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Bathroom Plumbing Fixtures: How to Keep Them Clean

Updated on June 25, 2014
Don't let your fixtures get this far gone!
Don't let your fixtures get this far gone! | Source

Bathroom Sanitation

We are very fortunate to live in a country where almost everyone has indoor plumbing with potable water. Instead of coping with cracked chamberpots or splintery outhouses, we care for our hygiene in a comfortable room which can be tailored to our personal decorating tastes. Part of the ambience rests with the plumbing fixtures therein. Of course, cleanliness is next to healthiness. To stay healthy, we must keep the bathroom equipment and fixtures sanitary. Also, it is aesthetically pleasing to view sparkling faucets and handles. But after using the bathroom facilities to remove dirt, how can one keep the fixtures clean?

Following are methods for keeping those bathroom fixtures sanitary and shiny, listed in order of low to high risk to the environment.

Faucet Before Cleaning

Toothpaste spots and finger smudges on a faucet.  Although it probably is not too repulsive (or dangerous) to use, we can do better.
Toothpaste spots and finger smudges on a faucet. Although it probably is not too repulsive (or dangerous) to use, we can do better. | Source

One: Wipe, wipe, wipe

Every bathroom user takes a clean, soft, cloth to wipe every faucet or handle used after every use. Envision a pile of soft flannel baby burp cloths or a sort of fabric wipes dispenser on the bathroom counter. Honestly, I don’t think this idea will fly in most households. Furthermore, I don’t think I’d want to live with a group of people so obsessive about shiny faucets that they actually would DO this!

Two: Protective layer

After cleaning the tub spout and sink faucet, wipe an imperceptible thin coating of vegetable oil on them. This actually forms a waterproof barrier so that the water droplets don’t reach the finish of the fixture. It is easier to wipe the dirt particles away when they sit on a layer of slippery grease. The oil layer is somewhat analogous to a cook’s apron blocking all the food splashes from staining his/her clothing.

Three: White vinegar

All the green guides recommend using diluted white vinegar as a cleaning solution which is safer for the human cleaner and the earth. I regret to report that I have not had the kind of success I’d like with this. I still use vinegar at times, but it only works on light dirt. My past tree-hugger save-the-earth daydream was that I’d use the safe and wonderful vinegar and suddenly everything magically gleamed, rainbows erupted into the skies, unicorns danced in the bathroom, and I saved a lot of money. It doesn’t quite work that way.

Four: Store-bought cleaners

One can turn to commercial cleaning products. Seventh Generation™ and other green manufacturers are first choice recommendations. If they cannot blast the fixtures clean, try non-earth-friendly glass and window cleaning sprays.

Faucet After Cleaning

This is the new look for the sink faucet after a scrubbing with a Seventh Generation household cleaning spray and elbow grease.
This is the new look for the sink faucet after a scrubbing with a Seventh Generation household cleaning spray and elbow grease. | Source

Five: Chisel

Water with high mineral content causes major cleaning challenges. Calcium deposits multiply as fast as baby bunnies. A chisel or the equivalent may be needed to remove these deposits. I use a slot-head screwdriver and hammer. While we are discussing mechanical dirt removal, one can use a knife to purge dirt deposited around the edge of a sink overlapping the counter. Is there a risk of scratching something? Absolutely. Is it worth it? Yes, it is to me. Cleanliness of the home trumps a few cosmetic hairline marks.

Six: Toxic dangerous chemicals

The last resort is a dangerous Rust-Lime-Calcium removing commercial product. Use protective gloves and turn on the exhaust fans and open the windows. It really works on those spots that defy all other cleaning methods.

Remember, never mix chemicals! Vinegar is a chemical --- everything is made of chemicals. Always do many rinses with water between different cleaning products.

We have the luxury of resources and knowledge to maintain bathrooms which are functional and soothing. A major factor in the usefulness of the bathroom is its cleanliness. With these ideas, hopefully your fixtures will stay relatively clean between their occasional super cleanings. Enjoy them!

Photos and text copyright 2011 Maren E. Morgan


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    • Maren Morgan M-T profile imageAUTHOR

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 

      10 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Uh-oh. I am laughing at myself very much because since I wrote this hub, I am more aware of my fixtures and wiping them more frequently. lol

    • Maren Morgan M-T profile imageAUTHOR

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 

      10 years ago from Pennsylvania

      @ Danette: my water is very hard also. But it beats Altoona, PA water which used to have so much iron content that everyone's sinks and tub had a small ring of rust around the drains. It tasted very bizarre, too.

    • Maren Morgan M-T profile imageAUTHOR

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 

      10 years ago from Pennsylvania

      @ rutheddavid, WhatBigJohnThinks, Maralexa, and amerben -thanks for your kind comments. probably frequent cleaning (as in more frequently than I do) helps also. hahaha

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 

      10 years ago from Illinois

      I live in an area with VERY hard water and it is so hard to get and keep my bathtub/shower clean. Such a hassle! Thanks for the info here, nice hub.

    • Maren Morgan M-T profile imageAUTHOR

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 

      10 years ago from Pennsylvania

      @ Carcro and ComfortB - I am going to try your suggestion of adding baking soda to my vinegar. I know they fizz when put together. It would be nice if they fizz the plumbing fixture dirt away! Thanks!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Dear Maren,

      All good ideas. Now tell me where to find the time to do all that cleaning! Regarding mineral deposits, it may be possible to soak a rag in commercial mineral solvent and attach it somehow to the offending deposits for a while before attempting to remove with a dull edge, like a butter knife. Keep up the helpful hints!


      P.S. Would also like to enroll in the course(s) where you learned to write like this!

    • ComfortB profile image

      Comfort Babatola 

      10 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      Great hub! What we women have to put up with. I discovered that orange oil mixed with baking soda and dish detergent does wonders in less time. And the smell - heavenly.

    • Maralexa profile image

      Marilyn Alexander 

      10 years ago from Vancouver, Canada

      Great hub, well written, interesting and funny! Also, extremely useful.


    • Maren Morgan M-T profile imageAUTHOR

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 

      10 years ago from Pennsylvania

      @breeto01 and jami l. pereira: thanks!

    • WhatBigJohnThinks profile image


      10 years ago

      Where were you when i needed guidance? Read my hub "I Aint No Plumber"

    • profile image

      jami l. pereira 

      10 years ago

      Great hub , thanks for the read.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      nice... :) thanks a lot! I learned so much from your hub :)

    • carcro profile image

      Paul Cronin 

      10 years ago from Winnipeg

      Bathroom pictures can be so gross, but it sure gets the point across. Good information, I like the part about using vinegar, really a great way to clean almost anything, just add soe baking soda. Thanks for sharing this info...

    • breete01 profile image


      10 years ago from Huntington, IN

      Nice! Good find.


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