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Saturday, 23 March 2013

Spring Clean Day 2: Bathroom

As we will be doing this on a Sunday I think it's only fair that the day's job is relatively small.  Continuing on the start at the top and work our way down theme, my next room to clean is the often the smallest in the house, the bathroom.  I generally follow my bathroom cleaning checklist with a couple of extras.

Things you'll need

  1. Hoover
  2. Mop and bucket
  3. Steamer
  4. Drain cleaner
  5. Bathroom cleaner (I use flash all purpose liquid but have been testing various eco-friendly cleaners, I haven't yet found one that I am completely happy with)  I also use limelite on tiles, shower door and silverware.
  6. White Vinegar
  7. Baking Powder
  8. Bleach or sterilising fluid
  9. Rubber gloves
  10. 3 cleaning clothes, one for general, one to dry and one for the toilet.

  • To start with, just like the bedrooms, you will need to clean and box all accessories to be able to access all surfaces.  Empty all drawers and shelves.  Give away unused/unwanted items, you know the ones, the shampoo you thought you'd try out but didn't like, the hand cream a neighbour bought for you that gives you a rash.  Clear your clutter down to things you've actually used in the past month.  Wipe down all bottles jars and containers.  I use 2 caps of cleaning fluid mixed with a 1/4 cap full of sterilising fluid in the sink full of water, as warm as your hands can cope with. Fill an empty spray bottle with some of this formula.  Go organic if you can.  I'm trying to go organic but have to work on adjusting my mindset too.  I've come from a train of thought that says 'if you don't use bleach it ain't clean!'  Make sure you wear gloves to protect your hands.  Cleaning fluids are irritants so be careful.  I have 'bathroom gloves' in a different colour to the kitchen ones so there is no confusion or crossover.

  • Use a toilet cleaner and squirt under the rim and around the bowl.

  • Now for the elbow grease!  Open your window wide and again, start at the top and work your way down, hoover around the edges between the ceiling and the wall, get any cobwebs and dust.  With the window open, renegade dust particles can swirl out side.  I always hoover all woodwork too, including around the window and make sure you get that extractor fan.  My husband who is a certified electrician, recommends the safest way to clean an extractor fan is to:
  1. Isolate it.  Turn it off first.  You should have an isolator switch which is often located just outside of the bathroom.  If you don't have this you can turn off all power to your bathroom at your main fuse board.
  2. Hoover the fan 
  3. Wipe the surface with a damp, not wet, cloth.  
  4. DO NOT place fingers, objects or spray liquid in between the grill
  • In my bathroom is a mixture of painted and tiled surfaces/walls.  My walls are painted with bathroom specific paint.  It is a wipeable, moisture resistant paint and I highly recommend it.  I've used Dulux Candle Cream for bathrooms for the past 6 years and keep a spare tin in my cupboard for touch ups.  Use your premixed cleaning formula with a damp cloth to wipe the walls, blinds and woodwork.  Follow up by wiping with a dry cloth to reduce excess moisture.  
  • Use the same formula to wipe down all tiles, silverware and shower door, if you have one.  If you have a shower curtain, get rid of it!!  One of my pet peeves is shower curtains, they are less hygenic than a glass shower door and they seem to cling to my backside, yes I am aware that it may be the fact that I have a big backside!  If you do insist on having a shower curtain, and you have no intentions of inviting me around for a shower, have a look at this Readers Digest article:  How to Wash Shower Curtains
  • Wash out your bath tub, shower tray and sink, with cleaning fluid and use an old toothbrush to lift limescale and any mildew.  It's important to remove mildew as the spores can cause illness.  Mildew is, however, a fact of most all bathrooms at some time.  Use a 50/50 mixture of bleach and water in a spray bottle to help shift it or use a little neat vinegar.  Limescale can be treated with a mix of vinegar and baking soda.  Mix into a paste place on a piece of kitchen towel, wrap around taps and plug chains and leave.  Pour drain cleaner into bath and sink traps.  Remove your shower head and soak in the bottom of the bath with the hose, cover with water and place  1tbsp of baking soda with half a cup of vinegar.
  • Now for steam!  Use your steam cleaner on all tiled surfaces and silverware.  This is a deep clean after all!
  • Time for the limelite.  This is pretty strong smelling stuff so ventilate!  Have your windows open and the door closed.  Remove prepared tissue from around your taps and replace your shower head and hose after rinsing.  Spray all silverware and tiled and glass surfaces lightly then leave the room until the cleaner settles.  I know it sounds scary and I can imagine your asking 'so why use it?'  basically the positives outweigh the negatives.  I get a great streak free shine from using limelite with minimum effort, as a perfectionist my sanity must come first!  I've tried several other products that haven't delivered so limelite will stay!  Have a cup of tea and then return.

