Cleaning & Organizing Bathrooms – Advice from cleaning guru and Clean My Space host, Melissa Maker!
I am so pleased that the warm weather is here. I must have been a lizard in a past life! That being said, this is the time of year where I want to spend the least amount of time cleaning and the most amount of time outside doing things that I love. Even thought I haven’t met you in person, something tells me your much the same (although, perhaps you weren’t a lizard in your past life!). I’ve been getting a ton of great cleaning questions lately, and I don’t know how to choose which ones to answer! I just went with my heart on these, all focused on cleaning the bathroom, I hope they help you. Feel free to comment your cleaning questions below, or find me on social media and use the hashtag #askmelissa.
David H asks:
What is the best way to get hard water stains out of my toilet?
Hard water stains in a toilet. Well, I knew this question was going to come up sooner or later! Quickly, these stains are caused by minerals in the water, which, once the water has evaporated, cling onto dirt particles and build up inside the toilet bowl. Rust-colored stains indicate iron in the water, green or brown stains indicate lime scale and white build up and off-white stains indicate calcium. They don’t tend to come off with regular scrubbing which makes cleaning frustrating.
The good news is two fold: first, it’s not your fault that this happens and doesn’t mean you’re not an amazing housekeeper (you totally are!), it just means you’ve got hard water and even with water softeners, this can still happen. Second, there’s a super easy fix for this issue. Grab a pumice stone, I particularly like the Pumie¬Æ Toilet Bowl Ring Removal Stick because firstly, it’s on a stick, making it very easy to use in a toilet. Wet the stone, shut off the water valve on your toilet and flush it a couple of times to get rid of the water in the bowl (this makes cleaning easier). Don cleaning gloves, and begin to scrub the stained area with the dampened pumice stone. Remember to keep the stone wet at all times to avoid scratching the porcelain! The pumice stone acts like a gentle eraser and removes that nasty build-up. It will leave some gritty residue behind, but don’t worry. After turning the water back on and flushing the toilet, you’ll have a sparkling bowl in no time.
Audrey W asks:
Hi Melissa, I keep getting soap scum building up in the bathroom and I don’t know what to do. Four of us share the shower and I feel like no matter how much I clean it, the soap scum keeps coming back. Help!
This is a good two part question, let’s start with the soap scum which already resides on your shower walls. You’re going to need a tub and tile cleaner, a non-scratching sponge, a couple of microfiber cloths and baking soda (this one is optional, but the extra abrasion will really help tackle the stubborn areas).
We’ll start by spraying the shower down with your tub and tile cleaner – now there are many different types of finishes in a shower, so make sure you use a product which is safe for your shower type. You really want to soak the area and then let the product sit on the surface for a good five minutes. This is called dwell time and this is how you will spend less time scrubbing the soap scum and more time letting the product do the work.
Next you’ll take your sponge and start scrubbing in an ‘S’ pattern to ensure you get the entire surface. For heavy duty soap scum, you might try sprinkling some baking soda on the sponge for extra abrasion.
The final step involves rinsing everything away using the hottest water you can handle – it is a lot easier if you have a removable shower head for this job, but a bucket of hot water, a sponge and some patience will get the job done also.
The second part of the answer involves preventing soap scum in the first place. I have two suggestions for stopping the scum before it starts, first, toss the bar soap and move to a shower gel or body wash product (which usually leave substantially less residue behind). That said, the most effective way to stop soap scum in it’s tracks is to use a squeegee (like this OXO Household Squeegee) after every shower. I know it sounds like a pain, but trust me, the thirty seconds it takes to wipe all the moisture off the shower walls after your shower will save you 20 minutes of scrubbing each week! If everybody does their part, you’ll be rid of your soap scum woes rather quickly!
Cheryl H asks:
Melissa, my husband and I share a shower and between the two of us, there are umpteen products. I find that they topple over one another and that orange-y mildew starts to grow where the bottles sit. Do you have any solutions for in shower storage?
This is another great question that I think many of us can relate to. My first tip of course, is to declutter where possible. Is there anything that you can get rid of, consolidate into one container, or share with your husband? Second, look for sturdy shower storage solutions which won’t rust or harbor mildew. There are some which hang off your showerhead, and some which use suction cups to stick to the wall. Either can be removed and soaked in vinegar for 30 minutes from time to time to help combat mildew. For an over the shower door or shower head solution, consider something like the Umbra Flex Shower Caddy which makes bathroom storage streamlined and convenient and is also easy to clean (it’s made with plastic and silicone). If you want something that can suction to the wall, I am a big fan of the OXO Good Grips StrongHold Suction Corner Basket. In fact, I’ve got this one in my bathroom and I adore it. The suction cups are easy to pop in and out of place with the pop of a button, and the unit can hold a substantial amount of product. It’s ventilated at the bottom which means no mold and mildew, and being plastic, it’s easy to clean. Consider getting one for you and one for your husband. I think that’ll solve the problem in no time.
I hope these questions have helped you sort through some of your cleaning conundrums, feel free to ask me your cleaning questions and perhaps yours will appear in next month’s issue!