Skip to main content

The Secret to Cleaning Bathrooms

Linda Sarhan has been a freelance writer and researcher for 20+ years. She believes in keeping her living space clean and healthy.

Bathrooms are really dirty but can be hard to keep clean—here are some tips and tricks for keeping them spotless.

Bathrooms are really dirty but can be hard to keep clean—here are some tips and tricks for keeping them spotless.

Cleaning Bathrooms: Tips and Tricks for Keeping Your Bathroom Clean

The bathroom is the second dirtiest room in your house. It can harbor mold, mildew, bacteria, and other germs that can make your family quite ill. Most of the bacteria and viral organisms come from flushing the toilet. Some of these include E. coli, Enterobacter cloacae, Campylobacter, Klebsiella oxytoca, Staphylococcus, and Streptococcus, to name just a few. These can come from fecal and urinary waste materials.

Most home bathroom toilets have lids, which most people do not think about using. However, the lid is designed to be closed prior to flushing. This will limit the spread of harmful bacteria, viruses, and other germs. Every time a person flushes the toilet, water particles carrying these and other germs are sprayed up in a dome diameter of about ten feet. This then puts germs on your soap dish, toothbrush, razors, faucet, hand towels, and any other surface within this range.

At this point, some of you are horrified or thoroughly disgusted at the least. The secret to a clean bathroom is having the proper supplies and a routine that helps eliminate these nasty contaminants. Teaching everyone in your house, including the older kids and teens, to properly clean a bathroom will help reduce the risk of your family and guests becoming sick.

Bathroom Cleaning Supplies Checklist

  • Gloves
  • Disinfecting wipes
  • Disinfecting spray
  • Bathroom cleaner
  • Cleaning cloth
  • Window cleaner
  • Paper towels
  • Toilet bowl cleaner
  • Toilet brush
  • Disinfecting toilet tabs
  • Trash can
  • Trash bags (or use plastic grocery bags)
  • Swiffer (or broom and clean mop)
  • Dusting materials


Make sure you have these essential cleaning supplies on hand.

Make sure you have these essential cleaning supplies on hand.

Essential Cleaning Supplies

Having the proper supplies is essential to keeping your cleaning routine simple and effective.

Cleaning Gloves

Always have cleaning gloves on hand to protect your hands from cleaners and germs. Many people use reusable yellow gloves, but some people prefer disposable gloves. The reusable gloves can attract an array of germs and must be cleaned after each use. Disposable gloves are simple and easy and may be tossed away after each use.

Disinfecting Wipes

Disinfecting wipes are a great investment and time saver. Again these are simple to use and disposable. You don't have to worry about storing several washable cleaning cloths along with your cleaner of choice.

For those of you that are on a budget, you can find disinfecting wipes at your local Dollar Tree and Dollar General. If you don't have these stores in your area, you can find these wipes at Wal-Mart and most grocery stores as well.

Toilet Bowl Tablets

Toilet bowl tablets are also wonderful to have. They help kill the germs in your toilet with each flush. This is helpful to those that don't have the time to disinfect the toilet daily. You can find tablets that hook on the side of your toilet bowl or tablets that you can drop in the tank of your toilet.

Disinfecting Spray

Disinfecting spray is also handy to have, especially if someone in the house is sick. Simply spraying it on surfaces will kill the germs, thus protecting you and your family from spreading harmful germs. Most disinfecting sprays kill mold and mildew as well so it is always good to use them on the shower curtain daily to fight mold and mildew. It is also a good idea to use it on the toilet brush after you have rinsed it thoroughly. Plungers are also quite disgusting so be sure to spray the inside and outside.

Bathroom Cleaner/Cleaning Cloth

Be sure to have bathroom cleaner and a clean cloth on hand for bigger jobs. Never use a dirty cloth. It isn't advised to use sponges but if you prefer sponges, throw them away after use. Do NOT reuse. They harbor and breed even more germs and you could be making your bathroom dirtier than when you started. Also, have glass cleaner handy along with paper towels to clean the mirror.

Toilet Cleaner/Brush

Make sure you have toilet bowl cleaner on hand as well as a toilet bowl scrubber. The toilet bowl scrubber should have a base to sit in so it doesn't spread germs to your floor. Scrubbing Bubbles makes an automatic shower cleaner. This sprays your tub daily to keep your cleaning time to a minimum. All you have to do is touch the button and it allows you to walk away while it protects your tub from mold, mildew, and soap scum.


Another cleaning tool cares for your bathroom floor. Investing in a Swiffer will save you so much time. This is much easier than having to sweep with a broom and mop daily. There are a variety of models to choose from which are fairly inexpensive.


Dust collects on light bulbs, tile ledges, towel racks, and many other places. Cobwebs also enjoy the corners of your bathroom, especially where the wall meets the ceiling. One good way to make it easier to have a dust and cobweb-free bathroom is to use Pledge sprayed on a long arm duster. This allows cleaning to be a breeze without overexerting yourself by climbing up on surfaces or ladders.


