Cleaning the bathroom is something everyone would like not to have to do. Unfortunately we don’t have much of a choice. What with soap residue, waste shower and bath water, splashes of toothpaste, not to mention what goes on in the toilet, good hygiene dictates that bathrooms must be cleaned frequently.

If it’s your turn this week, check out our guide on how to clean a bathroom for tips that might just make the dreaded task a bit easier.

Plan of Attack

Given that cleaning one part of the bathroom can actually dirty another part (with splashed water and cleaning solutions) the clever bathroom cleaner will structure his or her plan of attack so that they do not create extra work for themselves.

A sensible order for bathroom cleaning is:

  1. Toilet
  2. Shower and/or bath
  3. Sinks and benchtops
  4. Mirrors

The Toilet

The most germ-laden piece of equipment in any home, the toilet deserves special sanitary attention.

  • Protect yourself with a pair of rubber gloves.
  • Apply a toilet cleaner to bowl of the toilet – containers which enable you to squirt the cleaner up under the rim clean more thoroughly. Allow the cleaner to sit for a few minutes – it will loosen stains and also drip down into the base of the toilet where the water sits.
  • Use a toilet brush to scrub all areas of the toilet bowl thoroughly, including as much as of the U-bend under the water as you can reach.
  • Leave the cleaner to sit for five minutes then flush the toilet until all the cleaner is removed.
  • Pour a cup of bleach into the water at the base of the toilet and allow it to sit for an hour or until the toilet is next used.

Caution: when cleaning a toilet, or any other part of the bathroom, never mix bleach with ammonia-based products as this will cause the production of toxic gasses.

Though toilets are generally made of vitreous china and are therefore reasonably easy to clean, they can sometimes acquire rust stains, particularly around the seat hinges. These stains can be removed by dabbing with bleach and allowing it to sit for an hour or two (wear your rubber gloves). If this doesn’t work try scrubbing with steel wool.

Showers and Baths

Shower Stalls

Shower stalls are prone to mildew. You can slow the growth of mildew by leaving the shower door open when the shower is not in use – this allows drier air to enter the stall and inhibits mould growth.

To get rid of mildew that has already taken hold, spray the walls of the stall with a mildew inhibitor or a solution of 1 part bleach to 3 parts water, allow to sit for 15 minutes then rinse thoroughly. Ensure there is good ventilation in the room when using bleach or other toxic cleaning products.

Vinegar is your other best friend when it comes to cleaning showers. Got hard-water, or limescale, deposits on shower walls? Rub them away with white vinegar. You can use a half and half solution of vinegar and water, or use straight vinegar for stubborn deposits.

Glass shower doors also come up brilliantly when wiped down with white vinegar.

Shower head clogged with mineral deposits? Remove it and soak it in vinegar, then scrub with a stiff brush.

Finally, remove soap scum from shower stall walls and tiles by mopping with a solution of ½ cup vinegar, 1 cup clear ammonia, 1/3 cup baking soda and 4 litres of warm water. Rinse thoroughly afterwards.


Modern bathtubs are often made from plastic or fibreglass, older tubs from porcelain coated steel or cast iron. Both types of bath should be cleaned with a non-abrasive cream cleanser, and particular care should be taken not to scratch or abrade plastic/fibreglass tubs. Scratching roughens the surface, as well as damaging the tub this will make it far more prone to collecting dirt.

Got a ring around the tub which just won’t go away? Apply a paste of cream of tartar and hydrogen peroxide. Allow the paste to dry then wipe clean.

Sinks and Benchtops

Clean sinks as you would a bathtub.

Benchtops in your bathroom will probably be made either of stone, faux stone or plastic laminate.

Avoid using abrasive pads on either type of surface. Instead, buy a non-scratch nylon kitchen pad and use this to gently remove crusted soap scum. Clean further with a spray-and-wipe type product designed for bathrooms.


To clean mirrors you can use any of a number of streak-free commercial glass cleaning solutions. If you don’t happen to have one of these on hand, though, our old friend vinegar makes a great substitute. Just dip a ball of crumpled newspaper into some vinegar and rub the mirror with it until the glass is almost dry. Finish with a clean, dry ball of newspaper or a lint-free cloth.

A Sparkling Bathroom

It takes time and it isn’t much fun, but cleaning your bathroom properly will leave those sanitary fixtures sparkling clean and hygienically fresh. And if you do it regularly you’ll never again suffer that sinking feeling when an unexpected visitor asks to use your loo.

For more tips on how to clean a bathroom check out this video.

Related article: How to clean walls without leaving streaks 

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