How to Design a Bathroom That’s Easy to Clean
Want a clutter-free, sparkling bathroom? Follow this expert advice on how to cut down on cleaning time
Professional advice from: Josephine Lecouflé-Vinet, interior design consultant at JLV Design; Eva Byrne of houseology; Ana Rezende, senior designer at Ripples Bathrooms
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“Mould is the number one enemy in the bathroom,” Eva Byrne says, “so all choices should relate to preventing it from growing.”
To stop mould developing in the first place, Eva advises “mechanical extraction [via an extractor fan] is key. This should be in addition to an openable window or rooflight.”
Eva suggests choosing an inline fan, where the motor is located remotely, out of the room (for example, in the loft). “An inline fan has a minimal noise level that isn’t as maddening as the din made by conventional extractor fans,” she explains.
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To cut down on time spent repainting or cleaning walls, plump for a tiled finish rather than paint or paper. “Painted walls can get dirty very quickly in a bathroom,” Ana Rezende says, “but tiled walls are quick and easy to clean with a damp cloth.”
This will be particularly useful in areas where hands are frequently brushing against walls, such as near the basin, next to wall-hung towel hooks, or around light switches.
Little and often is a good mantra to follow when it comes to cleaning, and a small preventative measure, such as a waste trap, can be a big help in cutting down on future housework.
“Always make sure you have a waste with a hair trap in both your basin and shower,” Ana says. “You can then frequently remove it and quickly clean it to avoid hair clogging up waste pipes and prevent it from becoming an issue.”
“Use a wall-hung vanity unit and WC to keep the floor as free as possible,” Ana says. “It makes it so much easier to clean around the entire area, especially the floor.”
“All fittings should be easy to clean,” Eva adds. “Look at the toilet seat: can you reach all the crevices with a cloth? Streamlined fittings will be easiest to clean.”
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Practicality is key in a bathroom, and your choice of flooring can be crucial to the amount of time you need to spend cleaning it.
“Don’t put textured porcelain tiles on the floor,” Josephine Lecouflé-Vinet says, “especially if there’s a WC in the bathroom, where people tend to walk with their shoes on.”
“A joint-free floor will be the most hygienic and easiest to clean,” Eva agrees. “For example, terrazzo or cushion-backed vinyl.”
“Storage will keep the endless bottles of lotions and potions every bathroom seems to harbour out of sight,” Eva says, “making surfaces quicker to clean.”
She suggests choosing a basin with drawers underneath, and pairing it with slim, mirrored wall cabinets above. These don’t have to be large to be effective. In fact, she suggests, they just need to be “a toilet roll deep” to ensure they’re both practical and discreet.
Shower doors and screens get soaked frequently, so they’ll need cleaning often to prevent mould and limescale build-up.
Eva recommends choosing a hinged shower door as opposed to a sliding or bifold one for an easy-clean bathroom. “A hinged shower door is the best choice, as there are fewer spots for water to linger and mould to form,” she says.
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“Always use white grout if you have hard water,” Josephine advises. The reason? Minerals in hard water can cause a white bloom to build up on tiles and grout, and this will be much more visible on dark surfaces.
You’ll still need to keep on top of cleaning pale-coloured tiles and grout, but the daily build-up in-between cleans will be much less noticeable.
What are your bathroom cleaning rules? Let us know in the Comments section.