Bathroom sink

Instead of titling this post “five cleaning shortcuts that will make your bathroom shine,” I could just as easily have called it “how to cheat and get away with it!” Normally, I don’t advocate cheating, especially when it comes to tests—or taxes, for that matter! Put me in a grimy bathroom, however, and I’ll choose the shortcut every time.

In fact, I don’t think “cheating” is the proper word for this cleaning strategy. Instead, I like to call it the “savvy-mom-who’s-too-busy-to-scrub-but-still-wants-a-shiny-bathroom” approach to household chores.

Are you a “savvy-solution” cleaner, or a “scrub-it-for-hours-to-get-the-same-results” kind of mom? Take this quiz to find out.

Bathroom cleaning tools

Match the smart-cleaning solutions below, listed A – E, to these common bathroom-scrubbing problems.

1. Grimy bathroom mirror
2. Clogged showerhead
3. Ring-around-the-tub soap scum
4. Mildewed shower curtain
5. Grungy bathroom sink

A. 10-parts water to 1-part bleach solution
B. Disinfecting wipes
C. Spray bottle filled with water and a few drops of dishwashing liquid
D. Plastic baggie, undiluted vinegar and a rubber band
E. Terrycloth towel or bathroom scrunchy


Homemade window cleaner

1) Grimy bathroom mirror – C. A spray bottle filled with water and a few drops of dishwashing liquid is all you need to cut through the grease and toothpaste smudges on your mirrors. For extra shine, polish the newly cleaned surface a few times with a clean, dry towel.


2) Clogged showerhead – D. Remove mineral deposits from your showerhead by soaking it overnight in vinegar. Just fill a plastic baggie with undiluted white vinegar, wrap it around the showerhead, and fasten it with a rubber band. Return in the morning to give the showerhead a few quick swipes with a clean cloth, and you’re done!

(Note: I picked up this tip from multiple sources, including a librarian at our local library :-), but the most notable advocate of this cleaning method is Martha Stewart. You can find her tip here. That said, one reader has commented that the vinegar was harmful to the brushed-nickel finish on his shower head, so please use this tip with caution, testing the surface before you leave the vinegar on all night. Also, it’s always a good idea to check with the manufacturer before applying any cleaner to the surface of your bathroom fixtures.)

Bathroom scrunchy

3) Ring-around-the-tub soap scum – E. Keep soap scum from building up around your tub by rubbing the surface with a bathroom scrunchy or terrycloth towel after each shower. Still not satisfied? Give it a quick spritz with a vinegar-and-water solution, let it sit for 5-10 minutes, and swipe it again.

Spray bottle

4) Mildewed shower curtain – C. Removing mildew from your shower curtain couldn’t be easier. Just spray it with a bleach-and-water solution once or twice a week, and kiss those stains goodbye! If you forget to spritz (or don’t want to use bleach), you can try tossing the shower curtain in the washing machine with old towels. Most shower curtains can stand the agitation cycle, and the terrycloth towels do a great job of rubbing off even the toughest mildew stains.

Homemade cleaning wipes

5) Grungy bathroom sink – B. I learned this trick when we were selling our house. Always, always, always keep disinfecting wipes under your bathroom sink. Last-minute company or house showing? Grab a wipe and swipe. They’ll never know you didn’t scrub. (Bonus tip: You can save money—and the environment—by making your own disinfecting wipes. Check out this post to learn how.)

So, how’d you score? 4 – 5 correct, and you’re a “Super Savvy Mom.” Congratulations! You’ve already mastered the five cleaning shortcuts! 2 – 3 correct, and you probably fall in the “I never cheat but always do the deep-down clean” category. Either way, with a sparkly clean bathroom, you’re the winner every time!


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3 Responses to Five Cleaning Shortcuts That Will Make Your Bathroom Shine

  1. Kathy says:

    MaryJane, I’d read a tip of yours about cleaning your toilet tank that was published in County Living magazine. Thanks! Once I cleaned the tank, the vague mildew odor in the bathroom that I could never find is gone! Great tip…you should post that one on your site too.

  2. Roger Peacock says:

    Never use vinegar on showerheads or faucets that are made with a brushed nickel surface. We tried your suggestion and the vinegar took the coating off and we were left with bad splotches on the fixtures. You may want to check other surfaces with the manufacturer before using any caustic mixture like vinegar.

    • MaryJane says:

      Wow! I’m sorry to hear that, Roger. We actually had a brushed nickel surface, too. I’ve used vinegar on it often and never had a problem. Yes, it is a good idea to check with your specific manufacturer before trying any cleaning method. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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