Friday, September 5, 2008

Sparkly, shiny, polished bathrooms

First I wanted to share with you some inspiring pictures of a beautiful bathroom. This bathroom doesn't belong to me, but to a fellow blogger over at The Vintage Kitten blog. Her and her husband refurbished their bathroom themselves. Lots of hard work as she wrote in her post, but by the look of it worth every minute! It looks beautiful, and oh so clean too. What an inspiration - thanks for sharing it with us Mandy!

As I mentioned on my previous post, I've actually been in the mood to clean recently, so this post is part of my Autumn/Spring cleaning musts. One of the rooms I tackled last weekend was the bathroom. Now normally I despise cleaning this room, I just can't stand it! It's the bending over the bath, the limescale that seems to build up when I'm not looking and the fact that as soon as I've cleaned it it somehow gets dirty again within a day. Okay, so that's my rant out the way. But of course, the trick is to clean the bathroom regularly... and yes we all know this don't we :(

Before this weekend I must confess that I have resorted to bleaching the bath ( I know, I know, I'm always going on about not using toxic chemicals around the home) and truth be told I was desperate and actually it didn't really do the trick. So last weekend I got down to basics, preparing for some serious elbow grease and ignoring the bottle of bleach. Imagine my surprise that with some bicarbonate of soda and a mesh covered sponge, it took me only 10 minutes to get our bath looking good as new! As much as I'm always going on about the uses of bicarbonate of soda and vinegar I genuinely thought they would be a bit lightweight for cleaning a bath that has got a bit icky because of the use of bath oils (the price I have to pay for a bit of luxury).

So here's my method to get a mucky bathroom looking good as new!

You'll need:
  • Bicarbonate of soda (also known as baking soda)
  • White vinegar
  • Cotton wool
  • Sponge (not a scourer)
  • Absorbent cloth or old towel Toothpaste
  • An old toothbrush

In general, you want to avoid using abrasive cleaners on any bath surface as they will dull the appearance of the material which it is made of. Bicarbonate of soda however is a very mild abrasive, so although not suitable for regular cleaning, it is a big help when you've left cleaning the bath for a little bit too long. The bicarb can also be used to get rid of rust marks.

Sprinkle the bath and sink liberally with the Bicarb and lightly spray with water to make a paste. Leave it while you tackle the limescale as explained. If you have chrome taps*, arrange some cotton wool around the taps and shower head where there is a limescale build up, soak the cotton wool with water. Spray tiles and other areas of the bathroom where limescale is a problem with vinegar. Now go to work on the bath tub and sink, by scrubbing the bicarb with the soft sponge ( remember - no scourers!) across the surface - that's right, use some elbow grease and think of those calories you are burning. You should soon see an improvement to the whiteness of your bath and sink pretty quickly (if you have a white suite that is). Add more bicarb and repeat if needed. Rinse the bath and sink with warm water.

You can leave the vinegar and cotton wool overnight, and remove the next morning. The limescale would have softened enough that you could easily wipe it away. I use a microfiber cloth for this purpouse (see below).
*Please note that vinegar should not be used on plated taps, especially gold taps !

Microfiber cloths really are a brilliant invention - especially for chrome fittings. They are available through online eco-stores and are starting to show up in supermarkets too. This one is called the e-cloth. I love my e-cloth!

Shower doors can be cleaned with a water vinegar solution sprayed on, or a window cleaner.
And shower curtains should be soaked for an hour in a strong salt solution to prevent mildew forming - hang them to dry without rinsing. You can remove mildew from shower curtains, with guess what!? Yup, a bicarb paste. Oh dear, I sound obsessed with this stuff.

For dirty grout, use either a bicarb of soda paste and a old toothbrush, or use some cheap toothpaste. And to clean the bathroom mirror, wipe down with some white vinegar, then use a drop of shampoo on a clean damp cloth to wipe over the mirror - this will prevent steaming up.

Now for the kind of disgusting bit - the toilet.
You can use one-half of a cup of distilled vinegar as a bowl cleaner instead of bleach, but whatever you do, do not mix vinegar and bleach because the combination results in the release of a highly poisonous gas! The outside of the bowl, toilet seat and lid can all be cleaned with dish washing liquid (as it is also antibacterial). Don't forget to get right in the grooves where the lid is fastened to the bowl, use an old toothbrush or cotton buds if you need to.
And do remember to mop the floor of the bathroom, paying particular attention around the toilet.

