My Greek Grandmother’s Secret to an Always-Clean Bathroom

published Jun 1, 2021
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If you find yourself dreading shower scrubbing day, I’m here to tell you there’s an easier way. Until she passed away at the ripe old age of 87, my meticulous grandmother, who immigrated from Greece as a young woman with just a few coins in her pocket, practiced the simplest but most profound clean-as-you-go tip: She wiped the shower down with her bath towel after every use. 

While it may seem comical to picture yourself naked cleaning your shower floor, walls, and faucet after you finish showering, the process and payoff makes total sense. You’re already holding a towel, you aren’t going to get your clothes or socks damp, and the moisture from the shower you just took makes for the perfect cleaning aid.

After each shower clean-up routine, she hung up the towel to be used the next time she showered, cutting down on both laundry and cleaning supplies. Naysayers may think it’s gross to clean your shower surfaces and body with the same towel, but with that small amount of upkeep, there was never any grime in the shower to begin with. Since she practiced this tip her whole life, my grandmother rarely had to do a full shower scrub with a cleaner. (Of course it helps to start with a clean slate. If you need to deep clean your shower first, check out these directions.)

My grandmother followed similar clean-a-little-as-you-go principles in other rooms, such as the kitchen, where she would stop cooking to bend over to pick up a seemingly invisible piece of food she’d dropped, minimizing the need for frequent sweeping and mopping as well. It’s quite the opposite of the “make a big mess and then clean it all up in the end” mindset, which can leave you with an overwhelming amount of work to clean up when you are already tired from cooking or scrubbing.

This cleaning tip represents a bigger life lesson for me, one that holds deeply sentimental value when I think of her legacy: Take care of your stuff. (Because in the beginning my grandmother didn’t have much of it.) It’s easy to rush through the day — and through the shower — thinking it will take too long to wipe something down after you use it, but it really just takes two minutes. This lesson is proving powerful as I train my own four young sons, under age 6, to do the same thing. Seeing them start to wipe down their own showers gives me hope that they are building life skills in being proactive kids who will grow up into teens and young men with reasonably clean showers, rather than grime filled cesspools (I can dream, right?). 

This always-clean tip has also been a major lifesaver more than once, when an unexpected overnight guest arrives, and I don’t have to think about when the last time I scrubbed a shower was. (Don’t worry, I make sure they have a fresh towel of course.) My grandmother’s tip proves that cleaning, like other things, is a series of tiny consistent behaviors that lead to serious results.