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With time, dust collects on the white tiles in my bathroom:

image of dust collecting on white bathroom tiles

You cannot just wipe away the dust with a dry rag. I guess the humidity in the bathroom makes the dust stick to the tiles. It only comes off when you use a wet rag or wash it off with flowing water (e.g. using the shower head).

Washing the dust off using the shower head works fine where the wall is over the bath tub and the water runs safely into the tub. It is not an option, though, in most parts of the bath, where the water would run down onto the floor and away into the adjoining room, damaging the wooden parquet there.

But when I try to wipe the dust off with a wet cloth, only part of it sticks to the cloth, the rest kind of rolls together into little rolls of wet dust that remain on the wall:

image of wet dust rolled into many small black dust rolls

Getting these off is rather time consuming. When you wipe the same are repeatedly, the dust rolls that are on the cloth get spread over the tiles again. So you bascially have to wash out the cloth under running water after every wipe. And even with a clean cloth you can usually only pick up a part of the wet dust rolls, and it takes quite a large number of wipes to get even a small area clean. Cleaning the whole bathroom wall requires hours of wiping, washing out the cloth, and wiping again. This is so tiring and annyoing, that I have stopped cleaning the bathroom walls. But now I'm moving out and must clean them.

Any ideas on how to clean the dust from the tiles in my bathroom efficiently without flooding the whole bath?

5 Answers 5

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If it a hack you are wanting (rather than a product recommendation) and

Washing the dust off using the shower head works fine

then the problem isn't how to clean the tiles, but preventing water damage from the run-off. You know what works and what doesn't work for the cleaning itself.

In this type of situation I would lay some old towels along the bottom of the tiled wall to soak up the water.

A shower spray doesn't really deliver very much water compared to a running tap or hose. If the shower head has a spray adjustment, set it to spray just enough water to do the job. Start rinsing from the top and work downwards.

When water seeps past the towels onto the floor, stop and pile them into the bath, and dry off the floor. Then wring out the towels and carry on.

Alternatively, if the potential floor damage isn't in the bathroom but in the next room, place the towels near the doorway to act as a dam. When they get saturated, stop and use a squeegee to mop up the water on the bathroom floor, wring out the towels and continue.

This may be a lot quicker than having to clean up the cloth you use after every single wipe.

Edit (from comment):
Also consider using a hand held plant spray. Some are operated by finger trigger, others can be pressurised and deliver a stronger spray.

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  • Hmm, interesting idea. The hose from the shower isn't actually long enough to reach around the whole bathroom, and the shower dispenses (is that the right term?) quite a lot of water at the minimum opening, but maybe I can use a watering can. That's maybe easier to dose and won't flood the bath as quickly.
    – user38798
    Oct 3, 2022 at 18:48
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Vacuum the wall first &/or use a regular duster, just to take the loose dust off.
Then use a loose-weave microfibre cloth. Wet enough to dampen the surface without running down the wall.

Rinse frequently, as microfibre gets quickly clogged by dust.
The trick, always, with microfibre is pure warm water & patience. Several wipes over will do the trick. Don't use soaps or detergents as they adversely affect the microfibre action.

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Just use a dusting brush or a vacuum cleaner on the dry dust, before using the wet cloth. Just like collecting the dust (or the dust bunnies) from the floor - you do not collect them directly with a wet cloth for the same reason - it is very inefficient.

Also, you might use the wrong kind of cloth (I have no idea which is the good kind, just try and see) and you surely do not wet that cloth enough to make a good job.

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This really sucks Lifehack:

Consider using a small hand-held upholstery steamer/cleaner to heat, moisten, loosen, and suck the uglies off the wall in one or two strokes.

Good luck.

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  • Be careful with steam cleaners, they can crack ceramic tile - been there, done that.
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 15, 2022 at 11:31
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You can reduce the amount of scrubbing required by spraying your tiles with a cleaning agent, then letting that soak for 5-10 minutes. If it dries out, just spray with some water. A reasonably light wipe should be sufficient at this point. You can use a sweeper mop like this one to get the job done a bit faster:

enter image description here

A couple of replacement rags should be sufficient for a single job, you can toss them into the laundry when they're saturated (soaking and later rinsing them helps the laundry machine though).

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