Between drinking my morning coffee, flossing, applying face masks, rinsing off face masks, tweezing errant shoulder hairs, singing badly, wondering if I should buy Cloud—the new fragrance by Ariana Grande, examining my undercarriage with a handheld mirror, making miserable expressions as I remove my retainer, and strengthening my pelvic floor, I spend a lot of time in my bathroom.
And why wouldn’t I? Bathrooms are windows into someone’s soul! They’re the nipples of an apartment! I couldn’t tell you the number of times I've been invited over to someone’s home only to squirm away to the powder room and quietly pass judgment on the way they live. What products are in plain sight? Of what caliber is their toilet paper? Do they own floss? What’s the grout situation? Assuming most people are like me, it is imperative that I maintain my lavatory as a clean, pleasant space for bathing, Kegel exercises, and everything in between. My cleaning regimen goes a little something like this:
Clear your sink
If you don’t use it every day, keep it off your sink. My electric toothbrush that is always dying on me and one bottle of Goest hand wash is all I keep out. This soap has a light, sporty nectar scent of peaches crushed through the fist of The Talented Mr. Ripley. My brother-in-law has complimented its scent twice and he hardly likes anything.
Considering that I’m practically a TV tray away from eating meals in my bathroom, I must straddle the line between cleaners that are highly efficacious and low on chemicals. I use this cleaner from Branch Basics. It is a universal concentrate that you add (in various ratios depending on your needs) to spray bottles. When mixed in higher volumes, it cleans grout and tile. In moderate volumes, surfaces and stains. In its lowest volume, mirrors. It’s like Dr. Bronner’s without that religious overcurrent. You know the one.
Clear your drain
Either I’m stressed out, molting, experiencing a correlation between ED meds and male pattern baldness, or all of the above, but there are chilling amounts of my Gollum hair in the shower drain after I shampoo. I’m talking a solid hamster-sized mass of witch strands. So once a week on hair wash day, I make sure to collect the nightmarish wad with a paper towel and toss it into the trash. It’s easy and prevents my drain from slowing down. (I hear there are lots of Shark Tank contraptions engineered to do this, I just don’t own one.)
Wash your towels (!!!)
Not only are towels a squalid breeding ground for bacteria, but a dingy towel can knock the overall clean look of a bathroom down several pegs. This is why—despite my manic affinity for color—I insist on white towels. Plush investment towels (mine are from Casamera) stand up to routine bleaching and remain fluffy as hell.
Keep the tools to a minimum
I keep one—and only one—hot tool in my bathroom. It’s a very fancy GHD that chimes like R2D2 when powering up and down, and is somehow smart enough to not fry my aforementioned balding raccoon pelt. I use it when I’m trying to tame defiant cowlicks or when I’m trying to part my hair down the middle, which as of late, is more often than I care to admit.
Be cognizant of storage
One of the first things I did when I moved into my apartment was rip the medicine cabinet off the wall. The previous tenants were two young men who were, to put it delicately, slobs of the highest order. The inside of it was so corrupt with filth that the idea of placing any of my personal effects in it made me physically recoil.
In its place, I hung a large round mirror. It’s pretty, but it doesn’t do much in the way of storage, so I rely on open shelving. This forces me to be very judicious about what I keep on display. My shelf is divided into four quadrants: face, body, hair, and miscellaneous products that I’m testing. A place for everything and everything in its place.
Mind the walls
Dark paint works on multiple levels: it implies permanent residency and masks day-to-day wear. I know every interior design blog tells you to keep small spaces light, but a small bathroom is a great place to go snug and velvety. I painted my bathroom with Clare’s Current Mood—a warm, muted mid-tone green—to do just that. It makes the bright whites of my tile and towels pop, and handles a wet sponge swipe like a champ.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to hang art on those walls for a bit of polish. A framed LP of Jennifer Lopez’s "Waiting For Tonight" single watches over the commode, listlessly. I like to tell guests it’s there so they can go number one on the six. This directive has yet to be well received.
Photos via the author.