Maxine’s Housekeeping Tips – Part #10
SUBMITTED BY: Maxine in Idaho
Thursday’s Tip – Cleaning Bathrooms
If, like me, you are truly a random housekeeper, the idea of a spotless bathroom is something of a foreign concept. Therefore, you won’t be surprised that I clean mine in pieces.
When I do my 5 minute Minimum Maintenance, I always clear off the vanity and straighten or change the towels. (Even if I don’t do one other thing, this is a huge improvement). I also try to clean the sink and the countertop, but I’ll confess I don’t get to this every single day.
Most days, though, I can do the sink and countertop, and a little more. Those are the days I clean the toilet OR wipe out the bathtub OR sweep OR mop the floor. I usually do the one thing that is bugging me the most. Nothing ever gets really dirty this way, but nothing is ever really clean, either. Still, it’s a lot better than the way it used to be when EVERYTHING was dirty.
When I first started reading about home organization about 15 years ago, I learned about Don Aslett‘s method for cleaning a bathroom in 5 minutes. It works if you do it regularly and your bathroom is small enough. I also found that it works extremely well if your kids are small and you’re still supervising baths–you can do part of it while they are in the tub, and quickly finish the rest once they’re out. This is the method I adapted from Aslett’s idea and Jeff Campbell’s Speed Cleaning book:
Start with the mirror and a dry rag. Spray with glass cleaner (not 409 or something similar–it will remove the silvering) and quickly wipe with the cloth. Spray the faucet with glass cleaner and wipe with the rag. (An old toothbrush is a quick way to get into tight spots if they’re grungy). Wipe the door knob and around the switchplate.
Take everything off the countertop. Switch to a sponge or a rag that will get wet. If your sink isn’t too dirty, go ahead and spray it and the counters with the glass cleaner and wipe it down. If you need a little more firepower, use a Soft Scrub type product. Rinse well.
Sprinkle powdered cleanser in the toilet bowl. Let it sit.
Clean the tub faucet with glass spray and the dry cloth. Quickly wash the tub with spray cleaner or Soft Scrub. Rinse well. Don’t use too much product or it will take longer to rinse. It’s quicker if somebody just got out of the tub.
Now go back to the toilet and use a brush to clean the inside. Use spray cleaner to spray the top rim of the bowl and both sides of the toilet seat. Wipe with wet rag or paper towel. If you are using a rag, put it in the laundry before you use it again. Use a dry cloth, paper towel or even toilet paper to wipe down the outside of the toilet bowl.
Sweep the floor if it needs it (if you do this every day, you probably won’t need to sweep). Then, on your hands and knees, spritz some spray cleaner on the floor and wipe with a damp rag. Work your way out the door. You would not believe how fast you can clean a small floor this way–faster than the time it takes to get out the mop and bucket, which I find doesn’t work all that well in tight places anyway.
Some added thoughts: If you use a sponge with a scratchy side, get the blue one with white scratchy (the yellow one with green scratchy is TOO SCRATCHY). Powdered cleanser like Comet WILL scratch your fixtures, however if you have older fixtures that are already scratched, this is probably what you need to use. (I *sometimes* need to use a dab on the shower floor). Don’t just sprinkle cleanser all over the bottom of what you are cleaning. It is far more effective if you dampen the cloth, sprinkle a little cleanser on the cloth, and begin scrubbing. This uses less cleanser (frugal!) but, more important, leaves less residue to rinse away.
If you are cleaning a shower, after you’ve washed and rinsed, wipe down the walls and door with a dry cloth to prevent spotting. We aren’t using our shower much at the moment, but I would be trying Clean Shower if we were.
Beware of extra-strong cleaning products. I once got some pro stuff to clean the shower and my husband got to it first. He slopped it all over the chrome fixtures (then went to work on the bathroom sink with it) and took all the finish off of them. What you probably need is some elbow grease. If you have a stubborn spot, spritz it with a little spray cleaner and let it sit before you try to clean. Most of the time, it will just wipe off if you give the product time to do its thing.
Realistically, you can clean a small bathroom this way in about 5 minutes if you hustle. Correction: if the bathroom is already reasonably clean. This is basically a maintenance-type cleaning method that only works if you do it regularly. (Unfortunately, random housekeepers rarely do anything regularly!).
SUBMITTED BY: Maxine in Idaho
Here’s Maxine’s next Housekeeping Tip: Organizing Your Papers
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