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3 ways to make your bathroom shine

Expecting company? Here’s how to get your bathroom in order.

Published: December 13, 2013 02:00 PM

Photo: Andrea Rugg

Getting the bathroom ready for company takes a little more effort than hanging holiday-themed guest towels. It’s time to polish the porcelain and scrub the tub. Fortunately, the experts at Consumer Reports are seasoned grime fighters who test cleaning products all year long. Here are some of the products they recommended this year and others you can skip.

Paper towels
Sponges can be magnets for bacteria and a bathroom is germy enough. Try cleaning with paper towels that you can then discard. In our tough paper towel tests, we measure absorbency, wet strength and how a paper towel holds up when used to scrub a rough surface. For everyday wipe-ups, Bounty Extra Soft was excellent for absorbency and very good for scrubbing and wet strength. But for bigger jobs use the Bounty DuraTowel, which was excellent on all three tests and the top-scoring towel in our tests by far. But it’s pricey so you may want to reserve it for tougher jobs.

All-purpose cleaners
Liquid Pine-Sol Original was the only all-purpose cleaner in our tests that didn’t leave streaks on a mirrored surface so that should be your go-to cleaner for the bathroom. It was also very good at removing soap scum and at cleaning up food stains more commonly found in the kitchen. In our tests, four spray cleaners were also very good at tackling soap scum but they all left streaks on the mirror. They include such familiar brands as Seventh Generation, Clorox, Just the Basics and Trader Joe’s. And if your grout is discolored, you’re better off relying on a tried and true cleanser like Ajax or Comet than on those as-seen-on-TV grout cleaners. In our tests of the Groutinator and Grout Bully, both about $10, they were tricky to apply and neither lived up to its claims. 

A cordless sweeper vacuum with wet and dry options sounds like a good option for a bathroom floor. But in our vacuum cleaner tests of the Dyson Hard DC56 and the Swiffer Sweeper/Vac, neither of the hybrids vacuumed as well as the best hand or stick vacuums in our tests. Both combine dry and wet cleaning with some suction. But In our testing so far, we mostly liked how the Swiffer, $40, and the Dyson, $330, picked up spills. Both cleaned more consistently with a wet-cloth refill than with a dry one and neither was very good at picking up fine dust.

Instead, try one of our top three hand vacuums, which were all excellent at cleaning bare floors and getting into edges. They include the battery-powered Shark Pet Perfect II, $60, and the corded Eureka Easy Clean, $50, and Bissell Pet Hair Eraser, $35. Our top stick vacuum, the Hoover Platinum LiNX, $150, was excellent at edges and very good at bare floors.

Toilet paper
If you're stocking up on toilet paper, you can’t go wrong with White Cloud 3-Ply Ultra Soft and Thick from Walmart, which was our top-scorer. It was excellent at softness, strength and disintegration. We also recommend varieties from Quilted Northern, Great Value and CVS, which all earned top marks for softness.

—Artemis DiBenedetto


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