The room where we clean up needs to be kept, well, clean.
It might seem overwhelming to keep your bathroom spick-and-span at all times, but there’s a way of balancing low-maintenance tasks with heavy-duty cleaning so that you’re not constantly carrying some type of scrub brush or cleaning spray in your hands.
Keep it simple with daily tasks and set aside longer amounts of time for the bigger ones. “If you’re pressed for time, just focus on the areas that are the dirtiest until you can get everything in good shape,” Raquel Kehler, an interior designer and house flipper at Roomcrush, tells TODAY.com.
To save yourself time (and steps), Kehler suggests using a caddy to tote all of your cleaning supplies into the bathroom.
Not sure where and when you should start? We've put together the ultimate bathroom cleaning checklist, complete with expert tips, to help you make sense of the tasks at hand. Use this as a guide, but remember: If something looks dirty to your naked eye, don't wait to clean it.
A daily wipe-down slows the build up of mildew, soap scum and grime. In addition to the shower and sink area, focus your attention on high-touch spots like the faucet handle and toilet seat.
Wipe down counters
Water has a way of getting everywhere when we wash our hands. Same goes for toothpaste A quick wipe of the bathroom counters after each use won’t take much out of your day, but it will go a long way in helping you maintain a clean bathroom.
Squeegee shower walls
Keep a squeegee in the shower to swipe moisture from walls and glass doors. Though you might not relish the idea of splitting your shower or bath time with a maintenance task, Armeka Townsend, cleaning expert and senior consumer relations representative at Zep, says it’s an excellent way to prevent soap scum.
Once a week, set aside time for a more thorough cleaning session. Along with the tasks down below, Townsend recommends tackling any areas that may be bacteria breeding grounds. "You should replace your toothbrush holder, soap dispenser, and other frequently used bathroom items on a regular basis to prevent bacteria buildup," she says.
Dust particles from rugs and towels can build up over time — and your baseboards are sure to show it. Remove loose dirt and dust with a vacuum brush attachment or broom, then wipe them clean with warm, soapy mixture. Or if you want a one-and-done solution, go over them with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to remove scuffs, stains and dust.
Launder hand towels
It’s helpful to have backup hand towels so you can swap them out more frequently, depending on how frequently your bathroom is used. Be sure to hang them so they can air dry well between uses.
Dust light fixtures and furniture
Just as you wipe down shelving and furniture in the rest of your home, pay attention to your bathroom furniture, especially shelves and vanity cabinets. “Dusting your light fixtures is also a great thing to do weekly to prevent grime from building up,” Johnny Pallares, owner of De La Rosa House Cleaning in Phoenix, Arizona, tells TODAY.com.
Vacuum and mop floor
Vacuum the floor first, using a crevice tool to get into the nooks and crannies. Then break out your mop to wipe it clean. More frequent vacuuming is always welcome, especially if you have a robot vacuum.
Most cleaning experts would agree that wiping down bathroom surfaces after use is good practice, but you should commit to a more focused cleaning on the following surfaces each week:
- Vanity: Clear everything so you can thoroughly sanitize countertops with the product of your choice.
- Faucet: Spray and wipe down your faucet, including the spout and handles. “Make sure to clean around the faucet because calcium builds up in these areas,” Pallares says. “Warm, soapy water works great for this.”
- Bathroom mirror: Give it a good wipe each week, or more frequently as necessary. “When you brush your teeth, toothpaste can hit the mirror causing it to become dirty and it is easily seen,” Pallares says.
- Doorknobs: Don’t forget to swipe these high-touch areas with a disinfecting cloth, suggests Townsend.
Attack soap scum and mold
Cleaning the toilet is a no-brainer. Pallares recommends a toilet cleaner that bubbles or foams for a deeper clean. But Townsend says disinfectant wipes will also get the job done (and you can use 'em on the seat, too).
Scrubbing the tub and shower is also a must-do. Use the bathroom cleaner of your choice — some set-it-and-forget-it sprays are also effective — to keep mold and mildew from building up on wet shower walls.
Kehler’s cleaner of choice is hydrogen peroxide — yes, the same antifungal agent you’d use on a cut will also take down fungus in your bathroom. Keep some in a spray bottle and spray down the walls after you shower. Use a brush to clean tile grout.
Michael Rubino, a mold and air quality expert and founder of HomeCleanse, suggests the following to combat mold in your bathroom:
- Look for leaks. Mold can grow in 24 to 48 hours, says Rubino. Address leaks quickly to reduce microbial growth.
- Air out your bathroom. Bathrooms have notoriously high humidity levels, so keep that exhaust fan on or open a door or window when showering. Rubino recommends leaving the exhaust fan on for a half hour or more after a shower to ventilate the bathroom. “If this level just will not go down, consider investing in a dehumidifier for the space,” he tells TODAY.com
- Inspect your toilet tank weekly. When you’re disinfecting the toilet, take a peek in the tank. If you see mold, that means there could be microbial growth elsewhere in your space. “While it’s not impossible for a spore to make it inside the toilet tank, it’s far more likely that a mold colony elsewhere is releasing high quantities of spores into the indoor air,” Rubino says.
- Clean often. Rubino says microfiber cloths (keep them slightly damp) and vacuums with HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters are the most effective bathroom cleaners. For the EPA to categorize a filter as HEPA, it must remove 99.7% of airborne microscopic particles including mold spores.
To help you keep track of your monthly tasks, aim to tackle all of these projects on the same day (or weekend, if you'd rather break it up a bit).
Clean shower curtain
Launder your shower curtain per manufacturer’s suggestions. Inspect your liner for mildew growth and replace seasonally or as needed.
Wash bath mats and decorative towels
Toss that bath mat into the washing machine at least once a month. If it can't go in the dryer, it might be helpful to have a spare one on hand to use while the other one is air-drying. Do the same for any decorative towels you might have hanging.
Clean and reorganize cabinets
Pallares recommends removing everything from cabinets and drawers to reorganize and neaten them. Before you put everything back, wipe the shelves and drawers down with a multipurpose cleaner.
New seasons bring new beginnings. That said, start things off with a blank slate, aka a clean bathroom.
Clean the exhaust fan
Although experts recommend doing this every six months, you might need to do it more frequently. Remember: A dusty exhaust fan is an ineffective one. “It’s important to regularly check the ventilation system to ensure it’s working properly to prevent mold and mildew buildup,” Townsend says.
Before you go near it, make sure you shut the power off at the circuit breaker. Don some protective goggles in case you get hit with dust, then take off the vent cover. Use a microfiber cloth to remove dust, then wash the cover in warm, soapy water and make sure to dry it completely before reattaching.
Replace shower liner
You might have to do this more often if your efforts to keep mold and mildew at bay are unsuccessful. But generally speaking, you should swap out your plastic shower curtain liners seasonally.