A practical post, or “a ten minute job”

It’s spring cleaning week around here, which means that I do all those things that get done weekly such as cleaning the bathroom, mopping the floors, and vacuuming, as well as those things that I typically never get to (cleaning the heat core and screens of the air exchange, washing walls, cleaning curtains, touching up paint dings on walls). Since I’m at it anyway, I thought I’d write a post or two, depending on how things go, on cleaning.

Watch, as my reader numbers take a spectacular dip!

During university, I spent a strange summer in Alberta working in a hotel. One of the truly useful things I learned that summer was how to clean quickly and well. In particular, I learned how to clean a typical, basic bathroom in five minutes (and how to make a queen-sized bed myself in under two). Now when bathrooms are cleaned daily, they’re a lot easier to clean (tip 1: clean them more frequently to do them more quickly). You’d be amazed at how long it took me for this lesson to sink in. So keeping in mind that most of us don’t clean the bath daily (and if you do, you are probably reading the wrong blog), let’s allow ten minutes; fifteen if you have a large bathroom or some special fiddly features.

Everyone has ten minutes somewhere that they’re not using, like when you’re waiting for water to boil for pasta, or simply between tasks. Bathrooms are one of the things you can knock out of the water during that time. I’m not kidding.

The hardest part is making yourself start. The trick there is not to think about it. Don’t ask yourself if you really want to. Don’t groan about how you don’t feel like it. I’ve learned that I’m an expert at talking myself out of doing things. I’ve also learned to no longer ask myself stupid questions. Do I feel like it? Of course not. Does that matter? Not really.

How to Clean a Bathroom in Ten Minutes

(because you’re simply dying to know, right?)

Before you start, assemble your kit.

Once assembled, keep it together under the bathroom sink.:

  • rags (five is plenty – I use old towels, chopped down to size and old cloth diapers). Paper towels are okay, but really don’t clean as well AND are hard on trees.
  • cleaning solution in a squirt bottle (I use no-name Mr. Clean clone)
  • window cleaning solution
  • bleach
  • toilet brush
  • large flat box or rubbermaid tub (you can store your cleaning supplies in it!)
  • vacuum cleaner or broom
  • garbage bag
  1. Go into the bathroom. Dump garbage can contents into garbage bag. Vacuum or sweep floor.
  2. Take all the stuff off the sink counter and surrounding area (especially toothbrushes!) and put into your box or tub.
  3. Spray mirror all over with window cleaning solution
  4. Spray counter and sink all over with cleaning fluid.
  5. Remove all stuff from shower/bath and put in box or tub. Gather up any books or magazines around the toilet and put in box or tub. Put outside bathroom.
  6. Spray shower or bath all over with cleaning fluid.
  7. Spray toilet as follows
    1. spray tank
    2. spray lid
    3. lift lid and spray underside of lid and seat
    4. life seat and spray underside of seat and bowl rim
    5. spray outside of bowl
  8. Dump approximately a cup of bleach into the bowl
  9. Get rag #1 – wipe down mirror (always start with the mirror so as not to leave streaks)
  10. Working from least grungy to most and using a new rag for each, wipe down sink and counter (do door knobs then!), bathtub/shower (outside of tub, too!) and toilet tank (don’t forget the handle!), lid, seat, rim of bowl, outside. Put rags on floor as you finish.
  11. For the shower tub, work top to bottom. Optional step: after you finish, close the shower curtain and turn the shower on (cold will do) and swivel the head around to rinse the tub and walls. Best done from outside the shower, reaching in.
  12. Using toilet brush, scrub inside of toilet. Bleach generally works as well as most bowl cleaners, is cheaper and no worse for the environment. If you have a septic system, you may wish to use even less bleach than I state here. If you do, make sure to drizzle it around the inside of the bowl.
  13. Spray floor behind toilet. Using rags on floor, wipe floor around toilet.
  14. Working your way backwards, spray and wipe floor.
  15. After floor dries, put stuff back in bathroom. Restock towels. Wash rags for next time.

There are, of course, other things that need doing, but not necessarily every week:

  • Windows, for instance, can generally be done less frequently. Do them after the mirror, but before the counter/sink.
  • Shower curtains can generally be machine-washed (even the plastic ones). Just use warm water.
  • Cupboards need a periodic wipe.
  • Walls need a scrub-down once in a while.
  • Drains may need the odd cleaning, depending on your household.

Really, though, the trick is in the prep. Make sure you have everything you need ready-to-hand and spray surfaces down well before you get to them (but not so far in advance that the cleaner dries!). Cleaners work better when given a wee bit of time to penetrate grease and grime. I prefer to spray and wipe the floor (as opposed to mopping) as it’s one less set of tools to assemble and less water to deal with. Clean up is much quicker when you don’t have a bucket of grimy suds to dump (in your nice, clean toilet!).

Addendum: don’t judge how long it takes to clean a bathroom by the first time you do it – the first time always takes longer than it should


8 Comments Add yours

  1. maureen says:

    🙂 Because I am from Newfoundland, I was looking for blogs from Newfoundland… and I also found a primer on cleaning the bathroom … a room I moaned and groaned through cleaning today.

    You are right, if I cleaned it daily, I wouldn’t have this BIG job. It would be a lot easier.

    I admire your art work. I’m coming home this summer. Is your work shown anywhere or just available online?

  2. Valerie says:

    Thanks for the tip on cleaning the bathroom; it sounds so easy, yet somehow I get bogged down in the job. Now if you have the time, cleaning the kitchen is the worst job for me … any tips?

  3. SkylarKD says:

    Time is of the essence now that Claire is here… I hate cleaning the bathroom, but you’re right, it WOULD be a lot easier and quicker if I did it more often! I’ll give it a shot… lol

  4. Greetings from Ireland! I just fell upon your blog and would like to tell you that the bathroom is the worst job in the world for me! In fact, I hate it sooo much, I got a cleaner to do it!

  5. doobee dee says:

    I actually came accross this blog by typing in to google these exact words ‘red blobs in pyjamas’ yours is the second website down, how random is that. anyway good tips on cleaning the bathroom, im sure my mum will be delighted to know she can now do it without my help.

  6. Stan says:

    That is fantastic. It always seems the hardest part is where to start. This has it all spelled out for you.

  7. Deepak Bari says:

    I just want to say great way to cleaning the bathroom in 10 minutes thanks

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