Home Maintenance In The Bathroom
This may also double as a mini-laundry room, where underwear and the occasional shirt may be hand washed, or where nappies may be put to soak.
Although the room may appear to be clean, regular attention is necessary to destroy germs.
Standard equipment varies, but normally there will be a bath, wash basin, W.C. And some kind of cupboard. More luxurious additions may be a hand-shower attachment or separate shower, with cubicle, a bidet, a wash basin installed in a `vanitory’ unit, and a heated towel rail.
W.C.s may have a high- or low-level water storage tank, and may be installed in a separate room together with a small hand basin.
All bathrooms should have a waste bin — preferably of plastic or some wipeable surface, with a plastic bin liner. This deals safely with the problem of what to do with soap wrappers, old razor blades, ends of soap, empty shampoo bottles and lavatory rolls and the like.
It is also quite useful to keep the linen bin in the bathroom (this could double as a bathroom stool). Encourage the family to throw their discarded clothes into this before bathing instead of on the floor of the bathroom.
Clean mirrors, glass shelves and windows regularly to remove soap splashes, hair spray and toothpaste. Hair spray can be removed with surgical spirit.
The bath This may be vitreous enamelled cast-iron, fibre-glass or acrylic. If you are considering buying a new bath, remember that acrylic baths are cheaper than cast-iron but damage more easily.
Avoid harsh cleaners on baths as these will scratch. Cream cleansers are more effective and cause less damage than abrasive powder, and can be used on chrome taps, ‘grab rails’ and other fittings as well as the bath.
If a bath has been badly neglected, fill it with hand-hot water, add a biological detergent, and leave this to soak for several hours; when this solution is rinsed away it will remove all the ‘tide marks’ and other surface grime very satisfactorily.
For bad coppery-grey stains you can buy a proprietary cleaner designed to remove these, or try smearing lemon juice or vinegar on the stained areas and leave for several hours.
Chrome taps respond well to a polish with a soft cloth after cleaning.
If you do have a hand-held shower, this is very useful for rinsing the bath.
The wash basin This may be vitreous enamel or china. It may be installed in a `vanitory’ unit or boxed in with a
painted cupboard which may also act as a store cupboard as well as eliminating awkward cleaning behind the pedestal.
The wash basin quickly becomes dirty with soap scum, toothpaste, hair, etc. Swab down regularly with a cream scourer and warm water, and scrub round taps with an old toothbrush dipped in liquid bleach. Bleach or disinfectant poured down the drain at regular intervals eliminates germs and smells.
The lavatory This is made of vitreous china and, if the surface is in good condition, is not difficult to clean. However, if the surface is cracked or ‘crazed’ this will provide a breeding ground for germs and smells. It may be worth investing in a new loo, rather than hanging on to a potential health hazard.
Lavatory seats are usually plastic and fitted to the pan with bolts. If they fit badly they make another trap for dirt and germs. Wooden seats are less hygienic than plastic and can crack if they are old.
Regular cleaning and disinfecting of the lavatory and surrounding area is essential. A good brush is necessary for this and can be stored in a little water, containing disinfectant; others hang to dry in holders.
Clean the lavatory by pouring bleach or disinfectant into the pan, brush well, paying particular attention to the area under the rim.
If there are brown stains under the rim, a powder cleaner may be more effective in removing these than disinfectant. However, never mix powder loo cleaners with liquid bleaches as they can give off a dangerous chlorine gas.
For bad stains, puff the lavatory powder on to the stained area and leave for two hours before rinsing off with clean water. There is a proprietary cleaner available for very badly stained lavatories, but wear rubber gloves when using this.
The toilet blocks and flush cleaners will dispel unwelcome odours, but will not remove bad stains. You might find it just as effective to open the window!
Remember that lavatories will become blocked if you throw items such as newspaper, tea leaves, sanitary towels or disposable nappies down them. If you do have a blocked lavatory, get a plumber as soon as possible.
Bidets These are sometimes fitted in modern homes. They too are made of vitreous china and can be used for washing and soaking nappies and washing feet as well as for intimate personal hygiene (the purpose for which they are designed). Bidets should be cleaned as you would clean the bath or basin.
General Remember that bathrooms are dusty places, owing to talcum powder and fluff from towels. Try to keep bottles and jars to a
minimum or stored in cupboards, as these are time-consuming to wipe clean.
Plants may thrive in the warm, steamy atmosphere of a bathroom, but will also gather dust, so they are best kept to a minimum.
Bathroom floors get dirty quickly and should be regularly swept if covered in cork or vinyl tiles. Pay particular attention to the floor surrounding the loo.
In theory, the bathroom should be one of the most relaxing rooms in the house where you can retire to a soothing bath with the radio and a book. However it will only achieve this ideal with regular and careful cleaning and attention.