Getting Started: The Great Bathroom Cleansing Ritual

retrochick.JPGIvy says:

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.


But seriously, cleaning your bathroom is a must. Where to get started with this disaster area?

First, remove all clothes, towels, and washcloths that are strewn about. Perhaps you’re the sort of person who never, ever lets dirty clothes go anywhere but the hamper. Or perhaps you’re like all my family members who like to drop their clothing right next to the hamper. Either way, if there is clothing in your bathroom, remove it.

Next, discard all trash in the bathroom. I normally empty the bathroom trash every week come trash day, but somehow little bits of trash tend to end up in odd places, like underneath cabinets and behind the toilet. I don’t always get those on trash day, so I gather up all that flotsam plus all the trash in the trashcan, and take it out.

Now, clear off your sink area. Yes, even the stuff that normally goes there. Just set it in the cabinet for now.

Then vacuum or sweep the floor and the bottom of your tub/shower. And dust anything that needs dusting. This concludes the “dry” portion of your bathroom cleaning experience. Let’s move on to the “wet” part.

Put your toilet bowl cleaner stuff around the rim of your toilet bowl and close up the toilet to let it soak in. I particularly like the extra caustic, super-chemical kinds of toilet cleaners. Your mileage may vary, depending on how green you are. I’m pretty green, but when it comes to toilet cleaning, gimme chemicals.

Then do your shower. For this, I like a vinegar and water 50/50 mix. Nothing removes soap scum quite as well as plain ol’ white vinegar and water. Just spray and wipe. Don’t forget your shower curtain, spray and wipe that bad boy, too.

Next, move on to your sink, mirror, and other things that need to be sprayed and wiped. Not your toilet, not yet. That comes last. I have a flat plastic scraper (like the ones Pampered Chef gives you to clean off your stoneware) that I use to scrape off toothpaste yuck. Don’t forget to clean behind and under your faucet!

On to the toilet! A little scrubbing here, a little scrubbing there, and voila! Clean toilet.

Finally, mop. And then you’re done with the bathroom and can move on to more fun tasks, like laundry.

And that concludes the bathroom cleaning. Whew! Wasn’t that fun?!


  1. Mrs. J on July 9, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    Great post, bathroom cleaning for me is much more structured now. I used to make all the common mistakes: going too long between cleanings, not keeping it tidy daily, and when the big cleaning finally started, I always went way overboard and spent all day in that cursed bathroom to kinda make up for the earlier neglect.
    But let it be noted that I live in my late mother’s home, who has always smoked inside and never cleaned in there for 22 years. We already live here 5 years now, the first 4 being me mainly coping with loss and inheritance. So every time I clean windows and corners or deepclean a surface, the old nicotine/dust/cooking grease keeps appearing out of nowhere. Thanks to daily clutter fighting, the chore chart and all the cleaning advice for specific items it is now mainly under control. Hardly any spiders, dust or old nicotine anymore!

    But I have to say, WOW smoke really seeps deep into every porous surface and every crack! Even the bathroom was no exception… Every week the deepclean goes faster and is less gross than the last one, but there still are surfaces I wouldn’t touch at gunpoint. At least with these methods there’s definite, constant and substantial improvement. Let’s make life more livable!

  2. Pat Krewe on September 14, 2012 at 12:44 am

    I don’t know about other people, but I get so overwhelmed when it comes to cleaning (probably because I go so long between cleanings). Having lists like this help me a great deal to just look at and say “ok let’s do step 1, ok done” etc. I used to use a great a href=””rel=”nofollow”>house cleaning service</a>, but alas I can no longer afford it and now must learn to fend for myself with articles like this.

  3. evalewis on July 11, 2012 at 6:44 am

    Always begin your shade deliberations by asking yourself what feelings you want to stimulate in a particular area. Think about the objective of the area. For instance, bathrooms should be vacations for cleansing traditions. In that light, what shades come to mind? Relaxing, doldrums, veggies, frothy white, or your child years bathroom color? Imagine a California spring, exotic lagoon, or hill fountain. Increase on your happy reminiscences by adding shades that work for you. In comparison to bathrooms, a dining room’s objective is to collect the family together to share meals. Specialists have proven that meals actually preferences better when provided in rooms designed in “food” shades, such as whites, veggies, brown colors, yellow, and pink.

  4. Heidi Lore on March 16, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    We just moved into a new apartment, and the last tenant wasn't very clean at all. What is the best shower cleaner out there? Above mentioned vinegar water… will that work for tile grout? What works the best and doesn't stink up the entire house. ; )

  5. Ted Hust on February 13, 2011 at 10:16 am

    We use vinegar to clean out our shower heads as well. Just put some vinegar in a plastic gag, rubber band it around the shower head, and within an hour or so, it's as clean and gunk free as can be. No one wants to shower with crappy water pressure. I had recommended to my wife using greenworks or something and she told me to use the vinegar and I couldn't believe how well it worked.

  6. evagrainy on January 13, 2011 at 10:02 am

    Household experience has always acted like a hobby to me. Every few years, I simply adore making changes around the house, so as the entire family feel comfortable in it. I must admit I went <a rel="follow" href="">Kitchen Cabinet Refacing not only for the fun of it, but because our newest member of the family, a rotweiller puppy knocked them down along as his sharp teeth went growing. As for the bathroom, beyond the ritual mentioned above, I enjoy changing accessories frequently. I buy new plants that feel free to grow in humid conditions, I like to fit colors for towels and shelf accessories, candles, and so on.

