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5 Cheap and Easy Ways to Clean Your Bathroom

Someone spraying cleaner on a bathroom sink.
Diego Cervo/Shutterstock.com

Cleaning your bathroom can feel like a never-ending task, with a never-ending list of pricey cleaners and supplies. With just a few household ingredients, though, you can save time and money while keeping your bathroom sparkling.

Cleaning your bathroom surfaces more regularly can make life so much easier because each pass will take far less time. It also won’t require any heavy-duty ingredients, since there’s not as much grime to remove. Let’s take a look at some of the easiest ways you can keep your bathroom squeaky-clean, and your wallet happy.

How to Clean Your Shower Curtain Liner

Two bottles of white vinegar, next to cleaning supplies

Your shower curtain and liner do the heavy lifting of keeping water and soap from getting all over your bathroom. Along the way, though, the liner comes in contact with everything.

Although it’s rinsed every time you take a shower, your liner will inevitably wind up with some soap scum and residue buildup. If left for too long, that residue can weigh down and even degrade the material of the liner, so you’ll have to replace it sooner.

Getting it clean, fortunately, only requires a common household ingredient, your washing machine, and a few easy steps:

  1. Remove the shower curtain and liner from the rod.
  2. Run the liner through the washing machine on a hot water cycle with about 1/2 cup of white vinegar, rather than laundry detergent.
  3. Hang the liner alone (without the outer curtain) on the shower rod to dry.

Lucy's Family Owned - Natural Distilled White Vinegar

The main ingredient of many DIY cleaning solutions.

How to Remove Soap Scum

No matter how much you try to avoid it, soap scum in the bathroom is an unavoidable fact of life. It’s a pain to scrub, which is why it’s also worth the effort to do it more often. The longer you leave it, the harder it crusts on, and the more effort it takes to remove.

Instead, tackle it regularly with this multistep process, once again involving our trusty friend, white vinegar:

  1. Fill a standard, 24-ounce spray bottle about 3/4 with warm or hot water.
  2. Mix in 1/4 cup of white vinegar.
  3. Spray the mixture thoroughly over the surface covered in soap scum.
  4. Let the vinegar mixture sit on the surface for 5-10 minutes. The crusty layer should soften enough for you to lift it off.
  5. Using a straight-edge razor or scraping tool, scrape off the residue.
  6. Spray any stubborn areas with the vinegar mixture again, if necessary, and then scrape again.
  7. Rinse the surface with clear, warm water.

Uineko 24 oz Plastic Spray Bottle

Perfect for mixing and applying DIY cleaners.

Bates 10 in 1 Painters Tool

Easily lift those stubborn layers of soap scum.

How to Clean and Whiten Grout

Two images of a woman using bristle brushes on bathroom tile

You could spend money on a specially formulated grout cleaner and add yet another bottle to your cupboard and another to your store receipt. But why not try out a couple of DIY grout-cleaning recipes using ingredients you already have instead?

For the most part, the best DIY grout cleaners use the powerful combination of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, which cleans, deodorizes, and whitens.

Solimo Hydrogen Peroxide Topical Solution

Cleans and brightens grout without all the hassle.

One recipe requires only two ingredients and a few easy steps:

  1. Pour or sprinkle some baking soda on the grout.
  2. Spritz some hydrogen peroxide onto the baking soda until it’s soaked through (it should almost be a paste).
  3. Let it sit for about 10 minutes.
  4. Scrub thoroughly with a sturdy-bristled brush.
  5. Rinse, and then repeat if necessary.

The following option calls for dish soap, which is particularly good at cutting through grease and other stubborn residue:

  1. Mix 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide.
  2. Add 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap.
  3. Apply the mixture to the grout, and then let it sit for about 10 minutes.
  4. Scrub thoroughly with a sturdy-bristled brush.
  5. Rinse, and then repeat if necessary.

How to Clean Tiled Surfaces and Tubs

Sometimes, a simple wipe-down isn’t enough to keep your tile and tub truly clean. A combination of soap scum, dust, and mineral buildup from your water can form a pretty tough layer on your porcelain and tile bathroom surfaces.

There are plenty of specialized cleaning products out there, but if you’re looking to save money, you can follow these steps and make an effective tile cleaner at home:

  1. In a spray bottle, mix 1 part Dawn dishwashing liquid with 2 parts white vinegar.
  2. Spray the mixture on your tub or tiled surfaces, and let it sit for 30-60 minutes, depending on how bad the buildup is.
  3. Scrub, and then rinse and/or wipe down with clean water.

Dawn Ultra Dishwashing Liquid

The gold standard for cutting through grime, even in the bathroom.

Warning: You should never use a solution that contains vinegar, lemon, or any other acidic ingredient on marble.

How to Clean Mirrored Surfaces

A stack of microfiber cloths next to a spray bottle and cleaning bucket; close up of gray, green, and pink cloths
Amazon Basics

Shiny surfaces, such as mirrors or chrome fixtures, tend to really show the dust and water spots that accumulate in a bathroom. It’s important to keep them clean, so they don’t become permanently stained. Unfortunately, the smell of traditional glass cleaners can be really overpowering.

Never fear—just grab your trusty vinegar, some water, and something to wipe with, and then follow these steps:

  1. In a spray bottle, mix a solution of 1 tablespoon of vinegar for every 1 cup of water.
  2. Spray the solution on your mirror, or glass or chrome surfaces.
  3. Wipe down with a microfiber cloth or some newspaper. This will help you avoid leaving any streaks or residue behind.

Amazon Basics Microfiber Cleaning Cloths

Lint-free and ideal for cleaning those shiny bathroom surfaces.

When it comes to keeping your bathroom clean, you don’t have to buy a bunch of pricey chemical cleaners. All you need are a few common household items and these easy steps. Armed with these DIY cleaning hacks, you can keep your bathroom looking and smelling fresh year-round with a lot less effort.

Amanda Prahl Amanda Prahl
Amanda Prahl is a freelance contributor to LifeSavvy. She has an MFA in dramatic writing, a BA in literature, and is a former faculty associate focusing on writing craft and history. Her articles have appeared on HowlRound, Slate, Bustle, BroadwayWorld, and ThoughtCo, among others. Read Full Bio »
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