Phew - now your bathroom should be lovely and clean, and probably smelling a bit like a fish and chip shop after all that vinegar. But don't worry, the vinegar smell shouldn't last long and at least you wont wake-up the following morning with a headache after too much exposure to bleach fumes.

So how should we maintain our bathrooms? Well, here's a few tips that I hope will help both you and I keep us from having to scrub away filth:

  • For regular cleaning of the toilet bowl, drop a couple of denture cleaning tablets into the loo last thing at night and flush first thing in the morning.
  • Wipe the top of the toilet bowl rim daily with some toilet paper to avoid a build-up of urine stains and smells.
  • Use a microfibre cloth to wipe down the bath, sink, taps and shower.
  • Keep some dish washing liquid or a mild cleaning agent in the bathroom. Use it to wash out the bath, shower and sink regularly.
  • Keep an old towel or absorbent cloth that you can wipe the bathroom dry after use and after cleaning, this is the best measure to prevent the build up of soap scum and limescale. For a glass shower door, use a wide squeegee to dry the glass with after every shower.
  • Mop the floor regularly, or for a small bathroom, have a floor cloth handy to run across the floor after a shower. Wash the cloth after every use.
  • Put some baby oil in the soap dish to prevent the soap sticking.
  • Toothbrush mugs can be kept clean by daily rinsing, and pooping it into the dishwasher once a week.

So there you have it, the perfect way to keep the bathroom clean and hygienic.

Many of my tips for this post are taken from the helpful book 'How to be the Perfect Housewife' by Anthea Turner. It is a handy concise book of home keeping.


The Vintage Kitten said...

Wow, I feel like Ive just appeared in a glossy magazine. Thanks so much for putting my bathroom on your blog. You've made my day. I going to have to use your excellent tips and go and clean it now. I cant have the ladies of blogland knowing it isnt anything but perfect all the time LOL! XXX

Lesley said...

I have that book as well although Im still far from the "perfect housewife" do you think i should demand a refund LOL
I really need to get one of those E cloths thank you for reminding me !
Lesley x

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great info. Could you please tell us what you use to clean your floors. I never feel like my floors are really clean.

LaundryBasketCase said...

Thanks for your comment - since you've asked I will do a post tomorrow about cleaning floors. I always appreciate any comments, and love requests even more. Floors are a tricky business! I'll first research the topic a bit, and then I'll get back to you in my post as well as mentioning what I use. So keep an eye out for tomorrow lunchtime.

MelMel said...

Thank you for adding me to your blog sweet of you!
Love the bathroom cleaning tips!
AT's book is fabby!
I love it and read over and over....we have adopted the natural cleaning method with great gusto in our house, mainly because of the children i childmind, means they can join in! they LOVE it....we washed the doors down on Friday and the skirting boards...
Oxfam are doing bicarb and other stuff for very little money and quite big boxes of it...think it was £1.25?? Its great on carpets and i use it on my mattress...i strip the bed sprinkle it all over leave it for a while and then come back and hoover it off....freshes it up no end.....
Anyway....i'll stop now b4 i bore you all....i really quite like cleaning!!! odd person that i am!!!
:>)))) xxxx

Judy said...

Thanks again for some very useful ideas. I need to go clean my bathroom now. Now where is that baking soda and vinegar.

The Vintage Kitten said...

Any tips for slate floors? My kitchen floor is atrocious and the only way to clean it is to get down on hands and knees with a hard bristled scrubbing brush, Mandy X

A note on perfection

Many of the posts featured on this blog are about doing household chores the correct, or so to say perfect way. My intention is not to make readers feel that the way they are running their households are wrong. So if making the bed, or ironing shirts in a certain way doesn't fit your lifestyle, do not feel guilty about it. But by learning the correct way of doing things it might just come in handy for those times when special guests are staying, or when you need to iron that shirt perfectly for a job interview. So enjoy the learning, but skip the guilt and LOVE your homes. x

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