How to Clean a Bathroom From Top to Bottom

Jenna Jonaitis
Written by Jenna Jonaitis
Reviewed by Asya Biddle
Updated October 12, 2022
modern gray and gold bathroom
Photo: Mark Lopez / Moment / Getty Images

Make your bathroom sparkle with this step-by-step guide

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A clean bathroom feels utterly refreshing and helps keep you and your family healthy. With a few household products and the right technique, you can clean a bathroom like a total pro. Follow our straightforward guide to learn how to clean a bathroom and make it shine each and every time. 

Why Clean a Bathroom?

Bathrooms are where bacteria, mold, and viruses tend to grow, causing infections and illnesses if not disinfected. When you clean your bathroom, you also preserve the materials and surfaces, helping them last longer. A clean bathroom is also more enjoyable and relaxing. 

How Much Does It Cost to Clean a Bathroom?

It costs less than $5 to clean a bathroom if you already have a broom or vacuum, mop, cleaning cloths, and a toilet brush. The cost is mostly cleaning solutions, which you can make out of household products or buy from the store. The typical cost to hire a house cleaner ranges from $25 to $80 per hour. Depending on the size of your bathroom and its condition, it usually takes 30 to 60 minutes to clean. 

House cleaners often tackle other parts of your home in the same visit, such as your kitchen and bedrooms. Find a local house cleaner for weekly or biweekly services. 

How to Prep for Cleaning the Bathroom

Having your space prepared and your supplies ready makes for a faster, more efficient cleaning process.

Clear the Space

Remove any items that don’t belong in the bathroom, such as clothes or jewelry. This allows you to have better access to the surfaces for cleaning.

Gather Your Tools

Have your cleaning tools at the ready, such as a toilet brush, broom or vacuum, mop and bucket, and cleaning cloths or rags.

Ready Your Cleaning Solution

You can make a DIY solution of distilled white vinegar and water (50:50 ratio) or use an all-purpose cleaner on most surfaces. Use a toilet bowl cleaner for the toilet, or mix two cups of white vinegar with one cup of baking soda. For your mirrors and windows, use glass cleaner.

Avoid using bleach products, as they could damage your surfaces and alter the color of your countertop, sink, toilet, or bathtub. Before using any product, read the label to ensure it won't harm any surfaces. 

How to Clean a Bathroom

closeup of shiny shower head
Photo: Colin / Adobe Stock

The best way to clean a bathroom is by working from top to bottom. Any debris or dust that falls will get cleaned at a later step. By reaching every spot, you'll have a dazzling result and a sanitized space. 

1. Clean the Bathroom Vent Cover

Your exhaust fan circulates air and moisture out of your bathroom, helping to prevent mildew and mold growth. Because airborne particles and moisture flow through your vent, cleaning it is crucial to maintaining a healthy bathroom. Turn off your fan before wiping down the surface and crevices with your cleaning solution and cloth.

Twice a year, you should deep clean your bathroom exhaust fan to ensure it's working well and not harboring any mildew or mold.

2. Dust High to Low

Tackle all dry debris and dust before wet cleaning and disinfecting. Dust the entire room from top to bottom so you don't have to revisit any areas. With a microfiber rag or feather duster, dust every surface, including:

  • Light fixtures

  • Mirrors

  • Window and door trim and ledges

  • Soap dispensers

  • Other countertop items

  • Counter

  • Towel holders

  • Outside of your toilet

  • Toilet paper holder

  • Door

  • Baseboards

Make sure to reach any corners high and low where there might be cobwebs or debris. You can vacuum instead of dust if that’s easier.

3. Vacuum or Sweep the Floors

Vacuum, shake out, or wash any bath mats and rugs. Remove them from the area while you clean the rest of the bathroom. Vacuum or sweep the entire floor from one end of the room to the other and dispose of the debris in the trash.

4. Spray the Shower, Tub, Sink, and Toilet

Next, spray your toilet, shower, bathtub, and sink with cleaner. As you tackle the other parts of the bathroom, the solution has 10 to 15 minutes to sit and break up grime. It'll be easier to scrub those surfaces clean.

5. Wipe Down Cabinets and Drawer Fronts

Use a cleaning solution or warm soapy water and a cloth to wipe down the fronts and tops of cabinets, drawers, handles, toilet paper holders, towel holders, and other standalone surfaces in your bathroom. It’s best to start at the top and work your way down. You may need to use a step stool to wipe down high-to-reach places.

6. Disinfect Countertops

Spray cleaning solution on your countertops and wipe down with a cleaning cloth, starting from the edges and working toward the sink. You can push any dirt into the sink since you'll be cleaning that next. Use an old toothbrush or gentle cleaning brush to remove any soap scum in the corners, near the faucet, or along the grout line.

Wipe down items on your countertop too, such as soap dispensers, toothbrush holders, and lotion bottles. 

