It's a dirty job — but someone's got to clean the bathroom. And when it's you, what's the most efficient way? Since most materials used in bathrooms are easy to clean, give it a quick wipe daily, experts advise. Tackle a full clean once a week. "Frequent cleanings mean less work because there will not be weeks of crud to clean," says Cathy Faulcon Bowen, a professor with Pennsylvania State University's department of agricultural and extension education.
Degree of difficulty: Easy. Less elbow grease than hand-washing your car.
Time: 5 minutes daily; 30 minutes once a week
Tools: Cloth or sponge, rubber gloves, all-purpose cleaner, baking soda, glass cleaner, long-handled toilet bowl brush, bucket
• Rinse out sink, bathtub and shower stall after each use.
• Remove excess hair from sink or tub.
• Flush toilet after each use.
• Hang up towels and washcloths.
• Remove dirty clothes.
Step 1: Everything but the toilet
• Swab sink/tub/shower stall. Wash these areas with a soapy cloth or sponge and all-purpose cleaner; rinse with clear water.
• Clean the space behind water faucet controls and backsplash: Soap scum can accumulate at fixtures' edges. "To clean this tight area well, you usually have to use an old toothbrush," Bowen says.
• Use baking soda and wet sponge to clean scum or stubborn marks; rinse with clear water.
• Most plastic shower curtains can be machine-washed with a load of towels (check the tag). Hang wet shower curtain in the bathroom to air dry.
• Shine mirror with glass cleaner.
Step 2: Take on the toilet
• Wash tank, outside of bowl, seat and lid with soapy cloth; rinse.
• Scrub inside toilet bowl with toilet-bowl brush. Any all-purpose cleaner will work if the toilet bowl is cleaned weekly.
• Check toilet bowl base where it attaches to the floor, Bowen says. "It usually has little nooks and crannies that dust likes to call home."
Step 3: The finishing touch
• Wipe or mop the floor.
• Final advice: "Any household member who uses the bathroom should have a turn to clean it regularly," Bowen says. "Kids may be taught to handle a single task, then take on the entire job as they get older. If kids see Mom and Dad cleaning the bathroom they will put up less of a fight when their turn arrives. If everyone has 'a turn' to clean, it will do wonders for the amount of mess users who have to clean will make!"