The Ultimate Bathroom Cleaning Checklist You Can Tackle in an Afternoon

Ginny Bartolone
Written by Ginny Bartolone
Updated March 11, 2022
Woman cleaning her blue bathroom
Photo: Diego Cervo / Shutterstock

This checklist will make cleaning grime a whole lot easier

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Whether you're in spring-cleaning mode, have guests coming over, or are simply looking to tackle some neglected dusty corners, there's nothing quite as satisfying as a pristinely clean and clutter-free bathroom. But let's be real about this—as one of the most popular rooms of the house, it's hard to keep up with your bathroom's cleanliness. 

Below, we'll break down the most efficient way to clean your bathroom in as little as a couple of hours.

Getting Started: Tips and Tools

Bathroom cleaning order checklist, starting with clutter, light fixtures, mirrors and windows, and toilet

The trick to deep cleaning most rooms is to start at the top of the room and work your way down to the floor. As all the dirt and dust flies off the higher shelves, counters, and light fixtures, you can pick it all up at the end without having to double-back over your work.

With this in mind, make a game plan for your bathroom by breaking it into sections. We recommend going in the following order:

  • Clutter

  • Light fixtures

  • Mirrors and windows

  • Shower and tub

  • Sink

  • Toilet

  • Cabinets, knobs, and doors

  • Floors

Next, be sure to have all your bathroom cleaning supplies at the ready before you begin. We recommend:

  • Surface cleaner (either bottled or a natural solution of vinegar and water with baking soda for deep cleans)

  • Bucket

  • Glass cleaner

  • Toilet brush

  • 4–5 sponges or rags (saving some for drying)

  • Rubber gloves

  • Microfiber mop

  • Broom

  • Hard or soft-bristled brush

Before you jump in, create as much ventilation as possible. Remember to avoid mixing cleaning supplies at all costs: Even natural solutions with vinegar can respond dangerously when combined with bleach.

We'll go top to bottom so you know your bathroom is spotless and germ-free.

Clutter

Stack of folded clean white towels
Photo: nampix / Shutterstock

Are there towels bunched up on the hooks? Scrunchies piled in the corner of the counter? You'll need room to clean bathroom surfaces, so make sure everything is either tossed into the laundry hamper or put in its place before you start scrubbing. For example:

  • Wash dirty bath and hand towels

  • Clear counters and surfaces

  • Organize spare items under your sink or behind the mirror

  • Toss out old bottles in the shower

  • Rinse out the toothbrush holder

  • Temporarily remove area rugs or bath mats

  • Empty the wastebasket

Light Fixtures

Once your light fixtures are switched off and cooled down, wipe them down with a dry cloth to remove any loose dust. You may also need to:

  • Use a damp cloth to delicately remove heavy buildup

  • Use a vacuum extension to reach behind lamps or around ceiling fixtures

  • Replace dead or flickering bulbs

Mirrors and Windows

Combine equal parts white vinegar and water to create a natural glass cleaning solution, or opt for your favorite store-bought brand. To clean these areas:

  • Dust off your mirror and window with a dry microfiber cloth to remove the top layer of dust

  • Spritz with your favorite cleaner

  • Wipe down with a new microfiber cloth or paper towel (not the dusty one you just used)

Shower and Tub

Our tub and shower stall handle moisture every day, so it's no surprise that the toughest grime and mildew like to accumulate here. Once you treat trouble areas, start from the top of your shower tiles and work your way down for that satisfying shine.

  • Pretreat dirty grout, tiles, or hard water lines on your tub with the appropriate surface cleaner (check the bottle for your tub and tile material)

  • Use a soapy sponge or rag to scrub the tiles from the top-down

  • Scrub your tub in a circular motion, taking extra care if you have an acrylic tub or other delicate material

  • Go back to your pre-treated areas, scrub, and rinse with water

  • Use a wet clean rag to go over your fixtures, tiles, and tub once more

  • Rinse with water from your showerhead

  • Dry and polish each area with a clean rag

Quick tip: Mildew-covered grouting is a common issue in showers and bathtubs. If you want to skip the cleaning supplies, make a paste of baking soda and water, spritz with a water-and-vinegar solution, and then scrub away the grime.

Sink

Bathroom sink against blue wall with folded towels
Photo: WichitS / Shutterstock

All the moving parts of your bathroom sink have a habit of gathering grime in hard-to-reach places. Keep your sink shining with the following steps.

  • Spray your fixture and sink basin with appropriate cleaner and wipe down with a clean rag

  • Target trouble areas with an old toothbrush to get in between the faucet knobs

  • Use a drain-safe brush to remove grime buildup

  • If necessary, spray the area once more with the cleaner

  • Rinse with fresh water and dry thoroughly

Toilet

It's easy to dread cleaning the toilet, but there are plenty of both store-bought and homemade options out there that take care of the hard part. Opt for a dissolving cleaner or several antacid tablets to disinfect the inside of the toilet bowl. Afterward:

  • Using gloves, scrub the inside of the toilet both with a brush to get hard-to-reach spots

  • Spray and wipe down the outside of the toilet bowl with a new rag

  • Wipe down each part of the toilet seat and cover

  • Dust and wipe down the outside of the tank

  • Dry off the seat, cover, and all outside areas of the toilet

Cabinets, Knobs, and Doors

Knobs are the often-overlooked areas of the bathroom deep clean, but they require attention. Disinfecting door knobs—especially in the bathroom—is actually a great weekly (if not daily) ritual.

  • Use wood or paint-friendly cleaner to wipe down doors and sides of cabinets

  • Remove items under the sink and wipe down the base and walls of the inside cabinet

  • Disinfect all cabinet knobs

  • Disinfect door and closet knobs

Floors

Now that you've knocked all the dirt and dust free, it's time to finish off your deep clean. Follow these steps for a squeaky clean floor.

  • If the ground is dry, use a broom or dry microfiber mop to remove hair, dust, and dirt

  • With a soapy wet sponge or mop, work your way from the outside corners of the floor to the inside (making sure to create an escape route for yourself!)

  • As the floors dry, vacuum the bath mats and area rugs

  • Give the floor a final pass with a dry mop to ensure it's safe for walking

Your fresh-smelling, germ-free bathroom is now ready for the week ahead. Remember to bring back everything you removed, including:

  • Fresh bath towels

  • New toilet paper

  • New hand towels

  • Empty wastebasket

  • Clean toothbrush holder

  • Bathmat and area rug

Let your bathroom air out for at least an hour after cleaning, especially if it’s a small space with minimal ventilation. When all is said and done, reward yourself with a nice hot shower and an afternoon of relaxing me-time.

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