Thumbnail image for HappyHousewife.jpgBathroom cleaning is very few people's favorite household chore. As far as housework goes, I don't mind it in particular, but I don't love it, and I certainly don't do it often enough. For the purposes of today's project, I'm tackling just our master bathroom, which is "my" bathroom. We also have a guest bathroom upstairs (Mark's bathroom), a half bath on the main floor, and a full bath downstairs. I'm not doing those because Mark does his own, the main floor one was just cleaned, and the one downstairs never gets used. Mine, however, is a nightmare.

America's Housekeeping Book provides the following instruction for weekly bathroom cleaning:

One day each week additional care should be given the bathroom.
1. Rug should be cleaned and bathmat changed.
2. Duck shower curtain should be hung out in the sun if weather permits. (Clean curtain should be put up when needed).
3. Walls should be wiped down with clean cloth or wall brush, washed when necessary.
4. Light fixtures, bulbs and globes should be dusted every week, washed when necessary.
5. Medicine cabinet (page 104) should be dusted and straightened, washed when necessary.
6. Mirror should be dusted, washed when necessary.
7. Windows should be dusted inside, washed on both sides when necessary.
8. Curtains should be laundered when necessary.
9. Toilet bowl should have a special cleanser used each week.
10. Clothes hamper should be emptied, dried and aired each week, scrubbed and sunned occasionally when weather permits.
11. Floor should be washed twice weekly, Tuesdays and Fridays, oftener if needed.

These instructions are on top of what the book advises be done in the bathroom every day:

1. Open windows top and bottom for free circulation of air.
2. Pick up and replace small articles belonging in bathroom.
3. Gather up and take out soiled linen (to hamper, if dry) and articles belonging in other rooms. Collect trash in waste basket. Roll up bath mat or rug.
4. Wipe mirror.
5. Wipe tile behind washbowl and tub.
6. Clean bathtub and metal fixtures (be sure to wipe shower fixture, and clean soap holder).
7. Clean towel bowl with brush. Wipe outside of bowl and closet with cloth used for that purpose only.
8. Clean washbowl (be sure to wipe base as well as top; also clean soap holder).
9. Straighten towels and washcloths. Put out clean linen when needed (fresh linen for all on Wednesdays and Saturdays).
10. Sweep floor. Gather up dust in pain.
11. Replace bath mat or rug. Close windows in cold or damp weather.

It goes without saying, I'd imagine, that I don't do a single thing on that daily list every day. So I'll consider the whole thing part of my deep cleaning.

Martha's list is, again, more concise but not all that different. She recommends:

*Clean toilets, bathtubs, showers, and sinks.
*Wipe mirrors.
*Change and launder bath mats, towels, and washcloths
*Dust light fixtures
*Empty trash bins and wipe the insides and outsides
*Vacuum and mop floors

When I began, my bathroom and I looked like this. (My apron is a homemade gift, by the way.)
bathroom before.JPG

Some parts weren't so bad:
before detail 1-counter.JPG

Some were a bit worse:
before detail 2-toilet.JPG

before detail 3-shower.JPG

And some were far, far worse:
shower detail.JPG

This ledge thing on my shower is the bane of my existence. It isn't down-sloped, so it doesn't drain. Water builds up on it when I shower, and then it molds. I wipe it down all the time, but it's always nasty.

After I opened the window, I began by putting Mrs. Meyer's toilet cleaner in the toilet. Then I took the shower curtain and shower curtain liner down, threw the liner out (I have a new one to replace it with), and put the "duck" curtain in the washer. I then removed everything from the shower and took a look at what I had to work with.

Ew. There is, as far as I can figure, no really great way to clean a shower. At least not without getting wet. But I do the best I can. After I removed the curtains and all the bottles and stuff, I filled a bucket with hot water and Mrs. Meyer's All-Purpose cleaner. I then scrubbed every inch of the shower--tile, fixtures, and tub--with a scrub brush and the hot water and Mrs. Meyer's. It was nasty. I sweated. But it more or less worked--there are some spots of in-grout discoloration that didn't come up, but it's far better than it was. Once it was all cleaned and rinsed, I dried it all out. No need to start re-growing the mold already.

