My 3 rules for cleaning any room
Rule 1 – Get in the right headspace
Especially for the Lou, you need to be in the right headspace. I don’t know what you need to do to get there (maybe watch one of our videos), but if I am not in the mood for cleaning, I literally waste time doing everything else but clean. If you haven’t cleaned your bathroom in a while, set aside 30-45 minutes. For a well-maintained bathroom, commit 20 minutes to the task. To make it easier on yourself, pick your music ahead of time, get a drink, and then get cleaning.
Rule 2: Use the right tools and products, and have them all with you
Don’t waste your time using inadequate tools and products, get the good stuff that isn’t going to waste your time because of quality issues. Select items that you need; nothing more and nothing less, just enough to be efficient. My recommended product and tool list is below. Then, gather the items up and take them to the bathroom, don’t leave one item out. If you have it all with you, you won’t need to leave and that will keep you focused.
Rule 3: Have a Method
Have a plan, and that’s why I am going to share my list with you so that you know what to do and the order to do it in. Also, work clockwise and stay on course, that way you won’t need to remember what you have and have not cleaned. You save so much time by not backtracking. You’re also going to focus on soaking areas that need it while you clean areas that don’t require soaking. That way, you let the products work for you on the really grubby areas, which reduces scrub time. Trust me, it’s brilliant.
Tools and Products
Let’s assume that watching the video and reading the post gets you in the most amazing cleaning headspace (which takes care of rule #1), you are ready to get your tools and products prepped. I am going to give you a general list here. But, if you have any specialty finish in your bathroom, I encourage to check out the post on cleaning high-end finishes so that you know exactly how to clean these areas without ruining anything. Here’s what you’ll need to clean your bathroom:
- Microfiber cloths for dusting, cleaning, and polishing. I’d say to have 5.
- Glass cleaning cloth, for mirrors and windows (if you feel like cleaning your windows), have 1
- Vacuum (mop if you have hardwood floors)
- All-purpose cleaner (you may choose one with a disinfectant if you wish)
- Glass cleaner, but I prefer vinegar, and full-strength vinegar if you can find it
- Tub and tile cleaner (which can be used for toilets as well)
- Garbage bag, bag for recyclables, replacement garbage bag
- Mop pole, hair elastic
- Squeegee (optional, but helpful)
- Toilet bowl brush
- Double-sided sponge (ideally non-scratching)
- Cleaning toothbrush
Now, you might have items and/or finishes in your room that I don’t have in mine, so if you have something that requires special attention, get the right product for it. Otherwise, this list will suffice.
The method we’re going to use for this is the same one we used in our bedroom cleaning tutorial. The two key differences here, are that we are going to add an extra step to the first wave (spraying) and we are going to use the sink as our starting point rather than the door. This is because we’ll need to use the sink a number of times, and this way when we clean it last, we won’t need to repeat any work. We will also be spending time soaking more stubborn areas to allow the product to work to our advantage and save us lots of scrubbing time. You’ll see what I mean shortly.
I will refer to the method as I have before, as ’3 Waves’. Essentially, you’re going to do 3 circles (waves sounds sexier and less kindergarten-y) around your bathroom to cover off all the areas. The three waves are exactly the same: tidying, cleaning, and floors. That way, you tidy and deal with garbage and laundry first, scrub and clean second, and clean floors last. You can’t go wrong. You’ll always work clockwise and I pick the sink as my ’12 O’Clock’ so that I always have a consistent start and finish point.
Spray and Soak
The first wave involves two parts; tidying and spraying all stubborn areas like tiles, toilets and glass doors. Work clockwise when doing this so that you don’t forget where you started. The reason we spray and soak at the beginning is to allow for the heavy build-up to be easily broken down, and secondly to allow any bacteria to be killed (a disinfectant requires between 5-10 minutes of dwell time to do this). Let the product do the heavy lifting for you. So, the way you make this happen is as follows; before you do think about tidying, remove items that may be in the way of the tough areas (such as a plunger shower caddy) to allow for maximum coverage with the product. Then, spray all of these surfaces (don’t spray the tub yet, only the shower tiles and door, we’ll do the tub later). Be generous, because you don’t want the product to dry. If you are using anything harsh (which I sincerely hope you are not), please open a window or turn on a fan, and keep your door open. Ventilation is key. Ok, now that you’ve quickly soaked the tough areas, you can start tidying.
Now that the spraying is done, we can proceed with the tidying part of the first wave. So here, we’ll circle around the bathroom and pick up garbage and recycling, put things where they belong (tidying) and some quick organization. For this wave, you don’t need cleaning products, you just need your garbage bag/recycling bag and perhaps a laundry basket for items that don’t belong in your bathroom, which you can leave just outside the door to save space.
As I go around the bathroom, I am scanning from top to bottom, left to right for any item that needs to be ‘dealt with’. For example, any magazines and empty toiletries can get recycled, garbage gets tossed, etc. Any items I don’t need in the bathroom go into the laundry basket which I’ll leave outside my door and deal with after the clean is over.
