Humble Horizons Montessori

A montessori teacher shows how to clean a bathroom in 15 minutes (because teachers have no time to waste)

Here is a story from my childhood, having been raised in a Hawaiian-style household where the kids are responsible for doing a lot of the household chores.

I am the youngest of three girls. So basically how the cookie crumbled is that first the oldest was assigned the chores, then the middle, and last, it trickled down to me. Well one day, my oldest sister, who my sister and I have permanently nicknamed “baby hoku”, decided she was suddenly done cleaning the bathroom. Just, forevermore and hereforto pau (done) scrubbing the toilet for the remainder of our childhood.

In response, my mom just randomly pulled weight on the issue and decided that cleaning the bathroom was now my chore. Given that this turn of events was from my childhood, I genuinely don’t remember how I got shown to clean the bathroom. But I very well may have taught myself, because what I vividly recall is that baby hoku had decided to stop cleaning the bathroom for such a long time by that point, that the tub was f*cking gross. Like, gnarly-chunky-grime-and-mold-growing under-the-shower-doors gross. And I had to clean it.

Maybe baby Hoku had never scrubbed under the shower doors ever. Baby Hoku was also notorious for never putting the cap back on our Aim brand toothpaste; and in addition to the hazard-level nasty shower, there would constantly be drops of Aim all over the bathroom sink wherever she’d abandon the toothpaste tube. So the sink was filthy, too.

However it was that I had learned to clean the bathroom from my childhood was a very long and painstaking process that I had carried forward into my own adulthood. I will say, for the record, that people of any age can learn to clean, and learn to change the way they clean, if they observe different ways of cleaning. Even the toddlers from my Montessori classroom have vicariously learned from observation how to scrub the toilet. And they would just DIE to be allowed the privilege to scrub the toilet if I let them access the toilet bowl wand. So case and point: you will learn how to clean your bathroom based on either a) DIY trial and error, or b) watching someone show you what to do.

I certainly hope forcing your kids to do the chores is still the Hawaiian-style child rearing norm. It would surprise you how many important tasks in life that everyone assumes is “common sense”, are no longer common sense. “Chores” is what the Montessori method calls “practical life” skills; and we literally teach the children how to do practical life every single day at Montessori programs starting from the age of 18 months old. That’s right, that was not a typo– from as young as 18 months old, some babies in many Montessori classrooms all over the world are learning how to clean up spills and messes, set the table, clear the table, clean up our classroom, sweep, mop, wash dishes, dust, do laundry, etc.; and I’m fully not making this up. It’s a part of the international Montessori classroom curriculum for 0-3 years old, and beyond because it affords the children the opportunity to work on an abundance of developmental skills.

Well fast forward to Ms. Roxie’s life outside of her Montessori classroom, to the day about one month ago, when I got fed up with wasting my precious limited free time on household chores. Particularly cleaning the bathroom. Especially the tub. As a teacher, I think I can attest on most of our behalf that teachers have basically zero free time on weekdays. Zero. Which means all the chores, except maybe little things like taking out the trash or doing laundry, must be relegated to the weekends.

“There MUST be a way to do this faster”, I thought to myself. So I decided to youtube “how to clean the bathroom fast”. And found this video that has permanently changed my life forever. Using this method on my entire bathroom (not just the shower like the video shows), I now never spend more than about 15 minutes cleaning the bathroom. It used to take me 20 minutes just to clean the tub.

Some forewarnings: you’ll want to make sure everyone has done what they need to do in the bathroom before you begin this cleaning method. So make sure everyone has gone pee, dropped a deuce if they need to, brushed teeth, washed up/ showered BEFORE you do this. Because the bathroom will be out of commission for at least 1 hour (but don’t worry, your actual work time will only last 15 minutes). Also, the white vinegar essence may burn for some people; and you can optionally use a face mask if it’s too intense for you, the way the woman in the video did. Definitely turn on your fan and open your bathroom windows while spraying. After you’re done spraying, your bathroom will smell a-mazing.

what to do:

  • warm up a mug full of water in the microwave for 2 minutes.
  • fill a reusable spray bottle about half way full with the hot water.
  • Add about 1/8- 1/4 cup of dish soap and 1/4 cup of white vinegar, and optionally a few drops of essential oil to the bottle, and top off with more hot water until it’s full. Shake it up to mix it.
  • remove all the toiletries and products from your bathroom surfaces.
  • sweep the floor.
  • spray every bathroom surface except the floor with the DIY cleaner, including your entire tub/shower, the doors/ the curtain.
  • **you’re now going to let this sit and dry for at least 1 hour, or as long as you want. My preference is to spray everything down, leave the house to go have fun or grocery shop or do whatever I do for leisure, and then when I return, everything is dry.
  • At some point while the cleaner is drying, pour your toilet bowl cleaner of choice into your toilet and scrub the toilet with your toilet bowl brush.
  • Once all the cleaner has dried, wet a scrubby-style sponge with water and proceed to scrub everything down. All the dirt and grime should basically melt off with little physical effort on your part.
  • Rinse the shower down, wipe off the toilet and sink. I personally reserve a separate sponge for my toilet which lives atop my toilet bowl brush, wipe the sink down with a microfiber rag (bought a pack from TJ Maxx), I clean the mirror with a wad of paper towel, and then use this same pre-used mirror paper towel to wipe down the toilet.
  • Grab the rag you used to wipe down the sink. Wipe off the trash can. Then use whatever cleaner happens to be left in the bottle to spray the floor, and mop yourself out of the bathroom with the same rag you used to wipe down the sink and trash can.
  • ** If you don’t already use a swiffer mop as your go-to mopping method, get a swiffer mop and join the 21st century. Nothing is faster than using rags attached to a swiffer to mop to clean your floor. I have used a swiffer at every single Montessori job I’ve ever had. And trust me, it works the fastest.

And there it is, folks. How a busy teacher cleans her bathroom in 20 minutes tops, with minimal products.

I also encourage you to show your teenage kids how to clean the bathroom this way, so that they are master bathroom cleaners for the rest of their own lives, too. And please, teach your kids how to do basic household chores. Don’t wait until they’re a teenager to suddenly expect them to start pitching in with chores, because by then they won’t want anything to do with chores. If you want your kids to help you with this, you can do the initial spraying down, and they can help you scrub once the spray has dried and there are no longer any white-vinegar fumes.

Happy quick bathroom cleaning, everyone!

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