How to Clean Bathroom Surfaces - dummies

By Gill Chilton

The surfaces in your bathroom are made up of loads of different materials, most of which are cleaned in different ways. Here’s a quick overview of how to clean different types of bathroom surface.

Surface Characteristics Likely Fitting Cleaning Tips
Acrylic (plastic) Lightweight, keeps room temperature. Practically all budget and
DIY-store baths are acrylic.
Bathtubs, sinks (especially in cloakrooms [half-baths]), shower
trays (floors)
Avoid abrasive cleaners because acrylic scratches easily.
Instead, use a liquid cleaner or a mild cream cleaner if it
specifically says that it is safe for acrylic. Keep on top of the
cleaning: It’s especially easy to get a build-up of soap on
acrylic. Be careful not to drop sharp items – the acrylic may
be very thin. A sharp or hard object (a razor or a metal can of
hairspray, for example) may crack the bath, meaning you have to get
a replacement.
Cast iron/steel In terms of cleaning the metal doesn’t matter because
both get a top coat of enamel. This is what you clean, so see the
entry for enamel.
Enamel Solid and shiny! Briefly feels cold to the touch (that’s
the metal underneath the enamel coating).
Older (pre 1970s) bathtubs and sinks and expensive modern
Take care! Use only products that state they are safe for
enamel. Avoid acid-based cleaners (and limescale fighters) as they
can eat into the enamel. Over time, the enamel coating can wear
thin. Your plumber can advise you if professional re-enamelling is
an option.
Porcelain A top choice for sinks and toilets. Not found in bathtubs.
Heavy, solid items falling into the sink may chip the edge, so
watch what you put on that windowsill!
Sinks, toilet cisterns, and pans It’s hard wearing and can stand gentle abrasives. The
most delicate part is the plughole, which can discolour if strong
cleaners are left to pool.
Ceramic tiles Smooth, hard wearing, water-resistant. Used as splashbacks to sinks and baths and as water-resistant,
hard-wearing wall coverings.
A doddle to clean and can withstand most all-purpose cleaners.
Rinse then buff dry with a smooth cloth to bring up shine.
Glass/toughened plastic Slick, shiny surfaces. Used for shower screens, shelves, and mirrors. Prone to smearing and getting coated with soap scum. Easiest
choice is a specialist daily shower spray, but you have to use it
at once, whilst the glass is still wet. Otherwise, use the glass
cleaner you’d use on your windows.
Resin-bonded Solid, with flecked appearance. This mix of stone and resin is
tough and hard wearing
Shower trays Use gentle liquid bathroom cleaners and rinse off, using the
shower attachment.