The Mistakes You’re Making When Cleaning the Bathroom (& How to Fix Them)

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I’m a work-at-home mom. A lot of people think that means I sit on the couch eating bon-bons all day. Anyone else with this glamorous title knows all too well that in real life, “work-at-home mom” actually translates to “work-all-the-time mom.” The usual water cooler moments and lunch breaks are instead spent running errands, chasing down kids, and doing all manner of housework.

I’ve recently been on a simplification kick, determined to make our home run more smoothly so I can get an occasional second to myself. In the process of reorganizing our house and getting my whole family to pitch in more, I’ve discovered that there are a ton of household areas where we have inefficiencies, bottlenecks, or just plain weird ways of doing things.

6 mistakes you're making cleaning the bathroom

And I know I can’t be the only one! You definitely have some shenanigans going on in your life, too, right?

Turns out, our biggest problem spot was the bathroom. It’s the place where I found some of the BIGGEST cleaning mistakes in our whole house. Here’s how I fixed them and wound up saving myself a ton of time as a result.

6 mistakes you're making cleaning the bathroom

1. Failing to delegate
Repeat after me: “I am not my family’s maid.” Your kids helped put pee splatters all over the walls and dang it, they need to help clean them up! I’ll admit that my 2-year-old isn’t the most productive when it comes to this stuff but you know what? Good habits start young. Cleaning supplies are handled by my husband and me, obviously, but we let the kids get in the practice of cleaning by putting on little gloves and using microfiber cloths to do a preliminary sweep of grime after they clear the clutter off of the counters. My 4-year-old uses a broom to get hair and debris off the floor, and my 5-year-old can man a toilet brush like a champ!

6 mistakes you're making cleaning the bathroom

2. Scrubbing too hard
Work smarter, not harder. A lot of people waste time with ineffective products. You’ll do a better job (and be less exhausted) if you use Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaner – Clinging Bleach Gel. Pour it into the toilet bowl, let it sit, and it will take care of the heavy-lifting FOR you while you get something else done. Boom.

6 mistakes you're making cleaning the bathroom

3. Cleaning around things
I watched my husband attempt to clean the bathroom last week. Instead of moving the waste bin out of the way, he swept the mop all around the bottom of it. THIS IS NOT HOW IT’S DONE. See, his technique effectively tucks a bunch of grime under the trash can’s edges, leaving it there to fester until the day that some unsuspecting victim (me) decides to take out the trash and inevitably gets yuck all over her hands. First, you move things. Then, you clean them.

6 mistakes you're making cleaning the bathroom

4. Not being forward-thinking
Did you know that there are products that will clean your toilet for you every day? That’s right. Clorox makes an Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner so you can set it and forget it! Plop one of these bad boys into your water tank next time you’re cleaning, and it’ll basically do the job on its own. So you can spend less time cleaning toilets and more time drinking wine. Everybody wins.

6 mistakes you're making cleaning the bathroom

5. Cleaning without gloves on
Ew, STOP! I don’t care how much time you think you’re saving or how much of a rush you’re in. The germ exposure — and seriously gross illnesses you may catch as a result — are not worth it. Always wear gloves, no matter what.

6 mistakes you're making cleaning the bathroom

6. Putting the toilet brush away while it’s wet
Let that thing drip-dry above the toilet for a few minutes to minimize the icky stuff lingering in your bathroom.

8 Mistakes you're making cleaning the bathroom

Photos: Chelsea Day