Cleaning the bathroom?
Teach your kids in five easy steps!

Cleaning the bathroom is a dreaded chore, but I have good news: it's actually a very simple job, and it's easy to teach your kids to do it.

kids cleaning

There are five basic components:

    wiping the mirror
    cleaning the sink and vanity
    cleaning the toilet
    cleaning the shower and tub
    sweeping/mopping the floor

Here are the cleaning supplies you'll need:
    cleaning cloths
    spray bottle of water and/or water!
    spray bottle of all purpose cleaner
    gentle scouring powder
    disposable cleaning wipes
    broom
    plastic cup for rinsing tub
    magic sponge

Before actually cleaning the bathroom, you have to make sure it's organized. If you have a lot of bathroom accessories, such as shampoos, make-up, hair ties, shaving cream and other toiletries strewn about, think about what containers you have to store them. If you're lucky enough to have drawers in your vanity, utilize that convenient and hidden space!

First, go through each drawer or the stuff on top of your counter and get rid of what you don't need (duplicates or stuff you don't use anymore). Then organize what's left in containers or in the drawers.

Okay, now we're ready to move on to maintenance cleaning...or are we? As in any room, you will save yourself some work if you first declutter before you clean. So, the first step of cleaning is actually picking up the room. Let's start from the beginning:

Step 1. Clear out the clutter from the bathroom
This can be the most daunting part of cleaning the bathroom, but it doesn't need to be. Get a tidy-up basket or some catch-all container for misplaced belongings. Your child then picks up any laundry or towels and tosses them into the basket. If your bathroom is large enough to contain an actual laundry basket, keeping the floor tidy might be even easier for the entire family.

Step 2. Wipe the mirror and faucet
Kids shouldn't be exposed to a ton of chemicals when they are cleaning the bathroom or any room. Glass is one of the easiest things to clean with just water, so all you need is a damp (not wet!) cloth and a dry cloth. Wipe the smudges and drips off with the damp cloth, then buff until completely dry with the dry one. Smudges are the difference between wet and dry, so keep wiping with the dry cloth until it shines like new. Do the same with the faucet.


PRO TIP:
Get a bit of toilet paper or tissue and use it to wipe out the sink. This gets the bigger globs and most importantly, hair! Strands of hair are really hard to remove with a cloth (they just keep swirling around and around!) so get them with a tissue and toss it.



Step 3. Wipe the vanity and sink
Kids need minimal steps and equipment, so just use the same wet cloth to wipe the top of the vanity. You've already gotten the blobs of toothpaste and the strands of hair with the tissue, so this shouldn't be too bad. You can just use water only for the surface of the vanity, but if you need something stronger, consider using a green spray cleaner (like Simple Green, Holy Cow or Red Juice from the Speed Cleaning folks) or even just diluted white vinegar, which has tons of uses.

The sink itself usually has more grime, so sprinkle a gentle abrasive (I like Bon Ami scouring powder) into the basin and use that same wet rag to scrub the area. Then turn the water on and rinse with the same cloth. By now it's super wet, so you're ready to toss it into the dirty laundry (finally!).


SHORT CUT FOR LITTLE HELPERS:
For young helpers, you could eliminate some supplies by providing some disposable cleaning wipes to use instead of the rags and cleaner.



Step 4. Clean the toilet
Some parents prefer that their kids not clean the toilet for sanitary reasons, but I taught my kids to use rubber gloves and it's no big deal. I am, however, militant about not using a toilet brush. There is a much more sanitary way to clean the toilet that you and your kids can learn.

Step 5. Sweep and mop the floor
This step is pretty self explanatory so the only thing I want to add is this "pro tip" below:


PRO TIP:
If you're running out of time and the bathroom floor is dirty, take a wad of dry toilet paper and run it along the periphery of the room. Yes, I mean get down on your hands and knees and wipe up all the nasty hair and dust. It's not as thorough, but it will do in a pinch.



Step 6. Clean the shower and/or tub
In truth, when cleaning the bathroom with my kids, I do not include the shower and tub area—I clean that on a separate schedule. Use the spray cleaner on the walls and use a cleaning cloth (you can even use the dry one you started with that is now damp).
For the tub sprinkle in a generous amount of the scouring powder and then use a cleaning cloth to scrub scrub scrub! If your tub is like mine, this usually takes a bit of work. Take a plastic cup, fill it up with water from the tub and rinse the powder and grime away. This takes several repetitions.

Step 7. Clean the walls and cabinets
Here's another task that is neither regular nor one I have my kids do, but I'll tell you anyway. This may not happen to you, but my little darlings wipe their precious hands all over everything, including the walls. Use either a cleaning wipe, the spray cleaner, or even a “magic sponge” to go over those grimy surfaces.


PRO TIP:
Move from top to bottom--this is good advice for any room. It enables you to move efficiently and have a sequence of action so you're not duplicating work.



When you're cleaning the bathroom with your kids, or cleaning any room, for that matter, remember to maintain realistic expectations as they're learning. Doing things consistently is also important for kids are learning to clean.

Please remember that at this stage the goal is to involve your kids in the household cleaning and for him or her to enjoy it! Keep it light and loose and fun. Cleaning the bathroom truly is the easiest room to clean and to teach your kids to clean. Try it today and start delegating those household chores to your competent kids!

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