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Bathroom Cleaning

Submitted by Lorene Bartos, UNL Extension Educator

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Cleaning the bathroom is a never ending task. It is a challenge for families because there are so many different surfaces (chrome, brass, glass, porcelain, and fiberglass) plus a variety of soils (hard water deposits, soap film, rust stains, and mildew), not to mention germs to clean.

Some cleaning hints and supplies for the different surfaces are:

Porcelain bathtubs and sinks

For stubborn stains or soap film build-up, let the cleaner thoroughly penetrate the soil, then rub or scour. Cleaners suggested are: tub/tile/sink cleaner, nonabrasive, all-purpose cleaner, disinfectant cleaner, mild abrasive (liquid or powdered) cleanser and hard water mineral remover to remove mineral deposits.

Ceramic Tile

This surface may be susceptible to scratches. In addition to the products already mentioned use a mildew stain remover and/or a solution of liquid household bleach (3/4 cup bleach to 1 gallon water) for mildew which can grow between tiles and in the grout.

Fiberglass shower stalls, bathtubs and sinks

Choose non-abrasive cleaners and cleaning cloths to avoid scratching these surfaces. An additional cleaner for these areas includes a solution of baking soda and water.

Glass shower doors and mirrors

Use non-streaking cleaning products for best results. Items to have on-hand are glass cleaner, glass and multi-surface cleaner, and tub/tile/sink cleaner for heavily soiled shower doors.

Shower cleaning products available today are helpful in keeping water stains and soap film at a minimum if used faithfully and according to directions.

Vitreous china toilet bowls

Interiors are susceptible to the buildup of hard water deposits. Use a long-handled toilet brush to clean the rim holes and as far into the trap as possible. A pumice stone can be used to clean hard water marks from the bowl. These products will help in cleaning this area - toilet bowl cleaner, in-tank (continuous) cleaner will maintain the freshness of the bowl everyday. NOTE: Don't mix different types of toilet bowl cleaners together. Do not use toilet bowl cleaner to clean any surface other than the inside of the toilet bowl.

For the exterior of the bowl that can be scratched use a non-abrasive, all-purpose cleaner and a disinfectant cleaner.

Plastic toilet seats

Avoid abrasive cleaners that may scratch these surfaces. Thoroughly rinse and dry hinge areas and bumpers.


1. Rinse the tub and shower after each use to keep soap film and hard water deposits from forming. Keep a small sponge handy for wiping down the tub after bathing. Use a towel or a squeegee on shower walls. Dry faucets and handles to prevent water spots.

2. Keep shower doors and curtains open after use to allow them to air dry and prevent mildew.

3. To clean vertical surfaces where cleaners can run off quickly (bathtubs, showers, toilet bowls), spray foams and thick liquids are effective.

4. Consider using a disinfectant cleaner for toilet bowls, tubs and showers. Only products having a EPA registration number on the label have met government requirements for killing germs.

5. Avoid using products containing bleach to remove rust stains as they may intensify the color. Use a rust remover for such stains.

Be sure to read and follow the label directions and be careful with cleaning products used for cleaning the bathroom. Also hang up damp towels to keep them from getting a musty sour smell. Remember by removing moisture sources in the bathroom will reduce the chance for mold and mildew to grow.

Ask Lorene

(This resource was updated May 13, 2008 and appeared in the Lincoln Journal Star Newspaper Sunday edition. For information on reproducing this article or using any photographs or graphics, read the Terms of Use statement)

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