The Chore You Want to Ignore: How to Clean Your Bathroom

by Kim Causey
woman wearing yellow rubber gloves sprays cleaner on to a bathroom faucet

Cleaning Your Bathroom at a Glance

  • Step 1: Clean bathtub and shower
  • Step 2: Wipe sink and counters
  • Step 3: Polish mirror
  • Step 4: Scrub toilet
  • Step 5: Mop floors
  • Step 6: Wash shower curtain and bath mat

Almost everyone is guilty of neglecting their bathroom from time to time. It’s simple enough to vacuum and dust the rest of your home, but who wants to roll up their sleeves and actually get their hands dirty? Experts say you should get in the habit of cleaning your bathroom once a week, but if you’ve gone a little (or a lot) longer than that, it might be time for a deep clean.

This May Also Interest You: How to Clean Shower Doors

Before you go at it, make sure you’re working in a space with proper ventilation. Bathrooms are small, and you’re probably going to use some harsh chemicals. So, pop open a window. Here’s how to get every aspect of your bathroom squeaky clean.


  • Store-bought cleaners: Clorox, CLR, Scrubbing Bubbles, etc.
  • Homemade cleaners: vinegar, baking soda, borax, etc.
  • Sponge or cloth
  • Scrub brush
  • Broom or vacuum
  • Mop

How to Clean a Shower or Bathtub

Your shower and tub area likely gathers a lot of soap scum and hard water stains. It can also be a breeding ground for mold and mildew.

Set it and forget it: Spray a hefty amount of shower cleaner onto the area, then let it stand while you clean the rest of your bathroom. This gives the cleaner time to penetrate the gunk on your shower or tub.

Usually, you can spray this off using the showerhead. Should you need to clean a little deeper, try using a scrubbing pad or sponge to break down scum and scale. If your shower or tub surround is tiled, use a grout or tile brush to get in all the cracks and corners. Just be careful not to scratch the surface while cleaning. If you have a fiberglass shower or one with glass doors, clean these surfaces with a non-abrasive cleaner. You can use an all-purpose bathroom cleaner or a homemade option like vinegar and water or baking soda.

You can also deep clean your showerhead. Put equal parts hot water and vinegar in a plastic bag and place the bag over your showerhead so the sprayer holes are fully submerged. Fasten with a rubber band. Let your showerhead soak for up to 30 minutes. If you have brass or nickel fixtures, shorten to 15 minutes.

How to Clean a Sink

Sinks can get nasty fast. Globs of toothpaste and strands of hair are unsightly, especially in a white sink. To clean, use an all-purpose cleaner to wipe down the sink, faucet, drain and vanity countertop. A cleaner with bleach in it will also sanitize the area. If you’re not one for harsh solutions, use a half-and-half mix of vinegar and water instead. Take this time to snake your drain, too.

How to Clean a Mirror

Being just above the sink, your mirror is often subject to the same abuse. The best way to get a streak-free shine is to use a glass cleaner and a rag or paper towel. Spray the entire mirror with the cleaning solution. After you let it sit for a moment, wipe it off in a zigzag motion starting in one of the top corners.

Glass-cleaning wipes or paste can also be used. If you notice streaks or lint, try a microfiber cloth instead of paper towel. The vinegar-water mixture can be used here, too.

To clear a cloudy mirror, smear shaving cream on it. Let it sit for a few minutes, then wipe clean with paper towels.

How to Clean a Toilet

No one wants to clean a toilet, but everyone wants to use a clean one. Bleach is key. Spray plain bleach or a use cleaning solution with bleach in it to really disinfect your commode. Work from the base of the toilet up to the top, making sure you get both sides of the lid and seat. Pour a toilet-bowl cleaner or ½ cup of bleach into the bowl and scrub with a long-handled toilet brush. If you have a stubborn ring, scrub the stains with a pumice stone. Allow the cleaner to sit for a while — the longer, the better — before you flush.

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How to Clean a Bathroom Floor

Use a broom to sweep around the outer edges of your bathroom first, then work your way toward the center. Make sure you sweep well around and behind the toilet. You can also use a vacuum with a hose or brush attachment.

Once you’ve swept everything, it’s time to mop. Fill the bucket with warm water and ¼ cup vinegar. Soak the mop and wring out as much water as you can. Mop in small sections, going over them several times before rinsing, wringing and starting on a new section. Work toward the door so you don’t step on the wet floor. When you’re done, let the floor dry on its own, or lay a large towel on the floor and dry it yourself. Make sure to wring out the mop one last time and hang it to dry as well. For a no-wring option, try a mop with a microfiber or disposable pad.

How to Clean Tile Floors

You can also mop tile floors, but the grout adds another step. You can buy a grout cleaner or make your own with two parts baking soda and one part water. Use a toothbrush or grout brush to apply the solution to your grout. Let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse or wipe it away. Applying a grout sealer can help protect your grout from future stains.

Finishing Touches

For the cherry on top, throw your shower curtain and bath mats in the washing machine. The same goes for your towels. Replace the shower curtain liner if it's moldy.

How Often Should You Clean?

Keep your bathroom clean on a daily basis to avoid big messes down the line — like a mold or mildew problem. Plus, it never hurts to keep this area of your house disinfected. Wipe the sink and counters after every use. For glass shower doors, use a daily shower spray or squeegee after you shower. Weekly, clean the shower, tub and toilet. You can vacuum in your bathroom when you vacuum the rest of your house. Deep clean every surface in your bathroom at least once a month. Wash your shower curtains and rugs every other month.

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