Saturday, February 20, 2010

How To Clean A Filthy Bathroom in 20 Minutes or Less

Let's face it, some Landlords end up cleaning a lot of bathrooms. Some don't. If you're one of the Landlords who wants your property to have a minimal amount of cleanliness before a showing or leasing, try some of these ideas.

Prepare a "Cleaning Bucket." I like a good wide 2 gallon bucket, the kind that Kilz paint comes in. I put in: 1. Mr. Clean diluted into a spray bottle; 2. Toilet cleaning liquid; 3. Windex; 4. Softscrub or powdered Ajax; a toilet brush; a scrub brush; and for really ugly applications, both bleach & vinegar alongside. You'll also want rags (cloth baby diapers work really well), sponges or paper towels. I prefer a sponge and cloth combo. A broom and mop are also indispensable. Gloves too.

Start at one end of the room. Todays bathroom started with the toilet. Put the toilet cleaning liquid in the bowl, then spray the rest of the toilet with the Mr. Clean solution. Wipe down the outside of the toilet, then hit the inside with the toilet scrubber. Those little flushable toilet wipes on a stick? Don't waste your money. Usually a fast scrub around the bowl and rim with a brush will take care of all of the problems. If you still have streaks, usually a vinegar soak will take care of the worst of them. Just don't mix your chemicals unless you want to shuffle off this mortal coil.

Next the tub. They can be difficult to get the grime out of, especially if they haven't been cleaned in a year or two. With very hard water, sometimes it helps to fill the tub with water the night before if possible, and add a half gallon of vinegar. Otherwise, it will just take more scrubbing power, and you won't always get a good clean look out of it.

Barring the vinegar trick, I like to use soft scrub with a brush on surfaces that can handle it. Surfaces that can't? Mr. Clean & a brush. Start at the top, and do one wall at a time. Empty your cleaning bucket, fill it with water, and rinse between walls. This way the soap doesn't dry while you have to take a call on your cell, making a worse mess to clean.

Vinyl tubs, I would use the Mr. Clean on. Porcelain, I would use the soft scrub or Ajax. Vinegar works best with a long soak, and you can use it on all the surfaces. If you think to, when you go to soak the tub, take off the shower head and soak it as well. The sink aerator can be soaked in a separate dish of pure vinegar. Just don't soak the rubber gasket.

Then there's the mirror, vent fan and light fixtures. Usually a squirt of Windex will take care of the mirror and light fixtures, while a quick swipe with a damp rag will clear the vent fan. Sometimes at this point it's a good time to give the trim and baseboards a quick wipe down with that same cloth.

Next the sink. Make sure your rags are rinsed first, then spray it down with one hand, wipe with the other. On all of these surfaces, waste no motion. Use both hands - one to spray, one to scrub, then the other again to wipe dry. Reassemble the sink aerator and shower head if you soaked them, and reassemble your cleaning/rinsing bucket. Once the fixtures are clean, spray the floor with your Mr. Clean solution, then mop yourself out of the room. Done!

The thing that will save you the most time for all of this is to have the tools to hand ahead of time. If it's possible to soak a disgusting bathtub first, that will save a lot of scrubbing time and energy as well. This is also a good time to asses the caulk, floor around the toilet, and other basic maintenance items that tend to occur regularly.

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