After glutting on the beauty and order of Auntie Leila’s Reasonably Clean House posts, I created this set of instructions for my kids. We have 11 people in our family and 4 bathrooms. We do all or almost all of this “less frequently”, i.e. every Saturday. When we had a smaller family and I was the sole cleaner, “less frequently” occurred much less frequently and I cleaned on a rotating schedule rather than all at once. My bathroom cleaners are ages 10 and up.
Bleach based disinfectant
Norwex cleaning cloth
Norwex polishing cloth
Soft bristled scrub brush
Empty laundry basket for clutter that does not belong in the bathroom
Soft soap refill
Paper and pen to write down items you need
Cleaning the bathroom is a work of mercy that just must be done. Do not moan or try to avoid it. There is no better moment to clean it than now, before someone comes and makes more mess. The bathroom is a place where you meet others at their most earthly and human. Offering a prayer for them as you clean is the only way to make this work bearable. Pray for those with whom you share the bathroom. And in addition, may I suggest the Prayer to St. Joseph the Worker?
- Let’s begin. If you are fortunate enough to have a window, open it. If you don’t, turn on the fan so you aren’t breathing the fumes from the cleaner.
- Remove all fabrics and go start a load of laundry. Towels, washcloths, curtains, shower curtains, bathmats. Wash them in very hot water and with bleach.
- Using your damp Norwex cloth, wipe the window frame. Then wash the window and polish it with the polishing cloth.
- You are going to clean from the least germy to the most vile. Before you start cleaning, remove anything from the toilet and shower and place just outside the door. Spray the toilet and shower/tub with the disinfectant spray. Not only will this kill some of the bathroom smells, it gives the disinfectant time to work while you clean other spots. Also, put the toilet brush in the toilet and place the holder in the bathtub. Spray that too. Empty the trash, place it in the tub and spray it.
- With your broom, sweep the ceiling and walls.
- Remove everything from the sink area and place just outside the door. You can sort things into your trash and laundry basket now too. Remove the globes from the lights and go clean them in hot soapy dish water. Dry and replace.
- With your Norwex cloth, wash the sink. Begin by wiping the counter top, sidesplash, backsplash, and even the wall where toothpaste or products sometimes land. Wash the toothbrush holder in hot soapy dishwater as it can accumulate deadly bacteria.Then wash around the sink fixture, paying particular attention to the crevices at the base of the fixture where a slimy build-up accumulates. Begin to put things back on the counter. If they are sticky, rinse them before replacing. Think about all that gunk under the toothpaste lid! We had a cleaning lady who used to rinse and wipe that away. There is a special place in heaven for her. Refill soap dispensers and wash out soap dishes before replacing them. Place a felt circle or coaster under the shaving cream so it doesn’t leave a rust ring on the counter. Make notes if there are items to buy. Finally, wipe out the sink basin. Use a paper towel to dry everything and polish the fixtures with your polishing cloth.
- Remove items from the medicine chest. Wipe the shelves and put back only what you use. Throw away old or unnecessary items. Do the same with cabinets and drawers, straightening and folding as you go.
The toilet. My dear, cleaning it is an act of humility. Remember that Christ humbled himself to share in our humanity. This work is not too humble for you. And, if you offer it up, for your godparents, for example, you are sharing in His divinity by sharing in His redemptive work.
- Get your roll of paper towels and starting from the tank (the least dirty spot) wipe it, top, sides and handle. Next comes the lid, top and underside, the seat, top and underside, and the rim of the bowl. When you clean around the hinges, do it carefully. You may need the soft brush for this. Wipe all around the outside of the bowl all the way down to the bolts. Use as many paper towels as you need. The nice thing about them is that the hair (sigh, you can’t avoid hair) will stick to the paper towel and then you can just throw it away.
- Use the toilet brush to clean the bowl, especially under the rim where mildew grows. Flush the toilet. Spray your toilet brush with disinfectant to clean it and place it back in the bowl.
- Head over to the bath tub and use your soft brush to clean the toilet brush holder and trashcan. Rinse, dry and put them and the toilet brush away.Do you like a hot shower? So do I. Sometimes, the easiest way to clean a shower tub is to strip down and get in while you work. You won’t wash yourself, but you also won’t get your clothes all wet.
- Please understand, you are going to use water to clean the shower. Maybe a lot of water. You will need to rinse the walls as you go. Use your soft brush to start at the top of the shower walls and work your way down. Clean the fixtures. Your Norwex cloth is useful for wiping the top of the tub before you scrub the tub with your soft brush. This sounds easy, but you will probably be working for a bit and have to use some elbow grease. Don’t give up!Done? Now, sit down and rest while I tell you a story.
In the play “I Remember Mama” by John Van Druten, Mama’s young daughter Dagmar has to have surgery, and afterward Mama is told she may not see Dagmar until the next day. Mama goes home distraught with the idea that Dagmar will wake up frightened and alone. At a loss of what else to do, she pulls out her bucket of hot water and her scrub brush and begins to scrub the floor. Her kids protest that Mama just scrubbed the floor yesterday. And Mama solves her problem with the following words:
“Come a time when you’ve got to get down on your knees.”
Listen to your mama. You must scrub the floor on your knees. And only prayer will make it more bearable.
- Start by sweeping the floor as best you can. Dust and hair bunnies go in the toilet to be flushed, remember. With your cleaner, soft brush, and paper towels, begin behind the toilet and work your way around the room. Wipe the base boards. Use wet paper towels or old rags to rinse away the cleaner. Scrub it all, praying about your future vocation perhaps, until you scrub your way out the door.
- Now it’s time to finish. Clean your cleaning tools by spraying your soft brush and placing it in the tub to be rinsed and put away later. Take your Norwex cloths to be washed and switch the laundry while you’re there. Throw away your trash. Put away your cleaners and gloves.
- Restock the bathroom. Have at least 2 spare rolls of toilet paper in easy reach of the toilet and soap in the shower. Put your list where you will remember to buy what you need. Hang fresh towels and the shower curtain. Put away clutter.
- Finally, close the window.