Quick Bathroom Cleaning Solutions | Reader's Digest

Quick Bathroom Cleaning Solutions

Cleaning tricks to get your bathroom smelling and looking pristine.

from Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things

Ammonia

To get rid of those ugly grease and soap-scum buildups in your porcelain enamel sink or tub, scrub it with a solution of 1 tablespoon ammonia in 1 gallon (3.7 liters) hot water. Rinse thoroughly when done.

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Baby Wipes

Do you have company coming over and not much time to tidy up the house? Don’t break out in a sweat. Try this double-handed trick: Take a baby wipe in one hand and start polishing your bathroom surfaces. Keep a dry washcloth in your other hand to shine things up as you make your rounds.

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Bleach

Bleach and ammonia are both useful for removing mold and mildew both inside and outside your home. However, the two should never be used together. Bleach is especially suited for the following chores:

  • Wash mildew out of washable fabrics. Wet the mildewed area and rub in some powdered detergent. Then wash the garment in the hottest water set-ting permitted by the clothing manufacturer using 1/2 cup chlorine bleach. If the garment can’t be washed in hot water and bleach, soak it in a solution of 1/4 cup oxygen bleach (labeled “all fabric” or “perborate”) in 1 gallon (3.7 liters) warm water for 30 minutes before washing.
  • Remove mold and mildew from the grout between your bathroom tiles. Mix equal parts of chlorine bleach and water in a spray bottle, and spray it over grout. Let it sit for 15 minutes, then scrub with a stiff brush and rinse off. You can also do this just to make your grout look whiter.
  • Get mold and mildew off your shower curtains. Wash them — along with a couple of bath towels (to prevent the plastic curtains from crinkling) — in warm water with 1/2 cup chlorine bleach and 1/4 cup laundry detergent. Let the washer run for a couple of minutes before loading. Put the shower curtain and towels in the dryer on the lowest temperature setting for 10 minutes, then immediately hang-dry.
  • Rid your rubber shower mat of mildew. Soak in a solution of 1/8 cup (3.7 liters) chlorine bleach in 1 gallon water for 3-4 hours. Rinse well.
  • Get mildew and other stains off unpainted cement, patio stones, or stucco. Mix a solution of 1 cup chlorine bleach in 2 gallons (7.5 liters) water. Scrub vigorously with a stiff or wire brush and rinse. If any stains remain, scrub again using 1/2 cup washing soda (this is sodium carbonate, not baking soda) dissolved in 2 gallons (7.5 liters) warm water.
  • Remove mildew from painted surfaces and siding. Make a solution of 1/4 cup chlorine bleach in 2 cups water and apply with a brush to mildewed areas. Let the solution set for 15 minutes, then rinse. Repeat as necessary.

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Cotton Balls

There are always hard-to-reach spots in the bathroom, usually around the fixtures, where mildew may breed in the grout between tiles. Forget about becoming a contortionist to return the sparkle to those areas. Soak a few cotton balls in bleach and place them in those difficult spots. Leave them to work their magic for a few hours. When you remove them, you’ll find your job has been done. Finish by rinsing with a warm-water wash.

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Epsom Salt

Is the tile in your bathroom getting that grungy look? Time to bring in the Epsom salt. Mix it in equal parts with liquid dish detergent, then dab it onto the offending area and start scrubbing. The Epsom salt works with the detergent to scrub and dissolve the grime.
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Rubbing Alcohol

Just reach into the medicine cabinet the next time you need to clean chrome bathroom fixtures. Pour some rubbing alcohol straight from the bottle onto a soft, absorbent cloth and the fixtures. No need to rinse — the alcohol just evaporates. It does a great job of making chrome sparkle, plus it will kill any germs in its path.

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Vinegar

  • Clean those ugly mildew stains off your plastic shower curtain by putting it and a couple of soiled towels in your washing machine. Add 1/2 cup laundry detergent and 1/2 cup baking soda to the load, and wash it in warm water on your machine’s regular cycle. Add 1 cup white vinegar to the first rinse. Before the machine goes into the spin cycle, remove the curtain and let it hang-dry.
  • If soap scum or water spots have dulled the ceramic tiles around your sink or bath, bring back the brightness by scrubbing them with 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1/2 cup ammonia, and 1/4 cup borax mixed in 1 gallon (3.7 liters) warm water. Rinse well with cool water and let air-dry.
  • Has the grout between the tiles of your shower or bathtub enclosure become stained or discolored? Restore it to its original shade of white by using a toothbrush dipped in undiluted white vinegar to scrub away the dinginess.
  • Put the shine back in your porcelain sinks and bathtubs by giving them a good scrubbing with full-strength white vinegar, followed by a rinse of clean cold water. To remove hard-water stains from your tub, pour in 3 cups white vinegar under running hot tap water. Let the tub fill up over the stains and allow it to soak for four hours. When the water drains out, you should be able to easily scrub off the stains.
  • To leave your glass shower doors sparkling clean — and to remove all of those annoying water spots — wipe them down with a cloth dipped in a solution of 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1 cup ammonia, and 1/4 cup baking soda mixed in 1 gallon (3.7 liters) warm water.
  • Use vinegar to remove accumulated dirt and grime from the tracks of your shower doors. Fill the tracks with about 2 cups full-strength white vinegar and let it sit for three to five hours. (If the tracks are really dirty, heat the vinegar in a glass container for 30 seconds in your microwave first.) Then pour some hot water over the track to flush away the gunk. You may need to use a small scrub brush, or even a recycled toothbrush, to get up tough stains.
  • Wash away blockages and mineral deposits from removable showerheads by placing them in 1 quart (1 liter) boiling water with 1/2 cup distilled vinegar for 10 minutes (use hot, not boiling, liquid for plastic showerheads). When you remove it from the solution, the obstructions should be gone. If you have a nonremovable showerhead, fill a small plastic bag half full with vinegar and tape it over the fixture. Let it sit for about 1 hour, then remove the bag and wipe off any remaining vinegar from the showerhead.
  • Don’t stop at the shower when you’re cleaning with vinegar! Pour a bit of undiluted white vinegar onto a soft cloth and use it to wipe your chrome faucets, towel racks, bathroom mirrors, doorknobs, and such. It’ll leave them gleaming.
  • To remove and inhibit bathroom mold and mildew, pour a solution of 3 tablespoons white vinegar, 1 teaspoon borax, and 2 cups hot water into a clean, recycled spray bottle and give it a few good shakes. Then spray the mixture on painted surfaces, tiles, windows, or wherever you see mold or mildew spots. Use a soft scrub brush to work the solution into the stains or just let it soak in.
  • Want an easy way to keep your toilet looking and smelling clean? Pour 2 cups white vinegar into the bowl and let the solution soak overnight before flushing. Including this vinegar soak in your weekly cleaning regimen will also help keep away those ugly water rings that typically appear just above the water level.
  • Get the grime, bacteria, and caked-on toothpaste drippings out of the grooves of your bathroom toothbrush holder by cleaning the openings with cotton swabs moistened with white vinegar.
  • If several people in your home use the same rinse cup after brushing their teeth, give it a weekly cleaning by filling it with equal parts water and white vinegar, or just full-strength vinegar, and let it sit overnight. Rinse thoroughly with cold water before using.

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Wax Paper

Company’s coming, and you want every room of the house to look its best. To keep bathroom fixtures temporarily spotless, rub them with a sheet of wax paper after cleaning them. The wax that transfers will deflect water droplets like magic — at least until the next cleaning.

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