Welcome to Apartment Therapy's Chore-Free Summer. Every weekday until July 20, we're arming you with time-saving shortcuts and hacks that'll help you work smarter, not harder, when it comes to homekeeping this summer. Because cleaning doesn't have to be a chore.
Cleaning the bathroom is an oft-reviled chore, and for very good reason. You're forced to get intimate with your filth—and the filth of the people you live with. It's why "clean the bathroom" is rightly at the bottom of every chore swap list, and those of you who take it on for your households should be praised on a porcelain pedestal for all your years. Or at least until science gives us self-cleaning bathrooms. (Self-cleaning toilets have arrived to the Jetsons-esque present day, but they're only questionably worth it since they only clean inside the bowl.)
Until that blessed day where showers are self-scrubbing, sinks come with auto-declog buttons, and toilets can completely clean themselves, we're stuck doing the manual work ourselves. But that doesn't mean there aren't any shortcuts.
With a little forward-thinking and some smart tricks, we can make the bathroom cleaning task a little less of a chore and extend the time between deep clean sessions.
Wipe Sink Fixtures Dry, Every Time
You can ward off those water spots that appear on your sink faucet with a little prescriptive routine: Whenever you use the sink—to wash your hands or your face—use the towel you dry off with to quickly wipe the sink fixture dry right after. (Get any drops that landed on the mirror, too, while you're at it.)
Squeegee Your Shower, Every Day
I promise if you get really good at this, you're going to be able to double, maybe triple, your usual time between shower cleaning. After every shower, take a squeegee and quickly wipe and dry your tub, tile, and glass. Keeping everything dry is your best defense against the scum and mold that want to muck up your bathroom. This OXO squeegee is luxe, but I like this $7 flexible water-blade style squeegee because it can clip right on to your towel bar.
Try the Showerhead Baggie Trick
The best way to clean your showerhead is also the easiest. Just fill a baggie with equal parts white vinegar and water, then strap it onto the shower head with a zip tie or rubber band (or anything you can find that'll do the job). Let it sit for a few hours or overnight, then run the shower with hot water to rinse.
Keep a Capsule of Two Fabric Curtain Liners
If you waste even a second trying to remove soap scum from a plastic shower curtain liner, it's too much. For a like-new look around the clock, switch to machine-washable fabric shower curtain liners. If you have two on hand, you can trade them out and toss the dirty one in a load of gym clothes. This $10 liner is my go-to at home.
Extend the Life of Your Toilet Bowl with Baking Soda
Nothing will keep a toilet bowl clean forever, but if you'd like to extend the time between those brush-in-the-bowl moments, try baking soda. Keep a shaker on hand in the bathroom, and shake a generous amount of baking soda into the bowl before flushing.