An Update on the Bathroom Cleaning Manual

Last month I raved about Jeff Campbell’s book, Speed Cleaning (see the post here). Well, now I’ve begun putting his ideas in practice. That is, I’ve been cleaning house in our regular irregular way, swiping at noticeably smudged surfaces once in while, scrubbing the toilet, but ignoring the shower walls, swiffering once a day – while I’d been trying bits and pieces, I hadn’t done the speed cleaning deal in full force. Yet.

After rooting around in my garage, I found almost every cleaning product and tool Campbell requires. My ostrich feather duster arrived in the post. (I got the premium 27″ at and it cost $15.) I bought two dozen cheapo unfolded diapers at Babies-R-Us to use as cleaning cloths. I put together a makeshift cleaning work belt. Then I placed the baby in Chad’s arms and tackled the master bedroom bathroom. (Remember, Campbell divides the book into three manuals: bathroom, kitchen, and duster.)

Verdict? His system definitely works and works well. I need to get myself a proper tool belt.

Campbell says that you can clean a bathroom in 18 minutes, with practice and the right tools. It took me 42 minutes – but I had to reread a couple passages in the book to make sure I was doing things in the right order and my tool belt fell apart. I can see that if I get my toolbelt together – it needs to be strong enough to carry two spray bottles, one on each hip – I will reduce my time.

I could also see that once I’ve absorbed the general techniques and the order in which things are cleaned, that I could move through that bathroom like a blazing clean machine.

An example of how specific Campbell is with his directions: Place the carry-all on the floor to the right of the tub. Spray down the shower walls with tile juice without scrubbing while standing in the tub. Then go back to the where you started spraying and scrub until clean without rinsing. Then use a sparing amount of powdered cleanser to get the walls and bottom of the tub. Toothbrush all grout. Throw the soapy brush in the sink. Rinse with shower head and 1-pint container.

A very spare version of the rest of the bathroom:

Use the soapy brush to scrub out the sink.

Hit the inside of the toilet with red juice. Then the outside, including the floor in the immediate vicinity.

Once these three main receptacles are clean work your way around the bathroom, wiping down with red juice, from top to bottom, left to right. Use the feather duster too.

Feather duster technique: squiggle motions across the surface and STOP at the end of the object. This is to keep the dust on the duster and from not billowing into the air to resettle on the just cleaned objects after you leave the room. Rap the duster sharply at your ankle. This is get the dust on the floor where it will be vacuumed, mopped or otherwise wiped up shortly.

And because my friend Laura asked about blinds, here’s Campbell on that topic:

“Lower them to their full length and turn the slats to the closed position so the blinds curve away from you. By grasping the string that runs through them, pull them away from the window so you can reach behind them with your feather duster. Dust them using long downward only strokes at a slow speed so the feather duster can do more dust-catching that dust-storming. Remember, stop the feather duster dead still at the end of each stroke. Now turn the slats forward so the blind curves toward you. Dust the front in the same long, slow downward motions.”

All this is much easier done, than read. Keep in mind, too, that Campbell’s book is illustrated with simple line cartoons.

I’m going to do the Dusting Manual tomorrow.

Heck, if I get my bathroom cleaning down to 30 minutes once a week – I will be stoked!

I can think of better ways to pose with ostrich feathers!

I can think of better ways to pose with ostrich feathers, but I thought I'd spare you the picture of my toilet.

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