Last but not least, a wastebasket. This is much easier than having to walk your trash to another room. Always line your wastebasket with a plastic bag so you can help keep your wastebasket clean. Plus, it is so much easier to take out a bag and tie it up than tote the wastebasket to another trash can to dump it.


Keeping bathrooms clean requires daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning routines.

Keeping bathrooms clean requires daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning routines.

Daily Bathroom Cleaning Routine

First and foremost, clean up as you go. You should hang up wet towels to dry before tossing them into a hamper. Also, pick up your dirty clothes and put them in the hamper. This helps keep the floor free from debris you can easily trip on. Pressing the button to the automatic shower cleaner after each use helps tremendously. If you don't have one, simply wipe out the tub with a disinfecting wipe. It doesn't take much time at all and leaves it clean for the next person or the next time you shower.

When it comes to cleaning, it honestly takes less than 15 minutes if you have all the proper tools. Simply wipe down counters, sinks, faucets, toilet seats and toilet handles with disinfecting wipes. Don't forget to use your gloves.

Next, change out your hand towels. Did you know that every time you flush the toilet, you send an invisible spray of bacteria and germs that can travel around 10-feet on every surface within its path? Although you can reduce the spread of germs this way by closing the lid before flushing, this is just one reason why you change out the hand towels daily.

Then, check the trash. Most of the time, the trash needs to be taken out daily due to the fact it is a breeding ground for germs. This could also lead to airborne illnesses along with your bathroom not having that 'oh so fresh' smell to it.

Finally, take out that handy Swiffer and swiff away. Depending on the size of the bathroom, this shouldn't take too long, and you will have the satisfaction of knowing that your bathroom floor is spotless clean every day.

How to Clean a Bathroom

Weekly Routine

Once a week, you need to give your bathroom a little extra cleaning. Although you may have followed the daily routine faithfully, mold, mildew, and germs are tricky little buggers. Thus an extra cleaning is essential to keeping your bathroom as germ-free as possible. Just because your bathroom may look beautiful and clean doesn't mean it truly is clean.

Pick one day a week and really scrub the bathroom. Remove everything from the counters so that you can clean the mirror. You don't want any of the cleaning agents or dust to make their way to your toothbrush and toothpaste.

Next, use a long arm duster sprayed with Pledge. Simply wipe this along the corners that meet the ceiling. This takes care of any cobwebs and dust without it falling down in my face. Then use a dusting cloth to dust any decorations you may have, such as pictures and faux plants. Also, don't forget to dust the baseboards. Those are really bad about collecting dust.

Now use your cleaner of choice and a cloth to really clean the sink and counters. Also, get the ledges to prevent dust build-up. For the faucet, you could always use an old toothbrush to help get in the crevices and continue on to wipe down the cabinets and drawers.

On to the toilet: go ahead and squeeze or spray the toilet bowl cleaner in the toilet bowl. Let the solution sit in the bowl while you clean the bathtub. When cleaning the bathtub, don't forget to clean the top edges, walls, and shower curtain. Then go back to the toilet to scrub it and wipe down the outside of the toilet. Finally, remove the trash and Swiffer the floor. This part is simple and doesn't take much time at all.

Deep-Clean Every Four to Six Months

You do not have to wait until spring to do some spring cleaning. Every four to six months, you should go through your cabinets and discard any old makeup, lotions, and other expired products. This includes your medicine cabinet. Be sure to properly discard any expired prescription and over-the-counter medicines.

If you use a shower curtain, this is also a time to change the shower curtain liner to prevent mold and mildew build-up. Mold and mildew can be quite resilient and leave stains long after you have disinfected. Once you are sure the area is disinfected, this would be a good time to re-grout tiles and re-caulk where the tile meets the tub.

Also, do a bathroom checkup. This means inspecting the toilet, sink faucet, etc., for any wear and tear that may need to be replaced before it causes trouble later.

Cleaning doesn't have to be time-consuming or difficult. The real secret is getting a routine and sticking to it. Once you accomplish that, cleaning the bathroom is no longer a chore but just second nature.

5 Nasty Things in Your Bathroom

© 2014 Linda Sarhan


Judith C Evans from Boise, ID on November 25, 2015:

Excellent article with practical and useful tips! Great information on the reasons why bathroom cleaning should be a priority.

Sarah from Canada on August 12, 2014:

I love the variety of your hubs Linda! You're the ultimate one-stop shop for everything - shark attacks, table etiquette, bathroom cleaning... I love it! And yeah - bathroom cleaning is really high on my priority list. We do have a house rule that the lid has to be closed for any flushing, as you mentioned - and I change the hand towels at least once a day. :)

Monica Mingo from DC Metro on July 29, 2014:

Linda this was awesome. I was just discussing with a friend that kids don't know how to clean as well as we used to clean when we were younger because our parents made deep cleaning a weekly, Saturday morning ritual and we couldn't do anything else until it was done properly.