A tenanted place which I live in has a bathroom that looks nice and clean. However if I spend some time in it my nose will start watering, and I believe the place only looks clean but is flooded with bacteria and hasn't been properly cleaned for decades.

What are some good methods to clean a bathroom completely?

(I'll probably focus on the walls, ceiling, floor, sink, and toilet bowl.)

  • If it looks and smells clean I would say your only option would be to get some strong UV lights and kill the bacteria that way, chemical cleaners are probably what you are bothered by. I have also read about Chinese sheetrock that caused problems a few years back.
    – Ed Beal
    Apr 24, 2020 at 14:13
  • ...which was formaldehyde outgassing, IIRC, so nothing short of ripping it out would help. Other than ventilation, I guess, which a bathroom should have anyway.
    – Ecnerwal
    Apr 24, 2020 at 14:25
  • 1
    I do not believe it is bacteria that is causing the runny nose. You may have an allergy to one of the cleaning chemicals, fragrance refresher, or toilet paper or as the previous commenter, gas from drywall, etc Apr 24, 2020 at 17:56

1 Answer 1


1/2 cup laundry bleach (5-6% sodium hypochlorite) in 1 gallon of water kills darn near everything. (31 ml/l if you are metric.) If the bleach is more concentrated, use less of it.

Please don't be an idiot and add ammonia, which will result in "everything" including "you" as it reacts to release poison gasses. This information is widely publicized but people seem to keep doing it anyway, thus the warning repeated here. Stick to bleach and water, only. Turn on the ventilation fan or open the window, apply, let it sit for several (5-6) minutes, rinse with plain water.

If bacteria are not the actual cause of your issues this won't help, but it will certainly take care of any bacteria on the surfaces.

  • 1
    This! But absolutely wear rubber gloves and be sure you have plenty of fresh air circulating. Bleach solutions will burn your hands and also the fumes will damage the lining of your nose and your lungs. BE SAFE! It's a common household product but it's a very nasty chemical, which is why germs don't like it either.
    – jwh20
    Apr 24, 2020 at 14:58
  • Ecnerwal, what's a good way to let it sit on (vertical) bathroom wall tiles?
    – Pacerier
    Apr 24, 2020 at 15:22
  • Wipe it on with a mop, sponge, or rag, and wait 5-6 minutes.
    – Ecnerwal
    Apr 24, 2020 at 15:36

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