  • Leaving the limelite in place, clean the toilet.  Flush first then use a toilet brush to scrub away any debris from the inside.  For stubborn limescale and stains found in old toilets or ones that just haven't been cleaned in a while,  I use caustic soda.  It is not something I recommend to all as it is an acid and you have to be confident and capable.  If you do choose to use it, you must do so when all children are either asleep or not present, it will need to be left for at least 2 hours.  YOU MUST NOT USE BLEACH OR ANY OTHER CLEANING FLUID AT THE SAME TIME AS USING CAUSTIC SODA.  Do you like my shouty capitals?!  That means that bit is super important.

I have a softclose removable toilet seat which can be found at your local DIY or bathroom showroom.  I remove the seat and wash in the bath.  I had been asked how I keep my toilet hardware silver and free from green!  I clean with my soap solution, wipe down with 70/30 bleach to water solution, rinse, then spray with limelite and rinse again!  Seems a lot but I live a house with 5 males, one of them being a curious baby, my toilet is gleaming!  As it's a spring clean, it is time to replace the toilet brush.  I only ever buy cheap toilet brushes as I like to replace them often, it's part of my OCD.  As long as it's white it's fine for me.  As you can see my last IKEA toilet brush had started to rust so was out straight after this picture!
  • Rinse, rinse all areas sprayed with limelite.
  • Clean out drawers, line with a wipeable wallpaper, it helps to keep the actual draw clean and can be replaced regularly.
  • Clean your floor, hoover, mop then use your steam cleaner and you are finished!  PHEW!!!!

Your bathroom is now clean!  This is the point where you look at your hard work and critically evaluate.  If it doesn't look gleaming, does it need a lick of paint?  Do you need to replace taps or bathroom furniture?  A new toilet seat?  Do you need new lighting.  We replaced our light switch/pull cord with a sensor light, my husband is an energy conservation freak and I hated the, forever dirty, cord of the pull light we had.  Deep cleaning often throws up issues not noticed before.  See what you need to do to make your bathroom feel complete.

Put back all of your accessories and change your towels.  Now is the time to think about how you store your items.  Using clear jars is great as you can see at a glance what you have and what needs topping up.  I use glass jars I've bought from a variety of places including charity shops and car boot sales.  I even use washed condiment jars for small items, so next time the jam or honey finishes, instead of popping it in your recycling box, wash it and use it for your hair pins or floss picks.  Many people have concerns about using glass in bathrooms with hard floors, there are plenty of acrylic options out there to use as an alternative.  Compartmentalise your drawers and shelves  so that is easy to find things and keep clean.  Keep branded items hidden away inside cupboards and drawers and decant other items inside of your clear storage.  If you have a colour scheme, display those colours through bath salts and bubble bath.  It's spring so buy new towels, I love Homesense because a I can buy great quality towels at a great price so replacing towels isn't an expense.

You can then go ahead and enjoy the rest of your Sunday.  Go on, treat yourself, be the first to have a soak in the bath, after all who else should have the right to mess up your work!!

Tomboy -x

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