How to Efficiently Deep Clean Your Bathroom: a Step By Step Checklist

You follow a weekly cleaning routine, but you still can’t seem to get rid of that moldy, musty pee smell. Here’s a bathroom deep clean process that will ensure you disinfect every surface and eliminate those nasty smells in the process.

You’ve cleaned around the toilet several times, but nothing seems to help. Maybe it’s time to give your entire bathroom a super deep cleaning.

I deep clean mine during my regular spring cleaning. I also try to do it about once a month just because of how dirty it can get.

This bathroom cleaning process is the most efficient way I’ve found to get it done.

You can see the other cleaning processes I use on my cleaning page.

Related Article: Dirtiest things you should be cleaning but aren’t

Difference Between Deep Cleaning and Weekly Cleaning

During a weekly cleaning session, you primarily concentrate on flat, visible, surfaces. You give each surface a quick wipe down and call it good. This is a weekly maintenance type clean and not meant to replace the deep cleaning.

During a deep cleaning session, you’ll clean every nook and cranny. You’ll get under and behind fixtures and inside cabinets and cupboards. It’s all laid out step by step in the deep clean bathroom checklist below.

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black and white bathroom that's sparkling clean after a deep cleaning

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for details.

How Long it Takes to Deep Clean a Bathroom With This Process?

The amount of time it’ll take to deep clean a bathroom with this process can vary greatly depending on several factors including the size of your bathroom, how dirty it is, how many people use it, and how often you clean it.

My bathroom is fairly small and only used by two people on a regular basis. I do a 30-minute surface cleaning routine every week.

Following my step-by-step process to deep clean my bathroom usually takes me about an hour. Some of that is ‘wait’ time for the cleaner to work.

Related Article: Deep clean your bedroom like a pro

How often should you deep clean your bathroom?

How often you deep clean your bathroom using the deep cleaning checklist depends on the same factors as above. You’ll need to decide what frequency works best for your family. If you notice a musty, moldy, or urine smell, it’s probably a good time for a deep clean.

How to Deep Clean Your Bathroom

Quick note, if the counters and cabinets are cluttered, declutter your bathroom before deep cleaning so you aren’t cleaning things that don’t shouldn’t even be in there.

1. Gather Your Supplies – 3 minutes

I keep cleaning kits in the major areas of my house, so I already have most of these supplies in a bin under the bathroom sink. Here’s a list of the ones I use.

  • Microfiber Mop or Duster – I use a microfiber mop, but you can use whatever you like for dusting.
  • Vacuum Cleaner – You’ll want a vacuum with a wand at upholstery attachment. I use a Shark Professional.
  • Stiff Bristle Brush – I use a paintbrush and grout brush.
  • Toilet Bowl Cleaner – Use your toilet cleaner of choice. Over the years, I’ve found that The Works performs best and is also handy for cleaning really dirty grout.
  • Toilet Brush – You can use any toilet brush that’ll fit in the bowl and tank of your toilet. I use the disposable ones so I don’t have to worry about cleaning the toilet brush too.
  • Bathroom Cleaner – I personally like using Scrubbing Bubbles when deep cleaning my bathroom. It seems to work a lot better than some of the other cleaners I’ve tried including the baking soda, vinegar, and Dawn concoction.
  • Scrubber Sponge – Use a good scrubber sponge for getting all of the shower scum and buildup off of the shower.
  • Glass or multi-surface cleaner – Use any cleaner you like. I like Hopes Miracle multi-surface cleaner.
  • Microfiber Cleaning Cloths – You’ll need several microfiber cloths. I prefer to use colored ones so I can keep track of which microfiber cloth is for which mess.
  • Canned Air – My cleaning secret weapon. You can use a small steam cleaner instead if you have one.

Pro Tip: If you prefer natural cleaning products, try hydrogen peroxide. You can mix it with baking soda for extra scrubbing power.

bucket of cleaning supplies for deep cleaning the bathroom

2. Empty Storage Areas – 5 minutes

Remove everything from your medicine cabinet, shelves, drawers, and cabinets. I put all of mine in a laundry basket in the middle of the bathroom so it gets steamed with the rest of the bathroom for easier cleaning.

3. Throw All Linens in the Washing Machine – 3 minutes

Remove towels, plastic shower curtains, rugs, bath mats, and window coverings, Throw them in the washer for a good sanitizing wash.

