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How to clean a shower
Most people don't get a whole lot of pleasure from cleaning showers, but the truth of the matter is that the more often you do it, the easier it is. Making sure you regularly give your shower a good clean will save you extra effort in the long run, and help keep your shower running properly.

The more regularly you clean your shower, the easier it is.
Tidy and prepare
First, get everything out of the shower area. Clean out shampoo and conditioner bottles, cleansers, loofahs, soaps and brushes; make sure every surface is clear and accessible. Remove the bath mat if you have one and take the opportunity to throw out any empty bottles and other accumulated rubbish. The best time to clean a shower is just after it’s been used. If it hasn’t, give the walls a quick rinse with warm water by twisting the shower head around to angle the spray.
How to clean tiled shower walls
Next, wipe down the tiles starting from the top of the wall with a soft sponge. Use a non-corrosive detergent and avoid anything acidic, as this can eat through grout. Your best bet is to use something that's specifically designed for the purpose. Scrub all the way down to the base of each wall, and then rinse the walls off again. To keep tiles looking amazingly clean, after you’ve scrubbed them rub them down with some furniture polish. Don’t use any on the floor though - it can make it too slippery. If you need to remove tough stains such as mould and hard water deposits, then see the relevant section below.
How to clean shower screens
Shower screens can collect water film and lime deposits, making them difficult to clean with regular detergents and cleaning solutions. There are customised solutions that work very well, but in most cases you can do a good job of cleaning the glass on your shower screen with a solution consisting of equal parts water and white vinegar. This will easily eliminate water marks and bring even the dullest of glass back to a clear sparkle. You can use white vinegar in many other parts of the shower too; it’s great for flushing out shower door tracks to get rid of any stubborn build up there. Vinegar works best when it has been warmed up a little. Try putting some on the stove (being careful not to boil it). Once it's warmed up a little, pour it into a spray bottle.
How to clean shower heads
To give a shower head a really good clean, you will probably need to remove it. Cover it with a thin towel to protect the chrome, and using some pliers, unscrew the fastenings. Pull it apart, taking care to remember how it fits back together, and then soak all the metal parts in warm vinegar overnight. Replace any worn washers or other components. In the morning, use an old tooth brush to clean the inside of the shower head and gently scrub the back of the holes to loosen up any mineral deposits. Flush water through it once it’s cleared out to rinse off any remaining vinegar, and then reassemble it. If you don’t have the time (or the courage) to do all of this, the next best option is to tie a small plastic bag full of vinegar over the shower head and leaving it there to soak overnight.
How to deal with mould and rust
Mould, hard water and rust stains are all problems that are very common in bathrooms. All three of these types of marks are tough to remove properly, and if they're left for a while they can easily become permanent. While it's good to know how to remove them, knowing how to prevent them in the first place is vital to ensuring that they don't return.

It's best to deal with mould and rust early, to prevent permanent stains.

How to deal with mould
Mould loves having damp areas to grow in, and because your bathroom's probably the wettest room in the house, it's very common to find it there. The warmth and moisture in the air offer ideal conditions for mould growth, particularly in dark areas like corners and drains. Poor air circulation is another big contributor, but one that can easily be countered using a bathroom fan when showering or bathing. Mould is nourished by the body oils and soap scum left behind every time the bath or shower is used. It’s tough to remove because it grows in cracks and gaps in the grouting and sealant.
To get rid of mould you can use a paste of baking soda and vinegar. Add around one cup of water, white vinegar and baking soda together. If the paste ends up too runny, add more baking soda. Smear the paste onto the affected areas, and gently scrub with a soft brush like a toothbrush until it starts to turn white and leave it to sit for around 20-30 minutes. Rinse well and repeat if needed.
For tougher infestations a 50-50 mix of water and bleach in a spray bottle will work very quickly. Bleach is a big polluter though, so use it sparingly. Make sure you have adequate ventilation and that there are no coloured fabrics around that could be spoilt by bleach marks. Use it in the manner described above.
If mould gets in behind the sealant, it may be worth stripping it out and reapplying it. Mould can be cleaned out from behind the sealant but it is highly likely to be a problem spot where mould will regrow quickly. Use a utility knife to scrape out the sealant, then clean the area with a bleach/water mix and reapply the sealant. Remember to choose a mould-resistant sealant designed for high moisture areas.
Hard water marks
Hard water stains are caused by a build-up of mineral deposits like calcium and magnesium, eventually forming lime scales. These cause an ugly discolouration where the water hits the surface in a bath, and clogging and poor performance in shower heads.
To get rid of hard water marks, anything acidic is good. White vinegar works well, but lemon juice can also be used. A paste of baking soda and vinegar can also be lathered on to good effect. Tougher stains might require a commercial descaling agent.
Rust stains can appear from numerous causes. Scratches and scuffs on fittings can expose steel which will rust if it's not treated right away. The bases of cans used in the bathrooms (like shaving cream or deodorant spray cans) leave rusty ring marks on clean white surfaces that seep in and cause stains. Seal off any exposed steel as soon as you notice there is any with a spot of clear enamel, and use a bathroom caddy to keep any cans off your surfaces.
The baking soda and vinegar paste described above can again be used to remove rust stains, but the less scrubbing needed, the better in this case, so leave it to sit for a little longer. Another easy variation is to pour table salt over the rusted area and then squeeze lemon juice on it and leave it for as long as possible (preferably overnight or longer). This will draw the rust stains up and out through the salt. There are a number of commercial cleaners also capable of removing rust spots. If you decide to use one of these, follow the instructions carefully.

