October 16, 2009

Seasonal Cleaning: Bathroom

Here is how I deep clean a bathroom. This is NOT how I clean every week; in fact, I don't clean every week. I only deep clean twice a year... sometimes only once (if I happen to be pregnant or have a newborn... which has been quite often!). If you start with a really clean bathroom, then maintenance is easier.

Depending on how many people use a bathroom, it either gets a quick wipe down daily or every few days. At the old house, when we only had one bathroom for all of us, I wiped the bathroom down every night. At this house, the master bath doesn't need a daily wipe but the boys bathroom does! Just a couple minutes each day spot cleaning helps me to stretch cleaning the bathrooms out longer. I only really clean the master bath once a month or so. The boys bathroom is done more often but still not weekly. Deep cleaning once or twice a year in exchange for cleaning less often the rest of the year works for me!

I like to get this whole process done at once but if you don't have time for that you can do a little bit each day over the course of a week. As far as this challenge goes, you have one week before I post the next room! If you have more than one bathroom, you can try and get them all done or move on to a new room and go back to any remaining rooms at the end. I made up a less detailed printable bathroom cleaning checklist you can take with you, if you are interested click here. Here we go...

Fall Cleaning: Bathroom

Prep work: remove all dirty laundry, items that don't belong in the bathroom, and trash.

1. Remove all towels, rugs, the shower curtain, and the window curtains and wash them. You can also wash the shower liner, even the cheap ones usually survive a wash or two (just don't dry them!).

2. Take everything off the walls. Clean or dust each item as you remove them. Set them aside for now, do not hang them back up.

3. Dust the ceiling first, then dust or wash the walls. Use a rag or an extending duster. A regular (dry) Swiffer also works nicely. Dusting is usually enough except where hairspray or spray gel lands and the area around the light switch, those areas should be washed with hot soapy water.

ceiling first.....then walls
(ignore ugly wallpaper border!)

4. Remove all the (removable) parts of the light fixture(s). Wash glass shades in hot soapy water and dry. Wipe down the remaining parts of the fixture that cannot be removed.

5. Wash door (front and back), door knob, and frame. Don't forget the top of the door and the door frame.

6. Dust or wash blinds.

7. Wash window inside and out. Don't forget the sill and frame. Brush window screen with a dry, stiff brush. (This is a tip my mom passed along from a professional. Getting screens wet stretches them out over time.)

8. One at a time (or all at once if you really need to reorganize) empty each cupboard and drawer. Wipe down shelves and insides of drawers. Empty and wipe out storage containers or baskets. Return only items in good condition that you use on a regular basis. If you don't use it often find somewhere else to store it. Donate any items in good condition that you don't use anymore. Toss any junk.

empty cabinet........cleaned and refilled........clean drawer........garbage & stuff to put elsewhere

9. Wipe down the outside of all cabinets and drawers including the handles.

10. Empty medicine cabinet. Wipe down shelves. Toss all expired products. Return remaining items to cabinet in an organized fashion. Use storage containers or small baskets to group like items. Group meds by person or type (example: pain relievers, allergy meds).

11. Wipe exhaust fan and heating vents.

12. Wipe towel racks, toilet paper holder, shower rod, and light switch plates.

13. Wipe mirror, don't forget the top rim.

14. Remove and clean all items from the counter. Clean counter and sink(s). Clean around the faucet really well. Use a q-tip or old toothbrush if necessary. If you have a lot of scum built up around the faucet use a small flat head screwdriver to gently scrape it away. If the faucet handle is gross, pry off the handle cover and remove it to clean. Clean around drain really well, using old toothbrush as necessary. Return only a few items to the counter. Daily wipe down is easier if your counters are clear. If you must keep some items out at least put them in some type of storage container so you can move them all at once to wipe. If you drain runs slow you might want to take care of that now too (to help keep your sink clean).

15. Clean shower/tub. Walls, floor, faucet handles, shower head, around the drain, and any shelves. Remove any items not used on a daily basis. Clean the doors if you have those (and if you do I feel for you! I hate cleaning shower doors. In fact, if you have them I suggest hanging a shower liner inside the doors so you don't have to scrub them!) If you have mildew, bleach is your friend! Mix a 10:1 water/bleach solution and spray.

16. Clean toilet, inside and out. Don't forger to wipe the tank and the handle. Remove those little caps on the sides, clean them and under them. If necessary (if you have boys it's necessary), remove seat and clean underneath where seat attaches. Use an old toothbrush to get into crevices. For a link on how to clean a toilet click here. If you have little boys, prevention is helpful. The potty shield was the best $20 I ever spent!

16. Wash trash can inside and out.

17. Return all clean items to walls. Put light fixture back together. Rehang towels. Rehang clean liner and shower curtain. Rehang window treatment.

18. Sweep and scrub the floor. Sorry, no mop this time. Get on your hands and knees with a rag so you can wash the baseboards as you go. If there are black scuff marks or sticky hairspray residue use a magic eraser.

19. Once floor is dry, return rugs.

20. Stand back and admire your clean bathroom. In fact, take a picture and post it on your blog!

Want to keep it looking this great? Here's how in about 5 minutes per day:
  • Hang towels immediately, never put them on the floor. Ever.
  • Put dirty clothes in the hamper, never leave them on the floor. Ever.
  • Put stuff away when you are done with it, don't just leave it on the counter. If you don't have a place to "put it away" make one!
  • Empty trash daily*.
  • Keep a simple cleaner in the bathroom with a few rags and do a quick wipe down of mirror spots and counter daily.*
  • Give the toilet a quick brush and wipe the rim/outside last with the rag you used on the sink before tossing it in the laundry.
If you have unexpected guests you can excuse yourself and go run through this routine real quick before they have to use your bathroom! :)

* Have your kids do these things as part of their chore routine. We have a three year old emptying trash and a five year old wipe the counter! Kids may not do a perfect job on wipe down, but the spots they miss today will not be the same spots they miss tomorrow and the overall effect is a fairly clean counter! I make my own "all purpose" cleaner that is safe for kids to use. Or make your own "disinfecting wipes" there are tons of "recipes" available online.

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