Keeping your bathroom clean and in good working order is unlikely to be the most exciting thing on your to-do list for the new year. But putting off some small and regular maintenance could end up leading to bigger problems later down the line.
Whether it's getting into good regular habits that will help stop mould from taking root, or addressing the first signs of a leaky sink early on, there are plenty of things that you can do to maintain the upkeep of your bathroom.
So we've put together a list of six bathroom maintenance tips that will help you steer clear of (bigger) future issues. Read on to find out more.
Bathrooms offer great conditions for mould to thrive - they're often wet, warm and, at times, dark. Not only is mould unsightly, but it can cause damage to the surfaces it forms on, such as the walls and ceiling.
It can also impact your health, especially if you have respiratory problems, skin problems or a weakened immune system. Elderly people and children can also be more sensitive to the effects of mould.
Once it appears, mould will continue to grow and spread, so it's best to try and prevent it from forming in the first place.
Here are a few things you can do to keep mould from developing in your bathroom:
A leaking bathroom appliance or pipe will waste water and can cause damage to your property, such as damaging the ceiling of the floor below. Check all your pipes and under your sink for leaks.
Something that often gets overlooked during bathroom maintenance is leaking toilets. Thames Water estimates that a trickling leak within your toilet could waste up to 200 litres of water a day. Major leaks, known as rippling or flowing, could waste up to 600 and 8,000 litres a day respectively.
Tom Reynolds, CEO of the Bathroom Manufacturers Association (BMA), said: 'Many people may not realise they have a leak in their toilet because it does not look like a pool of water on your bathroom floor.'
'Routine maintenance will help prevent leaks, and when a leak is spotted, it can usually be repaired with some simple and inexpensive solutions.' The BMA is running a to encourage and educate people about toilet maintenance and the ease of fixing and preventing leaks. It aims to demystify toilet maintenance and provides tips on how to spot a leak and check your toilet's seals, diaphragms, inlet and outlet values.
Often overlooked as it whirrs away at the top of your bathroom wall or on your ceiling, it can be easy to forget your bathroom extractor fan is even there. But it plays an important role in removing moisture from the air, particularly if your bathroom has no windows.
If your extractor fan is not working effectively, or has stopped working altogether, it can be tempting to put off doing anything about it.
But you shouldn't ignore it as, in the longer term, excess moisture in the air could result in a build-up of mould. Poor ventilation and excess moisture can also reduce the lifespan of various elements of your bathroom through damage to paint and furniture, for example.
Bathroom tiles often look great when they're newly laid, but the grout that holds them together is light-coloured and porous. This makes tile grout easily damaged by water - problematic given all the water-based activities happening in a bathroom.
Grout that isn't properly cleaned and maintained can become stained, mouldy and liable to crack. Once it's cracked, water can seep into the wall and cause damage.
As we mentioned earlier in relation to mould, prevention is better than cure. If you get into the habit of wiping down all surfaces after a shower, it will help maintain your grout. Additionally, every week or two use water and baking soda paste to scrub the grout, using a grout brush or an old toothbrush. Then rinse with water.
If your daily wipe down and weekly scrubbing hasn't prevented or removed serious grout stains, try using oxygen powdered bleach. This will be better for your grout than liquid, chloride-based bleach, and should still be strong enough to get rid of the stains.
When stains stubbornly refuse to come out, it doesn't have to mean replacing the entire grout. Grout renewal products products work by adding a layering of protection and colour to resist further staining, so your grout can remain a while longer.
However, if your grout is flaking and breaking, or tiles start to come off, you'll need to bite the bullet and replace it. It's best to do this as soon as possible to avoid water damage to your walls.
A wet bathroom floor presents two dangers. The first is slipping and falling, the second is mould growth, which can be damaging to respiratory health. A build up of water can also cause your flooring to warp or peel.
This means it's important to keep water off your bathroom floor. Some easy ways to do this are:
Bathroom carpet emerges as a trend every so often, and some homeowners like the look or feel of it, but it presents some problems. If you have carpet in your bathroom, it might be best to remove it as moisture will get in and under the carpet.
It's difficult to properly dry out carpet in a frequently wet environment, so mould and mildew can easily develop. This may cause the carpet to need replacing multiple times, and it may put off a potential buyer if you try and sell your house.
The thought of regularly giving your bathroom the clean it needs might not inspire you with glee. After all, keeping toilets, sinks, showers and bathtubs free of dirt and grime, and the drains free of clogged-up hair, certainly requires time, effort and elbow grease. But it's an important part of your bathroom's maintenance.
Not only is it vital for keeping a safe and hygienic bathroom, but thorough and regular cleaning also underpins many of the maintenance tips featured above, such as in the battle against mould.
A tidy bathroom is easier to clean. If you've accumulated a large number of tubes and bottles, consider some cheap space-saving solutions, such as baskets and storage tubs.