing qualities, so your bathroom will be left smelling fresh in the process.

Keep cleaning tools in your shower

"This is one micro improvement that I regret not doing sooner," says TikToker @sarahebaus. She goes on to recommend buying a dish brush with a built-in soap dispenser — something like this Amazon find — and filling it with liquid dish soap and white vinegar. Keep the brush in your shower and, while waiting for your conditioner to soak in, use it to scrub away any grime. According to the creator, this small addition quickly turns into a positive cycle: "I basically never clean the shower 'cause the shower's always clean 'cause I'm always cleaning it 'cause I'm always in the shower." It's also helpful to keep a small squeegee in the shower for wiping down glass doors.

Use the bathroom fan while bathing

As warned by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, condensation breeds mildew. To prevent too much moisture from sticking to bathroom surfaces, turn on a fan while bathing. Always leave the bathroom door open after each use. If you're already noticing signs of mold, baking soda can help. "Baking soda's drying properties are effective in attacking existing mold, and also discouraging future mold growth," Lauren Bowen, Two Maids & A Mop director of franchise operations, tells Martha Stewart. "Combine a tablespoon of baking soda and some water in a spray bottle and shake it up to disperse the baking soda. Spray the solution on the moldy wall, tiling, or another [sic] bathroom surface that has growth."

Organization is key

An important step in keeping your bathroom clean is finding a proper place for all your products. "The way to achieve a clean countertop is to change the use of the medicine cabinet," says Julie Morgenstern, author of "Organizing from the Inside Out." As she goes on to explain to HGTV, "They are better used for everyday grooming supplies rather than medicines." Invest in stackable bins underneath the sink, and arrange items that won't fit on an aesthetic toilet-top tray. Buy adhesive shower caddies — see Amazon for details — or, given the square footage, Good Housekeeping recommends ladder shelves for things like bonus towels and spa-like decor.

Let your towels dry on a bar

According to Healthline, continuing to use an old, mildewy towel will only serve to irritate the skin. Anita Birges, the owner of Sydney's Mise en Place, washes her bath towels every three days, per AD It Yourself. At the very least, spreading them across a bar will ensure they dry more effectively in between uses. It's best to wash towels in a separate cycle from your everyday clothes to prevent bacteria from spreading (via  Better Homes & Gardens). In the load, add a splash of white vinegar (approximately ½ to 1 cup). Wash with warm water to leave your towels extra fluffy.

Don't underestimate microfiber

Microfiber is a superior cleaning fabric. As noted by Today, these towels last longer than cotton cloths, have an almost magnetic ability to attract dust and germs, and are extra-effective with the simple addition of water. However, "With microfiber, you get what you pay for," explains Green Cleaning Coach Leslie Reichert. "Bargain microfiber has fewer fibers, around 50,000 per square inch. Since it's the fibers that do the work, bargain cloths do not clean as well as quality cloths, nor do they last as long — only about 50 washings." Microfiber towels are ideal for streak-free bathroom mirrors, sink faucets, and even drying hair. "Using microfiber rags eliminates up to 99 percent of bacteria — about three times the effectiveness of traditional cleaning cloths," Molly Maid president Vera Peterson explains to Family Handyman.

De-odorize your trashcan with essential oils

As suggested by @home_reimagined on TikTok, sprinkle your favorite essential oils onto cotton balls before putting them at the bottom of your trash can. This will keep the space smelling fresh throughout the week as new trash piles up. The popular TikToker also recommends adding a dash of essential oil to the inside of your toilet paper roll — with this, you can say goodbye to Febreze and other room sprays. "Because it takes so much of the plant to make an essential oil, it's a powerful botanical medicine," integrative medicine specialist Dr. Yufang Lin tells Cleveland Clinic. In measured doses, they're thought to improve mood, help with insomnia, and even kill off certain bacteria.

Soak your showerhead in vinegar

If your water pressure has been lacking as of late, it could be the result of mineral deposits like calcium stopping up your shower head, per Angi. Fortunately, the grime isn't too hard to remove with the help of — you guessed it — vinegar. You don't even need to unscrew any parts. First, as recommended by YouTuber Coral Hoyt, attach a vinegar-filled sandwich bag around the nozzle with a rubber band or hair elastic. You'll want to make sure the liquid fully covers all the holes. Leave the bag attached to the showerhead for (at the very least) an hour, or ideally overnight. Finally, remove and scrub away any leftover grime with the help of a toothbrush.

