How To Keep Your Bathroom Looking Clean and Smelling Fresh
Does your bathroom look like a swamp monster’s lair two days after you clean it? Does it feel like you only have two choices – spend half your time cleaning it or just ignore it completely?
When I was a younger mom, wrestling with my self-dirtying house, I had no idea how to keep the bathroom clean and fresh without constantly cleaning. I’d even resort to locking the door of our main bathroom for days ahead of time when I expected company.
My (sometimes met) goal was to clean the bathrooms once a week, but the clean never lasted the whole week. With little boys, it barely lasts a day. So I’d go in the bathroom, all gloved up and ready to face unimaginable horrors, work like crazy for 45 minutes, and…
Two days later it was already oogey again.
Not as cruddy as I’d eventually let it get, mind you, but the bathroom definitely deteriorated as the days went by.
I really wanted to figure out how to keep my bathroom at least looking clean and smelling fresh in between deep-down cleanings.
So How Did I Finally Figure Out How To Keep the Bathroom Clean and Fresh All Week?
I read a lot of cleaning advice and kept hearing that I should clean the bathroom every day.
Um, a daily bathroom cleaning? Yeah, right. No, thank you.
It wasn’t that I really hate cleaning the bathroom. A good bathroom cleaning definitely nets some satisfying results. Especially if you’ve really let it get out of control.
But even though I didn’t hate cleaning the bathroom, it was still a huge energy and time suck. There was no freaking way I was working for 45 minutes a day in each bathroom. Especially when I knew it would really only stay perfectly pristine for like, four-and-a-half minutes. Tops.
However, there’s a difference between a daily maintenance wipe-down and the all-out-no-holds-barred bathroom cleaning I was accustomed to.
Then Flylady’s “daily swish and swipe” mandate made me change my mind about having a daily bathroom cleaning routine. The words “swish and swipe” made it sound so quick, easy, and non-overwhelming.
So I figured out what swishing and swiping meant to me, adapted it to my family, and never looked back.
Now I spend less than 2 minutes per bathroom per day right after everyone’s finished their showers, and it keeps my bathrooms looking clean and fresh all week. I know two minutes sounds like it couldn’t possibly make a difference but let me tell you, on the days I skip it you can really tell.
Why Follow a Daily Bathroom Cleaning Routine?
There are two major advantages to a daily bathroom cleaning routine.
- First and most obvious, it stays cleaner.
- Your bathroom never has a chance to get truly disgusting.
- If company stops by, you don’t have to cringe inwardly when you hear “can I use your bathroom?”
- And you, personally, don’t have to close your eyes when you need to use it.
- Second, your weekly bathroom cleaning routine becomes SO MUCH EASIER.
The only time I spend 45 minutes cleaning a bathroom now is a few times a year when I deep clean.
Granted, our bathrooms are pretty small. But I can get them totally clean once a week in 15 minutes with a daily 2-minute cleaning routine that keeps all three bathrooms from getting out-of-hand.
It’s almost a letdown to not have a soul-satisfying nasty-to-glistening outcome.
I know, I’m weird.
How To Do a Daily Bathroom Cleaning That Makes a Difference
Depending on your family and lifestyle, areas of your bathroom will get dirty more quickly than others.
- For example, if you have little boys – well, I think we all know what part of the bathroom deteriorates the quickest when that’s your family dynamic.
- Or if you have a teenage girl in the house, makeup leavin’s may be your issue.
Pick the main areas that get bad fast in your bathroom. Just concentrate on those.
I’m going to list some ideas below. You don’t need to do all of these every day, just the ones that apply to you. These are just possibilities.
If you want to skip all the words and get my free printable with the steps summarized, download How To Keep the Bathroom Clean and Fresh Quick Reference Guide here.
Before You Start: Supplies for Daily Bathroom Cleaning
I keep a spray bottle of vinegar & water under the sink and some microfibers to make it easy to clean the bathroom. I use tiny trashcans with revolving lids to put the dirty cloths in.
Or you can use:
- A different, no-rinse cleaning solution,
- Paper towels instead of cloths, and/or
- Clorox wipes.
You may also want to keep glass cleaner and paper towels, glass cleaning wipes, or special glass cleaning cloths under the sink for quick mirror touchups.
And, of course, you’ll need your toilet brush. I suggest the kind that has a basin of cleaner to disinfect the brush in between cleanings.
