Bathroom Cleaning: 10 Things to Clean Besides the Obvious

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I talk a lot about cleaning the bathroom and have a lot of other great articles and videos on this topic. However, this article isn’t your typical bathroom cleaning article. I’ve already taught you how to clean bathroom tiles, how to clean the shower and tub, and even how to declutter your bathroom. And I recently wrote The Ultimate Weekly Bathroom Cleaning Checklist. So think of this article as a bathroom cleaning checklist for those less obvious spots you need to clean. 

Forget about the sink and the toilet; there are probably other areas in your bathroom that could use some love. Well, don’t forget about them completely; just for now. Because today let’s go over how to clean all those spots in your bathroom that nobody ever talks about. This is the ultimate guide to bathroom cleaning tasks we all forget about!

1. Target Dusty Surfaces

I don’t know about you, but when I use too many Kleenex tissues, my bathroom collects dust like nobody’s business. Dust collects all around the tissue box, including the top of the toilet, the lovely artwork I have hanging over my toilet, the counter near the toilet, and on it goes. 

Use a microfiber cloth for wiping down dusty areas. To get the most use out of one microfiber cloth, fold it once and then again. Then use each side of the cloth, refolding as you go. If you do this, you can dust your entire bathroom with only one microfiber cloth! That’s less laundry for you and many paper towels saved. 


Don’t forget to dust the top of the mirror and your bathroom light fixtures. And if you want to learn more about how to clean with microfiber cloths, read, 27 Ways to Use Microfiber Cloths.

2. Clean the Plants 

Adding a plant to the bathroom can really give it a spa-like feel, but the downside is that no matter the culprit, dust will collect on any plants or flowers, real or fake, you have in your bathroom. And dust isn’t the only thing they collect. Bacteria from toilet plume–the spray from flushing–will inevitably land on your plants if they are anywhere within six feet of your toilet.

If you’re worried about bacteria, mix a cleaning solution of one part water and one part white vinegar in a spray bottle. Shake to mix, then spray this onto a microfiber cloth and simply brush the leaves gently one by one to remove the dust and germs. 

If your bathroom decor consists of fake plants, beware. Liquid can deform the shape of a beautifully crafted artificial plant, and it can even cause the color to run. If you have a fake plant, grab a clean soft-bristle paintbrush and give it a quick dusting, working leaf by leaf. 

I like to do this outside, so dust doesn’t get redeposited on other surfaces. And as with all dusting, start at the top and work your way to the bottom of the plant so that dust does not re-settle on a cleaned area. For more tips on cleaning silk plants and flowers, check out this article: Cleaning Silk Plants and Flowers.

houseplant care

3. Don’t Forget the Bath Mat

Bath mats are great for stopping water messes in the bathroom. However, over time, they become pretty filthy on their own if you don’t clean them. They can even harbor mold and mildew and collect a lot of bacteria, lint, hair, and other icky stuff. (Yes, icky is the technical term here.)

Luckily, whether you have a rubber or terry cloth bath mat, both can be laundered in the washing machine on a cold, gentle cycle. Boost the de-stinkifying properties by adding a cup of white vinegar to the load. Once that’s done, you can either hang them to dry or place the fabric bath mat in the dryer on the fluff or air-dry cycle. 

Finally, I would give your rubber tub mat a good soak in vinegar and water at least once every couple months. This will help stay on top of any mildew or soap scum build-up. Rinse thoroughly and hang to dry.

4. Wash Your Shower Curtains 

The shower curtain often gets overlooked in bathroom cleaning, but it is an absolute must-clean bathroom item. When you think about it, we come face-to-face with our shower curtain or liner on a nearly daily basis. And so does soap scum, water, bacteria, and sometimes mildew and mold. 

Ideally, you should wash your shower curtain every month. However, let’s be real. Neither you nor I are going to do that. So let’s say every three months. For cloth shower curtains, toss them into the washing machine on a gentle cycle with warm water, regular laundry detergent, and one cup of vinegar. Once the cycle is complete, hang your curtain back on the rod to air dry.

I recommend hand washing a plastic shower curtain, even though you could risk throwing it in the washing machine on a gentle cold water cycle. The easiest way to hand wash the plastic curtain is with a damp microfiber cloth and some baking soda. Simply sprinkle the baking soda onto the curtain and scrub away the soap scum and hard water stains. Rinse and hang back on the rod to air dry. Learn more in my article, How to Clean a Plastic Shower Curtain and Mat.

Melissa is putting a shower curtain into the washing machine

5. Clean that Toothbrush

Ideally, you should replace your toothbrush every six to eight weeks. But let’s be real, most of us aren’t going to do that. So aim for replacing it every three months. In the meantime, keep your toothbrush clean from that nasty toilet plume mentioned earlier by soaking it in a DIY cleaning solution.