Toilet bowl cleaner is versatile

Toilet bowl cleaner is trending on TikTok, but it has nothing to do with its original purpose. As @jschims demonstrates, this product can also be used to eliminate grout stains. Simply squeeze the solution onto tile crevices, let it sit for about the length of a sitcom, and use a scrub brush to remove residue. It should be noted, however, that toilet cleaners have the potential to damage shower fixtures like drains and faucets and, if not properly scrubbed away after use on tile, can irritate your skin (via Millenial Homeowner).

Got rust? No problem

Beyond fixing your water pressure, unclogging drains, and ranking as one of the most controversial french fry condiments, vinegar can also help combat rust (via Allied Plumbing & Heating Supply Co.). Fill a reusable spray bottle with white vinegar, and squirt it onto the faucet in question. Let the solution sit for 10 minutes before wiping it away with a microfiber towel. Family Handyman cites another unconventional method for getting rid of rust on chrome bathroom fixtures. First, make a ball of tinfoil. Get it wet, then use the ball to scrub off rust build-up.

You can't beat Magic

Mr. Clean Magic Erasers have been highly-reviewed cleaning tools since the early 2000s, per Family Handyman. They're made of something called melamine foam, more abrasive than regular sponges, and traditionally used for insulation. CNET suggests dipping your sponge into a homemade solution of ½ cup hot water, 1 teaspoon Borax powder, and a tablespoon of baking soda to upgrade your generic melamine sponge to magic status — however, you can easily just use a bucket of water. With your Mr. Clean Magic Erasers — or simply a pack of generic melamine sponges on Amazon — clean stains off everything from walls to bath tile to scuffed-up shoes.

Machine washable bathmats are easy to clean

Bathmats are a breeding ground for bacteria, per Insider. "After every shower we step out onto our bath mat, allowing it to soak in any excess water or soap that might be dripping," explains professional cleaner Bailey Carson. "While this prevents our floors from getting damp, the reoccurring build-up of water when left untreated can lead to mold growth." Translation: bathmats are easily the grimiest place in your bathroom. Fortunately, machine washable mats make cleaning a breeze — just remember to throw them in the machine at the very least twice a month, according to Martha Stewart. If there's an adhesive layer on the back, always air dry.

Shower liners are machine washable too

Don't be fooled by soap bars and shampoo bottles — showers can actually be very dirty places. "Mold seems to be the major problem," Dr. Charles P. Gerba, microbiologist and University of Arizona professor, tells Healthline. "I think most of the risk is from mold allergies and sharing the shower among family members." As demonstrated by @cleaningcrazy3 on TikTok, you can wash your moldy curtain liner in the washing machine. Two Maids and a Mop's director of franchise operations, Lauren Bowen, suggests washing the plastic liner on a cold water setting with ½ cup baking soda and ¼ vinegar before letting it air dry, per Martha Stewart. "The ideal frequency for your liner [to be cleaned] is once a month to stay ahead of any mold growth, as it is the closest to all of the moisture," she explains.

Don't throw away your old toothbrush

To make your cleaning process simpler, it's important to find the right-sized brushes. Apartment Therapy recommends boiling used toothbrushes for up to 10 minutes and using them to reach small spaces like sink faucet cracks and toilet seat screws. TikTok creator @ashlienicole35 shows how this method can work, boiling for just three to five minutes before running the brush under room temperature water. Food52 recommends using a combination of water and baking soda to attack grout, scrubbing at the residue with a repurposed toothbrush.

Scrub daddies are social media famous

Platforms like TikTok have led to a fascination with certain brands. The pride and joy of "Shark Tank," Scrub Daddy, is perhaps the most famous of them all, per Philadelphia Business Journal. This smiling yellow sponge — and a slew of other new products like the Scrub Mommy and Eraser Daddy — has 2.8 million followers on TikTok (and counting). Scrub Daddy recommends using their sponge to get rid of soap scum, clean the calcium deposits on shower heads, and polish bathroom fixtures.

Shaving cream has multiple uses

Not only can shaving cream be used to remove streaks of makeup from the sink and clean bathroom fixtures, but it also functions as a de-fogger (via Apartment Therapy). The YouTube channel Clean Freak & Germaphobe tests this hack, spraying a generous helping of shaving cream on a towel and applying it to the bathroom mirror, thoroughly rubbing it in. As the creator notes, the cream will also work to remove streaks and stains from the area. Though it's not a permanent fix to the problem of post-shower fog, it will create a shield for at least one shower — if not more.