Tips for a safe, clean bathroom

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By BRIAN OKINDA
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The bathroom is an important shared space in the house, and it is potentially dangerous, so great care should be exercised in its use and maintenance..

Bathrooms have many fixtures and materials that are potentially dangerous to both adults and children, so it is important to find ways of eliminating or minimising the risks.

For instance, young children can drown even in a little water if left unattended in the bathtub. Similarly, water in the sink and toilet can be hazardous, especially to toddlers. It is, therefore, prudent to supervise toddlers and young children in the bathroom and avoid leaving  containers full of water uncovered.

Cleaning products and soap can be harmful if swallowed, so always store them in drawers or closets where children cannot reach them.

Some bathrooms have easily accessible electrical outlets, so make sure you cover them with protective caps as soon as you finish using them to avoid electrical shocks; and replace those that are worn out immediately.

Minimise the use of irons, hair curlers straighteners, or other hot appliances when children are around. These gadgets should be kept in a locked cabinet where children cannot access them.

Bathroom stools, toilet bowls, sinks, slippery floors and counter-tops are all potentially dangerous as they can lead to falls or knocks, especially if not well cleaned or dried.

To keep your bathroom and toilet hygienic and safe, keep the shower curtains drawn when not in use, so that water does not sit in the folds. 

Vinyl, synthetic, cotton and hemp shower curtains can be cleaned using warm water and a mild laundry detergent, then air-dried immediately. Spread towels over two hooks to dry or hang them on rods. The bathroom walls can also be wiped with a sponge after use to keep them dry.

Clean soap scum on surfaces using an acidic cleaner such as a solution of white vinegar and water. This will remove the stubborn stains, but always wear gloves and rinse surfaces thoroughly.

Some cleaning products may leave harsh residues, so clean the bathroom surfaces using mild soaps and simple products commonly found in the kitchen such as baking soda or white vinegar.

To prevent the growth of mildew, increase the amount light and air circulation to reduce moisture. You can use a fan while  bathing and for roughly 30 minutes after. Air conditioners and dehumidifiers come in handy too. Ensure the windows remain open after the shower/bath.

But if there’s some mildew, clean using a mixture of water and bleach with a soft-bristled brush. You can follow up with a pH-neutral cleaner to remove the bleach solution from the surface.

Clean bacteria and mildew from bath toys by giving them a vinegar-water bath. Simply fill a bucket or large bowl with warm water, add half a cup of white vinegar and soak the toys  in it for 10 minutes. Rub them gently with a sponge and allow to dry. The acetic acid in vinegar gets rid of dirt build-up while also  disinfecting the toys.

Bathtub rings occur as a result of the use of oily bath products and give the tub an unsightly appearance. Clean the tub with warm water and a little abrasive cleanser after using such products.

To remove a hard-water ring from  the toilet bowl, pour white vinegar into the bowl and let it stand for an hour before scrubbing and  then flushing.

Clean the boilet bowl by pouring  a quarter cup of chlorine bleach into the bowl, letting it stand for a few minutes, then scrubbing with a toilet brush and flushing. This also disinfects the bowl.

To clean a clogged shower head, fill a plastic bag with undiluted white vinegar and place the bag over the showerhead secured using a rubber band. Soak overnight and then scrub with a brush.

Every month or two, flush the drainage pipes to keep them clear of grease, oil, and hair tufts. You can do this by pouring half a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by half a cup of white vinegar. The mixture will foam. Let it stand for a few minutes to dissolve fatty acids then pour boiling water to wash down any gunk.

At the end of the day, we all want to unwind quietly at home. Sometimes this is not possible because you have noisy neighbours. This is where soundproofing comes in. Acoustic foam is ideal for this because it prevents noise from the neighbour’s house, or even  from the streets, from entering your house. Likewise, it ensures that no noise escapes from your house to disturb others.

“Acoustic foam is a lightweight material made from polyurethane foam that is used for soundproofing. Its objective is to improve sound quality by removing residual sound in any space,” says Mr Rakesh Shah, the ECO of Vitafoam Products, which deals in this type of foam.

“This requires strategic placement of the foam panels on walls, ceiling and floors, effectively eliminating resonance within the room. The foam can be cut to any desired size and it is fast and easy to install, says Mr Shah, adding that it is also pocket-friendly.

Acoustic foam is cut in tiles with “egg tray” shapes. It  not only absorbs sound but also enhances the quality of sound and speech in a room, dealing with both mid and high frequencies at the same time.

“For party halls or a recording studio, acoustic foam can also serve as a cheap form of heat reduction that is placed in corners of a room, or wherever optimal sound mixes are needed as bass traps to minimize echo,” says Mr Shah.

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