I shared on Monday that I’m determined to not let our home slip back into total chaos over the wonderfully-routine-free-summer. Part of that focus includes creating this printable, super-detailed bathroom cleaning checklist that can be used by kids (or adults, like me, who need a little help with focus!).
When I was a teenager, from 16-18, I spent my summers working at a camp. A very clean camp. It was a gorgeous natural setting, but it was also kept beautiful by rigorous cleaning standards and routines. Admittedly, I loved the weeks when I was a counselor the most, but I also loved the weeks when I was on cleaning duty. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every stage of my life, but there was something so magical and perfect about that one.
Part of it was the independence. Part of it was really truly contributing to something wonderful. I felt important when I cleaned the chapel. I loved the camaraderie when I washed dishes. And, even for this life-long slob, there was no feeling of bewilderment when it came to deep-cleaning the bathrooms. Each and every job at that camp had a detailed instruction list to go with it. DEtailed. Down to the exact amount of pine-sol to put in the potties, and which day of the week to use bleach instead.
“Clean the showers” wasn’t an item on the list, it was the title of the list.
I’ve decided to try to recreate this experience (without the pristine lakeside setting, unfortunately) for my children. Now that both boys can read, I’ve made out a detailed Bathroom Cleaning Checklist for them.
Bathroom Cleaning Checklist
1. Gather supplies:
-One sheet of newspaper
-Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
2. Pick up everything off of the floor and counters, and put away.
3. Vacuum the floors with the hand-held vacuum cleaner. Pay special attention to the edges of
the floor, near the walls, and under counters.
4. Pour one cap full of cleaner in the toilet.
5. Spray Shower Cleaner in the bathtub/shower, be sure to get it on the walls (Don’t do Mom’s
6. Spray Mirror Cleaner on the mirror.
7. Use a crumpled piece of newspaper to wipe the mirror.
8. Use a wipe to clean off the faucet on the sink.
9. Use the same wipe to clean the counter and sink.
10. Use a new wipe to clean off the toothbrush holder.
11. Use that same wipe to wipe off the doorknobs.
12. Wet your sponge and scrub the shower and bathtub.
13. Use a new wipe to clean the flush-handle on the toilet.
14. Use the same wipe to clean the top/back of the toilet tank.
15. Wipe behind the toilet seat, using a new wipe when yours gets nasty-looking.
16. Wipe the toilet lid, top and bottom.
17. Wipe the top of the toilet seat.
18. Wipe the underside of the toilet seat.
19. Wipe the top of the “toilet bowl.”
20. Wipe the outside of the toilet bowl, paying special attention to the sides and bottom where
21. Wipe the floor behind and around the toilet bowl.
22. Wipe the walls behind and to the side of the toilet.
23. Use the toilet brush to scrub the inside of the toilet.
24. Wipe the rest of the floor with a new wipe.
25. Put away supplies.
I used the list today while I cleaned the bathrooms. This helped me add a few things, adjust the order, and realize that I need to do my own bathtub. I also need to be sure that the counters are cleared of my toothbrush, hair products, etc. in the master bathroom before they start.
I know that this is quite detailed, and 25 things seems a little long. I remember learning how important the order of cleaning was. You start with the least gross things first, and then work your way to the most gross. Meaning, you don’t clean the toilet and then the faucet at the sink where you wash your hands.
My bathrooms are sparkly and shiny after using the checklist, so now we’ll see how it works for the boys. They are at the age where they love being given independence and true responsibility, and so I want to take advantage of that while I can.
By the way, I’m researching some home-made, kid-friendly shower cleaners and window cleaners that I’m going to attempt to make next week. While admittedly, I love my heavy-duty bathroom cleaning products, I don’t want my kids using them. Obviously, I’m being very picky about what they use to clean.
Print your bathroom cleaning checklist here.
Baking soda, vinegar, water and occasionally a little dish soap are all you'll ever need. I've got some great recipes that I've been meaning to post – best I get on that soon!
Love the detailed list. A good way to keep your kids from getting to overwhelmed.
Heidi W. says
Ever notice how cleaning and cooking seem to mostly be solitary events? Including the design of homes kind of isolating the person in a kitchen? These days architecture design is changing and opening up the kitchen, for example, is expanding the allowance of folks in the kitchen. In my 1925 house, the kitchen is at the back of the house on one side, and completely isolated, and a bit small, too.
Great post! Thanks!
Nony (A Slob Comes Clean) says
Shell, please let me know when you post those, I'd love to try them!
Yes, a REAL octopus! Thanks for stopping by, and for commenting!!
Head over to Organized Home.com, you will find recipes for homemade cleaners and wipes also lots of great articles about cleaning, organizing and printables for a household notebook.
I think that you are awesome. I found your site last night when I was unwinding after working on cleaning up my flood messed up basement. It was a link from "I'm an Organizing Junkie".
You are so self-honest, genuinely committed, and it is generous of you to share your journey. You really are inspirational. Two steps forward, one step back, regroup and try again. That's how real life progress is made in changing life long habits.