How to unblock a drain
Unclogging a properly blocked drain (depending on the drain) isn't usually a fun job. At its worst, it ranks somewhere between finding a three-week-old bag of prawns in the back of your fridge and changing nappies in terms of unpleasantness. Blocked drains don't get that way overnight, and can often be the result of months of accumulated muck and detritus.
Once a drain is blocked, it must be unclogged or the drain is useless, and water will start backing up. Sometimes a drain just needs a little nudge along, but other times it will take more work. And when it is properly blocked, there is no other choice but to go in; you can’t decouple a bath or shower pipe in the same way as you can with a sink drain. Gloves are highly recommended.

A drain snake can be used to clear many kinds of obstructions.
Stage one: Try a plunger

Start by clearing the area of anything covering the drain, and any other bathroom gear (including bath mats, soap dishes and toothbrushes). There are a few things you can try before things get too nasty. Start by using a plunger, being careful to fully cover the drain opening. Run some water until there is enough to create suction. Plunge a few times then gently remove the plunger to see if water will run freely. Keep repeating for a while, but if it won’t run, let the water settle and move on to step 2.

Step 2: Hair removal cream
Yes, hair removal cream. Pour some into the drain, let it sit for around 30 minutes, and then try flushing the drain again. Most shower clogs are caused by hair, and even if you don't use it for anything else, hair removal cream is great to keep around for this purpose. If you don't have any handy, move on to step 3.

Step 3: Bicarb soda
If the hair removal cream didn't work, there is still one last thing you can try. Allow the water to settle as much as possible, then tip a cup of bicarb soda slowly into the drain, and follow it with around the same quantity of vinegar. Immediately place a wet rag over the top of the drain to seal it off. The bicarb and vinegar will react and create a lot of foam, which you don’t want to seep out and spread all over the place - instead, you want it to push back into the pipe where it might be able to clear the blockage. Once the pressure subsides, leave it to settle for around 30 minutes, then flush it through. Repeat a few times if necessary.

Step 4: The manual approach
If all else fails, you’re going to need to get physical. A drain snake is the ideal option here, but if you don’t have one you can also twist a wire coat hanger open, stretch it out and bend a hook in the end to create a makeshift snake of your own. Remove the drain protector if you can, but don’t force it if it won’t come out. Clear out any hair you can reach with your fingers and dispose of it. Slowly push the drain snake or hook down the drain until you encounter resistance, then slowly bring it back up. Remove as much of the clog as you can and flush the drain regularly, repeating as many times as you need to. Don’t push hard if you’re using a coat hanger; you don’t want to rupture the pipe.
If this still doesn’t clear the blockage, then call a plumber. Heavy duty drain cleaners can be used, but they can sometimes clog the pipe worse if they're not used properly. Regular maintenance of drains is encouraged to avoid this problem from arising.

How to clean and maintain taps and wastes

A plunger is one way to clear a blocked bath drain.

