How to Properly Deep Clean a Bathroom

One of the more repulsive yet necessary tasks with facilities maintenance is bathroom and toilet cleaning. This article explains the best practices for thorough surface cleaning and sanitization measures, including hard-to-reach areas.

Due to COVID-19, objects reused within 24 hours must be cleaned and sanitized daily to meet health and safety mandates. Bathroom showers, sinks, floors, countertops, toilets, and fixtures are daily-use objects.

Why clean and sanitize a bathroom that often? First, the “toilet plume” is creating concerns. Scientists determined that in the weight equivalent to a paperclip, one trillion germs can live in a gram of human waste. According to research, water rushing into a toilet bowl displaces air in the bowl during a flush, creating an upward-moving vortex forcing out approximately 6,000 droplets and aerosolized particles. Toilet plumes can reach as high as three feet. Droplets and aerosolized particles eventually land and contaminate surfaces around the toilet, including floors, walls, and more.

Putting the toilet seat cover down before flushing is just the start of preventing harmful germs from spreading to people. If a toilet seat does not have a lid that closes, strongly consider replacing toilet hardware for seats with covers. Without a seat cover that closes, harmful germs spread with each flush.

Cleaning a restroom is one of the more dreaded chores, and sanitizing a toilet takes that dread to new heights. There is good news, however. A little pre-planning and attention to detail with products and procedures extend the amount of time that harmful germs are kept at bay and make daily maintenance more manageable.

Protect Yourself First

Personal protection equipment (PPE) is vitally important to health and safety – especially when cleaning and sanitizing a toilet. Keep in mind that the most critical surface to protect from harmful germs is the person’s body doing the cleaning.

So, before beginning a cleaning and sanitizing regimen, the easiest way to prevent harmful germs from contaminating the skin is by applying a long-term sanitizer. Advances in sanitizing science now offer alcohol-free, non-toxic all-over body protection, so skin sanitizing is not limited to just the hands.

Safety Tip

Safety Tip:

Alcohol is toxic and flammable. Alcohol-based traditional hand sanitizer effectiveness is only 20-seconds. For maximum personal protection, switch to alcohol-free sanitizers made with quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs). Benzalkonium chloride is a QAC approved for hand sanitizers.

New non-toxic, advanced hand and body sanitizers are scientifically proven to eliminate 99.9% of harmful germs on contact for up to 4-hours per application. 

Personal protection sanitizers for hands and body are conveniently available in sprays and wipes with a choice of bulk quantities or individually wrapped packages.

Only after protecting any exposed skin with a long-term personal sanitizer, move on to the next step. And that is making sure all cleaning and sanitizing supplies are immediately accessible.

The Right Tools for the Job

Thoroughly cleaning and maintaining a sparkling bathroom involves cleaning the toilet inside and out, plus other surface areas like sinks, counters, showers, floors, walls, and much more.

To speed the process, organizing all tools in advance improves efficiencies. Wearing appropriate clothing and footwear that shields the skin from cleaning solution splashes and sprays is recommended along with other tools of the trade, such as:

  • Bucket

    One to hold tools, cleaners, and sanitizers, and another for clearing water from the toilet bowl

  • Cleaning gloves

    Heavy-duty and designed for use with chemicals and cleaning solutions

  • Degreaser

    Easily lifts stubborn, ground-in grime

  • Electrostatic sprayer

    Evenly distributes advanced cleaning sanitizers on surfaces with 360-degree accuracy

  • Eye protection

    Protects from cleaning solution sprays and splashes

  • Paper towels

    Single-use disposable wipe-down

  • Pumice stone

    On a stick for removing hard water stains

  • Respiratory mask

    Prevents inhaling fumes from cleaning solutions

  • Sanitizing surface sprays & wipes

    Powerful and long-lasting

  • Scrub brush

    Cleaning the inside of the toilet water tank

  • Toilet bowl cleaner

    Inner bowl sanitizing

  • Toilet brush

    Scrubbing inside the bowl and under the rim

  • Vacuum cleaner

    Clearing dry debris that traps harmful germs

Since porous surfaces retain moisture that provides an ideal environment for germs to grow in, avoid using sponges and cloth towels. Instead, consider single-use environmentally responsible items for cleaning such as paper towels and sanitizing wipes.