  7. bathroom suites guru on December 20, 2010 at 6:31 am

    Thanks for the white vinegar tip. Its much better than some of the expensive cleaners I have,

  8. lilly on September 6, 2010 at 1:30 am

    ya bathrooms r always stinky wene i do them 4 work in the house im 14gtg blog ya later !

    • HeatherSolos on September 6, 2010 at 6:14 am

      Thank you for stopping by, Lily. The good news is once you do the deep clean the next clean is a whole lot easier. The bad news is, you have to do it or you\’ll next clean will have to be another deep clean. Hang in there!

  9. Keeping it Real | Home Ec 101 on December 17, 2009 at 5:01 am

    […] with any hidden messes she uncovers. I glanced up and realized that the fan has been missed in the great bathroom cleansing ritual, probably since we bought the house. So today I am here to tell you that a broom is quite an […]

  10. Mark Farrel on September 14, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Great post and will be including it on our blog as we have been looking for something fun Bathroom related to include. Its informative to.

  11. Amy on July 15, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    I searched the site and could not find exactly how a toilet cleaning is done. Besides the obvious-Outside first: top, sides, botton 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. Thanks so much!

    • The Chatty Housewife on November 3, 2009 at 1:53 pm

      I tried that once when I ran out of regular bathroom cleaner and it took the paint off my toilet seat. Beware!

      • Julz on May 3, 2011 at 4:39 am

        I bow down humbly in the presence of such gertaness.

  12. Nancy on June 14, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    Thanks! I just ported this to a Word Document. Next it will go in a notebook so I can get on top of this cleaning stuff. So, How often do you do this?

    • Badbadivy on June 14, 2009 at 3:20 pm

      Ideally, every week. That said, life often gets in the way and I get mine done about every 2 weeks or so.

  13. Vera on June 14, 2009 at 11:43 am

    Thanks. I needed that.

  14. Lenetta @ Nettacow on June 13, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    Here’s a question for you – I discovered the underside of my toilet tank is covered in MOLD. So far, I’ve just been flapping my hands and saying EEW. What can I do to actually take care of it?

    As an aside, I know why it happens. There is no central air vent in our bathroom. Flush toilet, fills with cold water, warm room, steamy shower – I’m not surprised. Just grossed out. Halp!

    • Badbadivy on June 13, 2009 at 5:47 pm

      I’d make a weak bleach and water solution (I’d fill a bucket about half full and then pour in a dollop of bleach) and then wash the underside of the toilet with a rag dipped in the bleach water. If you have a fan in the bathroom, I’d run it just in case of fumes.

  15. Rina on June 13, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    You can also throw your shower curtain in the washing machine and just hang to drip dry!!

  16. Diaper Cakes Becca on June 13, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    This is actually one of my FAVORITE chores. A little work can really make a world of difference. I also use a vinegar mix and some newspaper on the mirrors and windows PLUS if you live in a place prone to any type of bugs (we can get earwigs out here in AZ) I pour some down the drain, too, and let it soak. I wash my bathmatts, too, ’cause feet can be FUNKY FUNKY FUNKY.

  17. Mrs Green on June 13, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    Yep, I hear you on this one! My two ‘must have clean’ areas are the kitchen and the bathroom – once they are done, I can cope with any amount of clutter or disorganisation. I have to say, you almost made the cleaning sound like fun LOL!

    I get through the chores by playing my favourite music and I also have a spray bottle with my favourite essential oils scents in there – I use this to spray on surfaces – it NEARLY makes cleaning enjoyable 🙂

    Like Amy, I do a bit of a Flylady ‘swish and swipe’ first thing in the morning – it helps to prevent the gunk building up.
    Nicole – your guest bathroom is really pretty; I love the blue and beige tones 🙂

    • Denim on May 2, 2011 at 8:37 pm

      Now we know who the sesinble one is here. Great post!

  18. Amy on June 13, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    In addition to all of that, I also clean the hair out of the brushes and combs as I’m returning them to the vanity. When I used a curling iron and hairspray I would take a moment to clean the gunk off of my curling iron – it makes them last longer if they don’t have a half inch thick crust of old hair and hairspray on them! I also wipe down the paper cup dispenser, the soap dispenser, and other countertop items that get spotty, and I put the toothbrush holder through the dishwasher. Ours gets really nasty (combination of hard water and toothpaste gunk, in spite of how much we rinse them before we put them back). Sometimes I use CLR on it – that works really well.

    The other major bathroom tip I have is this – make wiping down the counter and the back of the toilet part of your own morning routine – that way it doesn’t get really nasty between cleanings!! For bonus clean points, swish the toilet bowls with regular liquid soap (leftover shampoo or body wash that no one’s using anymore – or the ends of bottles that get neglected instead of used) when you get dressed, too.

    • Kellies Mom on April 26, 2011 at 1:19 pm

      What do you use to get the gunk off the curling irons? Have a beautiful BROWN one myself.

  19. Nicole on June 13, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    I just did this to both the master bath and the gues bath… well as good as I can anyway. I totally agree with you on the super chemicals for the toilet, but I’m prenant and hubby gets upset (overprotecive first time dad LOL) if I use too many chemicals so I left the serious “toilet scrubbing” to him. Instead, I just picked up all the laundry, garbage, washed the rugs, mopped the floors and scrubbed a few things that were really getting to me with some “light” chemicals, and reorganized a few things. I even redecorated our guest bathroom (pic at the bottom :

    • Badbadivy on June 13, 2009 at 5:23 pm

      Nicole, it looks great! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • Nancy on June 14, 2009 at 3:05 pm

      If hubby wants to clean toilets, more power to him and just get out of the way.

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