Keeping your taps and spouts clean can really enhance the appeal of your bathroom, especially if they have a shiny finish such as chrome or gold. Conversely, grimy and grubby taps can subtract any beauty they might have brought to the space, so regular cleaning is a must. It is easy to incorporate this into your usual bathroom cleaning routine, and the fittings themselves don’t take a lot of work to keep spotless and gleaming.
How to clean your bathroom
As a general rule of thumb in any bathroom set up, avoid abrasive cleaners as these can scratch surfaces which not only make them look horrible, but leave areas for more dirt to build up in. This is especially true on shiny fittings and white surfaces. Use a liquid detergent and soft cloth or sponge with some warm soapy water and gently clean around your taps, spouts and drain covers. Metals like chrome and brass have special polishes available which will add extra shine to your fittings but are not necessary to use every time. Often, buffing with a dry, close weave cloth will work just as well.
Unclogging your drains
Unclogging a blocked drain can be a tiresome experience but is necessary when it happens. Always use gloves to keep your hands protected from any material that may have accumulated in a drain for sanitary reasons. Most drains can be unclogged using a length of wire, though depending on the suspected blockage it may be more effective to use hair removal cream or a plunger to dislodge it. Only use heavy duty drain cleaners as a last resort. If used improperly, they can make the blockage worse.

Other fittings
Selecting other incidental fittings like towel rails and soap dishes mostly comes down to what suits your chosen style, but even with these fittings there are a great many choices available. Consider the practical criteria, as well as where they'll be placed in relation to where you will sit, stand or lie, and where things like doors are. This will give you clues as to what other features you’ll need to look for and can save you time by eliminating possibilities that are not suitable.
Whatever you end up deciding, remember that for the most part, these fittings will be responsible for capping off your look - the polish on the apple, so to speak. Choose wisely...

How to clean toilets
Cleaning your toilet is easily the most important part of cleaning a bathroom. While leaving other areas dirty can make the bathroom look filthy, a dirty toilet is also extremely unhygienic. Cleaning toilets isn't particularly complicated, time consuming or difficult either, and it should be done at least once a week.

To properly clean a toilet, you'll need the right tools.

Clean the outside of the toilet
First, remove anything that might be nearby such as the toilet paper, air freshener cans and the toilet brush. Leave the door open, and always make sure you have good ventilation. Put on some rubber gloves, and then use some spray-on cleaner and wipe the exterior of the toilet with a damp sponge or paper towel. Make sure you clean all the visible areas including the cistern, the seat and the piping behind the seat.
Clean the inside of the toilet
Next, squirt a liquid cleaner around the inside of the rim of the bowl. Some cleaners will work better if you leave them to soak in for a while, read the instructions for tips on best use.
• Some white vinegar in a spray bottle will work as well as most commercial toilet cleaners. It kills germs and bacteria, and is also able to remove lime deposits.
Next, using the toilet brush, scrub the inside of the bowl vigorously. Watch out for splashback from the water in the bowl, you won’t want to get any of that on you. Pay special attention to the line around the water level as this can accumulate mineral deposits and leave water marks. Make sure you also scrub right into the base of the bowl leading to the piping. Flush the toilet a few times while still scrubbing to rinse the bowl and brush.
Disinfect the area
Lastly, you will need to disinfect the area. This is generally best done with a disinfectant spray and cloth or paper towel, as you have more control over the direction and can make sure to get an even coating so no areas are missed. Ensure that the flush handle or buttons are especially targeted, as this is the easiest way for germs to spread from toilets. Spray around the floor and nearby wall tiles as well.
How to unblock a toilet
Unblocking your toilet doesn't have to be a messy job, but if you need to remove a clog from your toilet, it’s important to stop flushing before it overflows! If one flush hasn't unblocked your toilet, then adding more water isn’t going to fix it; you’re not likely to dislodge the blockage this way, and it can cause your toilet to overflow all over the floor. You'll need a little bit of room to move above water level to keep splashing to a minimum too.

Plungers are just one way you can unblock a toilet.


Start by putting on some rubber gloves - you may also want to put on some old clothes, just in case. Spread newspapers or old rags around the base to prevent spillage from going anywhere, and to help with clean up later. From here, there are a number of methods that basically break down into removing the clog chemically or manually. Which one you use will depend on what's blocking your toilet.


Chemical methods

Chemical methods are good for organic blockages only. If you know the blockage is an object, move straight to the manual methods. You can use the baking soda and vinegar cure-all which is accomplished by pouring a box of baking powder into the water and then slowly adding a medium sized bottle of vinegar and letting this set for a few minutes, then adding a pot full of hot (not boiling) water and letting it sit overnight. If this doesn’t remove it, there are commercial drain cleaners which can be used, but caution needs to be exercised as if they are used improperly, it can make the clog much worse.


Manual methods

Manual methods include plunging, using a wire coat hanger and using a drain snake. These techniques should be employed when the clog has been caused by an object such as a child’s toy. Though somewhat messier and definitely more hands-on, sometimes this is the only way to get water flowing through your toilet again. Should any of the above fail to work, your best bet is to call a plumber.

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