Our friends, Sarah and Dave, are in the process of renovating their house. It was Sarah’s family home growing up, and now the time has come for her own little ones to grow there, too. To make it their own, they are completely revamping the floor plan, altering materials, appliances and fixtures throughout. I can’t help but live vicariously through their adventures.

Seeing the demolitions and progress photos makes me feel like I am a part of it all. Sarah and Dave eagerly join in the renovations whenever they can, and rehash their adventures to keep us in the loop.


The project as a whole is exciting, but the part they are most excited for is the new master bathroom. As they search for finishes and make final decisions, one of the most important aspects that has come to play a part has been low-maintenance ways of keeping it clean. Whether you are renovating your own bathroom or just living vicariously through someone else’s renovation, you may want to consider some of these ways to keep it as germ-free as can be.


Your toilet will dish up the majority of the germs in your bathroom. Close the lid before flushing, and keep it closed until you need it again. The airborne germs are what you need to guard against most. Keep toothbrushes, toothpaste, hair brushes and any other toiletries tucked behind closed doors. Everyday use items should go in your medicine cabinet, and occasional use items can go down below in your vanity cabinet. If you don’t have the space or the option to install cabinetry, opt for a basket with a lid instead. The idea is to create a physical barrier between your things and the open air of the bathroom.


Automate whatever you can. TOTO washlets offer auto-open and auto-close options for lids, and the newer versions also have electro-lyzed water for disinfecting.


“Electrolyzed water cleans the [washlet] nozzle and mists the bowl after every use,” says Everett Shintaku, of The Bathroom Store. “It kills bacteria and keeps your toilet sanitized.”


Germs have a knack for finding their way into hard-to-reach cracks and crevices. Do what you can to take away their hiding spots. Opt for hard surface flooring with either no rugs or those that are easy to wash (and make a point to wash them often!). When picking tile, look for large pieces that require less grout, or choose large, smooth-surface materials for your tub, shower and flooring instead.

Have a comment or question for Joanne? Email thefixisinhawaii@gmail.com