Bathroom Maintenance: A Step-by-Step Guide for the Absolute Beginner
There’s no shame in admitting that bathroom maintenance isn’t your strong suit. After all, we can’t all be plumbers, right? But, by the same token, you probably also don’t want to be stuck having to call a professional every time you discover a leaky tap. So, if you don’t know your plugholes from your sink wastes, this article is for you. Here’s our essential guide to basic bathroom maintenance, in which we’ll walk you through how to fix the most common bathroom problems, step by step.
So grab your toolbelt, because it’s time to get to work. (Just kidding – most of this is pretty low-impact stuff).
How to remove mould and mildew
Because mould and mildew thrive in damp conditions, it’ll come as no surprise that they’re one of the most common annoyances in modern bathrooms. They’re especially prevalent around tiling and in grout, and you can spot them from the tell-tale black dots and patches. If you’ve discovered some and you want to remove it, here’s how:
- First, put on a pair of rubber gloves.
- Mix together a solution of one-part bleach to three-parts warm water.
- Using a (preferably) new sponge, gently dab the solution onto the affected areas. Take care to ensure your bathroom is well ventilated.
- Leave the solution on the mould for a few minutes, then wipe away with a cloth or the sponge. If you find it’s particularly stubborn, you can leave the solution on for longer, or even soak cotton wool in it and place the wool on top of the mould for an hour or so.
How to fix a dripping tap
Few sounds grate on the nerves quite like a dripping tap, so if you’ve got one in your home, you’re probably already well aware of it. So why not do something about it? Most dripping taps can be fixed with the steps below, but if something doesn’t seem right, be sure to call in a professional.
- First, turn off the water supply to the sink. There will usually be an isolation valve (which looks like a lever) along the pipe leading to the sink.
- Run the tap for a while until water stops coming out.
- Next, remove the tap handles to reveal the screw socket hidden beneath. This part may differ depending on the design of your taps, but they’re almost all built this way.
- The actual mechanical guts of the tap will now be accessible. You’ll need to turn it either clockwise or anti-clockwise in order to take the tap assembly apart. Be sure to remember the order in which you take the parts away!
- Depending on the variant of tap you have, you should find either a rubber washer or a ceramic disc within the tap assembly. These are the parts you’ll need to replace – and you can find cheap replacements at any hardware store.
- Replace the relevant part, then reverse the process above to reassemble your taps!
How to clean glass in your shower
Shower glass can be quite deceptive at times. Why? Because when you’re finishing up your shower, it can seem as clear as day, with just a few scattered droplets of water. Then you come back later and it’s covered in dry patches of residue and it’s cloudier than Highlands in January. If this sounds familiar, don’t worry, there is an easy way to clean the glass in your shower:
- Fill a bowl with white vinegar then add a small amount of warm water in a ratio of about 3 parts vinegar to 2 parts water.
- Take a cloth, preferably microfibre, then dip it into your vinegar solution.
- Sprinkle some baking soda onto the cloth. It’ll probably fizz a bit, but that’s okay – it’s this fizz that’ll create the cleaning action.
- Take your cloth and work your way down the shower glass. Don’t apply too much force, but be sure that you’ve covered and removed all of the cloudiness.
- Once it’s all covered, leave it to dry. When it is, use some fresh water to rinse of the shower glass.
- Finally, take a dry microfibre cloth and use it to dry and buff the shower glass. You should be amazed by the results – so make sure you don’t walk into the glass by mistake!
One extra tip with shower glass is to use an everyday shower glass spray. These are designed to be spritzed onto your shower just after you finish showering – just spray and walk away. This is a great way to stave off that cloudiness and keep your shower glass looking its best.
How to de-scale your showerhead
It’s not difficult to detect when your showerhead is blocked – the lack of water pressure is sure to clue you in on that. What is difficult is knowing exactly how to deal with a blocked showerhead. It’s tempting to just buy a new one, but this could well be a waste of money, because with just a few steps – and some trusty bathroom essentials – you can de-scale and unblock your showerhead overnight. Just follow these steps:
- First, remove your showerhead. Don’t be surprised if it looks unappealing – there’s a good chance it’s got some mould and mildew on there somewhere, too. But this method solves that also, so don’t worry.
- Next, use a regular bathroom sponge and some warm water to clean off as much of the exterior dirt and grime as you can.
- Now we'll need our old friend: you guessed it – white vinegar! Grab yourself a plastic sandwich bag (making sure it’s watertight), then fill it with a solution of 1 part water, 1 part white vinegar. This solution needs to be strong to get rid of all the blockages and debris.
- With your bag of vinegar solution in hand, immerse the showerhead in the bag. Depending on the size of the bag, you should now be able to bunch the bag near the tail-end of the showerhead.
- Ensure the bag is on there nice and tight, then tie it off with either a cable tie or a few rubber bands. If you’re able to prop up your showerhead somewhere (like in the bath) while it’s being cleaned, a watertight seal isn’t as essential.
- Leave your showerhead immersed in the bag of vinegar solution at least overnight. While you’re gone, the white vinegar will work its magic.
- Come back the next morning and give your showerhead a rinse, and – ta-da! It should be as good as new – or as close as you’ll get. Re-attach it to the shower and check everything out – it should be flowing as clean as a whistle.
How to reseal your bathtub
The seal that you’ll see running all around your bathtub can be something of a sleeping giant. When it’s all working correctly, you won’t have any problems – but if any of decays over time and holes form, there can be trouble. If water gets through the seal and into the area below your bathtub, you can be faced with damp and mould problems – and that’s something you’ll want to avoid at all costs. Luckily, resealing your bathtub isn’t as tricky a job as it may sound. That said, if you’re at all concerned about whether or not you can do it yourself, don’t hesitate to call a professional first.
- As with all these bathroom maintenance tasks, first ventilate the bathroom by opening windows and doors.
- The first step is to remove the old seal. You can do this with a Stanley knife or equivalent – just make a cut above and below the seal to loosen it up. Next, pry away the old seal. It may help to use a flat-head screwdriver or pry tool for this part.
- Remove all remaining residue of the old seal, then clean the area thoroughly all the way around.
- This step may surprise you, but there’s a reason for it – fill up your bathtub all the way. Why? Because the weight of the water will take the top of the bath down ever so slightly, and this way you can account for that.
- Apply masking tape all the way around the wall just above where you’d like the sealant to end. This will ensure a nice straight line when the new seal is in place.
- Next, grab your sealant gun (available from all hardware stores) and try it out on a practice area, like an old piece of cardboard. You may also need to cut the nozzle down to make sure your sealant is the correct height and width.
- When you’re confident using the sealant gun, slowly work your way around the walled edges of your bathtub. Don’t be afraid to stop and take a break – you’ll get there in the end. Once completed, be sure to leave the sealant to set as per the manufacturer’s instructions before using the bath again.
You should now have a good understanding of a few of those essential bathroom maintenance tasks. Who knows? You might just end up saving yourself from a hefty plumber’s bill in the future – just be sure you’re confident before making a start. If you have any questions or need more expert advice, feel free to call our expert team anytime.