How to Properly Clean and Disinfect Your Bathroom

After the kitchen—which should be the cleanest, most germ-free room in your home—the bathroom should come as a very close second. After all, it’s where you clean yourself up! Because of the presence of steam, unpleasant odors, bacteria, and water, your bathroom is susceptible to invisible, deeper levels of uncleanliness and germs that will take more than just basic spray-and-wipe cleaning. Read on for the lowdown on how to properly clean and disinfect your bathroom.

Sink and Mirror

  1. Move all the items on the counter to one side or, even better, temporarily place in a bin. It’s so much easier to clean everything when there’s nothing in the way.
  2. Clean the mirror first, using a mix of equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Give it a good shake, then spray onto a flat-weave microfiber cloth (paper towels and towels will leave lint and spread dust). Spraying the liquid onto the mirror isn’t always the best unless you move at Superman speed—the liquid runs off the mirror or pools in the corners of the frame. Wipe the mirror in a back-and-forth motion and get all the edges; you may have to rub a bit harder if there’s dried-on debris such as toothpaste.
  3. Spray a non-bleach antibacterial bathroom cleaner on the fixtures, sinks, and counter, and wipe off with a sponge or microfiber cloth. 
  4. If your chrome fixtures have water spots rub a half-lemon over these and then wipe dry. Yay, shiny!
  5. Is the drain emitting a funky odor? Fill your kettle with water and bring to a boil, then bring to your sink. Pour about a cup of boiling water down the drain. Pour a 1/2-cup of baking soda, followed by a mix of 1 cup water and 1 cup vinegar. Put a towel over the drain and leave for 10 minutes (go clean another part of the bathroom). Slowly pour the rest of the boiling water down the drain. This will refresh your drain and get rid of the stink, and as a bonus it will probably open up a slow-running drain.
  6. Gunk stuck in the creases of your fixtures? Use dental floss to get in those tight areas, then spray and wipe off any goo that comes off.
  7. Before you return each item back to the counter, give it a good wipe-down with a clean cloth.

Shower and Tub

  1. Again, move all the items out of the shower and tub area (hair care bottles, soap stands, loofahs, etc.).
  2. Using the same bathroom cleaner, spray down all the surfaces of your shower and tub, including the shower track and door, fixtures, and drains. Clean another area of the bathroom while you let the cleaner soak into the grime and soap scum (~10 minutes).
  3. Return to the shower or tub, and using a sponge and soft-bristled brush, wipe down all the surfaces and scrub the grout and corners thoroughly. If you’ve got some tough areas, these Mr. Clean Bath scrubbers are amazing.
  4. If you have a spray nozzle hose in the shower or tub, spray all the surfaces in a side-to-side motion, starting at the top. That’ll get everything you’ve just cleaned off down the drain! Use a squeegee for an extra sparkle.
  5. Is your shower plastic liner looking grim and moldy? Throw it in the washing machine with a few old towels (helps to scrub them) and detergent, and wash in the warm cycle. Hang it back up to dry and it’ll look (and smell!) much better!
  6. If your shower head has build-up and mold, remove it and let it soak in a bag or bowl of vinegar while you clean the shower. Remove from its soak and use an old toothbrush or cloth to remove gunk, then give it a good rinse before reattaching it. 
  7. Does the grout look discolored? Apply a paste made out of 3/4 cup baking soda and 1/4 cup bleach to the grout, and let it sit for 30 minutes. Scrub with an old toothbrush and rinse. 
  8. As you return items to the shower/tub area, wipe underneath bottles and stands—these areas tend to get slimy and collect mildew.

Toilet

  1. Lift up the cover and seat, and generously spray or squirt toilet cleaner into the bowl, making sure to get under the rim as much as possible. Leave for a few minutes to let the antibacterial ingredients do their job. 
  2. Use a toilet brush to scrub the area above and below the water line, getting under the rim as best as you can. Flush, and let the bowl refill. Rinse the toilet brush in the clean water, return it to its stand, and flush once more.
  3. Spray the seat, cover, the lid and sides of the tank, flush handle, and the area behind the seat. Wipe down thoroughly with an absorbent cloth.
  4. Spray the areas beneath the bowl, and all sides of the stand. Wipe down thoroughly with an absorbent cloth.

Vent

  1. Use a vacuum brush attachment to vacuum the dust built up on vent’s grill.
  2. If it’s quite dusty, the interior is likely even more dusty. Use this guide on how to carefully and throughly clean your bathroom exhaust vent.

Floor

  1. Remove any rugs, waste bins, or laundry baskets from the room—expose as much of the floor as you can. 
  2. Use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe down baseboards and tricky corners and edges, such as the ones where the tub/shower/toilet meets the floor.
  3. Use the same antibacterial spray cleaner and spray down your floors, then mop or wipe dry. Or opt for a steam mop
  4. If your grout needs extra attention, follow #7 under “Shower and Tub”.
  5. Return all the items to their places, taking care to wipe down anything that is dusty.

How often should the bathroom be cleaned?

It really depends. If you’ve got kids, once a week is probably necessary. A couple of fairly neat and clean adults? Every couple of weeks would suffice. What it really depends on is how you treat the bathroom in between cleanings. 

Tips on maintaining the bathroom in between major cleanings:

  • Use a squeegee in the shower to keep the door, walls, and any surfaces drier and less likely to get grimy from standing water.
  • Give the plastic shower liner a good shake once you’re done, and pull the curtain all the way out once you’ve stepped out—this lets that plastic liner fully dry and less likely to get moldy.
  • Keep clutter to a minimum. Get everyone in the habit of hanging up their towels so they dry and don’t get that mildew-y smell. Keep dirty clothes off the bathroom floor. Place items you use back where they belong, so the counter isn’t cluttered up with various items (a countertop organizer helps, as well as under-sink storage).
  • Every few days, use a dampened cleaning cloth and wipe down the sink fixtures and counters to keep water spots and grime at bay.
  • Keep the toilet from getting icky by periodically using the toilet brush to scrub around the water line, and wiping down the seat (underneath, too), rim, and back of toilet with a flushable antibacterial wipe. If you’ve got males in your home, give the floor area around the toilet a wipe-down with these every couple days.

How wonderful it is to get clean in a clean bathroom!