7. Wash Your Sink and Faucet

Scrub soap scum, toothpaste, and other dirt out of your sink with a rag, old toothbrush, or sponge. Start from the corners or edges and work inward toward the drain. Wipe down the faucet and handles too, then polish them with glass cleaner and a cloth.

You’ll also want to clean the sink drain. If you have sink stopper, take it out and clear away any hair, dirt, grime, or mildew. Return the drain piece to its place. Pour a combination of white vinegar and baking soda (2:1 ratio), followed by a hot water rinse to remove bacteria.

8. Polish Your Glass Surfaces

woman cleaning bathroom mirror
Photo: Syda Productions / Adobe Stock

Mist your mirror and other glass surfaces with a glass cleaner, such as your shower door or window. Use a paper towel or clean microfiber cloth to wipe down and buff any areas so they shine. For your shower door, you can also use a squeegee to prevent watermarks or streaks. 

9. Tackle Your Tub or Shower

From top to bottom, scrub the surfaces in your shower or tub. Start from the edges and corners and work your way toward the drain.

Clean the Walls and Basin

Scrub and wipe down the walls, corners, and basin of your tub or shower. Wipe down any ledges or shelving, and polish the faucet and handle. Rinse all with hot water.

Wipe Down the Shower Curtain

With your all-purpose cleaner or a homemade mix of vinegar and water, spray the shower curtain and wipe it down to prevent mildew and mold from growing.

Decontaminate the Showerhead

Spray and wipe down your showerhead. If your showerhead has a buildup of water or soap scum, soak it in white vinegar overnight. You can remove it or fill a plastic ziplock bag with vinegar and secure it to the showerhead with a rubber band. The next day, scrub the showerhead and water holes with an old toothbrush to remove any buildup. Rinse with hot water.

Scrub the Grout

Spray cleaning solution or sprinkle baking soda on your grout, then gently scrub it with a cleaning brush or old toothbrush. To keep your grout clean, use a squeegee every time you shower to remove excess water (a haven for mildew and mold).

10. Scrub the Toilet

Scrub your toilet with a toilet brush from the top inner rim to the bottom toward the drain. Any dirty splashes or residue will get cleaned up next. 

Spray the exterior of your toilet and use a rag to wipe down each component, including the flush handle, lid, and base of the toilet. Spray and wipe down the toliet seat, then spray and clean the underside of the toilet lid and seat. Wipe down the toilet bowl rim. 

If you have hard water stains in your toilet bowl, dip a pumice stone in water then gently scrub the stains.

11. Take Out the Trash and Swap Your Linens

Take out the trash and throw your linens in the washing machine, such as your hand towels, bath towels, and washcloths. Replace with fresh linens and a new trash can liner. Refill any soap dispensers or toilet paper holders. 

12. Mop the Floor

Give your baseboards and door a quick wipe-down before mopping the floors. Start mopping from the far edges of the room and work toward the door. In essence, mop yourself out of the room. Ensure you reach all spaces, such as behind the toilet and in the corners. Let the floor dry completely before stepping in the bathroom again. 

Tips for Cleaning the Bathroom

woman wiping down bathroom sink
Photo: filadendron / Getty Images

Ensure your bathroom is fresh and free of bacteria by following these pro tips:

  • Use an old toothbrush to scrub hard-to-reach spaces, such as around your faucet and in your grout.

  • Use a separate cleaning cloth for the toilet, so you don’t contaminate other areas such as our sink or bathtub.

  • Run the fan each time you take a shower or bath to reduce moisture buildup and possible mildew and mold growth.

  • Clean your shower door or curtain each time you shower with a cleaner and squeegee to prevent mildew.

  • Reduce the clutter in your bathroom and add organizational systems such as a hamper, extra shelving, or bins.

  • Clean your cleaning tools, such as your toilet brush by letting it soak in a bucket filled with vinegar and warm water to kill bacteria.

  • Install a hair catcher in your drain to reduce grime, mildew, and soap scum.

DIY vs. Hire a Pro

Cleaning a bathroom is a perfect DIY task. Depending on the size of your bathroom and its condition, you can clean your bathroom in 30 to 60 minutes. With a few household tools and supplies, you can clean your bathroom without any specialized training. 

If you desire a deep clean or find yourself neglecting your bathroom, consider hiring a local house cleaner to tackle this area for you. Weekly cleaning for a whole house costs anywhere from $75 to $200, while biweekly services range from $100 to $250. A clean bathroom helps reduce bacteria and viruses and allows you to enjoy this high-traffic area of your home.

Frequently Asked Questions

You can clean a bathroom in five minutes, but you won’t be able to do a deep or thorough cleaning. Five minutes is not enough time to properly clean and disinfect a bathroom, but can allow you to touch up the space before guests arrive. You can surface clean a bathroom in five minutes by wiping down the countertop, faucet, sink, and mirror, along with quickly scrubbing the toilet and wiping down the handle and toilet seat.

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