If you find that the boys need a little extra help with their checklist, try taking photos of them as they do each step of the cleaning and give them a picture checklist to follow.
I'll be looking forward to following your journey and let it inspire my own.
Nony (A Slob Comes Clean) says
Thanks so much hypnobarb! What an encouraging comment! And I love the picture idea. I've been trying to think of a way to do a picture list for my 4yo non-reader who will get to wipe down the 1/2 bath. I'd been dreading trying to do a clip-art thing, but the photos is a great idea. I could put them in a little flip album . . . I'm sure I have one of those stuffed in a drawer somewhere!
My kids are responcible for cleaning their bathroom. I wrote the list on the mirror in dry erase marker, so they know what to do and where the list is. I have vinegar and water spray for them to use on the mirror, sinks, counter, bathtub, and outside of the toilet. I keep a little dawn dish soap and water in the toilet brush thingy beside the toilet, they just grab the brush and "swish". The bathroom is tidy daily and I CLEAN it weekly, but when I go to clean it… it takes very little time, because nothing has had time to build up. Hope that helps.
Lenetta @ Nettacow says
What a great suggestion… not only for kids, but also for a certain mama who feels overwhelmed when it comes to cleaning. (ahem) I linked to this on my weekly roundup – thanks for inspiring us! :>)
Wow… this article is somewhat educational and its content is very relevant for housekeepers to achieve a very orderly home. I'll try this one. Very nice post!
Great article! This has me thinking about what and how I can make something like this for my kids for cleaning their rooms and their bathroom.
Wonderful article! I just may have to do the same for Little Buddy for cleaning his bathroom. Oh that would be awesome!!!
I really love this checklist. I'm thinking of doing a detailed laundry checklist for the hubby so he can help with laundry. This was great to help me realize maybe you can't be too detailed when someone's just getting started.
Oh, and just linked to you on today's blog post! http://dipmakesmehappy.blogspot.com/2010/08/one-of-my-slob-moments.html
Great checklist. It's helpful to me, forget about the kids!
I recently began using greener and sometimes homemade cleaners. I feel much better having the kids using these. I use them too because I worry about the chemicals that linger even after I finish cleaning. Lots of them recommend vinegar. I hate the smell of vinegar and haven't found anything to mask that, yet. Here are some of the sites I found:
Heidi W. says
ONe thing to keep in mind with kiddies and bathroom cleaning: not only the toxicity potential of cleaning products, but that the room is ventilated when they do the cleaning. People, adults, have been known to faint in enclosed bathrooms while cleaning because of the fumes of the cleaning products. So I imagine it could happen to kids. Keep the door open, run the overhead fan/ventilation, and open a window: fresh air is best. This is particularly true to keep in mind in snowy winter weather when we tend to close everything snapped tight shut.
For glass/window cleaner, I have used the safest cleaner for years and love it!
1. Wipe glass with wet rag. Any old washcloth will do. Do something else for a moment (like clean counters) to let the water work it’s magic. If there are some really stubborn spots, I scrub them with the washcloth just to keep my step 2 cloth clean and dry (or damp).
2. Wipe clean/dry with a very smooth microfiber cloth. You may need to flip the cloth to another dry section as you go. It will be streak free and lint free and wonderful!
1. Spray glass with water or diluted vinegar (mostly water) in a misting squirt bottle. Let it work.
2. Wipe with microfiber as mentioned above.
Sure Windex works, but it’s not necessary, and I never run out of water. The secret is in the cloth. It may cost a few dollars for a good one (mine came in a packet labeled for glass), but it’s wonderful. It’s a one time purchase. Wash and reuse, but don’t use fabric softener on it. I think that would lead to streaks.
I’m two years behind, but reading from the back! I love your blog!
Wipe the outside of the toilet bowl, paying special attention to the sides and bottom where
This is incredible to me. I’ve lived nearly 50 years with men and boys–a father, two brothers, and now a husband–and I’ve never seen a single drop of pee outside the toilet. How does this happen, and so frequently that it has to be included as part of the list? Are the men in my life just really unusual? I’m dyin to know! LOL!
Yep. I will speak for the rest of the universe and say that you are blessed with men in your life who have amazing aim.
I will say, though, that even though I cleaned many bathrooms and had a brother, father, and husband . . . I never noticed this happening until I had sons. It’s definitely not an issue in our master bathroom, just in the ones that the boys use regularly.
Kristy K. James says
I’m sure others have mentioned it…in fact I know I’ve seen at least one when you talked about the boys and the bathroom…but I use peroxide for many, many things. Sanitizing counters, squirting on my kitchen sponges to kill the germs, even making your dog throw up when he snatches the prescription pill your child dropped on the floor before said child can pick it up. Trust me when I say you want to take the poor dog OUTSIDE before the fun begins.
But, much as I love peroxide, I do keep Lysol wipes and window cleaner around.
Wow! I so need to print that list for my older kiddos! I always do the bathrooms because I haven’t trusted them with that cleanest to grossest concept, but they need to learn!