If you store your towels in the bathroom, throw them all in the washing machine too. This gets them out of your way and they can always use a good refresh.

To get the towels super soft, throw in 1/2 cup of baking soda with your laundry detergent, you’ll be surprised at the difference it makes. And never use fabric softener on your towels, because it actually makes them repel water instead of soaking it up

4. Remove Dust Buildup From All Surfaces – 5 minutes

Towels and toilet paper create a lot of dust and lint due to how often we use them. Vacuuming the surface dust will make cleaning the rest of the bathroom easier since the dust particles won’t be mixing with the moisture and your cleaners.

Exhaust Fan

A large portion of dust particles get sucked up into the exhaust fan. Combine that with the moisture in a normal bathroom, and you’re going to get a lot of buildup on that fan.

Remove and vacuum the fan vent cover, then put it in the sink. Vacuum the fan motor and use a paintbrush to loosen and vacuum as much of the buildup as possible.

If you follow our weekly cleaning schedule, you’re already vacuuming the fan cover once a week, but that doesn’t take care of the buildup that gets on the fan motor and mechanisms behind the cover

Lighting

Vacuum light fixtures and put fixture covers in the sink if possible. Don’t forget to dust the light bulbs.

If you choose to use a duster for this step, use caution around hot lightbulbs because they can melt the duster depending on what material it’s made of.

Flat Surfaces

Use a duster or microfiber mop to dust the ceiling, bathroom walls, tops of cabinets, mirror frames, shower surround, shower head, and tub surround. I use a microfiber mop on the ceiling and walls, and a microfiber cloth on the rest.

Windows

Close the blinds and or window coverings and vacuum one side, then close them the other way and vacuum the other side. Vacuum the window and any debris in the window tracks.

Shelving, Cabinets, Counters, and Drawers

Vacuum up any loose dust and debris from shelving, cabinets, countertops, and drawers.

Floor

Vacuum any remaining dust and debris off of the floor.

GIVE YOUR HOME A THOROUGH CLEANING!

spring cleaning checklist on an ipad

Join thousands of VIPs for cleaning, decluttering, and organizing tips sent straight to your inbox. As a welcome gift, we’ll send you this FREE printable Spring Cleaning Checklist that lists exactly what to deep clean in every room of your home.

5. Apply Cleaners – 3 minutes

Most cleaners work better when they have time to sit and attack the dirt and grime, so I suggest applying all of the cleaners and turning on the hot water to steam up the bathroom.

Toilet Cleaner

Shut the water supply to the toilet off, then flush the toilet to drain the tank and toilet bowl.

Apply toilet cleaner or some hydrogen peroxide to the underside of the toilet rim, all around the inside of the bowl, and around the insides of the toilet tank. Leave the tank lid off and the toilet seat up.

Shower and Tub Cleaner

Apply the shower and tub cleaner or straight hydrogen peroxide to the sink, showerhead, shower walls, tub walls, and around the base of the toilet.

Multi-Surface Cleaner

Next, spray your multipurpose cleaner on the mirrors, window tracks, faucets, outer shower door, outside of the toilet, and any other fixtures. I also spray it on any shelving, and in any drawers and cabinets.

Walk away and let the cleaners work for 15 minutes or so.

6. Steam Up the Bathroom – 10 minutes

Fill the sink with enough water to cover the vent cover and any lighting fixture covers you removed earlier.

Turn the shower on hot and close the shower and bathroom doors. Let the room steam up for approximately 10 minutes. The steam will help the cleaner penetrate and loosen and caked-on mess.

There’ll be a lot of moisture in your bathroom at this point, so you might want to flip the breakers and interrupt the power while you clean anything that is powered by electricity. I do those things first and use a battery-powered spotlight if it isn’t light enough to see.

a steamed up bathroom is easier to clean

7. Clean Fan, Outlets & Switches – 3 minutes

Using your microfiber cloth and a stiff brush, wipe down the fan motor and mechanism. It should be pretty clean from being dusted, but this will remove any remaining buildup that was loosened by the steam.

Next, clean the crevices around all electrical outlets and switches. After loosening the gunk, you might need to give it a quick spray with the canned air to blast out any crud.

