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The bathroom is naturally associated with germs, which means an unclean bathroom gives the impression of an unhealthy house.

These are also rooms we must use every day, which presents a two-fold challenge-maintaining a nice space for all the time you and your family spend there, and keeping a high-traffic room from looking like one.

Fortunately, most of the surface treatments used in a bath­room are specifically designed for easy cleanup.

You probably won’t need to do a lot of scrubbing to keep your bathrooms look­ing sharp-especially if you use the shortcuts we provide here!

Details matter more in this room than any other in the house.

After all, a soap-splotched sink or a shower door cloudy with mineral buildup is all it takes to make an otherwise spic-and­span room seem dingy.

Weekly cleanings will go a long way toward making your bathrooms clean and welcoming personal sanctuaries, but it’s wise to add some basic maintenance to ensure your bathrooms really shine-and function as well as they should.

Start with the heavy-use fixtures and features in the room.

Keep showerheads looking sharp and delivering an invigorat­ing spray.

If you live in an area with hard water, you’ve probably encountered mineral deposits clogging some of the holes in your showerhead, making the head itself look dull and drab.

No need to buy a new one, just use denture tablets or vinegar to revive the fixture.

If you’re able to remove the showerhead, dissolve 4-5 denture tablets in a bowl of water and put the head in the bowl to soak for about an hour.

Or let it soak overnight in white vinegar. If the showerhead isn’t removable, pour the denture tablet solution or vinegar into a plastic bag, tape or tie the bag to the fixture so the showerhead is completely immersed, and leave the bag in place for 1-2 hours.

Glass shower doors are a convenient addition to any bath­room, but seem to be magnets for soap scum.

Head off the scum by squirting foaming shaving cream onto a dry, clean rag and wiping down the doors.

The foam will leave behind a film that keeps the door from fogging and makes it harder for soap scum to stick.

This trick works just as well to keep bathroom mirrors from fogging and looking their best between room cleanings!

Bathroom Action Plan Step 1. Toss the linens into a pile

Bathroom Action Plan Step 1. Toss the linens into a pile
Reader's Digest

If you have a hamper in the bathroom, put in the towels, washcloths, tub mats, and bath mats.

Other­wise, pile them in the hall.

Once you’ve “stripped” all your bathrooms, gather everything that needs to be washed into a laundry basket and start a load in the washing machine.

Step 2. Grab your cleaner caddy or cleaning bucket

Step 2. Grab your cleaner caddy or cleaning bucket
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If you have an upstairs bathroom, start there. If not, start in the smaller of your bathrooms (usu­ally a powder room).

Spread the appropriate cleaner for each differ­ent area.

Spray toilet bowl cleaner inside the toilet bowl, including under the lip.

Spray all-purpose cleaner on the outside of the toilet, the seat, the countertops, and the sink.

Apply bathtub cleaner to the bathtub or shower.

Repeat this process in any other bathrooms.

Step 3. Take out the garbage

Step 3. Take out the garbage
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While your cleaners do their job, empty the trash baskets in the bathrooms.

Step 4. Clean the glass

Step 4. Clean the glass
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Starting with the smallest bathroom, clean the mirrors and glass doors with glass cleaner.

Step 5. Now use a little elbow grease

Step 5. Now use a little elbow grease
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Scrub the inside of your toilet bowl with the toilet bowl brush.

Wipe down the counter, sink, toilet exterior, and toilet rim.

Spray all­ purpose cleaner on the shower walls as necessary, and wipe them down.

(Note: Always do these as separate stages because you should never mix bathroom cleaners.)

Scrub the tub and sur­round with a nylon scrubber sponge.

Rinse the tub and tub area thoroughly

Step 6. Shine all chrome or metal fixtures

Step 6. Shine all chrome or metal fixtures
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This includes the faucet, toilet handles, showerheads, and faucets.

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Step 7. Mop the floor backing out of the room

Step 7. Mop the floor backing out of the room
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Repeat steps 4 through 7 in your other bathroom(s).

Bathroom cleaning shortcuts from under the sink

Bathroom cleaning shortcuts from under the sink
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The citric acid in Alka-Seltzer, combined with its fizzing action, makes this hangover remedy an effective toilet bowl cleaner.

Simply drop a couple of tablets into the bowl and find something else to do for 20 minutes or so.

When you return, a few swipes with a toilet brush will leave your bowl gleaming.

Is the tile in your bathroom getting that grungy look?

Time to bring in Epsom salt.

Mix it in equal parts with liquid dish detergent, then dab it onto the offending area and start scrubbing.

The Epsom salt works with the detergent to scrub and dissolve the grime.

The sight and smell of mildew is a bathroom’s arch nemesis.

Bring out the tough ammunition: a bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide.

Don’t water it down, just attack directly by pouring the peroxide on the offending area and then wiping it clean.

Keep chrome shiny with home remedies.

A clean cloth moistened with a small amount of nail polish remover can polish chrome in no time flat.

Use a fabric softener sheet to not only polish chrome but make it resistant to spotting.

The fine abrasive in non-gel toothpaste works just as well as abrasive polishes and cleaners.

Just smear a little toothpaste on the chrome and polish with a soft, dry cloth.

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