What kind of “wipes” do you use? Do they have cleaner built into them? I usually use rags but for my son maybe this is a better option. But I’d like some direction. Thanks!
Dana White says
This works! http://www.aslobcomesclean.com/2012/07/homemade-wipes/
Wow….how have I missed this? This is how I roll. When I have to do a big task, I must break it down step by step so I don’t get overwhelmed.
Sorry for commenting so long after the original post. I have ocd and have a hard time even using my own bathroom forget about public bathrooms. I clean my bathroom with Clorox clean up and I wipe the same things over and over because I never think it is clean enough. I try to search online about how other people clean and live because the way i live is not normal…I was not like this growing up all the way to age 23. My question for you is.. Do you feel clean or is it clean enough for your kids to use the bathroom after? I would think I would be spreading he germs around. I also wash my hands after cleaning each piece of the toilet ..I kno sounds crazy. Is there any hand washing in between each step? Even after all the bleaching I do I still think I didn’t disinfect my bathroom enough and after I use my bathroom I think that my bottom and legs are now dirty and will not touch them when changing clothes without washing my hands. Please answer if you can. Thank you
Dana White says
I have some definite germaphobe tendencies, and do need to shower after cleaning bathrooms, but it sounds like yours is more extreme. Have you asked your doctor about getting some help? I know that might not be what you want to do, but there might be something he/she could do to help.
Here’s a post I wrote about my germaphobe issues and how they relate to my slob issues: http://www.aslobcomesclean.com/2009/09/can-germaphobe-be-slob/
Hi there! Just used your list for the first time today. I want to thank you SO MUCH for writing this, as it has made my bathroom a wonderful, nice smelling place (for a change). One thing I had to write down on the checklist though was “flush first THEN put the pine-sol in the toilet.” Let’s just say I learned that from experience. 🙂
I love your list. I’d have to change wiping the floor with wipes to mopping it. I use a Swiffer wet mop. I also sweep mine before I vacuum, then vacuum up the pile.
Helena Moran says
The detailed list is great, however as a mom of 5 boys, there is a reality factor involved with such a long detailed list. Short-Attention span. Beyond 5 steps, and its overwhelming. I am still trying to work it out with them. I have bullet squared charts on the wall in the bathroom and the kitchen and still they leave out steps! I have 5 steps in the kitchen and the only thing on their minds is the dishes. Unload, Load. “Mom! I am finished! ” , Me: “Really? how about the counters? Stove-top wiped? floors swept? trash removed?” This is almost a daily event. Again, a boy reality factor. I never had a problem like this with my only and oldest (now in college) daughter.
Hi Dana! I know this comment is years later but I wanted to ask you about the order of toilet cleaning. In my house, everyone closes the lid to the toilet before flushing (as a result, we never argue about putting the toilet seat down). I used to clean my toilet in the same order as yours until I realized how much might be splashing onto the lid with each flush. Now I clean the seat before the lid, since actual skin touches the seat. Does your family close the lid? My husband insisted on it while we were dating and now it’s a habit. The bathroom can be one big splash zone!
Do you by chance have one as thorough as this checklist for the kitchen? Bedrooms? living room? Thanks!
Dana White says
The ones I have are listed here: http://www.aslobcomesclean.com/2012/01/printable-household-cleaning-checklists/
I just wanted to say thank you for the list like this. My child has high functioning autism and having a very detailed list is very valuable for helping her figure out how to do a task. Reading your list, I was realizing some things that I had left off of my own list for my daughter and how much difference it makes, like changing wipes when they are dirty. Thank you for putting this up!
Dana White says
Oh I love hearing this, Shauna!!
Marybeth S. says
I agree with Shuna. I have two young men with high functioning autism and germophobia.I have used lists with them for years but could never seem to come up with one that really worked for their bathroom.Thank you for one that does work.
What about cleaning the toilet brush? According to your instructions, they’d swish, then put it away. What about rinsing/cleaning? This is something I’ve always struggled with knowing what to do/how to do it, so I finally just bought a Scrubbing Bubbles toilet brush with disposable/flushable brushes–I haven’t put them in the bathrooms yet, but plan to soon. I also plan to give the handle a spritz of multipurpose cleaner or disinfectant or something before storing it, at the least.
Leave the toilet brush hooked under the toilet seat and hanging over the toilet water (does that make sense?) to dry after you are done. It can go back into its holder when it’s dry (feel free to throw extra bleach on it or into the holder while you are about it). It’s much cleaner if it’s allowed to dry first anyway though.
Terri Jones says
I love lists. My youngest daughter needed detailed, step-by-step directions to get things done as opposed to my oldest who you just had to tell to go do something and she got it done. Two different learning styles. Funny thing is, my youngest would finish faster than her sister when she had the detailed list.
I used your list to clean my bathroom and it honestly helped me get down and dirty!
I love this! I tend to walk into the bathroom & get a wee bit overwhelmed….and it’s just hubby and I. Thanks for the direction. 🙂