How to deep clean a small bathroom — according to professionals

All the expert-approved deep cleaning advice you need for your small bathroom

Small white bathroom with wooden cabinets
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When it comes to deep cleaning a small bathroom, whether it’s a shower room or a rather compact family bath, there are some steps that cleaning experts always recommend taking. 

Because, while you might think that a quick wipe around with a multi-purpose cleaning wipe would be enough to keep a tiny space fresh and clean, it takes a lot more than that to clean a bathroom, regardless of how small it might be. 

We spoke to a panel of experts, including a professional cleaning expert and a maid service about the best approach to deep cleaning a small bathroom, as well as all the best small bathroom ideas for making the most of the space. This is what they told us. 

How cleaning experts tackle deep cleaning a small bathroom

Of course, there are lots of bathroom cleaning hacks that you can try, but how can they be specifically applied to small bathrooms? And how do you deep clean rather than just tackle what's visible? See all the places you're forgetting to clean in your bathroom with our ideas and advice.

1. Declutter before you start

Decluttering your small bathroom before deep cleaning the space is an essential step. Especially as it will help to make the entire process a far simpler affair. 

Vanessa Terra Bossart, CEO of Sparkling Clean Pro, explains: “Start by decluttering and use organizers to make the most of limited space in small bathrooms.”

While Muffetta Krueger, Cleaning Expert and Founder of Muffetta's Domestic Assistants, adds: “Clear the decks by removing any unnecessary items from the bathroom. This not only streamlines the cleaning process but also brings a sense of order to the space.”

Once you've decluttered the space, it's also worth taking the time to think about the best approach for how you organize a small bathroom and what essential tools you might need to keep the space organized. Simple, space-smart storage buys, such as these no-drill, self-adhesive shower caddies from Amazon will help keep your space neat, and therefore easier to clean.

Vanessa Terra Bossart
Vanessa Terra Bossart

Vanessa Terra Bossart, is a Brazilian Business CEO founder of Sparkling Clean Pro, Sparkling Clean Agency and Green Living Cleaning Supplies.

Muffetta Krueger
Muffetta Krueger

Muffetta Krueger is a cleaning expert and founder of Muffetta's Domestic Assistants.

2. Be selective with your cleaning products

When cleaning a small space, the last thing that you want to do is fill the area with chemicals, which is why it's important to be choosy about the cleaning products that you use. 

Bossart says: “Opt for eco-friendly cleaning products, where possible. For instance, vinegar and baking soda can work wonders without harmful chemicals."

As a team, we're big fans of natural cleaning hacks and we regularly test out different cleaning methods and products. One of our favorite go-to's is combining white vinegar (like this Heinz white vinegar from Amazon) with baking soda for cleaning (like this Arm and Hammer baking soda from Target). 

3. Focus on high-traffic areas

The reality is that in high-traffic areas, dirt and grime tend to build up more quickly, which is why giving these areas a little extra cleaning TLC is so important. 

Bossart explains: “Pay extra attention to areas like faucets, handles, and light switches.”

Don't forget to look at cleaning the areas that aren't usually visible, such as underneath the faucets, below the light switch, and underneath handles. It's easy to forget about the parts of your bathroom that you don't usually see, but often these are actually the dirtiest. So, paying attention to them is vital. 

4. Don't forget to dust

In small spaces, dust tends to appear more readily, which means that your small bathroom is most likely coated in the stuff. 

Krueger says: “Dust has a tendency to settle in the most unexpected places. Wield a microfiber cloth to banish dust from surfaces, light fixtures, and vents. Follow up with a thorough sweep or vacuum to bid farewell to lingering debris on the floor.”

Usually, you'll find the most build-up in all the hardest-to-reach places (think: all the teeny tiny nooks and crannies). So, a really great tool to utilize is a retractable gap duster tool, like this microfiber retractable tool from Amazon

5. Give grout and tiles a good going over

If there's one area that can be a serious struggle when it comes to bathroom cleaning, it's the grout and tiles. It can feel like no matter how hard you scrub, cleaning bathroom tiles is never as effective as you would like.

Krueger says: “Grout lines can be a breeding ground for unwanted guests like mold and mildew. Mix baking soda and water or opt for a specialized grout cleaner to eliminate grime. An old toothbrush proves invaluable for reaching those tight corners.”

Or, if you'd prefer a faster solution for cleaning tile grout, this electric grout scrubber from Amazon has over 6,000 five-star reviews and comes highly rated. 

6. Give the toilet some love

The truth is that even with the abundance of toilet cleaning hacks there are to choose from, this is one task that no one looks forward to. However, when it comes to deep cleaning your small bathroom, it's vital that you make your toilet a priority. 