Mix three parts water to one part hydrogen peroxide in a cup or glass. Then, soak your toothbrush in the cleaning solution for 30 minutes about once a week. (Psst, read 10 Ways to Clean Using Hydrogen Peroxide.) Alternatively, you can replace this DIY solution with mouthwash. It will kill germs and make your toothbrush taste minty.

white holder with coloured brushes

6. Declutter Those Expired Medications

How many times have you come down with a cold or flu and reached into the cabinet for some stashed-away medications only to find that they’ve expired since the last time you were sick? And what do you do when this happens? I know that on more than one occasion, I’ve shrugged my shoulders and left the old medication in the cabinet. 

This is forgivable when you’re sick, but when you’re feeling better, cull your bathroom cabinets of expired medications and products. And don’t just throw them in the trash! Take expired medication to your local pharmacy for them to dispose of it safely. 

7. De-Hair Your Hairbrush 

Be honest, when was the last time you cleaned your hairbrush? It can be one of those things that you don’t really think about until one day you look down at your hairbrush and realize just how gross it has become. 

The first thing you need to do before actually cleaning the brush is remove all of the hair. Using another comb or brush is great for this, or you can use something pointy like a pen. A tip for removing the itty bitty bits of hair that are still left behind is to use a spooley (mascara wand). Weave the spooley in and around the brush bristles in order to remove all of the residual hair.

After you’re finished de-hairing your hairbrush, you want to clean it. For plastic hairbrushes, soak the brush in warm soapy water for about five minutes. You can also add a couple of drops of tea tree essential oil for some added cleaning power. 

Next, use a cleaning toothbrush to scrub the pad of the brush. A microfiber cloth is great to wipe down the handle and the back of the brush. For more detailed instructions, read, Quickly & Easily Clean Your Hairbrush.

Cleaning a hair brush

8. Target High-Contact Areas 

There are high-contact areas in our bathrooms that get particularly germy. And while they might not be top-of-mind on a bathroom cleaning checklist or regular bathroom clean, they should be. 

Toilet handles have a lot of bacteria because they’re what we all touch after using the toilet and before washing our hands. Make sure to clean your toilet handle often and with a disinfecting product. Or try my DIY disinfectant. 

Light switch plates are germ hotbeds! Be sure to clean them during every bathroom cleaning. If they are really crusty, use a cleaning toothbrush to remove any built-up gunk stuck between the grooves.

Cupboard handles and doorknobs are other high-touch surfaces we often forget about. A microfiber cloth and all-purpose cleaner should do the trick. For more high contact areas to clean throughout the home, check out 10 Points of Contact to Keep Clean this Cold and Flu Season.

9. Wash Baseboards and Walls

It’s not enough to clean the floors in a bathroom; those baseboards can get awfully grimy. And let’s not forget about the area directly under a hanging hand towel. Drips of water are splashed onto the wall and baseboard as people reach to dry their hands, creating streaks on walls and areas for dust and pet fur to stick to baseboards. 

Use a damp microfiber cloth with water or a bit of vinegar to wipe them clean. Vinegar is great for breaking down anything gooey or sticky. And be sure to always test vinegar in a hidden area first to make sure it doesn’t ruin the paint.

Flowers and towels

10. Don’t Forget Behind the Toilet

Cleaning the toilet itself is one thing, but do NOT underestimate the value of cleaning the wall and floor behind the toilet. Yes, men, I’m talking to you.

As some of you may know, I started out with my own cleaning company, Clean My Space, in 2006, which is still in operation in Toronto. When I was cleaning, I learned quickly that there were a lot of splashes and splatters that go on, which cause the wall to smell and become discolored. 

To tackle this gross area, all you need to do is spray the wall with surface with an enzyme cleaner. Allow this to sit for five minutes, then wipe it clean. If you do this once a week, you won’t have to deal with odors or discoloration.

Melissa and Chad Holding Toilet Brushes

Bathroom Cleaning Made Easy

Like it or not, the bathroom is a room in your home that needs a lot of cleaning. For even more great bathroom content (yes, there’s more), read, Turn Your Bathroom Into a SPA! and 4 Easy Hacks for Clean, Fresh Bath Towels. 

And let me know in the comments below what you clean and how often you clean in the bathroom! Share your bathroom cleaning hacks and annoyances with us. And if you try any of our cleaning tips and share them on Instagram, tag us @cleanmyspace. 

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Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.

3 COMMENTS

  1. How often do you wear disposable gloves? which are your favorite, vinyl, latex, or nitrile? What brand/ where do you buy your gloves?

  2. I try to clean mine about twice a month- that is, one full-on cleaning from top to bottom then a couple weeks later I’ll just hit the handle, toilet paper hardware and seat with disinfectant and a “light” bowl brushing (only if a ring is on the verge of appearing). I usually clean it after I’ve had guests over as well. It depends on how much, er, “traffic” one toilet sees. For example I live alone and twice a month is enough, but a family of five might need to scrub theirs weekly before it begins to take on that special “college dudes’ apartment” feel (if you know what I mean).

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