Cleaning the bathroom does not top most people’s list of favorite chores. But having a clean bathroom is worth the work — especially when you know two crucial secrets of bathroom cleaning.
The first secret is that if you do it regularly (i.e., once a week), it will inch up a little higher on that list of favorite chores. That’s because regularly doing it addresses messes as they happen, from soap scum buildup to tumbleweeds of hair, instead of letting them turn into ones that require deep cleaning to tackle.
The second secret of bathroom cleaning is that you don’t need a lot of cleaning products, and in fact, cutting down on the number of products you use will make the job go faster; using the right cleaning tools, too, is critical to getting the job done right.
The bottom line is this: With just two products, four tools, a smart strategy and a commitment to dedicating 10 minutes a week — just 10 minutes! — cleaning the bathroom can become a much, much less dreaded chore.
Scrubbing Bubbles Foaming Bathroom Cleaner ($4.39; target.com)
Scrubbing Bubbles is a foaming bathroom cleaner. It quickly penetrates and breaks down product buildup like toothpaste spittle, soap scum and residue from products like hair spray and dry shampoo, without requiring a lot of scrubbing on your part.
Windex Multisurface Cleaner ($2.97, originally $3.77; amazon.com)
Windex Multisurface Cleaner cleans both glass and chrome, so you can use it to polish mirrors and faucets. It also works as an all-purpose cleaner that can be safely used on countertop and flooring materials from corian and formica to granite and marble.
Mr. Siga Microfiber Cleaning Cloths, 12-Pack ($11.99; amazon.com)
Microfiber cleaning cloths are essential when it comes to bathroom cleaning. Rachel Hoffman, author of “Unf*ck Your Habitat” and “Cleaning Sucks,” explains why microfiber cloths work better than cotton rags or sponges when cleaning: “Because microfibers are much more fine than cotton fibers, a microfiber cloth has more cleaning surface area per square inch than a cotton rag, allowing it to pick up more dirt and grime.”
Bounty Paper Towels, 8-Pack ($15.48, originally $21.99; amazon.com)
While microfiber is the best choice for cleaning soap scum and globs of toothpaste, paper towels also play an important role when quick cleaning the bathroom. If cutting back on paper waste is a priority, a dry microfiber cloth can take their place.
Quickie Toilet Bowl Brush & Caddy ($9.59; amazon.com)
A toilet brush isn’t strictly necessary for cleaning a toilet bowl, but it does make the job less disgusting. Opt for a toilet brush that comes with a storage caddy so there’s a place to stash the brush when not in use — just remember that from time to time the caddy and the brush should be cleaned too.
O-Cedar Rubber Broom & Dustpan ($12.98; lowes.com)
Rubber brooms are better for sweeping up hair than traditional corn brooms because hair doesn’t clump to rubber bristles. This O-Cedar broom has an angled head to get into corners, where hair accumulates.
The 10-minute bathroom cleaning routine
Working in the right order will save you a bunch of time and energy by allowing the cleaning products to do a lot of the work for you. Here’s how to clean a bathroom in just 10 minutes, with five easy steps.
Step 1: Spray Scrubbing Bubbles in the tub, sink and toilet bowl
Scrubbing Bubbles is the workhorse of this process, but only when used correctly. Shake up the can and apply a thin layer of the foam cleaner to the tub, the sink basin and surrounding surface area, and the toilet bowl. Allow the product three to five minutes to penetrate surface grime.
Step 2: Wipe down the mirror(s) and exterior of the toilet with Windex Multisurface Cleaner and paper towels
While the Scrubbing Bubbles is working, use the multisurface cleaner to wipe the mirror(s) and the exterior of the toilet, including the seat. (While Scrubbing Bubbles can be used on the exterior of the toilet and the seat, it can cause discoloration to some plastics.)
Spray the multisurface cleaner on paper towels and polish the mirror(s) to remove fingerprints, toothpaste spittle and airborne residue from grooming products. Then, use the same paper towels to wipe the exterior of the toilet, starting at the top of the tank and working down, ending with the pedestal and floor area around the toilet.
Pay particular attention to the two highest-touch spots on the toilet: the flusher and the seat, including the underside, applying more multisurface spray to the paper towels, or getting fresh ones, if needed. With the seat still flipped up, wipe the space between the bowl and the tank, where hair tends to collect. Paper towels are the choice for this job because they are better at picking up lint and hair than a textile like microfiber.
Step 3: Scrub the toilet bowl with a brush
Having allowed time for the Scrubbing Bubbles to penetrate surface buildup, use the toilet brush to scrub the rim of the bowl. Then, flush the toilet and scrub the rest of the bowl, letting the brush and the flushing water work together to wash away bacteria and buildup.
Step 4: Use a microfiber cloth to wipe the Scrubbing Bubbles off the sink and tub
While paper towels are the tool of choice for cleaning the toilet’s exterior, when it comes to the tub and the sink basin, microfiber cleaning cloths are ideal. Hoffman explains that, in addition to offering more cleaning surface area, “microfiber’s higher absorbency and its minor static electrical charge make it a far more efficient material to use in cleaning than cotton.”
Using a wet microfiber cloth, wipe away the Scrubbing Bubbles, rinsing it frequently while you work so that both the cloth and the water are working in tandem to wash away the foaming cleaner.
Step 5: Sweep and spot clean the floor
While mopping is typically associated with cleaning bathroom floors, it’s not an ideal method if a lot of hair tends to accumulate. Instead, use a rubber broom to sweep up hair and residue from products like dry shampoo and medicated powders. If there are visibly dirty areas, spot treat them using the multipurpose spray and microfiber cloth.
For a quick all-over clean, secure the damp microfiber cloth to the broom’s bristles using a rubber band to fashion a wet mop without having to switch tools; the multipurpose cleaner can double as a mopping solution if needed.