Get Your Bathroom Sparkling Clean!

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Get Your Bathroom Sparkling Clean!

Sometimes I honestly think that the need for a sparkling clean bathroom is genetically predisposed towards the female gender. What do you think? How many of us cringe at just the thought of using a roadside bathroom while traveling, yet my husband assures me that the men’s bathroom is FAR worse! Horrors!

My daughter and her four teenage brothers shared one small bathroom for years. (She’s still sharing it with two teen brothers now.) She always took it upon herself to clean it, as their attempts to do so rarely lived up to her standards. How could I blame her? She was the only one who seemed to notice the dirt! So she is permanently assigned to that room and she feels much happier with the arrangement.
My father used to regularly entertain me with an unremitting litany of despair as the deacon in charge of  facilities at his church. He had the fun task of cleaning the boys’ bathroom at the Episcopal church school he was responsible for. He often asked me,

“What do little boys DO in the bathroom?”  

(Since I had four boys of my own, he assumed I was an expert on the subject.) He swore that he found evidence of messes far higher on the wall than most small chaps could ever reach and he could never figure it out.  Ha! He raised a family of girls, so no wonder he was in the dark!

Grandkids Visit - videos and photos 045
I’ve heard from a certain male relative, whose name shall remain anonymous to protect the innocent, that he and his brothers once held a competition to see who could hit the highest.  End of that mystery…  I will never forget the day that I read Don Aslett’s wonderful tip for keeping the toilet clean when little boys are involved…  Turn off the water supply to the toilet, dry the inside, paint a red dot with fingernail polish and let it dry. Your troubles will soon be over. Boy we he ever right. Thank you Don!
I remember quite well attempting to clean our bathroom when all four of MY boys were little. It seemed a hopeless cause. No matter how well I cleaned, it seemed that I could not get rid of the smell!  But one of my first and favorite vintage homemaking books, How to Keep House by Mary Davis Gillies, assured me that if there was odor..than there were germs…somewhere! My job was to search and destroy.

She said that many times, young homemakers try to hide smells with scented candles and air fresheners but that the best way to make a house smell simply to clean it.  Diapers, urine, spoiled food, pet accidents that haven’t been thoroughly disinfected, and even vase water all cause odors caused by germs. If you don’t remove the culprits, and thoroughly clean the area, you will have bad smells in the house that no amount of air freshener can remove.

When I began to regularly clean the WALLS beside the toilet and behind the toilet and even higher (Yipes!), the smell was gone. It was not enough to clean the toilet or even the surrounding floor.  Years later, we found that the men’s bathroom in the school where we hold church once a week was beginning to smell very badly.  As a deacon chairman’s wife, I felt it my God-ordained ‘duty’ to ferret out the cause.  Of course, you know where I started…walls..plain and simple.  (I guess the custodian couldn’t figure it out either-Ha!) Voila! No more odor!

bathroom sink

Here is Mrs. Davies instructions for…
How to Clean a Bathroom

Feel free to ignore anything that seems excessive, but here were her instructions from 1948.

1. Using a disinfectant and brush, clean toilet bowl. Wash the top, bottom, and hinges of the seat, clean tank, metal fittings, and base. put a few drops of disinfectant in bowl; a pine scented type is pleasant.  (I use Pine Sol.)

2. Polish all metal faucets and parts. Dry to prevent water spots. (Use windex or alcohol and water.)

3. Scrub sink, tub, and shower with comet or baking soda.  I use soap afterwards if scrubbing with soda. Wipe off strainers with a paper towel.  Flush with hot water. My favorite products are Showers and Stuff or The Works. Try lime-away for very hard water, but don’t use on stainless steel.  Be careful if you have unusual metals involved.  Use a pumice stone for the worst build up.

4. Wipe off windows, mirror, and light fixtures. (Again, windex or alcohol and water are great for this job.)

5. Wash down tile or marble walls with soap and water or all purpose spray. Use a soft brush on painted and wall papered walls. Dust frames and backs of pictures.

6. Scrub floors; wipe off bathroom scales. (I spray floors with 409 and wipe with paper towels or you could use a mixture of a tablespoon of Borax, a few drops of Dawn dish detergent, 2 T. vinegar to a spray bottle of water.  This is just basic all purpose cleaner. You can use it in the kitchen too!) Jeff Campbell of Spring Cleaning by The Clean Team suggests using paper towels and just spray and wiping the floors. I’ve done this for years. Most bathroom floors aren’t that big!

7. Replace towels.

8. Empty and replace wastebasket.

9. Clean and replace rug or carpet. (I wash them weekly.)

Now…light a nice smelling candle or burn a scented oil. The bathroom will not only LOOK clean and SMELL clean..but it really will be Sparkling Clean!
Click HERE to Print the List.


This week, those of you who follow Flylady’s monthly decluttering routine, like I do, will be decluttering the bathroom, so I thought this list of cleaning tasks would be helpful. I plan to thoroughly clean my bathroom this week..and work on decluttering 15 minutes a day.

If you’d like to get in on the fun and join us on our weekly cleaning adventures,
just drop by FlyLady’s website.

Happy Homemaking!



Cindy said...

Ewww it is to early in the morning for this

My husband and son have been great on hitting the spot.But two of the grandchildren..oh my..I finally made myself observe what the 4 year old was doing..and had a long talk with he stands still..and aims..if the bathroom is dry..he gets praises and sometimes a treat.

Thanks for making me smile this morning. Come by and visit..and bring a recipe.

Hugs Cindy..Rick-Rack and Gingham

Unknown said...

Your bathroom looks so clean! I love the fly lady too she is wonderful. Thank you for all the kind comments on my blog!

Needled Mom said...

Having raised four sons myself....I know where you are coming from!!! Ewww!!!

Kelly said...

Hi Donna;
Yep! You need to write that book! LOL. YOu are a great writer and it tells you are passionate about the subject, even if it is cleaning bathrooms! I don't blame your daughter for giving up on getting her brothers to clean the bathroom, I would have too but I grew up with sisters! I had NO IDEA until I had boys! LOL!
Happy blessings to you Donna.

Jill said...

Thanks for sharing Donna, I have 4 bathrooms to keep clean and it is definitely not a chore I enjoy! LOL
Have a great night!

nanasknoll said...

This was so funny about boys. I only had one boy and when he was little and he did not pay attention and made a mess (I was pregnant at the time)I made him come and clean it-every time he thought he was finished (and it was'nt) I made him come back and do it again. I never had a problem after that. He was 3 yrs old at the time.
Also when he was a teenager we had 2 other boys that came to live with us sometimes same time, sometimes different times. It cost them $5 if they left the lid up or made a mess. One time of paying and they remembered. Kind of like the nail polish thing. A Challenge not to have to pay. As your challenged to hit the spot. Ha Ha

Kerri Holmes said...

I have three boys and can relate to this post! Another great idea to have boys "hit the target" is to place 1 square of toilet paper in the bowl... BEFORE they wee... then they get to "sink the battleship". It works a treat with my boys when I take the time to remind them to do it!
BUT... I think I'll be cleaning walls again this weekend. :)

“There's nothing half so pleasant as coming home again.” ~ Margaret Sangster

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