Cleaning The Bathroom: A Home-Ec 101 Guide

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If guests are coming over the bathroom is the first room I head to with cleaning supplies. It definitely helps to give it some attention weekly, and once I met a woman that wiped hers down daily so she never had heavy cleaning in the bathroom. Whatever your choice is – or if it’s a bit more of a random thing like my bathroom – these articles have lots of good bathroom cleaning advice for you. Click on the title to read the complete post.

Bathroom Cleaning 101

Thursdays mean clean bathrooms here on Home-Ec 101. Don’t be ashamed, we all start somewhere and not everyone’s parental units taught them basic life skills like cleaning toilets.

Hard Water Spots in the Shower

I’ve always hated cleaning shower walls – they just seem so impossible to clean. And now we have a shower stall with clear doors that shows sports from our hard water in DAYS (even with squeegee-ing after every shower).

Hard Water Deposits in the Toilet Bowl

After we moved in, to our horror, two of our toilets were gross! I have been able to remove what I can see after repeatedly cleaning. But there is still a smell. Second toilet, the bowl is black.

How To Choose Absorbent Towels

Is there any way to tell when you buy a bath towel (or any towel for that matter) if it will be absorbent? I’ve purchased many 100% cotton towels over the years.

How To Clean A Grimy Bathtub and Surround

I have a 25 year white tub surround that has accumulated a darkened tint due to left over scum even after cleaning it often enough for this very busy mom and full time art teacher.

How to Clean Up After a Toilet Overflow

So I have all the towels to mop up the water and um mess, from the toilet overflow itself. Then I have to wash the towels, floor, and toilet. And then I feel the need to run a bleach cycle in the washing machine, just in case…

How to Clean the Bathtub

The phenomenon of which you speak is the dreaded bathtub ring. Every time someone takes a bath, all of the dead skin cells, grease, and oils wash off their body and float in a layer on top of the water. Add soap to the mix and theses lovely little particles are trapped in a sticky residue that clings to the side of the tub.

How to Clean a Very Dirty Bathtub

My bathtub is so funky, it makes James Brown look stodgy. Especially since he’s dead. But I digress. The yuck in my tub is so nasty, I’m afraid to take a shower, and my co-workers are starting to complain. Help me, Luke Skywalker Home-Ec 101, you’re my only hope!

How to Clean Tile

We just moved into a home with white mosaic tile in the bathroom.  The grout is sealed.  How do I clean it and what was I thinking?

How to Clean a Toilet

…how a toilet cleaning is done. Besides the obvious-  Outside first: top, sides, bottom then  Inside: scrub.  I have read you can use toilet bowl cleaner, diluted to clean the whole toilet. One must wear gloves of course. Please advise.

Toilet Cleaning Tips

Cleaning toilets is one of those adulthood sucks kind of things. It’s not fun and there’s no big reward for having a clean toilet.  Most of you know that I rarely recommend convenience products. This is one of those rare exceptions.

How to Clean the Bathroom

Getting your house back in shape absolutely requires that you clean the bathroom. Let me tell you, you could have mounds of laundry piled everywhere and a spotless bathroom and I totally wouldn’t think you’re gross. But make me use a dirty bathroom and I’ll take pictures and post them here on Home Ec 101 with the Home Ec 101 Seal of Disapproval. Just kidding.

How to Clean Cultured Marble

First, we have a relatively new shower whose walls are cultured marble. What is the best way to give them the occasional clean to remove soap scum, etc? Second, in the same shower, we have sliding glass doors. While doing a deep clean yesterday, I discovered that there is a fairly well established colony of mold under the railing…..

How to Clean a Jetted Tub

Help! I’ve got funky stuff coming out of my jetted tub. I turned it on the other night and bits of black sludge ruined my bath. How do I clean out the jets?

How to Get Rid of Hairspray Residue

How do you get stuck on hairspray off walls and a cheap linoleum bathroom floor?

How to Get Rid of Pink Shower Mold

We keep getting these pale pinkish stains on the shower curtains and at the base of the tub… Could it be mold?

How to Clean Moldy Shower Tile

What is the best way to clean that black yuk that tends to grow in the corners of the shower? I have a ceramic tile shower and I have used every mixture I can think of to rid the shower of the black stuff from straight Clorox to the gimmicks from “As Seen On TV” and nothing seems to work. Help!

How To Remove Hard Water Spots From Glass

…the previous owner clearly had never heard of cleaning the shower. I tried using “Kaboom” on the tiles and glass doors, but it seemed to have no effect. The scum on the doors is truly gross.

How to Repair Stained Grout

Yes, you can make permanently stained grout look white again! I want to warn you the solution is a little labor intensive -especially in a large room like a kitchen, but the payoff is high.

Micro Fiber Miracle Cloth: Review

It comes with 4 cloths, one big one, 2 medium ones, and one small one for optical stuff. The box claims you will “breeze through everyday cleaning chores without chemicals.”

The Great Debate: Where To Store The Towels

Help me solve my great marital debate. Ever since we moved to a house with a linen closet, we’ve been having this debate a few times a year.

