We feel your dread. That’s why we’ve broken down cleaning and decluttering the bath into daily, manageable tasks.
How to get a spotless, organized bathroom in 7 days
Wanda Ely Architect Inc., original photo on Houzz

Wanda Ely Architect Inc., original photo on Houzz

Wet towels and dirty clothes dumped on the floor, the sink littered with products, soap scum caked on every surface … In the daily rush to get out the door, the bathroom often fares the worst (and that’s not even mentioning the really grubby stuff). But why spend a week focusing on this room, when it will simply get cluttered and dirty all over again? Because starting with a fresh, clean, uncluttered space is inspiring. Keeping something up that already looks good is much easier than struggling to bring order to a chaotic space — and you have to start somewhere! Check out the complete seven-day plan below.

Julie Holloway, original photo on Houzz

Make a plan of attack. The bathroom presents some of the most dreaded cleaning tasks in the house — and is also prone to becoming overrun with clutter. To get your bath in line, plan to spend a chunk of time on Saturday banishing clutter and another hour or more on Sunday doing a deep cleaning. The rest of the week’s tasks shouldn’t take as much time, so plan to squeeze them in during the evenings or whenever is convenient for you.

Day 1: Streamline and purge.

Decluttering tasks: Today is the day to give yourself a fresh start by clearing away all of the clutter in the bathroom. When you’re finished, your bathroom will feel much more spacious.

Starting with the medicine cabinet; work your way shelf by shelf and examine each product. Toss out anything expired as well as products you no longer use or that you’ve tried and don’t like. Just because you paid money for something doesn’t mean you have to pay again by giving up precious space for it. Don’t get caught up in organizing just yet; focus on purging.

When you’re done with the medicine cabinets, drawers and sink top, move on to under the sink and any other storage in the room. The only things left should be products you use regularly, extra supplies like T.P., first-aid supplies and current medications.

Cleaning tasks: Using disposable cleaning wipes or a microfiber cloth, clean off each shelf and inside each drawer. Wipe down the sink and clean the mirrors.

Matthew Bolt Graphic Design, original photo on Houzz

Day 2: Deep clean.

Cleaning tasks: After today your bathroom will be sparkling like never before. If you are really dreading cleaning it, set a timer and push yourself to get the job done quickly.

      – Before you begin cleaning, open up the windows and turn on the fan.
      – Spray the tub, tub wall and shower doors with a shower and tub cleaner; squirt toilet cleaner in the toilet bowl. Set a timer for 10 minutes.
      – When the timer dings, go back and scrub the shower and tub with a scrub brush from top to bottom. Rinse with warm water, and squeegee the shower doors and wall. Scrub the toilet bowl with a toilet brush.
      – Spritz the ceiling and walls with all-purpose cleaner, then wipe clean with a microfiber cloth.
      – Use a grout brush or an old toothbrush dipped in bleach (or a paste of baking soda if you don’t want to use bleach) to clean discolored grout.
      – Clean crevices (such as around faucets) using an old toothbrush and dental floss.
      – Soak the showerhead in a bucket or plastic bag filled with white vinegar overnight.
      – Mop the floor.
Decluttering tasks: While you are cleaning the shower and tub, look closely at all of the products stored there. Dispose of empties, combine nearly empty containers of the same product and remove any products you no longer use.

Starr Stanford Design, original photo on Houzz

Day 3: Tackle the fan and humidity issues.

Cleaning tasks: Humidity in the bathroom can wreak havoc on walls — it can cause peeling and discolored paint and even mildew and mold. Your first line of defense against bathroom humidity is ventilation, and that means the fan. If you do not have a bathroom fan that vents to the outdoors, look into having one installed. Another (cheaper) option is to add a door vent and open the bathroom window for at least 30 minutes after each shower. If you do have a fan, now is the time to degunk it so that it can work more efficiently. This job may sound difficult, but it really shouldn’t take long.

      – Find your circuit breaker and turn it off — it’s not safe to clean the fan with the electricity on.
      – Remove the cover from your ceiling fan and clean the cover with warm, soapy water.
      – Grab your vacuum and use an attachment to clean inside the fan as best you can.
      – Completely dry the cover and put it back on.
      – Turn the circuit breaker back on and give yourself a big pat on the back.

Wanda Ely Architect Inc., original photo on Houzz

Wanda Ely Architect Inc., original photo on Houzz

Day 4: Organize.

Decluttering tasks: With the contents of your bathroom cupboards significantly whittled down (see Day 1), organizing will be much easier. Pay close attention as you go through your morning routine today, and put all of the products you use daily together in an easily accessed spot. If you choose to put your everyday products on the sink top, use a tray or basket to keep everything together.

Items you use less frequently can go in the medicine cabinet or under the sink in clear, lidded plastic containers in various sizes — this is an easy way to keep different categories of products together. No time to shop for containers? Tupperware works, too. Try putting together little “kits” of items that go together, so you can quickly find what you need. For instance:

      – Kids’ bath toys and products
      – A first-aid kit
      – Hair styling supplies
      – Nail care supplies
Day 5: Launder and dust.

Cleaning tasks: Use a vacuum attachment to clean the vanity lights and window treatments. If your vanity has exposed bulbs, use a soft cloth to wipe them clean. Take down your shower curtain and wash it with a few towels (the towels will help agitate the curtain to get it cleaner).

Day 6: Freshen up.

Cleaning tasks: By this point your bathroom will be looking much improved — clutter free and clean. Now it’s time to consider what might need to be refreshed or replaced to make the space look its best.

Toss any worn or stained hand and bath towels (or keep them elsewhere to use as rags), the shower curtain liner if its mildewed and the bath mat if it’s grungy. Refresh the soap dispenser or set out a new bar of soap in the dish. Set a bud vase with fresh flowers on the sink.

Are you missing anything else? Need a small laundry hamper or a new wastebasket? Make a list.

Kate Jackson Design, original photo on Houzz

Day 7: Nail a daily and weekly routine.

Cleaning tasks: Nowhere else in the house is it more true than the bathroom: A little daily maintenance goes a long way in keeping things clean.

        – Store a container of disposable cleaning wipes, a squeegee and a few clean microfiber cloths in a basket under the sink, and use them to wipe down surfaces (sink,
      , shower doors and walls) after your daily shower.
      – Squirt some toilet cleaner in the bowl every day or two and give it a quick scrub with a toilet brush.
      – Once a week, clean the tub and shower, and mop the floor.
Decluttering tasks: Now that you’ve decluttered, the key is keeping on top of your system. Get in the habit of taking a minute to put each item back after you use it. When you bring in a new product, make it a habit to remove empty containers and check for expired items.
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