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10 Ways You’re Probably Cleaning Your Bathroom Wrong

The places you forget to clean, plus tips and tricks to clean your bathroom more quickly and effectively.

Person cleaning bathImage Source/Getty Images

Cleaning the bathroom is a pretty annoying part of being an adult, but hey, we all have to do it. If you’re going to spend the time doing these tedious household chores, it’s best to do them right. Since we’re all in this together, we can share the ways to get the job done efficiently and effectively without making the same mistakes as everyone else. Once you nail how to clean a bathroom sufficiently, learn how to clean a bathroom in five minutes or less.

Bathroom SinkCatherine Falls Commercial/Getty Images

You clean surfaces at room temperature

Heating your tub, sink, and tiles just 10 degrees above normal air temperature can double the effectiveness of alkaline cleansers. Fill your tub or sink with the hottest water you can run from the tap and let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing and cleaning bathroom areas. Don’t miss the germiest spots in your bathroom so you make sure to hit those the next time you clean.

Shower curtainKameleon007/Getty Images

You scrub your plastic shower curtains

Don’t waste any energy scrubbing a shower curtain liner when cleaning bathroom areas. Throw it into the washing machine with a couple of towels, a cup of vinegar, and run for about five minutes. Let the towels and curtain soak in the water for an hour before turning the machine back on to finish the cycle. Hang to dry. Get more information about the best ways to wash your shower curtains.

Cleaning Faucetxefstock/Getty Images

You use paper towels

Meet your new best friend, the microfiber cloth. These cloths are composed of ultrafine synthetic fibers woven together to create a static charge that attracts dirt and dust, so you can tackle dusting without using sprays. Even better—you can wash and reuse them so the environment will thank you, too. Don’t miss this definitive guide to how often you should clean everything in your home.

Close-Up Of Person Hand Washing Toothbrush Under FaucetLuckana Virunanon/EyeEm/Getty Images

You don’t clean your toothbrush (ew!)

A recent study from the University of Manchester found that the average toothbrush contained about 10 million germs, including E. coli. Rinse it well after each use and occasionally soak it in a cup of vinegar for about 30 minutes to take care of any leftover bacteria. Replace your toothbrush every three months—but save the old one; you can use it to clean hard-to-reach places around the house. Check out these cleaning mistakes that leave your house more germy than before.

Attractive Female With Vacuum CleanerMarkus Münch PHOTOGRAPHIE/500px/Getty Images

You forget to vacuum

Think your vacuum is only for carpet? Think again. Before cleaning your tile floors, vacuum or sweep to remove loose dirt and debris, then wash with a cleaning solution. It’ll save you time in the long run instead of scrubbing a filthy, dusty floor when cleaning your bathroom. Don’t miss these places you’re not vacuuming—but definitely should be.

Toilet Bowl In BathroomKasipat Phonlamai/EyeEm/Getty Images

You forget to clean behind your toilet

Gross alert: It’s way too easy for urine and fecal matter to build up back there, leaving an icky residue that’s hard to clean. Roll up a few paper towels (you’re better off with these for this dirty job than a reusable cloth), dip them in antibacterial cleaner, and, while facing the throne, “floss” the back of the toilet. Let it sit for a few minutes and then “floss” again with a dry paper towel to finish the job. You’ll want to steal these other house cleaning hacks from professional cleaners when cleaning bathroom spots, too. P.S.—here’s a guide on how to remove hard water stains if you see them in your bathroom.

Hair loss in hairbrush on white tilesWestend61/Getty Images

You don’t clean your hairbrush

Like sponges or carpets, hairbrushes trap unwanted dust, dirt, oils, and old hair product. Each time you brush with a dirty hairbrush, you re-deposit all the dust, dirt, and oils back into your mane! Remove all hair caught in the bristles. Mix a solution of 1 cup of water, 1 teaspoon of shampoo, and 1 teaspoon of baking soda, then apply to the bristles and base gently with an old toothbrush. Don’t miss these eight things professional housecleaners do in their homes every day.

Close-up Of Person Cleaning The Tiled WallAndreyPopov/Getty Images

You use the same product on all surfaces

Just because a bottle reads “multipurpose,” doesn’t mean the product is suitable for all surfaces. Tiles should have their own cleanser in addition to a separate product for the sink, countertops, and toilet. Using the wrong type of cleanser could hurt the surfaces over time. For example, an acidic product on a granite countertop will cause damage to the granite, but would be great for cleaning rust off the toilet. Don’t miss the mistakes you’re making with disinfectant spray.

Hand in a Rubber Glove Cleaning a Tiled Floor in a BathroomAlex Wilson/Getty Images

You use the same sponge on every surface

In order to keep your bathroom the cleanest as possible—besides just using different products in different areas—you need to make sure you’re using a different sponge for each task. Using the same sponge across various surfaces like the toilet to the shower or mirror to the sink leads to cross-contamination. You would just be transferring bacteria from one surface to another, possibly making your bathroom even dirtier than it was before you started cleaning. Sponges need to be cleaned too! See the best way to disinfect your sponge.

Scrubbing toiletvladans/Getty Images

You place the toilet brush immediately back into its holder

Almost like slamming your pencil down at the completion of an exam, we know it feels good to plop the toilet brush into its holder to celebrate completing an annoying task, but a brush that’s still wet will serve as the perfect environment for all kinds of bacteria. Once you’re done cleaning the bowl, let the brush drip into the bowl by placing it on the seat and make sure the brush is completely dry before putting it away. It also doesn’t hurt to give the holder a quick spray and wipe with an antibacterial cleaner. Next, check out the cleaning products professional house cleaners always buy.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest

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