How to get a Really Clean Bathroom (without asphyxiating yourself in the process)

Everyone knows how to clean a bathroom, right? Just grab your aerosol can of mega-disinfectant, spray everything in sight, wipe with a paper towel, swish the toilet with a brush, and shine the mirror with a fragranced blue liquid, and you’re done.

Perfectly clean. Or is it?

In addition to the sizable amount of grime left behind by this method, numerous toxic chemicals are left on the surfaces of your fixtures for hours or days. Not to mention all the dangerous vapors you had to inhale as you sprayed those products.

What if we cleaned our dishes this same way; some disinfectant spray and a paper towel for all the silverware and glasses after a party? Yuk, I’m not sticking that in my mouth. Although I never plan to put my mouth on my toilet, the same concept holds true: a soapy water wash is a cleaner clean.

It’s time for a new paradigm in bathroom clean.

A non-toxic clean:

  • Isn’t complicated, you’ll use items already in your kitchen
  • Can be much more affordable than using standard chemical products
  • Means you will remove the grime and odors, not cover them with disinfectants and fragrances

Read my post on Washing the Bathroom to get a blow-by-blow (albeit mundane) how-to on getting a really clean bathroom.

Step 3: Wash Vanity and Sink

  • Respray vanity area and faucet with vinegar spray. Using your thoroughly rinsed rag, scrub counter and backsplash tiles, paying close attention to edges and ledges that collect dust, and to any areas with dried on toothpaste or other gunk.
  • Sprinkle about 1/8 cup baking soda in the sink. Add water as necessary to make a thick paste
  • Scrub all areas of the sink
  • Scrub and wipe all the areas around the faucets to remove gunk and mineral buildup, rinsing your rag as necessary
  • Next, pull the drain stopper out of the drain. If you have not cleaned it for awhile this will be disgusting, however, it must be cleaned, and next week it won’t be so filthy. Pull off any hair balls with attached muck, and flush down toilet. Use the soda paste in the sink to scrub away all the black muck on the stopper, rinsing periodically as you go. Scrub the top of the drain, and wipe around the inside of it an inch or so.
  • Rinse the entire sink and replace stopper.
  • Retrieve those decorative countertop items, wipe them free of dust, and replace.
  • If you have oversprayed or splatter the mirror with water, rewipe those areas with a dry cloth.

Go to Step 4: Mop Floor.

Step 5: Wash Toilet

  • With floor rag, wash the exterior of the toilet tank, continuing to rinse the rag in the bucket.
  • Pay attention to the area where the toilet is bolted to the floor. This make require multiple scrubbings to come clean. Wash as far as you can reach around the back of the bowl, and in all crevices.
  • The baking soda which you left in and on the toilet at the end of your precleaning will help to deodorize and scour away mineral deposits. Wash the entire inside of bowl, using the rag and soda to scrub under the lip where stains are not visible from overhead. Flush, holding tightly to rag to rinse it. Repeat soda scrubbing if necessary. For tough mineral deposits, a scouring stick will do the trick; removing the water from the bowl may be necessary to allow it to work effectively.
  • Once the cleaning rag has cleaned the toilet/toilet area, it is fully soiled, and should be laundered and disinfected before it is used again for cleaning. The solution in the bucket should be discarded and the bucket washed out.

Go to Step 6: Hydrogen Peroxide Spray.

Step 9: Shower and Tub

I’m of the theory that showers are too difficult to clean from the outside, and I much prefer to clean mine while using it.

I keep a scrub brush and spray bottle of hydrogen peroxide in the shower for a quick all-over scrub of the walls, floor and crevices around the door. Periodically the floor needs a scouring, which requires baking soda and a little more elbow grease. A daily spray of hydrogen peroxide in areas prone to mold help keep it in check, as does an all-over squee-gee to remove water drops before you exit the shower.

Tubs that are used often will also need periodic scourings with baking soda and water. On a weekly basis, spray with vinegar water and wipe down with a damp rag, then rinse.

Washing the Bathroom

I admit. I was a skeptic when I read that vinegar and soda could really clean my bathroom. But after the learning curve, I’m convinced my bathroom is cleaner now than it was with those toxic chemicals.

What you will need:

  • 1 bucket
  • 1-2 clean dry rags, old washcloths work well
  • 1 spray bottle (don’t reuse a spray bottle that has had chemicals in it; some can react to non-toxic ingredients like vinegar to make deadly gases)
  • vinegar
  • water
  • baking soda
  • 1-2 paper towels
  • vacuum or broom
  • 3% hydrogen peroxide (optional)
  • essential oils fragrance spray (optional)

In the spray bottle, prepare a solution of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water. Vinegar is an excellent cleanser of grime, and a mild disinfectant as well. If the odor annoys you (or brings back childhood memories of Easter-Egg dying), rest assured the smell will dissipate when the vinegar dries.

Step 1: Preclean Toilet

Step 2: Preclean Vanity

Step 3: Wash Vanity and Sink

Step 4: Mop Floor

Step 5: Wash Toilet

Step 6: Hydrogen Peroxide Spray

Step 7: Natural Fragrance

Step 8: Launder Rags

Step 9: Tub and Shower