Your bathroom is a disgusting, shameful mess. Okay, sure, pretty much everyone’s bathroom is normally a disgusting, shameful mess, but now that you’ve spent 99.7 percent of the last six months at home, things have gotten much, much worse. We know. We don’t judge you. In fact, we’re here to help.
First things first: Your bathroom needs to be clean of all the bacteria you bring in. Any bathroom utility that isn’t gleaming white is basically a cesspool of filth, but don’t despair. Just listen to Jason Tetro, host of the Super Awesome Science Show, self-professed “Germ Guy,” and all-around cleanliness superhero. “If you find yourself in a situation where you have a large amount of microbial growth, there are a couple of options that are available to you,” he says. “Bleach will do the job; however, there are many concerns about the health impacts of bleach. If you don’t use bleach, then go with a disinfectant with hydrogen peroxide, which is going to be incredibly efficient as well. Follow the labels, then you’ll be perfect.”
Use hydrogen peroxide-based disinfectant on pretty much everything: The tub, the toilet, the sinks and the counters. Just be thorough, and don’t rush. “I try to spray everything down and then I leave for five minutes,” says Tetro, which allows the peroxide the time it needs to do its work. “Then I come back and work from the bathtub to the sink to the toilet.”
Speaking of, while most people clean the inside of their toilet bowls, don’t forget to thoroughly scrub down the seats… and the rest of the outside, too. Traces of the bad things that happen in the toilet can spread around the toilet, too. Don’t forget those water handles by the sink. Also, unless you threw out your shower liner after the pandemic began, order a new one as soon as possible.
If spending several hours in a room reeking of hydrogen peroxide isn’t your bag, there is an alternative: Steam mops. “[Bacteria] needs relatively good temperatures somewhere in and around 72 degrees Fahrenheit to around 100,” says Tetro. A decent steam mop will blast out hot water at around 250 degrees, which helps lift dirt embedded in-between tiles, but more importantly murders any bacteria it reaches. Just make sure it comes with attachments to let you get at those nooks and crannies because otherwise, you’re still in for a bit of scrubbing.
Once you’ve gotten rid of all the nastiness, it’s time to tidy up. Start with the tub and take out anything you don’t use regularly and store it in the bathroom closet — you can take it out on the occasions you do use it, then return it when you’re done showering. Now, “regularly” can mean a lot of things to a lot of people, but if you want to be thoroughly clutter-free, “every time you shower” is the way to go.
Likewise, try to keep your essentials behind the bathroom mirror, if that’s an option, including your toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, floss, nail clippers, etc. Keep your razor — ideally safely covered once dry — on its razor stand, then stick your other shaving accoutrements — clippers, shaving cream, aftershave, beard oils, what have you — stored in the cabinet as well.
As for all the other junk that’s accumulated in your bathroom, purge anything you haven’t used in six months, because that proves you don’t need it. Look for duplicates; if you have four different bottles of shampoo, chances are only one needs to survive the culling. If you have four different bottles of the same shampoo, then “marry” them by pouring them all into one bottle so you can toss the others (restaurants do this with on-table condiments like ketchup all the time).
Cleaning your quarantine bathroom may seem daunting after you shoved your house cleaning to the wayside so you could conserve your energy for the herculean task of trying to get through 2020. However, this year’s going to continue happening no matter what we do, so we might as well be clean while we do it.