Daily Bathroom Cleaning Suggestions
Keep the Toilet Clean
Of course, it’s always necessary to at least lightly touch up the toilet if you want to keep your bathroom clean.
I’m also starting with the toilet because if you spray it before you do anything else and then wait until the end to wipe it, actual germs will die. The longer you can leave the liquid cleaner on, the better.
- Spray down the outside of the toilet with a no-rinse spray cleaner– handle, seat, bowl, and base.
- Leave the spray while you work on the rest of the bathroom.
- At the end, wipe off the spray.
- Use your toilet brush to quickly swish inside the bowl and up under the rim.
By agitating the inside daily, minerals and other gunk don’t get a chance to build up. You won’t have a hard water ring or any of that moldy pink stuff to clean after a week of ignoring the toilet, meaning less scrubbing on bathroom cleaning day.
Clear the Floor
- Pick up all towels, rubber duckies, and naked Barbies.
- Clean up errant Q-tips and tissues.
Clear the Bathroom Counters
Quickly put away toiletries.
If this takes too long, rethink how you store them. Maybe a basket of toiletries you can pull out, use, and put back?
If you need to have stuff on the counters, put it in containers you can quickly lift up and wipe under.
Clean the Sink and Vanity Area
- Spray down the sink and faucet.
- Quickly wipe the faucet.
- Clean the whiskers and toothpaste out of the sink.
- Hit the toothpaste splatters on the nearby wall if your child flings more there than onto his pearly little fangs.
Wipe the Mirror
You might want to include your mirrors. I don’t do this daily because:
- My family is trained not to wipe down a foggy mirror with a towel.
- I open the medicine cabinet while flossing to keep splatters off the mirror.
If your mirror doesn’t open, step back from the mirror when flossing.
If I notice the mirror looks particularly spotty, I keep Windex under the sink just in case.
Tub and Shower Maintenance
Thanks to a shower curtain that closes, the only things I actually do to my tub/shower on a daily basis are:
- Neaten it (no washcloths or bath crayons left out).
- Pull the hair out of the drain. Use a tissue if this nauseates you. (BONUS: If it’s wrapped in TP, you don’t have to gaze down at wads of hair (is that a guinea pig??) in the wastebasket every time you do your business).
If having a slightly scummy shower bothers you then:
- Wipe down the shower walls with a towel (15 seconds) before stepping out of the shower.
I have never been able to train my family to do this consistently but it works when we do it.
- Use a daily shower spray to keep soap scum from sticking. My mom swears by spraying vinegar on the shower walls every day after her shower.
- Switch to shower gels only. They don’t leave as much, if any, soap scum.
I don’t clean my bathroom floors every day. I wipe them down once a week. But yours may need a daily touchup.
- Hit any toothpaste blobs with the cloth you used for the sink. Or dampen a paper towel.
- If your floors get hairy really fast, keep a dustbuster in a nearby room.
General Bathroom Maintenance Ideas
Those are the active steps to maintain your clean bathrooms.
But for more passive tips to make it even easier to keep the bathroom clean, try these.
- Be an example.
Did you ever notice that people are more likely to add to a mess than to start one? I mean, my family is great at starting messes, also, but they’re way more likely to drop a toilet paper tube onto the floor instead of into the waste basket if there’s already trash on the floor.
Once your family gets used to the bathroom being mostly neat all the time, I think you’ll be surprised at their heretofore-never-seen ability to clean up after themselves.
- If you constantly find towels on the floor, put hooks on the walls for no-fuss hanging. You can also assign towel colors to identify the culprit.
- Make sure the bathroom wastebasket is large enough to go a week without emptying it. Line it with either grocery bags or little trash bags so you can grab it and go, and so nothing sticks to it (ew).
- Use a towel to step out on, and scooch it around while you get ready, especially if you’re using powder.
- Keep small toiletries in baskets or behind closed doors.
- Run the fan before you start the shower to keep the walls cleaner and less drippy-looking.
- Use an in-toilet freshener to keep the inside of your toilet cleaner (although nothing keeps the outside of the bowl or seat little-boy-spray-proof).
- Use organizers, nets, or over-the-shower-head racks in the tub to contain bottles, jars, and toys.
- Install hooks in the shower to drip-dry washcloths.
How To Keep the Bathroom Clean and Fresh Without Wanting To Stab Yourself In the Eye
I admit I can be perfectionist in my weekly bathroom cleaning. Just not on a daily basis.
If perfectionism is what’s keeping you from attempting to keep your bathrooms clean daily, then you have to decide.