For the items that I pass which are in their right homes (because each item has a home you know), I tidy and organize them. I position them neatly and attractively on the surface (which we clean in the second wave). For example, my toothbrush, soap, face wash, etc. will be lined up neatly. I’ll remind you of my secret tidying tip which is to line my items up parallel or perpendicular to the edges of the furniture. That way, things always look straight. At this time, if you feel certain parts of your bathroom need a bit of reorganizing as you go along, this is the time to do it. For example, if you see you have 20 nail polishes and 8 of them are dried out or old, you can get rid of them now.
Finish this wave up by folding your towels neatly and making sure space looks neat and organized. You’re all done and ready to move on to the second wave!
Cleaning, dusting, and scrubbing
Now that the bathroom is neat and tidy and the grimy areas have had a chance to soak, it’s time to actually clean it. For the second wave, we’re going to tackle the scrubbing, dusting, cleaning, and polishing. To prepare for the second wave, I keep a dry microfiber cloth over my shoulder so that I can ‘buff’ surfaces and items dry (and access it quickly), a clean microfiber cloth in the other hand and a bottle of all-purpose cleaner close by.
High and low dusting is the first thing you’re going to do. The important thing to know about dusting is that dust falls from the top to the bottom, so you want to start at the top and work your way down. That’s why we start with the high dusting. Prepare your high and low dusting tool now, by placing a dampened microfiber cloth over the end of a mop pole and securing it with the hair elastic. Start at your 12 O’Clock point and raise the tool up to the seam where the ceiling meets the wall. Walk it from corner to corner around the room (moving clockwise) dragging it along the corners and edges along the seam (cobweb central). While you’re at it, you can also clean any door frames, vents or light fixtures (which should be off if you are cleaning them). When this is done, you can either move on to cleaning or backtrack your steps and clean the baseboards using the same tool.
Now that your high and low dusting is done, take 2 microfiber cloths and your bottle of all-purpose cleaner and glass cleaner. Leave the glass cleaner by your mirror so you don’t need to drag it around with you. Spray your cloth so that it’s damp and head to your 12 O’Clock area to start. Start scanning (top to bottom) and seek out any fingerprints or marks on the wall, points of contact, or horizontal surfaces that need dusting and polishing. You are literally going to scan, moving your head in a ‘yes’ position (up and down) looking for things that NEED cleaning. Include furniture and room decor in this scan, and clean items as necessary. As you get to countertops, remove all items on the surface, clean the area by spraying it and wiping clean in an ‘S’ pattern, and then replacing all items back on the counter where you found them, neatly. Wipe the items as you replace them. When you reach the mirror, clean that as well. I cheat a little bit and only clean as far as I can reach (because it really doesn’t get messy higher than that).
Now, you’ll hit the toilet. Assuming you’ve sprayed the whole toilet (learn how to do it here), put some gloves on and take your paper towel and wipe the tank, flusher, lid, top and bottom of the rim, base and area behind the toilet with a paper towel. Discard the paper towel, we’ll do the bowl now. Take your toilet bowl brush and scrub; start with under the rim (stand back!) and then swirl your way into the bowl until you get to the chute, which also needs to be scrubbed. Then, flush, and close the lid with the toilet brush dangling above the toilet bowl; this way it drip-dries. You can also clean out the bowl brush container at this time (using a paper towel).
Moving right along, we’ll get to the tub and shower area. We created a comprehensive video and post on cleaning a shower, which can be found here. Since you have sprayed
If you wish to disinfect your points of contact, use a disinfectant for this (unless your all-purpose cleaner does this too). When it comes to cleaning furniture, here’s what to do. Remove all items, and place safely on the floor, spray the furniture surface if you can, or just use a damp cloth to wipe if not. Wipe in an ‘S’ pattern (starting at one end and moving to the other, and zig-zag back and forth until you are done). Grab your buffing cloth if necessary to dry the surface before replacing items and then replace items, one by one, quickly wiping each one as you replace it in the right spot. Since you’ve already organized and tidied, you have fewer things to do during this wave, and you can strictly focus on cleaning. Check to see if your furniture’s vertical surfaces have fingerprints on them and spot clean as required (vertical surfaces get less dirty than horizontal ones, so they don’t need as much cleaning).
For your mirror, spray it with glass cleaner, then take a clean microfiber cloth and wipe using an “s’ pattern from top to bottom, and buff out any streaks as needed. Move along to your windowsill, use a cloth to wipe the frame and sill of the window, and you can spot clean any fingerprints if you wish. I use the same method for picture frames, which you can see in the video. I also support any item by holding part of it secure with my left hand while I clean with my right hand. That prevents it from falling! I don’t clean my window coverings in this video, but you can certainly do this if you wish. See, with focused effort, this was easy and effective.
Points of Contact, Empty Garbage & Wipe Floors
Congrats! You made it to the third wave, and this wave won’t take long at all – simply clean your points of contact – empty your garbage and clean the floors, using a microfibre cloth – and NOT a mop! See the video the full details on this wave.
Thinking about tackling your bathroom? Be sure to take before and after pictures and send them to us! You never know, we just might send you a prize.