Clear debris like dust and dirt with a vacuum cleaner; this convenient tool removes dry particles that trap harmful germs from floors, walls, and hard-to-reach areas.

Consider a non-toxic, water-based, biodegradable liquid degreaser to remove stubborn stains and residue. These advanced products eliminate the need for old toothbrushes and scrubbing with abrasives that damage surfaces.

Avoid Toxic Chemical Reactions

Traditional bathroom and toilet bowl cleaning products are bleach and chlorine-based. If traditional cleaning chemicals are accidentally mixed, toxic fumes, injury, and death can result. Bleach-based products may take 15-minutes or more to achieve maximum effectiveness before rinsing, so ample ventilation is required.

Also, keep in mind that bleach and chlorine only provide 24-hours of germ-fighting protection under precise conditions.

Deep Cleaning a Toilet Bowl 

Starting with the source of germ plumes, the toilet, cleaning experts suggest draining the water from inside the toilet bowl, then applying a cleaning solution to save time and improve safety.

One way to remove the water from a toilet bowl is by turning off the water valve and flushing once. Another way is to quickly pour a half-gallon of water from a bucket directly into the toilet bowl.

Common natural ingredients can serve as an alternative cleaning agent inside the bowl. One approach to deep cleaning and sanitizing a toilet bowl with a do-it-yourself cleaning solution is combining one cup each of baking soda, table salt, and an oxygenating bleach. Another alternative commode cleaning mixture is one cup each of baking soda and distilled white vinegar. These alternatives have a natural abrasive quality that removes build-up and takes five to ten minutes to be effective.

Safety Tip

Safety Tip:

Read the manufacturers’ instructions to know precisely how long the toilet bowl cleaner must remain on a surface to maximize germ-fighting protection — materials safety data sheets (MSDS) outline which chemicals to avoid accidentally combining. And to ensure that maximum safety precautions are taken, if an MSDS sheet is not available from a manufacturer, consider another product that has one.

Regardless of product type – traditional or alternative – make sure the germ-fighting solution spreads to under the toilet bowl rim; scientists proved that harmful germs survive in biofilm there.

Biofilms and hard water create unsightly discoloration inside the toilet bowl. Removing toilet bowl stains with a pumice stone on a stick is recommended to keep hands away from one of the germiest places in a home or office. Pumice stones are soft abrasives that lift stains and do not scratch the porcelain.

As the toilet bowl cleaning solution sits for 15-minutes, it is time to move on to the surrounding surfaces of the bathroom.

Sanitizing Power for Sinks, Counters, Showers, and Floors

Addressing each surface area of a bathroom with traditional cleaning products and methods can take quite a while; just the toilet can take 20-minute or more. The good news is that advanced formulated products combine cleaning and sanitizing in one easy timesaving step.

Non-abrasive advanced cleaning sanitizers are safe to use on all porous and non-porous surfaces and eliminate the guesswork with surface compatibility.

Scientifically proven to maintain safety with 99.9% effectiveness on harmful germs for up to 28-days per application, advanced cleaning sanitizers far exceed the 24-hour limitation of bleach and chlorine.

Also, non-toxic cleaning and sanitizing products address all bathroom surface areas, including:

  • The base of the commode
  • Countertops
  • Floors
  • Floor mats
  • Handles
  • Hard-to-reach spaces
  • Light switches
  • Showers
  • Sinks
  • Toilet seat cover and seat
  • Toilet tank exterior
  • Tools for bathroom cleaning
  • Towel racks
  • Walls
  • Vents

Use a cleaning sanitizer wipe or spray and paper towels for all surfaces. Allow 10-minutes for the product to reach its maximum germ-fighting potential, then wipe to a sparkling shine.

In addition to being a timesaving product, advanced cleaning sanitizers are environmentally responsible and do not require additional rinsing for water conservation.

 Sinks and showers harbor bacteria around drains. If drains are slow or clogged, germs will cause a foul odor over time. Although it will not unclog drains, advanced cleaning sanitizers neutralize odor-causing bacteria leaving a light citrus scent.

Also, non-toxic, biodegradable liquid degreasers effectively eliminate build-up from soaps, hard water, and rust that can plague sinks and showers. These products do not require intense scrubbing, just a simple spray and wipe.

