Housekeeping Tips

August 22, 2011   ·   By   ·   No Comments   ·   Posted in News, Residential Cleaning

Cleaning Showers & Tubs in a Flash

Master Baths Faster
Bathrooms get messy fast, but there’s no reason you have to spend all your spare time scrubbing them. For tried-and-true tips to speed up bathroom cleaning, benefit from the extensive experience of the cleaning gurus at Park-Ellis ServiceMaster.

Stay a Step Ahead
Keep a squeegee in the shower so each family member can wipe it down when he or she is done. This will help prevent soap scum and hard water build-up. Keep a dry towel nearby too. Drying the shower with a towel will help prevent mildew. In the guest bath, keep an all-purpose cleaner and a sponge under the sink so you can sneak away and do a quick clean-up if unexpected company arrives.

Keep the tools and cleansers you need readily accessible. If you have a small bathroom or a tile entrance, skip the scrub bucket and simply use an all-purpose spray cleaner and a damp sponge for easier cleaning. Another way to buy time when cleaning bathrooms is to clean after a hot bath or shower. The steam will loosen the dirt from walls, surfaces and fixtures.

Clean with a disinfectant to kill germs. Disinfectant can be used on everything in the bath except the mirror, making it easy to clean the whole bathroom in just three to four minutes a day. Don’t forget doorknobs and switchplates.

Shower Power
Tile and mats

  • To remove mildew from ceramic tiles and make them sparkle, sponge with a solution of ammonia and water.
  • Remove soap and hard-water buildup from shower tile with tile cleaner.
  • For stubborn stains, apply a paste of scouring powder and water, and let it sit for five minutes. Scrub with a nylon scrub pad, rinse thoroughly, and wipe dry.
  • Over-the-counter rust removers generally work well with rust stains.
  • To clean plastic tile and shine dull bathroom walls, wash with a solution of vinegar and water, then polish with a towel.
  • Once your tile is clean, apply a good paste wax and buff with a dry cloth to deter future water spots.

Shower doors and curtains

  • To remove hard water spots, rub glass shower doors with a sponge that’s been dampened with white vinegar.
  • To clean a shower track door, pour full-strength vinegar into the track. Let it soak for a few minutes, then rinse.
  • A coat of acrylic floor finish gives new shine to fiberglass shower doors and makes water spots disappear.
  • To remove hard water deposits, try automatic dish detergent in a bucket of warm water. For best results, try it immediately after showering. The hot water and steam will help loosen the buildup. You can scrub with a white nylon sponge, followed by a glass cleaner. Dry the doors after every shower to prevent deposits from forming.
  • Clean plastic curtains with laundry pre-wash spray. Spray along the top, and let the treatment run down to cover the curtain. Allow the solution to sit for a few minutes, then rinse it off.
  • To prevent mildew from growing on shower curtains, soak in a salt water solution before hanging.
  • To remove mildew from a shower curtain, wash in hot soapy water, rub with lemon juice, and air dry in the sun.

Stubborn Soap Scum
The best solution to soap scum is prevention. Consider using a soap that won’t accumulate on surfaces and squeegee shower walls before you step out. Wiping down tile shower enclosure walls with lemon oil also retards the formation of soap scum. And, if you have a porcelain tub, you can apply a light coating of boat or car wax to the sides (never the floor) to help ward off soap scum.

It takes some elbow grease to get rid of soap scum once it exists. Because soap scum is an oily/fatty deposit, you need a strongly alkaline degreaser. Janitorial supply stores carry such products specifically designed to remove soap scum. Automatic dishwasher detergent is an effective alternative, used as follows:

  • The ideal timing to tackle this job is right after a shower, when the walls are already wet.
  • Mix a handful of automatic dishwasher detergent in a bucket of water.
  • Cover the tub or shower walls completely.
  • Leave the solution on for 15 to 20 minutes or more to soften the deposits. Keep the surfaces you’re cleaning wet and let them soak while you do something else.
  • Scrub the walls and floor with a stiff scrub brush or a white nylon-backed scrub sponge.
  • Keep soaking and scrubbing until all soap scum is removed, then rinse.

If you have hard water, you may also have to clean with a phosphoric acid cleaner to remove the mineral scale. Apply the cleaner, let it soak awhile, and scrub stubborn spots with a stiff brush or white nylon-backed scrub sponge. Be sure to rinse well and let dry. Plan to use the strong acid cleaner only once in a while, as overuse can deteriorate the grout in ceramic tile showers. You can safely apply soap scum remover more frequently.

Scrub-a-Dub Tubs
Bathtub cleaning methods vary with the tub material. Enameled steel or cast iron tubs are very durable and resistant to most cleaning products. You can use heavy-duty cleaners and degreasers to remove a bathtub ring, and even scrub a little with mild cleansers from time to time.

However, avoid harsh powdered cleansers and colored nylon scrub pads. Also, be careful not to use heavy pressure with even a mild cleanser, or it will eventually dull the surface.

Fiberglass tubs must be treated much more gently. Avoid any kind of abrasive cleaner (including the liquid type) or anything that can scratch or dull the surface. Scrub lightly only with a white nylon-backed sponge and, if absolutely necessary, a mild cleanser approved by fiberglass manufacturers for use on their products. For general cleaning, opt for a neutral cleaner, not a specialized fiberglass cleaning.

Here are some specific tips:

  • To avoid bathtub rings, don’t use oily bath preparations. Use a water softener if you live in a hard-water area. Rinse the tub immediately after bathing.
  • However, if a ring does form, wipe it off with undiluted ammonia – and be sure to wear rubber gloves. Depending on the type of tub, you may also use a wet sponge generously sprinkled with baking soda. Rinse clean and wipe dry.
  • For a more stubborn stain on certain types of tubs, scour with automatic dishwashing detergent or rub with a cloth dipped in vinegar.
  • To clean caulking around bathtubs, you can use rubbing alcohol or liquid chlorine bleach (1/4 cup to one gallon of water).
  • To remove mildew from the corners of the tub, dip cotton balls in bleach and let them sit in the corners. When you finish cleaning the bathroom, remove the cotton and rinse well. The mildew will be gone.
  • Never use strong acids like toilet bowl cleaner or hydrofluoric rust remover on your tub; also avoid strong alkalis and solvents, such as acetone, oven cleaner, or lacquer thinner.

To make bathroom cleaning even easier on yourself,  schedule cleaning services from the professionals @ Park-Ellis ServiceMaster.  Just call us at 419-861-9602!

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