If you love a clean bathroom, here are your three choices:
- Super clean your bathroom every day, 45 minutes a day. Guard the door with a flaming sword. Each time a family member enters and exits, inspect and re-clean. Probably yell. A lot.
If you can sustain that, kudos.
- Do a solid bathroom cleaning once a week but, since you can’t imagine doing a less-than-perfect daily routine cleaning and don’t have time for that, ignore it the rest of the week.
By the time bathroom cleaning day rolls around, it will no doubt be a vile, disgusting project that you may or may not enjoy. The overall grossness and length of the project may even convince you to continually put it off until it’s been two weeks, a month, or more.
When you have company two days before bathroom-cleaning day, explain that your bathrooms are all out of order and you’ve adopted the pioneer outhouse way of life.
If this is you, be sure to keep a printout handy of the closest gas stations for their convenience.
- Clean your bathroom once a week to any level your heart desires. Then do a 2-minute daily realistic maintenance clean.
Revel in the fact that the bathroom never smells like a port-a-potty, even by mid-week.
Release perfectionism on the daily bathroom clean. Overlook tiny smudges, minimal soap scum, dots here and there on the mirror, and fingerprints during the week.
Know in your heart that, even though it’s not 100% sparkling and perfect, it looks clean enough, it smells good, and it’s not embarrassing.
And if you have company, you can either:
- Fling the door open wide, inviting them to enjoy their bodily functions in a gently-used, acceptably clean bathroom OR
- You can excuse yourself for a minute or two to do a quick company-level wipe-down with a bit of extra attention to the details.
In other words, this daily clean is not about leaving the bathroom perfect. But it will leave it clean-looking and smelling fresh, with no pee pee puddles from poor aim or sopping wet towels on the floor.
How To Keep Your Bathroom Clean and Fresh Recap
To keep your bathroom presentable in between deeper cleanings, weekly or otherwise, follow these steps.
- Begin your daily bathroom cleaning routine the day after a good bathroom cleaning.
- Commit to a 2-minute daily bathroom cleaning routine.
- Try to time it for after everyone gets ready in the morning, but any consistent time of day will make a difference.
- Pick which areas get dirty in your bathroom quickly and concentrate only on those
- Start by spraying the toilet and letting the liquid cleaner soak while you work elsewhere
- Swish the bowl and under the rim
- Tidy the rest of the bathroom including hanging towels, neatening the counters and picking up anything inside the tub or on the floor
- Put away any toiletries on the counters and use wipes or cleaning spray to wipe them down quickly
- Clean out toothpaste in the sink and hit nearby walls with the cloth while you’re at it
- If the mirror is an issue, touch it up with paper towels or a microfiber you keep under the sink
- If hair on the floor is a major daily bathroom cleaning issue, keep a dustbuster nearby or use a damp cloth or paper towel to quickly wipe up hair
- If the tub gets really dirty quickly, try to get your family onboard with a 15-second post-shower wipe-down. Consider switching to bath and shower gels instead of soap to vastly reduce soap scum.
- At the end, wipe down the toilet.
Bathrooms are challenging because they get dirty so quickly. And a lot of people just hate cleaning bathrooms to begin with.
Facing a daily bathroom cleaning routine might sound like too much. But once you get into a routine of doing this type of cleaning, it shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes total. Just a “swish and wipe” a la Flylady.
You’ll get so used to having your bathroom looking clean and smelling fresh every day, that you’ll notice right away when you don’t do it. And your family will get used to clean bathrooms so they’ll be less likely to make big, noticeable messes.
They will restrain themselves to smaller, more hidden messes that you’ll find during spring cleaning and consequently outlaw magic markers from the house for eternity.
If you lightly clean it every day, your bathroom will never be an embarrassment.
But the biggest bonus is that on bathroom cleaning day, it will take almost no time to clean.
A Daily Bathroom Cleaning Reminder
It helps to have a reminder when you’re developing a new habit. So I made a checklist you can hang inside your medicine cabinet (with that picture of a sloth your son taped there two years ago for fun – oh, that’s just me?). Then you’ll know exactly what to do until it becomes a habit. Click here to download the How To Keep the Bathroom Clean and Fresh Quick Reference Guide.
Let Me Know If This Works For You
Let me know if your bathrooms stays cleaner doing this and whether you love or hate to clean bathrooms.
Am I the only one that prefers cleaning really messy rooms like bathrooms and kitchens over boring dusting?
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