This post is part of my Look-Out-Martha-Stewart series of one to more than one posts about cleaning, cooking and general domesticity.
Every time I have to clean a bathroom I wonder why indoor plumbing is considered a marker of civilization. Surely the convenience isn’t worth the exposure to the horror that is soap scum: the germy, nasty barnacles that hitch rides on our bathtubs and prevent us from being allowed to sail our tubs in certain lakes in New Mexico.
I think everyone must have experienced the horror of an overflowing toilet, and then afterward flushed the toilet in the runners’ stance, ready to run the first leg of the relay race in which responsibility ends once the knowledge that the toilet runneth over has been shared. The bathroom never quite seems clean after that. We know that somewhere in our homes microscopic castoffs are raising an army to overthrow us.
Travelers don’t have toilets inside of their caravans because it’s considered uncouth to poop so near to where one eats. I learned that tidbit from the incredible academic My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. When I clean, I think of logic in that decision.
What I’m saying here is that the convenience of indoor plumbing may not be the best marker of civility.
So anyway, I decided I’d teach you all my awesome methods for cleaning a bathroom. I’m like a lazier, more sardonic Martha Stewart, so I have good advice.
1. Zone the room
Some people will tell you that you should zone a room to prioritize cleaning needs. You start with the things that are crucial or hardest to clean and then move into the easier stuff. This is bad advice and will make you spend a lot of time doing stupid, menial things that aren’t necessary.
Instead, zone my way by deciding what doesn’t really need to be done. Unless you have a rugrat or spend a lot of time hugging the toilet, you don’t really need to clean around the toilet unless you’ve had poo-splosion or the dust gets so think that your toilet looks like a Muppet. Same goes for dusting. Cobwebs are good. They give your bathroom character and catch flies without you having to spend any money. Unless they are so low and thick that you think of them first when you can’t find the family cat, leave it.
Many people will tell you that dancing while you clean actually makes cleaning enjoyable. If you opened their medicine cabinets, you would find a lot of happy drugs. Don’t believe those people.
Instead, borrow from modern dance moves in order to get surfaces really clean. If you’ve been to a bar or a high school dance lately, you’ve seen the peculiar mating ritual in which women bend down in front of a man, put their butts right up in a man’s crotch, and proceed to dry hump in a way that, were they really “doin’ it” something important would probably get broken off. But that dance move is pretty good for cleaning soap scum out of a bathtub. Just throw some scouring powder in there, get yourself a scrubber with a handle, and drop it like it’s hot. The bonus here is that counts as exercise so you don’t have to do any of that for at least a week.
3. Consider your options
Cleaning sites will tell you that you should consider hiring a maid, doling out chores to your children and spouse, or looking at your schedule carefully to make time for cleaning.
Instead, consider demolishing the bathroom and building a new one. If you’ve let the cleaning go too long, it might be time to take out a 4th mortgage and just redo that bathroom. Everyone knows that new things magically stay clean and shiny for at least a week, livable for 6 months, and only start to look old after a year. Besides, we all know that construction workers, plumbers, electricians etc are exposed to far worse than soap scum, so let them clear off your germy bathroom surfaces. If you don’t ever want to clean a bathroom again and don’t really have the projected cash for another, hire a contractor to turn the bathroom into a fabulous closet and put the bathroom outside.
Who needs indoor plumbing? As Kristin Chenoweth’s character says in GCB, “Jesus didn’t have it.”