7 bathroom cleaning mistakes you didn't know you were making

cleaning products in bucket for cleaning bathroom in front of toilet
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

We all have our own routine on how to clean every room,  but there are a number of common bathroom cleaning mistakes you’re probably making while doing so. Granted, cleaning the bathroom is not the most exciting of chores, and we often want to get it done as quickly as possible, but if not done properly, this could actually create more work and scrubbing time in the long-run. 

What’s more, the bathroom is one of the main rooms in the home where you start and finish your day. That’s why it’s so important to keep it clean, fresh and germ-free.

So whether it’s those hidden spots we forget to clean, or items we neglect altogether, find out if you’re making these 7 bathroom cleaning mistakes. 

You might also want to check out these 10 cleaning mistakes that will ruin your home.  Plus, here are 7 things you should never store in the bathroom!

1. Cleaning with cold or lukewarm water 

Water running in sink

Water running in sink (Image credit: Shutterstock)

When scrubbing or rinsing with water, one mistake is using the wrong temperature to clean with. Using water at its hottest temperature (ideally, 10 degrees F above normal air temperature), can make most cleaners work twice as effective. Experts suggest filling your tub or sink with the hottest water you can run from the tap, and allow to sit for a few minutes before scrubbing and cleaning your bathroom. This will help to easily break down the dirt or grime on the surfaces. 

2. Using the same sponge to clean everything 

Cleaning bathtub with a soft cloth

Cleaning bathtub with a soft cloth (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Another common mistake we make is to use one dedicated bathroom sponge to clean everything. Experts advise not to use the same sponge or cloth for every spot, as this will only transfer the dirt and bacteria from one area to the next, defeating the whole purpose. Instead, use separate sponges/cloths to tackle different tasks such as the bathtub, toilet and mirrors, to avoid cross-contamination. It's advisable to use microfiber cloths, which are made of ultrafine synthetic fibers woven together to create a static charge that easily attracts dirt and dust. Best of all, you can wash and reuse them, saving you money in the long run.

3. Skipping key places 

Woman flushing toilet

Woman flushing toilet (Image credit: Shutterstock)

While we tackle the obvious places such as cleaning the toilet or the bathtub, bacteria and germs can actually collect in places you least expect. Spots include light switches, toilet flush buttons, roll holders, and door handles that we easily overlook. In addition, don’t forget to clean around the base of the toilet bowl. While this may seem gross, this is the breeding place for bacteria growth and germs — so it needs to be cleaned thoroughly. 

4. Not allowing cleaning solution to settle  

Rinsing bath with shower head

Rinsing bath with shower head (Image credit: Shutterstock)

We tend to generously spray our surfaces before scrubbing away. But experts suggest we should let the solution settle on the surface before wiping it down. This will allow time for the chemicals to get to work in lifting out stubborn dirt or stains. So after spraying your solution, remember to leave it on for a couple of minutes before wiping or rinsing off. This will save you a lot of scrubbing time.

5. You forget to clean your toothbrush 

Couple brushing their teeth

Couple brushing their teeth (Image credit: Shutterstock)

When was the last time you gave your toothbrush a deep clean? While most of us run toothbrushes under water before and after use, this doesn’t mean they are clean. Germs such as E-coli can collect between bristles, making it unhygienic, and less effective. Ideally, soak your toothbrush in a cup of white vinegar for about 30 minutes to get rid of bacteria, before rinsing thoroughly. It’s also advisable to replace your toothbrush or head around every three months to get the most out of your dental routine. Plus, you can always repurpose your old brushes to clean those awkward spots around the home. Win-win!

6. Mixing cleaning products

Bucket of cleaning products

Bucket of cleaning products (Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you have an abundance of favorite bathroom cleaners, never mix the different products. Combining products such as bleach and limescale remover to clean bathrooms could damage your home and can be toxic. Plus, certain household cleaners are manufactured in a specific way that should not be used with other products as they can create toxic gases. It’s best to stick to one product or natural solution during cleaning, such as baking soda and white vinegar which makes a great combo. 

7. Neglecting the drains 

Vinegar poured in bath drain

Vinegar poured in bath drain (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

When busy cleaning the bathroom, we often neglect our drains. Bathroom drains can easily get clogged if not cleaned regularly, resulting in unpleasant smells. A good way of cleaning or unclogging drains is to pour ½ a cup of baking soda down the sink hole, before pouring half a cup of white vinegar. Once this causes a chemical reaction, leave it to sit for around 10-15 minutes. Then, boil water in a kettle, and carefully pour down the sink hole. Not only will this deodorize a drain and get rid of bad smells, but will remove any clogs preventing water from draining properly. 

What causes a smelly drain? 

If you're wondering why your drains smell funny, the answer is down to whatever has gone down there. Typically, these are things like hair, grease, gunk and other bacteria forming in your pipes. 

Over time, this can line your pipes and attract more bacteria that can release bad odors and smells. Once it starts to clog up your pipes, this will prevent water from draining, in which case you're going to want to know how to unclog a drain.  

If you like quick, cleaning hacks this $3 tool helped me clean my bathroom in seconds.  Plus, check out these 5 easy hacks to make your bathroom smell good. And since you're already in the bathroom, check out how to clean grout on floor tiles to get rid of stains and how to unclog a drain without using a plunger.   

Cynthia Lawrence
Content Editor, Homes

As the Homes Content Editor, Cynthia Lawrence covers all things homes, interior decorating, and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, ‘must-have’ home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy ‘how to’ features. 

Her work has been published in various titles including, T3, Top Ten Reviews, Ideal Home, Real Homes, Livingetc. and House Beautiful, amongst many.

With a rather unhealthy obsession for all things homes and interiors, she also has an interior design blog for style inspiration and savvy storage solutions (get rid of that clutter!). When she’s not testing cool products, she’ll be searching online for more decor ideas to spruce up her family home or looking for a great bargain!