bathroom cleaner products

Bathroom Cleaner Products

Bathrooms have so many different types of surfaces to be cleaned. From glass to painted surfaces to porcelain to stainless steel, there are different types of bathroom cleaner chemicals needed. Multi-purpose cleaner, glass cleaner, bowl cleaner, lime scale remover and disinfectants are the main arsenal of bathroom cleaner products for most. These are all used to clean above the floor in restrooms. Floors should be cleaned with a neutral floor cleaner.

There are some things you need to know when choosing the best options. Not all bathroom cleaner products are the same, so knowing what to look for can help you make an educated selection. 

This is a general list and description. Always read the label on any cleaner before using. Following the specific directions for bathroom cleaner chemicals can affect your result and your health!

Multi-Purpose Cleaner

Multi-purpose cleaners are the ‘go to’ product for cleaning doors, walls dispensers and even trash cans. They are typically designed to remove oils and stubborn stains. In many cases, multi-purpose cleaners can be pretty aggressive so be careful when using them on painted or stained surfaces.

These work great when removing hand smudges from walls and non-glass doors.

Another option that can be used in place of a multi-purpose cleaner are the ‘magic eraser’ sponges. These are made from a synthetic material that uses microscopic abrasion to remove stubborn stains rather than a chemical so they are much safer for the user.

Glass Cleaner

In a restroom, mirrors are constantly getting splashed with soap, water and the occasional hand print. Use a glass cleaner that is light or clear in color to reduce the amount of residue left behind after cleaning. I also use a microfiber cloth when cleaning any kind of glass. They grab and hold the soils better than paper or traditional cloth towels.

One tip is to use less glass cleaner when cleaning mirrors. Use just enough to remove the soils. Using too much will result in a streaky film being left behind.

Personally, I use glass cleaner to clean stainless steel when a chemical is needed. Most of the time, I use microfiber and water though.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

There are a couple of different types of toilet bowl cleaners that are standard. Acid and non-acid. Non-acid toilet bowl cleaners are generally safe to use on a regular basis and will help to maintain the cleanliness of porcelain. They are also safer for the cleaning staff as well.

Acid bowl cleaners are used for removing hard water stains and heavy build-up inside toilet bowls. Acid bowl cleaner should not be used on a daily basis though. I have generally used it once or twice per week, depending on how busy the restrooms are and how hard the water is. More is not always better.

You need to keep in mind though, acid bowl cleaners are dangerous chemicals. While the acid will not damage porcelain surfaces, it will destroy chrome and other surfaces very quickly. They are also hazardous for the cleaning staff and should not be used without the proper personal protection.

If you are not sure what personal protection is needed, refer to the chemicals label or safety data sheet before using.

Lime Scale Remover

These bathroom cleaner chemicals are not typically for daily use. Mineral deposits take time to build up. Build up that can be kept to a minimum with good preventive cleaning.

That being said, hard water and mineral deposits will show up. And using a lime scale remover will usually do the trick, quickly.


Killing germs and bacteria are more important in restrooms than anywhere else. Using disinfectants is the best method for making restrooms safe and healthy for users. The purpose of using a disinfectant is to kill bacteria, not necessarily to clean.

Although many disinfectants are labeled as ‘Cleaner/Disinfectants’ it is important to understand what that actually means. Those popular bathroom cleaner products are both a cleaner and a disinfectant, serving as 2 separate products. And they should be used as such. If you read the label, there are usually 2 different recommendations for use. If you want to use the product as a cleaner, then you follow one set of instructions.

But if you want to use it as a disinfectant, there will be another section of instructions. If it is used just as a cleaner, it will not be an effective disinfectant.

Bathroom Cleaner Products Safety

Bathroom cleaner chemicals are much safer than ever, but there are still precautions that need to be followed. All chemicals are required to have safety recommendations and directions for use on the label. Always make sure to refer to the product label as well as the Material Safety Data Sheet before using any cleaning chemical.

Chemicals can make cleaning much easier but you should always use caution and read the label before using any chemical. Even chemicals such as glass cleaner can be dangerous if used improperly.

Too Many Chemicals? Use Microfiber

For many years now, I have been using microfiber cloths and mops in place of some bathroom cleaning chemicals. Glass cleaner, stainless steel cleaner and general purpose cleaner have been greatly reduced if not eliminated from my restroom cart. Microfiber and water do an amazing job to grab and hold dirt. And since there is not chemical, there is no residue.

One thing you may notice if you replace bathroom cleaner products with microfiber is that it take a little more effort at the start. This is due to the build up of residue from the chemicals you have been using. But when you take a little extra time and get through it, you will find that it is so much easier! Over the long run, you will save money and end up with a cleaner bathroom.

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3 replies
  1. Ken the Janitor
    Ken the Janitor says:

    Great post! I’d like to add that MSDSs have been reformatted and renamed SDSs (safety data sheets) under the Globally Harmonized System (GHS). I’ve personally found the new format to be more readable.

    On mirrors, I like to use a window squeegee. Of all the different tools to clean mirrors (paper towels, cotton rags, microfiber cloths), a squeegee seems to work the best for me. Mirrors and windows tend to get really smeared in an elementary school!

    I definitely agree with using a window cleaner with little/no dye. I hate Windex, not only is the ammonia irritating, it stains the paint around the surface being cleaned. As an aside, unlike commercial cleaning chemicals, finding household cleaning chemicals without added fragrances and dyes in concentrate form is surprisingly difficult!

  2. Michael Brooke
    Michael Brooke says:

    Nice tip on the microfibre cloths. I find them adequate for most smooth or tiled surfaces. The only exception if there’s mould or mildew build up. If that’s the case I will have to use some sort of cleaning product to help budge the stains. One additional tip is to wash them regularly to avoid them becoming permanently stained or smelly.


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