With all the moisture and soap scum, bathrooms can get grungy in a hurry. To keep your bathroom clean and germ-free requires frequent cleaning. But it doesn’t have to be a chore, especially if you enlist the help of your family and ask everyone to wipe down sinks and showers after they use them. It only takes a minute or so. And don’t forget to run the exhaust fan or crack a window during and after a steamy shower.

Here’s how to make your bathroom surfaces sparkle from the experts at Consumer Reports who share their advice in "How to Clean Practically Anything."

Bathtubs and Sinks

The material of a tub and sink determines how you clean it. Check the manufacturer’s guidelines. As a rule, never use abrasive cleaners, such as scouring powders or steel wool on acrylic, fiberglass, or sealed-marble tubs and basins. Instead, use a sponge to clean them with hot water and liquid detergent. Use a little extra detergent on stubborn dirt and grime. It’s usually safe to clean tubs made of vitreous or porcelain enamel with scouring powder and warm water. Because cleaning solutions can stain an unglazed enamel surface, test them first in an inconspicuous spot.

The material of the tub and sink also determines how you treat stains and scratches. Remove small scratches from acrylic with a plastic polish that’s sold for this purpose; buff with a clean cloth and rinse. Use ultrafine sandpaper to remove stubborn stains from solid-surface synthetic tubs and sinks, and buff with a clean cloth. Regularly apply a sealer to marble and other stone surfaces to prevent staining.

For stains on vitreous or porcelain enamel, apply a solution of ½ cup of chlorine bleach in one gallon of water, leave on for a minute or two, then rinse. Blue-green stains on enamel surfaces are a telltale sign of a continually dripping faucet. After fixing the leak, rub a paste of borax and lemon juice onto the stain. Leave it on for several minutes, scrub with a plastic scrub pad, rinse with warm water, and buff dry.

Showers

To prevent soap and dirt from building up on surfaces, wipe down or squeegee shower walls and doors each time the shower is used. Or spray on a special shower-cleaning product that’s intended for use after every shower. Clean showerheads regularly with cleanser to prevent deposits from building up. If a metal shower head becomes clogged with scaly deposits, place it in a pot to which you’ve added a solution of one part vinegar to eight parts water, bring to a boil, and simmer for about 15 minutes. Soak a plastic shower head in a solution of equal parts vinegar and hot water. Scrub grout with a toothbrush dipped in a solution of ½ cup bleach and a gallon of water.

Use a toothbrush to make your grout sparkle is just one of Consumer Reports cleaning tips.

Chrome

Today’s faucet finishes are easier to care for. You can make them sparkle by removing marks and smears with a soft cloth or a sponge dipped in warm water and dishwashing detergent. Dry with a soft, clean cloth to restore the shine. On older faucets, gently remove any rust spots with steel wool or a commercial rust remover, but make sure the cleaning product isn’t too abrasive. Then wash the surface with mild detergent and warm water. Dry with a soft cloth and apply a thin coat of solvent-based polyurethane to protect the chrome from moisture that might cause further rusting. Lime deposits often build up on chrome bathroom fittings. Clean first with detergent and warm water, then wrap the chrome with a cloth soaked in white vinegar or a commercial descaler. The deposits should soon dissolve.

Mirrors

Use a commercial glass-cleaning product or one part ammonia and eight parts water, and wipe dry with a damp, lint-free cloth. Polish with a microfiber or other lint-free cloth, or dry with a squeegee. In areas where mirrors tend to fog up such as the bathroom use a product (formulated for automobile windshields) that contains an anti-mist chemical. Remove hairspray residue with a cloth dampened with rubbing alcohol.

Toilets

Brush the toilet bowl regularly to remove any stains and hard-water deposits, making sure to clean beneath the rim. Clean the brush afterward by leaving it in the bowl while flushing the toilet. Once a week, use the brush to clean the bowl with a disinfectant cleanser you’ve poured into the water, making sure to clean the brush by running it through the soapy water, then rinsing it during a flush. Use a sponge dipped in a solution of hot water and disinfectant cleanser to wipe down the rest of the toilet and the toilet seat.