Brilliant Bathroom Cleaning Tricks You’ll Wish You’d Known Sooner
Tap the secret cleaning power of these ordinary household items for a bathroom that truly sparkles.
How to clean a bathroom using common household ingredients
Forget about purchased “miracle” products and complicated guides on how to clean a bathroom. Instead, stir three tablespoons (45mL) baking soda and 1/2 cup (125mL) household ammonia into two cups warm water. Once you’ve wiped the solution on and rinsed it off with a sponge or rag, bathroom surfaces will gleam.
Toilet cleaning made easy
Cleaning a toilet ranks somewhere around zero on the Pleasant Cleaning Tasks scale, but you have no choice but to tackle it. Here are a few ways to make the job easier and pocket the cost of specialty cleansers:
- Antacid Tablets: Drop two antacid tablets or one denture tablet containing baking soda into the bowl, let them dissolve for about 20 minutes, then scrub the bowl with a toilet brush.
- Mouthwash: Grab a bottle of mouthwash from the medicine cabinet and pour ¼ cup (60mL) into the bowl. After about half an hour, scrub the bowl with a toilet brush and flush.
- Cola: Empty a can of cola into the bowl and let sit for 30-60 minutes before scrubbing and flushing.
Get mildew-free shower curtains
The moist environment of a bathroom is just made for mildew, so don’t be surprised when it appears on your shower curtain. You can keep it at bay for a while, at least, by soaking curtains and liners in salt water before hanging them. Once they’re up and any mildew appears:
- Add ½ cup (125mL) borax and ½ cup (125mL) vinegar to two cups (500mL) water, pour onto the affected areas and let sit for 8 to 10 minutes. Then scrub with a sponge or cloth.
- Mix two tablespoons (30mL) washing-up liquid with one pint (500mL) household bleach and spray the solution on the curtain.
- Make a paste of vinegar and salt, and spread it onto the mildewed area. Let it dry for one to two hours and then clean it off with a damp cloth.
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Clean the ceiling
You’re probably so busy cleaning the fixtures and tiles in your bathroom that you don’t even think about the ceiling. Look up, but prepare yourself what you might see—mildew, spots, built-up grime. To clean it easily, fill a mop bucket with equal parts water and white vinegar. Then put on goggles or other protective eyewear. Dip a long-handled sponge mop into the solution, squeeze it out and reach up to clean one section of the ceiling at a time.
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Get spotless bathroom tiles
The grouting between bathroom tiles is a magnet for dirt and germs and it’s easy to miss these hard-to-reach crevices during regular cleaning. It also looks awful, so every so often:
- Make a paste of one part borax, two parts baking soda and one to two parts water and scrub it onto the grout with a toothbrush.
- Rub away grime with a new pencil eraser, that’s well suited to reaching these narrow spaces.
- Scrub with a mouthwash containing a tooth-whitening agent.
- Soak a cotton wool ball in household bleach and set it on a spot of badly stained worktop grout for a few hours; for walls, attach the cotton ball with gaffer tape.
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Lemony toilet cleaner
Make a paste of two to three parts borax and one part lemon juice (stir the juice in gradually until you have the right consistency) and apply it to a stained toilet bowl, rim included. Let it sit for 1-½ to 2 hours and then scrub it off with a toilet brush. This treatment is especially effective for getting rid of the ring that often appears at water level on the toilet bowl.
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Solve stubborn scum and water spots
Many surfaces in the bathroom—including ceramic tiles around sinks and tubs, and glass fibre and acrylic shower units—can become dulled by water spots and built-up scum just as easily as tubs and sinks. Tackle these heavily soiled surfaces with vigour and…
- Two cups (500mL) salt dissolved in four litres hot water.
- ½ cup (125mL) vinegar, one cup (250mL) ammonia and ¼ cup (60mL) baking soda in four litres warm water. Apply one of the solutions, let sit for about 15 minutes, then scrub off and rinse.
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Brush away rust stains
To get rid of hard-water rust stains on commodes, tubs, and sinks, just squeeze a little toothpaste onto an old toothbrush and scrub away. Or scrub the stain with a paste of borax and lemon juice or a solution of equal parts turpentine and salt. Whichever method you choose, attack rust stains right away. The sooner you deal with them, the easier they are to remove.
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Keep showerheads unclogged
If you live in an area with very hard water, you’ll have noticed how mineral deposits can block showerheads. No need to buy a new one, though—simply use denture tablets or vinegar to unclog it.
- If you can remove the showerhead, dissolve four to five denture tablets in a bowl of water and put the head in to soak. Or let it soak overnight in white vinegar. (For extra cleaning action, heat the vinegar in the microwave first.)
- If the showerhead isn’t removable, pour the denture tablet solution or vinegar into a plastic bag, tape or tie the bag to the fixture so the showerhead is completely immersed and leave the bag in place for one to two hours. To make sure the showerhead is completely unblocked, clean out the holes with a needle, piece of wire or toothpick. Then wipe the head with a cloth dipped in vinegar.
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Make glass shower doors sparkle
Glass shower doors are a convenient addition to any bathroom but can quickly cloud up with soap scum. For some heavy-duty cleaning, try:
- Shaving cream: Squirt on the foam and wipe clean with a dry rag; the foam will leave a film that keeps the door from fogging and makes it harder for scum to stick.
- White vinegar: Keep a spray bottle filled with vinegar and a sponge by (or in) the shower so you can make washing down the surfaces part of your post-shower routine.
- Baking soda, plus: Make a solution of ¼ cup (60mL) dishwashing-up liquid, ¼ cup (60mL) hydrogen peroxide and ¼ cup (60mL) baking soda. Then scrub it on the doors with a sponge.
Now that you know how to clean a bathroom with these ordinary household ingredients, check out Charles the Butler’s guide to a clean kitchen.