Once the shower and tub were done, I started at the top. I dusted the light fixture, window sill, door frame, and everywhere else dust collects. I washed the window, medicine cabinet, and mirror. Then I cleaned the inside and outside of the toilet. Then I removed everything from the counter and scrubbed it and the sink down, then replaced the things that needed to be there and threw away the ones that didn't.

When everything was clean, I did something I don't think I've ever done before. I swept the floor, then I got down on my hands and knees, feeling very much like Cinderella, and scrubbed the floor with a scrub brush. I even did the edges and floor boards with a toothbrush. Then I dried them.

After everything was done, I took the dirty towels and bath mats down to the laundry, emptied the garbage, and was finished. The whole process took about 45 minutes.

The results looked like this:

bathroom after.JPG

after detail-counter.JPG

after detail-shower.JPG

Look at that floor!
after detail-floor.JPG

As I was cleaning, I realized something. There are two rooms in this house that are "mine," used almost exclusively by me--this bathroom, and my office/dressing room/closet. And they are the two dirtiest, messiest, most cluttered, least looked after rooms in this house. As first, I thought this was just because those rooms aren't seen or used by guests, but there's more to it than that. Mark has two rooms, too--a bathroom and an office. They're nice and tidy and well-kept. I've been on the feminist train long enough not to think that is a coincidence. The truth is, I don't put my energy into rooms that are meant for me. They come last, after rooms that are public, and also after rooms that Mark uses as well. I don't clean Mark's rooms, but he doesn't feel any qualms about keeping them nice for himself, and I clearly do.

It's a revolution up in here, y'all.

7 Comments

Looks awesome!!! I think cleaning bathrooms is hard because they get a lot of use and they get coated with a lot of gunk.....think soap, shampoo, conditioner, hair products, makeup and then mix in water and heat ugh. I try to clean all of the bathrooms once a week but must say that it's hard with 5 people. Anyway it looks great keep up the good work!

Inspiring - I hate the ledges in my shower too - they are sloped but they still grow orange goo. I don't even have the excuse of caring for other bathrooms first. We only have the one.

Grace, it's been a while since I've commented and I hope you and Mark are doing well. I just wanted to pop in and let you know I am THOROUGHLY enjoying your new project. I love the tips I'm getting and the insight from the older books you're quoting. Keep up the awesome work!

I've noticed that wiping down the shower with a towel, after a shower/bath, helps keep it cleaner longer and keeps the pink goo that grows on mine away longer.

I just bought some Mrs. Meyer's, so I think I may tackle mine in a bit.

What I'm finding very interesting in all of these is the number of things they recommend be "hung out in the sun". I always thought that was only used to dry things without a dryer, but now I'm realizing there's a very good reason for it (especially hard to clean stuff like garbage cans and hampers...). The UV light kills all the germs. Mother Nature's antibiotic.

I've often asked Mr. Stang to wash the shower curtain (not the vinyl liner - the cloth one that hangs outside the jet tub, right next to the toilet 99% of the time) and he says "why? it doesn't get wet/dirty"

I bought a UV wand so I dont' have to Lysol all the surfaces but rarely use it. Methinks it's time to dig it out!

Just found your blog from your comment on mine and I am so glad that I did. What a fun series of posts! I'm going to have to go through the archives and start at the beginning. Looking forward to reading more.

Cleaning the bathroom is such a pain. When I lived in Utah it was awesome because the worst that resulted from not cleaning was a dusty bathroom.

Here in Coastal Northern CA it's mold/mildew central. Yuck! Everyone in my family has a little shower squeegee they use after every shower, but my SO refuses. Our bathroom usually looks icky because we don't clean it often enough. Not to mention both cats love to drink from the tub/shower bottom so there are often dirty paw prints in there.

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