Krueger says: “Give your toilet the attention it deserves. A quality toilet bowl cleaner combined with a disinfectant will ensure a spotless bowl, seat, and surrounding areas. Don't forget the flush handle for a comprehensive clean.”

It's easy to forget about cleaning the toilet brush but if you want to properly deep clean your bathroom, it also needs to be on the list. If you really can't bring yourself to give your toilet brush a clean, swapping it out for a brush with disposable heads, like this brush refill kit from Amazon, is a great idea. 

7. Give the sinks and faucets a wash

Of all the appliances in your small bathroom, the sinks and faucets probably get the most use. So, making sure that they're properly cleaned is essential.  

Krueger says: “For a gleaming sink and faucets, I recommend a mild abrasive cleaner or a combination of vinegar and baking soda. Wipe down with a microfiber cloth to achieve a streak-free shine.”

I test out a lot of cleaning products and one of my absolute favorites (which also happens to be mildly abrasive like Krueger recommends) for cleaning sinks and faucets has to be The Pink Stuff cleaning paste from Amazon, which has over 139,000 five-star reviews. 

8. Don’t forget the bathtub and shower

Another area where dirt and grime quickly accumulate is in both the bathtub and shower. But the good news is that cleaning a shower and cleaning the bathtub doesn't have to be all that time-consuming or difficult to do. 

Krueger advises: “Combat soap scum and grime in the shower and tub with a suitable cleaner. Allow it to sit for a few minutes before using a brush or sponge to scrub away the buildup. A thorough rinse completes the process, leaving the surfaces looking brand new.”

My personal go-to, which I always recommend to everyone, is The Pink Stuff Miracle Bathroom Foam Cleaner from Amazon, which has over 6,000 five-star reviews. 

9. Clean the floors

Krueger says: “Finish your deep cleaning endeavor by addressing the bathroom floor. Choose a suitable cleaner based on your flooring type, ensuring a comprehensive cleanse. Don't overlook corners and edges where dirt tends to hide.”

For anyone who prefers a natural clean, using a steam cleaner can be a great way to remove dirt and bacteria from the floor, without the need for chemical cleaning solutions. 

This 10-in-1 steam mop from Amazon, which has over 31,000 five-star reviews, is a great choice for this as it comes with a mop as well as plenty of precision cleaning tools ideal for more compact spaces. 

10. Don't forget the drains

Of all the areas in your bathroom, the area that holds the most bacteria is the drain. Totally gross and so much dirtier than even the toilet, drains are germ powerhouses, so making sure that they're properly cleaned is essential. 

The good news is that there's an easy fix. Pour a capful of white vinegar and a tablespoon of baking soda into each drain, and then pour two cups of boiling water into the drain. This should remove dirt, grime, and bacteria. 

Angela Rubin, cleaning expert at HellaMaid
Angela Rubin

Angela Rubin works at Hellamaid, a top-rated cleaning company in Canada. Hellamaid are industry experts specializing in residential and commercial cleaning services. 


What tools do you need to deep clean a small bathroom?

Krueger, says: "Before delving into the cleaning process, gather your arsenal. I recommend having disinfectant cleaners, a sturdy scrub brush, microfiber cloths, an old toothbrush, and, of course, a pair of reliable gloves. Opting for eco-friendly cleaning products adds an extra layer of care for both your home and the environment."

I personally use this set of two scrub brushes available on Amazon and I'm never without my Method bathroom cleaner which smells like eucalyptus mint.

How can I deep clean a small bathroom quickly?

Start by prioritizing which areas need the most work and power through those first. Try using an all-in-one product, like this Lysol foaming cleaning spray available on Amazon, so you don't have to spend time swapping out different products. 

Knowing how to deep clean a small bathroom can be a little trickier than you might think, with one of the most difficult parts of understanding what to tackle first and how to approach each task. 

As a starting point, Angela Rubin, Cleaning Specialist from Hellamaid, says to: "Begin by removing all items from the bathroom, including rugs, shower curtains, and toiletries," so that you have better access to be able to effectively clean each area, including all of the smaller nooks and crannies. 

And, of course, take the chance to put any textiles, from dirty towels to rugs to shower curtains, into the washer, checking the labels for suitability first. We have tips on cleaning shower curtains and, more specifically, cleaning shower curtain mold, if that is a problem for you (Tip: opening the window or improving ventilation after each shower can help avoid this in future).

Beth Mahoney
Freelance journalist

Hi! I’m Beth Mahoney and I’m a former staff writer at Real Homes. I’ve been a journalist for the national press for the past six years, specializing in commerce and trends-related lifestyle articles, from product reviews and listicles to guides and features. With an eye for pretty things (think: quirky wall prints, scalloped edge furniture, and decadent-looking tableware) but a limited budget, I love nothing more than a bargain buy.