Why Do Hard Water Spots Come Back?

No matter what I do, the hard water spots on my shower and tub keep coming back?  What am I doing wrong?

Have a questions about cleaning your bathroom that hasn’t been answered? Send your questions to

guide to chemical cleaners

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how to clean appliances

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Fixing Scratches in an Enameled Cast Iron Sink

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Dear Home Ec 101,

I have a fairly new (less than 1 year old) cast iron Kohler sink, it is the shiny black one, the manual recommended using the Kohler cast iron sink cleaner and I have used it regularly and I have used a plastic mat on the bottom of the sink, to try to prevent scratches. Yet I have some minor scratches. Is there any way to safely remove the scratches from my sink without harming the enamel?

Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Again I LOVE your site and by the way I am hooked on Method products!! Love them!!

Scratched in Scanlon
Heather says:

Take a deep breath, I have good news for you, dollars to donuts those are not actually scratches in your sink. I highly doubt you were sitting there with a chisel and hammer purpose trying to gouge your sink. That’s pretty much what it takes to mar the finish of a quality enamel finish. What you are actually seeing is called a “pot mark” and it’s just a scuff from the sink taking a tiny bit of metal off of your cookware.

It’s a lot like when somebody just barely grazes your car in a crowded parking lot and leaves a bit of their paint on your car. A bit of buffing is all it takes to get rid of their carelessness and it’s pretty much all that is needed here, too.

Go ahead and use the recommended cleaner, but find a cork, perhaps from last night’s wine-braised pot roast? Apply the cleaner full strength to the scratch on the cast iron sink and then use the cork to gently scrub the marks away and your sink will look good as new!

Pot marks will likely become a source of irritation over the years, but at least you now know that you have not inadvertently scratched your shiny, new sink. It’s going to look good as new for a long, long time.

Good luck and please let me know how it turns out.

Oh and thanks for letting me know about Method, I’ll be sure to pass that along.

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Quick tips: shiny sink redux

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I got this in the mailbag this morning and wanted to share with you readers:

Dear Ivy,
You know there’s more than one way to shine a sink. :-) I use the FlyLady method, which although time consuming, produces a wonderful shine on my stainless steel sink.
First, you fill the sink with warm (not hot!) water and add 1/3 cup bleach. Let this soak for 3 hours. 3 shall be the number of hours and the number of hours shall be 3. Four shall it not be and five is right out. When the three hours is up, you drain the sink and dry it with a towel or wash cloth. Lastly, you spray it with regular Windex and buff to a high shine. After that, unless you spill something really ucky in your sink and get it nasty again, all you have to do is Windex and buff.

I<3 shiny sinks

mailbag.JPG Ivy says:

What a great idea! Fly Lady is not my personal style (I can not handle shoes in the house. Or 42 emails per day.) but she has some wonderful ideas and this one is great! While we’re on the subject of bleach, I wanted to remind our readers to never mix bleach and ammonia.

Have you got some quick tips to share with us? Let us know!

How to Clean Corian

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Dear Home-Ec 101:
I have Corian counter tops and sink. The sink is stained because my family never cleans it. I try to clean it, but even with a special Corian cleaner or bleach, I cannot get the stains out after several cleanings.

The counter tops are clean, but dull. I tried a counter top polish and it did nothing. What am I doing wrong?
Corian Despair

how to clean corian


Heather says:

before pic of white kitchen sink

Before pic of white kitchen sink

My sink is similar to Corian and frankly, I’d rather have stainless steel. I feel your pain. My sink, like all Corian sinks has a matte finish, which means it is safe to use a mildly abrasive cleaner. As I’ve mentioned before, my favorite is Bar Keepers Friend.

I apply it to the stains and rub gently, but not in a circular motion (their rules, not mine). On occasion I have to use good, old-fashioned elbow grease.

after picture of white kitchen sink with a coat of wax

after picture of white kitchen sink with a coat of wax

To help keep my sink looking nice and temporarily avoid new stains I wax it on occasion. Yes, that’s right, Carnauba Wax, it’s food grade.

As far as your counters go, DuPont says you can use a mild abrasive to remove stains and restore the finish. I have laminate counters, but if I were trying to restore shine to what is supposed to be a semi-gloss, or glossy finish, I might try Pledge or waxing, in a hidden area. If you choose to use Pledge, occasionally remove the build-up with mineral spirits.

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How to have a shiny sink

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Dear Home Ec 101,

How in the world do you get your sink to stay so shiny?


Im in ur house, lookin @ ur sink

retrochick.JPGIvy says:

Get out of my house. Seriously, you’re creeping me out.

But while we’re here, I’ll go ahead and share my secrets to a super shiny sink. First, wash it out so any funky bits are gone. Dry it with a dry towel, and buff it a bit.

Now, here’s my secret: I whip out the Pledge, put a bit on a paper towel and buff to a shine. Not only does this make your sink shiny, but it helps keep it shiny, which is always a bonus.

Caveat: I’ve only ever had a stainless steel sink, so if your sink is made of other materials, do a test patch first.

Check that shiny sink, yo:

shiny stainless steel sink

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