Beating the Bathroom Blues
Over the years I have found that there is one room that generates question after question and that room is the bathroom.
Once, when I was eating in a wonderful little Chinese restaurant, the proprietor -- an elderly Chinese gentleman -- followed me into the ladies' room to see if I thought his bathrooms were clean. He was using the methods that I had recommended on television and was making his own cleanser from my recipe. Let me tell you, his bathrooms were spotless! It made me think that of all the rooms in your house, the bathroom is probably the room that most guests always see and have the most private time to observe. I have tried virtually every cleaning product on the market and developed many of my own "Queen's concoctions" -- what follows are the best and easiest cleaning tips I can offer.
Cleaning Fiberglas™ Showers and Tubs
Heat white vinegar until it is hot, but not too hot to pour into a spray bottle and work with. Spray it on the shower and tub heavily. Wait 10-15 minutes and then moisten a scrubbing-type sponge with more of the vinegar and scrub down the shower, using additional heated vinegar as necessary. Rinse well and dry.
Removing Hard-Water Marks
Many plastic-type tubs have a dimpled slip-proof bottom that defies cleaning. I have found that using a good gel cleaner or a mild cleanser, such as the homemade types listed on page 14, and a piece of fine drywall sandpaper (looks like window screen) works the best. Cut the sandpaper into a workable size, apply the cleaner and rub. Use this only on dimples in plastic and Fiberglas™ tub and shower bottoms.
Stubborn Spot Remover for Showers
For stubborn shower spots and scum buildup, use a dry soap-filled steel wool pad on a dry shower. Do not allow water to become involved in this process, as it will cause the steel wool pad to scratch. Follow up with the vinegar process described at the beginning of this chapter.
Keeping Plastic Showers Clean
To make shower upkeep simple, apply a coat of car wax. Do not use this on the floor of the tub or shower. After showering, use a squeegee to wipe down the shower door and walls, and your shower will stay clean and you'll have fewer problems with mildew.
Cleaning Porcelain Tubs
To clean and polish a porcelain tub and remove stains, make a paste of powdered alum (available in drugstores) and water. Rub well, as if using cleanser. For stains, make a paste of powdered alum and lemon juice; apply and let dry, then moisten with more lemon juice and rub well. Rinse thoroughly.
Borax and water is also a great cleaner for porcelain. Make a paste and rub well, then rinse.
Keeping Tile and Grout Clean
You can keep ahead of grout cleaning if you use a dry typewriter eraser on dry grout to remove mildew and stains as they appear. For bigger problems, make a paste of baking soda and chlorine bleach and apply to the grout. Let dry and then rinse. Do this in a well-ventilated area, using care near carpet or fabric. Even the fumes of chlorine bleach can remove color from towels left hanging in the tub area.
Tile and Grout Cleaner
Combine 2 parts baking soda, 1 part borax and 1 part hot water, adding additional water as necessary to form a thick paste. Apply to the tile and grout and scrub with a soft brush. Rinse well.
Cleaning Soap Scum and Mildew Off of Plastic Shower Curtains
Put the shower curtain in the washing machine with one cup of white vinegar, 1/4 to 1/2 cup of your favorite liquid laundry detergent, and several old, light-colored towels. Fill the washer with warm water and run through complete wash and rinse cycle. Remove from the washer and hang on the shower rod immediately.
Cleaning Mineral Deposits from the Shower Head
Fill a plastic sandwich bag with undiluted white vinegar. Tie this around the shower head and leave overnight. In the morning remove the bag, scrub the head with a brush and it's ready to use.
Cleaning Chrome Faucets
Use white vinegar on a cloth or sponge to remove water spots and soap scum. Dry and buff with a soft cloth. Rubbing alcohol is also a great spot remover. Apply, then dry and buff.
To shine chrome or any metal fixture in a hurry, use a used dryer fabric softener sheet on a dry fixture.
Removing Hair Spray Residue
You can use this formula to remove hair spray residue from any hard surface -- vanities, tile, floors, walls, etc. Mix a solution of 1/3 liquid fabric softener and 2/3 water in a spray bottle. Spray on the surface to be cleaned, and wipe. Not only does it remove hair spray, it also acts as a dust repellent and shines vanities beautifully!
Removing Bathtub Decals
Lay a sheet of aluminum foil over the decals and heat with a blow-dryer on high. Work up the edge of the decal with a dull straight-edge (credit cards work great) and keep applying the heat as you pull. If the decal is stubborn, lay down the foil as necessary and heat well and peel again. To remove the residue try petroleum jelly, denatured alcohol or nail polish remover. Test these products in a small area first before applying.
Cleaning Shower Door Tracks
Plug the drain holes in the door track with a little bit of paper towel made into a ball. Pour in undiluted white vinegar. Let this soak for 30 minutes, unplug the holes and rinse the track with a spray bottle of water and run a rag down it. This will flush the accumulated build-up out of the track.
If you have indoor plumbing, then you have to clean the toilet once in a while, whether you like it or not. Follow these tips and it will be a breeze:
To keep your toilet clean and your dog happy, put several tablespoons of Tang™ Breakfast Drink in the toilet before you leave for work or at bedtime. Let it soak, use your toilet brush to swish around under the rim, and flush. The great thing about this is you don't have to worry if the kids get into the toilet bowl cleaner.
Removing Hard-Water Rings
Shut off the water at the toilet tank and flush. Spray undiluted white vinegar around the inside of the toilet, then sprinkle borax onto the vinegar. Let soak about 30 minutes and then scrub with a piece of fine drywall sandpaper (looks like window screen -- available at hardware stores and home centers). If you have an old hard-water ring you may need to repeat this several times.
Drop a couple of denture-cleaning tablets into the toilet and let sit overnight. Brush under the rim with your bowl brush and flush.
Copyright © 1998 by Linda Cobb