Before you turn the breaker back on, wipe down the light bulbs and lighting fixtures while they are cool, then you can turn the breaker back on.

8. Clean the Shower and Tub – 7 minutes

Put on your rubber gloves and use your scrubber sponge to clean the tub, showerhead, faucets, faucet handles, shower walls, floor, and glass doors if you have them.

If your showerhead has limescale or hard-water buildup, you can cover it with a bag full of vinegar and let it soak overnight, then remove and scrub.

If you have stubborn mold, spray it with hydrogen peroxide, let it sit for 15 minutes, give it a good scrub, then rinse it clean.

9. Clean the Blinds, Window, and Tracks – 5 minutes

Wipe down the slats of the blinds with a microfiber cloth and pull them completely open so they’re out of the way.

Clean the window tracks and use the stiff brush and canned air to remove any remaining gunk. Read more about this window track cleaning hack here. Wipe down the window and frame.

10. Clean Fan Cover, Lighting Fixtures, and Sinks – 5 minutes

Wash, rinse, dry, and replace the bathroom fan cover and lighting fixtures covers. Scrub, rinse, and dry the sinks and faucets.

11. Clean Flat Surfaces – 3 minutes

Wipe the ceiling and walls down with a microfiber mop or cloth. I use a microfiber mop because it goes much quicker.

Use a microfiber cloth to wipe down your vanity, mirror, mirror frame, countertops, and the exterior and interior surfaces of any cabinets and drawers.

12. Scrub the Toilet and Surrounding Surfaces – 5 minutes

Scrub the inside of the toilet tank and toilet bowl, then turn the water back on to fill and rinse. If you have buildup or stubborn stains in your toilet, use a pumice stick to clean it off. The pumice is abrasive enough to remove the buildup, but won’t scratch your toilet.

If you aren’t using a disposable toilet brush, make sure to disinfect your toilet brush when you’re done using it.

Use an old toothbrush to scrub around the toilet lid bolts and around the base of the toilet. These are the places that collect hidden gunk and part of the reason when your bathroom gets smelly.

When I’m done scrubbing, I use a shot of canned air to blast the gunk out.

Next, wipe down the exterior surface of the toilet including the water lines. You’d be surprised how much dust collects on those lines. Last but not least, wipe down the walls and any cabinets surrounding the toilet.

FYI – If you ever flush your toilet with the lid open, a large cloud of teeny tiny toilet water drops and whatever else you just deposited, can spray up to six feet high. Gross – right! And where is your toothbrush?!!

Related Article: Dirtiest places you’re forgetting to clean

woman deep cleaning a toilet

13. Clean the Bathroom Floor – 5 minutes

Working your way from the farthest corner to the door, clean the flooring surface with your tool of choice. I use my Shark steam mop when I’m doing the deep clean. If you have tile floors, you can scrub the grout lines with a hydrogen peroxide and baking soda mixture.

Bonus Tips for Deep Cleaning the Bathroom

  • Treat your fixtures, shower walls, and doors with car wax or RainX to help repel water stains.
  • Use The Works toilet cleaner to tackle super dirty grout.
  • Clean moldy sealant by covering and soaking with a hydrogen peroxide-soaked cotton beauty coil.
  • Use a black light to find hidden urine.
  • Use hydrogen peroxide to disinfect surfaces.
  • Treat your fixtures with car wax or wax paper to help repel water spots.
  • Canned air or a steam cleaner makes cleaning around the toilet seat bolts and bottom of the toilet bowl easier. It can also be used for the window tracks and shower door tracks.

Here are some more cleaning tips for the rest of your house.

Deep Clean Bathroom Checklist Complete

Congratulations! You completed the checklist and now have a fresh, sparkling clean bathroom. Add it to your deep cleaning routine and never worry about pee smell again. Want more deep cleaning tips, check out my cleaning page.

woman deep cleaning the bathtub

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2 Comments

  1. Alicia Hursley says:

    The fan cleaning tips are a game changer haha I feel like we can actually breathe a little easier now and our bathroom also feels far less humid. Thanks for sharing the tips. To add on a little, I think getting tile and grout professionally cleaned at least once a year is really important. The pros know how to eliminate bacteria better than we average folk.

    1. It’s amazing how much all of that lint and dust can clog up your fans.

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