 Floors, walls, and vents are easiest to clean. Using a vacuum cleaner and telescoping attachment, remove all dust and debris. Then, with a portable electrostatic sprayer, quickly distribute the advanced cleaning sanitizer solution onto surfaces with 360-degree accuracy, allowing 10-minutes to dry.

Once these surfaces are covered completely, it is time to finish the toilet. Lower the toilet seat cover, turn the water valve on, wait for the water to fill the tank, and rinse by flushing.

Ensure that wipes and paper towels are disposed of directly into a wastebasket to avoid cross-contaminating surfaces.

Cleaning Inside the Toilet Water Tank

Hard water contains minerals that create unsightly stains inside the toilet water tank and commode. Biofilm inside a toilet water tank is from bacteria that excrete a sticky, slimy substance that sticks to surfaces. Biofilms originate in water distribution lines, storage tanks, and other aqueous environments.

Periodically check the toilet water tank by removing the reservoir lid. If any mineral build-up or slime is visible, it is easy to remove it.

Cleaning experts recommend pouring four cups of vinegar into the tank, allowing it to work inside the water tank for up to an hour. Afterward, to clear out the tank water, turn off the water to the toilet and flush. With the water tank empty, use a brush to scrub the insides. When done, turn on the water, fill the tank, and flush several times to rinse the tank out.

Safety Tip

Safety Tip:

  1. Avoid mixing cleaning products. For example, bleach that combines with vinegar releases chlorine gas.
  2. Refer to MSDS sheets for any potentially dangerous chemical reactions.

Toilet Brush and Holder Cleaning

Immediately placing a wet toilet brush back into its holder creates a perfect environment for trapped germs to grow inside the bristles. To avoid germ growth on toilet bowl brushes:

  1. Wipe the entire brush handle down with a sanitizing wipe or sanitizing spray on a paper towel.
  2. Prop the toilet brush between the toilet seat cover and the rim surface with the brush end hovering above the toilet bowl.
  3. Pour the cleaning solution over the brush head, with runoff dripping into the toilet bowl.
  4. Allow the toilet brush to air dry, then place it back in the holder.

Next, clean the inside and outside of the toilet brush holder with the same sanitizing solution. Rinse with hot soapy water, disposing of the contaminated water in the toilet. Close the toilet seat lid, then flush.

Plan to replace a toilet brush every six months or when the bristles get bent out of shape.

Cleaning Toilet Tools

Bathroom cleaning gloves are non-porous but are a surface that can retain germs. With hands still inside these heavy-duty reusable gloves, wash the outsides with soap and hot water, then remove and allow to air dry. Do not reuse these gloves for washing dishes – limit their use to just restroom cleaning.

In addition to cleaning gloves, be sure to also clean and sanitize anything touched during the maintenance procedure, including:

  • The sink or shower used to rinse cleaning tools
  • Any handles and faucets
  • The cleaning supplies tote bucket – especially the bottom

Addressing all touchable surfaces during bathroom maintenance eliminates the possibility of cross-contamination.

Making Sanitizing Safer for People and Pets

While maintaining a public or residential restroom is not pleasant, the bathroom contains daily-use items that must be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized.

Additional tips for creating safer restroom environments include:

 Switching to safer cleaning sanitizers to eliminate toxic chemical fumes from traditional cleaning products.

Do not combine chemicals in cleaning products to avoid hazardous reactions that cause personal injury and harm the environment.

Avoid toilet tank water drop-in chemicals. Cleaning experts report that these products deteriorate seals and will likely void a manufacturer’s warranty. Be sure to read the fine print on all bathroom cleaning products to know if it damages rubber and sealants.

 Flushing the toilet with the seat cover down avoids spreading harmful germs all over restroom surfaces, including the person using the commode.

 Keep the toilet seat down if large pets are present; some may attempt to drink directly out of the toilet bowl as an alternative water source. A toilet bowl is laden with harmful bacteria.

 Non-toxic advanced cleaning sanitizers deliver 28-days of germ-fighting protection and are scientifically proven far exceed the limitations of traditional chemical-based products.

Dalrada Health’s GlanHealth™ personal sanitizers and surface cleaners are non-toxic, non-damaging, and are the longest-lasting products on the market with 99.9% effectiveness on harmful germs. This all-encompassing approach saves time, delivers persistent peace of mind, and is a safer cleaning and sanitizing alternative for people and the planet. Visit www.glanhealth.com for details.