Friday, 30 July 2010

The bathroom ~ a few tips for easy care

Bathrooms can be troublesome to keep clean and presentable.  Common problems are: mildew in the fabric of shower curtains, a build-up of soap and lime on shower walls and glass, clogging drains and fraying towels.  Here is how I deal with them:   

The shower curtain:

I do wash mine from time to time but never often enough to prevent a degree of mildew.  This simple solution gets it looking like new in next to no time: I soak the whole thing in a bucket of warm water which contains about half a cup of household bleach for about an hour.  If all the marks haven't fully disappeared by then I simply push it back under for another hour.  After a good rinse and it can be hung straight back up again.  If you're not sure if this will work on your curtain you  might like to try putting just a corner of it in to see what happens.  The first time I tried this I was quite nervous, but it was either that of throw it out, so nothing was going to be lost!

The build up of soap and lime on shower walls and glass:

This can be greatly reduced by wiping these surfaces after showering.  This is simpler than you might think: enter the cheap plastic wiper blade you see at the right.  Honestly, wiping these surfaces does not take longer than ten seconds, and that's being generous!  New Zealand supermarkets commonly stock these in the same area as other cleaning things.  This practice  also helps keep the bathroom relatively dry.  Cleaning is much less arduous, than otherwise although it is best done reasonably often to be effective. 

Keeping the drains flowing properly:
The other implement in that photograph probably needs no introduction.  For those who haven't come across such things before, it's a plunger, and used for clearing sluggish drains.  The basin, sink, bath or shower is filled with a couple of inches of water and the hollow rubber dome is pushed down briskly over the plug hole forcing water into the drain.  This can help shift old silty build-ups and minor blockages.
     It's worth applying the plunger to plug holes which have become at all slow to drain so that the problem is solved while there is still room for movement.
     On one occasion, not long ago, our bathroom drain silted up to a complete stand-still.  Our landlord was away and the alternatives were limited.  After much fuss and bother I managed to free it up by a complex manoeuvre involving a high pressure jet of water from the garden hose being forced down the bathroom plug hole.  It was fortunate that the plumbing held together while the blockage was being  shot through as I really would have been in dire straits if it hadn't! It's not an experience I want to repeat so I'm now vigilant about keeping the drains in good running order!
     Some of the newer all-in-one shower cubicles have plug hole fittings which lift out for cleaning.  This should make it easier but I never found it so.  Regular cleaning is always required and I found it a (much) longer, yuckier job than the old style.

What to do with fraying towels:
One obvious solution is to re-stitch or bind the fraying edges, but depending on the number of towels you have you may prefer other choices.  This week I cut up two of my favourite bath towels to make  six hand towels.  Those towels had been favourites but had become shabby around the edges, and I could see that they wouldn't last all that much longer and I have plenty of others.  My set of hand towels, on the other hand, badly needed replacing so this was a sensible choice.  I cut each bath towel into three and seamed the edges, first with zig-zag to prevent further fraying and then turned them over and stitched them flat to look neat.  I now have smart hand towels and the old ones have been firmly relegated to the rag bag!

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