I talk a lot about cleaning the bathroom and have a lot of other great articles and videos on this topic, but it should come as no surprise that there are areas we sometimes forget about. I think we all know that cleaning the toilet, shower and sink are a must, but there are a few other areas of the bathroom that you should be regularly taking care of that you may be overlooking.
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, not forgetting the top of the mirror, and your bathroom light fixtures.
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. Dust isn’t the only thing they collect. Bacteria from toilet plume–the spray from flushing–will inevitably land on your plants too, if they are anywhere within 6-feet of your toilet.
If you’re worried about bacteria, get a damp cloth, I use a general purpose microfiber cloth, dampen it with room temperature water mixed with vinegar (half and half works well), then simply brush the leaves gently one by one to remove the dust and germs. This works especially well for real plants, however, be aware that water (or any liquid) can deform the shape of a beautifully crafted artificial plant. Also, if you use a cleaning product, the colour could run too.
Since you won’t be putting the plant in your mouth, the biggest concern is dust. If you have a fake plant, dust is going to make it look dull. So, I suggest grabbing a clean soft-bristle paint brush and giving your plant a quick dusting, leaf by leaf. It’s best to take it outside first, since the dust will be whirling around in the air. 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.
Bath mats make getting out of the shower or brushing your teeth at the sink a luxurious feel as your feet sink into the plush surface. The downside is that your bath mat, whether we’re talking the terry one you step out onto after your shower or the rubbery one on the floor of your tub, will get pretty filthy after a while.
If left in place, the rubber tub mat will harbor mold and mildew. In addition, those comfy bath rugs collect a lot of lint, hair, bacteria, and microscopic water droplets from the toilet—yeckkkk!!
Luckily, both can be laundered in the washing machine on a cold or 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, with a good rinse afterward (and hang to dry). This will help stay on top of any mildew or soap scum build-up, in turn preventing moldy bath mats.
The shower curtain may be on your list of less obvious places and things to clean in the bathroom, but it should not be missed. When you think about it, we come face-to-face with our shower curtain or liner on a nearly daily basis. Ideally, it should be washed every month and the very least every three months. Here’s how:
Cloth Shower Curtain
Toss it 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.
Plastic Shower Curtain
I recommend hand washing the 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.
Mold and Mildew
Keep in mind that if you are dealing with mold or mildew on your shower curtain or liner, that’s a different story. Spray the plastic or cloth shower curtain with a solution of two parts hydrogen peroxide to one part warm water and let sit for about 10 minutes. Rinse thoroughly and use a baking soda-water paste to scrub any remaining mold, then launder in the washing machine as mentioned above.
Don’t Just Replace it, Clean that Toothbrush
Ideally you should replace your toothbrush every six to eight weeks, but definitely every three months. In the meantime, keep your toothbrush clean from that nasty toilet plume mentioned earlier by soaking it in a solution of 3 parts water to 1 part hydrogen peroxide for 30 minutes about once a week. Another great tip, soaking your toothbrush in mouthwash! It will kill germs and make it taste minty.
By the way, any time you’re sick, replace that toothbrush ASAP so that you don’t end up re-infecting yourself with the same virus.
ALSO READ: 10 Ways to Clean Using Hydrogen Peroxide
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?
Get rid of expired medications, and any other expired products that create clutter while you’re at it. When you go through your medicine cabinet, put any expired medication into a bag and take it to your pharmacy because they have a safe way to dispose of them. Please do not dump them down the toilet or throw them into the garbage. They can end up polluting our groundwater, lakes and even drinking water.
Be honest, when was the last time you cleaned your hair brush? It can be one of those things that you don’t really think about, until one day you look down at your hair brush 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 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.
Then you are going to want to soak the brush, unless it’s made of wood, in warm soapy water for about 5 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 and a microfiber cloth to wipe the handle and back of the brush clean. If there is still some hair left behind, use the spooley again.
High Contact Areas
Although we usually do a great job on the rest of the toilet, we don’t tend to focus on the handle. There’s going to be a lot of bacteria transfer there and you just want to make sure that aside from cleaning the tank and the lid, the seat and the bowl, that you’re also cleaning the toilet handle..
Light switch plates are germ hotbeds! If they are really crusty, use a cleaning toothbrush to remove any built-up gunk stuck between the grooves.
Cupboard Handles and Drawer Pulls
There are tons of these around the house, so don’t forget to add the bathroom handles, pulls and knobs to your cleaning list. For more high contact areas to clean throughout the home, check out 10 Points of Contact to Keep Clean this Cold and Flu Season.
Baseboards and Walls
It’s not enough to clean the floors in a bathroom, those baseboards can get awfully grimey. 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. Test vinegar in a hidden area first to make sure it doesn’t ruin the paint but it should help to break down anything gooey or sticky!
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. All you need to do is spray that surface with an enzyme cleaner and allow it to sit for five minutes and then wipe it clean.
For more bathroom tips: