Q: How do you tell a dirty bathroom?
A: By the way it smells.
A big part of bathroom cleaning is killing germs, because even when a bathroom looks okay, bacteria can cause offensive odours. For this reason, maids and housekeepers, the professionals who clean rest rooms every day, have learned to spray-clean with a disinfectant cleaner. Everything in the average bathroom except the mirror can be cleaned this way in just three or four minutes a day.
First, swab the inside of the toilet bowl with your bowl swab and a squirt of quaternary disinfectant solution. Then lightly spray all the fixtures and vanity top with a mist of disinfectant cleaner, and polish dry with a cleaning cloth. Stubborn soap scum or soil can be loosened with a white nylon-backed scrub pad. The mirror is the next thing to clean, using a Windex-type spray glass cleaner. The cloth you’ve been using to polish everything else dry will be just damp enough by now to do a quick but effective wipe-up of the door, and you’re done!
That’s all there is to daily cleaning that will keep a bathroom fresh-smelling and clean all the time. Add to this a once-a-week deep cleaning of the toilet, tub, and shower, and that’s all most bathrooms will need.
Shower and Tub Enclosures
In hard-water areas, tubs and showers can get to be a real mess. Mineral scale builds up on walls and fixtures, soap scum clings to the mineral scale, and before long the whole unit is covered with grungy grey armour plate. To prevent hard-water build-up, consider installing a water conditioner. Quickly wiping down the shower walls with a window squeegee or a towel just before you step out will also do a lot to prevent build-up. Once the stuff is on there, removal calls for a two-pronged attack. First, use a degreaser to cut the soap scum. Soap scum is an oily/fatty deposit, so a strongly alkaline cleaner is what you need. Janitorial supply stores also have products specially designed to remove soap scum, or a handful of automatic dishwasher detergent in a bucket of water will work too. Cover the tub or shower walls completely and leave the solution on there for fifteen or twenty minutes or more to soften the deposits. Keep them wet and let them soak while you do something else. Right after a shower is a good time, as the walls will already be good and wet. Then scrub the walls and door with a stiff scrub brush or a white nylon-backed scrub sponge. (Don’t use coloured scrub pads or powdered cleansers—they can scratch).
Keep soaking and scrubbing until all soap scum is removed, then rinse. If you have hard water, you’ll probably also have to clean with a phosphoric acid cleaner to remove the mineral scale. Put it on, let it soak awhile, and scrub stubborn spots with a stiff brush or white nylon-backed scrub sponge. Be sure to rinse well and let dry. You should have to use the acid cleaner only once in a while, the soap scum remover more frequently. Overuse of strong acid cleaners on ceramic tile showers can deteriorate the grout.
Glass shower doors will need a final spiffing up with glass cleaner (although replacing them with a plain old shower curtain is the low maintenance way to go). If you decide to keep the glass doors, you’ll also have to clean out the metal door tracks by gently scraping with a wet-cloth-wrapped screwdriver. As a final preventive, coat fiberglass tub and shower units with car wax to fill the pores and make them slick and shiny so deposits won’t stick so badly next time. (But you’ll want to either leave the door unwaxed or use a nonslip rubber mat.) Silicone sealers work fine on shower walls, but they’re too slick for the door. Ceramic tile can be wiped down with lemon oil after cleaning to make it scum resistant. By the way, Zest soap leaves less soap scum than most bath bars do.
How you clean them depends on what they’re made of. Enamelled steel or cast iron tubs are very durable and resistant to most cleaning chemicals. You can use heavy duty cleaners and degreasers to remove bathtub ring, and even a little scrubbing with mild cleansers from time to time won’t do any harm Be careful of harsh powdered cleansers and coloured nylon scrub pads, though, and don’t use heavy pressure with even a mild cleanser, or it will eventually dull the surface. Keep strong acids such as bowl cleaner and hydroiodic rust remover out of enamelled tubs too; if you need to remove a rust stain, use oxalic acid. Fiberglass tubs must be treated more tenderly. Shy away from any kind of abrasive cleanser (even the gentle liquid type), coloured nylon scrub pads, steel wool, or anything that can scratch and dull the surface. Scrub only with a white nylon-backed sponge, and if absolutely necessary, use Mr Muscle Platinum Antibacterial Bathroom Spray. For general cleaning, you can just use a neutral cleaner, not a specialized fiberglass cleaner. If you have a heavy soap scum or hard water build up, remove as per directions in “Shower and Tub Enclosures,” and consider waxing afterward as suggested to prevent further build-up.
To be continued...