A person wearing rubber gloves uses a spray bottle of disinfecting cleaner and a cloth to clean a toilet

How to Clean A Bathroom, Not Just Move the Germs Around

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Are you just moving germs around when you clean your bathroom, or are you really getting it clean? It’s not so much a matter of what product you’re using—no bathroom disinfectant can do it’s job properly if you don’t know how to clean a bathroom in the correct order.

Usually, we clean top to bottom to move debris down and then out of a room. But with bathrooms, we clean specific areas in a specific order to avoid spreading harmful germs. So, grab your favorite disinfectant and read on to learn how to do this task.

Outside In: Ceiling, Walls and Doors

Bathrooms can surprise you with how dusty they get, even on the ceilings and walls. It’s all that hair, dead skin cells, and makeup powder floating around. 

Grab an extension duster and tackle the ceiling, including the corners, then the light fixtures where dust loves to hide. Work down each wall and door, then run the duster over the baseboards. 

Scrub the Shower and Tub

Before tackling the shower and tub, clear out all those shampoo bottles and body washes. Give the walls and tub a good spray with your chosen cleaner. Don’t forget the shower head—spray and scrub it to remove any mineral buildup, then rinse everything well.

For a ring around the tub, a homemade soft scrub of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and a dash of dish soap works wonders. Apply, wait a bit to loosen the grime, then rinse. 

Lastly, buff glass doors with a damp dryer sheet to prevent water spots, or freshen up your shower curtain by washing it with towels in a warm, delicate cycle. Hang it to dry.

Shine the Sinks and Faucets

Start by clearing your counter, wiping every item as you set it aside. Then, dust off the counter with a dry cloth to remove any lint. 

Spray the sink, faucet and counters with a disinfectant cleaner, letting it sit as recommended to zap bacteria, then rinse. 

Tackle mineral buildup on faucets with a toothbrush and baking soda; for tougher spots, vinegar-soaked paper towels are your best friend. Remember to protect delicate counters with cling wrap. 

Pro Tip

Rub wax paper on chrome fixtures after cleaning to help repel water spots all week long.

Toilets: Behind, In and Out

Behind the toilet, spray your favorite cleaner then use a dish wand filled with water to scrub and rinse. Then pre-clean the toilet’s exterior with a dry microfiber cloth to remove grime so your disinfectant can work better. 

For the bowl, shut off the water valve, flush to empty, then apply cleaner. Scrub under the rim, along the sides, and into the drain, then turn the water back on and flush to rinse. 

Now, spray disinfectant on the tank, lid, seat, and pedestal then rinse with clean, fresh cloths—use a different one for each area. Once a month, remove the seat to deep clean around the hinges and combat hidden grime.

Polish the Mirrors

To reduce streaks when cleaning mirrors, give them a quick dusting first. For tall mirrors, use a clean microfiber mop to extend your cleaning reach. Keep them fog-free by buffing them with shaving foam after cleaning. 

Floors: The Final Frontier

Always vacuum or sweep immediately before mopping to avoid leaving streaks. Then, start mopping around the toilet and work your way out.  

With a string mop, use an S-pattern to lift away grime without spreading it. For microfiber mops, a W-pattern covers larger areas while taking advantage of leverage to get up dirt. 

Clean Your Equipment ASAP

Don’t let your cleaning equipment sit there breeding bacteria after you’ve finished cleaning the bathroom. 

• Cleaning brushes and dish wand: Rinse the sponge end in hot water then soak it in disinfectant for several minutes, rinse again and let it air dry.

• Cleaning rags: Launder separately in hot water. Tumble dry for 45 minutes or line-dry in bright sunlight for added disinfection.

• Toilet brush: Add disinfectant to the clean bowl and soak the brush head for 5 minutes. Then flush to rinse and prop the handle under the seat so the brush drip dries over the bowl. 

• Mop heads: Detach and wash with the cleaning rags. Or rinse, soak in disinfectant, rinse again and let them air dry.

Quick Tips to Keep Your Bathroom Clean

  • Run your exhaust fan for 15 minutes after showering to prevent mold.
  • Hang up towels after every use, so they don’t develop mildew.
  • Make storing things easy so your countertops stay clear. Use an open basket to hold cosmetics or hair products so you can just sweep them inside and put them in the cabinet after use.
  • Go over your counters, faucets, and toilet seats daily with a disinfecting wipe

Now that you know how to clean a bathroom efficiently without spreading germs, put your knowledge to use with my weekly bathroom cleaning checklist.

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  1. Great tips..in the old days most Mom’s taught their kids how to clean properly and thd girls always had home Ecs class and learned from that…Seems now the Mom’s just clean , kids are too busy doin other stuff..expecting some one else to clean for them… keep up the good job of giving tips and teaching the skills needed

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I wish they’d bring Home Ec back as a required subject in school. We all need to know how to cook for ourselves and keep our homes clean.

    2. Home ec class still exists, it’s just optional. If we’re going to bring back home ec, it doesn’t just need to be for girls, it needs to be for everyone. We’ve gotta stop this thing where the bulk of household work falls on girls.

    3. Katie Berry says:

      I could not agree more: learning to run a home is something everyone should know!

  2. Excellent tips. Very helpful!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Thank you!

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