One of the most common questions I get asked is how to clean a shower properly.
This is definitely one of the jobs that seems harder than it is. If you have the right tools, products, and technique, and do it regularly, you will be in good shape. If your shower has not been cleaned in a while, however, expect a little more elbow grease to be required the first go.
What You’ll Need:
Tub and tile cleaner. For porcelain, glass walls, glass tile, or ceramic tile, you can use any tub and tile cleaner that you like. I love Mother’s Choice, or you can use a homemade soap scum cleaner. For natural stone such as granite, slate, or travertine, you can only clean it with neutral soap or a specialty stone cleaner.
Double-sided sponge. Look for the non-scratching kind, to avoid scuffing any finishes. Don’t use a cheap sponge here—that will just have you working overtime.
Microfiber cloths for drying walls and the tub, and a squeegee if you have one.
Baking soda for some added abrasion, just in case.
Full-strength vinegar for heavily-stained glass shower doors.
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Here’s My Ultimate Shower Cleaning Strategy
Remove everything from the shower: bottles, soap bars, sponges. (If you want to clean your loofah at the same time, fill your bathroom sink with a cup of hydrogen and water and and let it soak for about 10 minutes.) Place bottles to rest on a towel or counter. Remove the bath mat.
Pull the curtains out of the way—flip them up over the shower bar or remove them altogether. Spray the walls very generously with your tub and tile cleaner and let it sit for about 5 minutes. (This “dwell time” will allow the product to do the work for you, so the longer you let it sit, the more easily it will break down soap scum.) Be sure not to spray the tub or floor of the shower—we leave that until the end to make the cleaning process easier. Don’t worry about spraying any higher than the tallest person that uses that shower—you are not going to get any soap scum up there. For glass shower walls, put full-strength vinegar in a spray bottle and spritz right on.
With the scrubby side of your non-scratching sponge, start scrubbing at the far left wall of the shower, and continue down until you get to the bottom of the wall. Then move on to the next wall. For heavy soap scum (on non-glass walls or tiles), sprinkle about a tablespoon of baking soda onto your sponge and wet it, then squeeze it a few times to work the baking soda in. The abrasion will help scrape off the scum. Work from top to bottom, from left to right. And avoid the temptation to scrub in circles—that is a total time waster. Keep doing this until all walls have been cleaned. Do not rinse the walls yet.
Now, repeat steps 2 and 3 for the tub. Spray it down, let it sit for 5 or 10 minutes, and then scrub, starting at one end and working your way to the other. Warning! If your tub is acrylic, use the soft side of your sponge only—the scrubbing side can ruin the finish.
Crank the shower on hot water. If you have a removable shower head, start spraying the shower walls down, following the same pattern you used to clean it—far left clockwise to right. If you don’t, run the faucet and use a container or jug to rinse the walls. Once you’ve rinsed, use a squeegee to remove all the water from the walls, then follow that up by buffing with a clean cloth. Repeat for the tub. Don’t forget to shine the chrome!
To check and see if all soap scum is gone, look at your tub and tiles on an angle—you should not see any greyish lines or dull spots. You can also feel it: If you feel any resistance when you run your hand along the surface, it means soap scum is still there.
Always use a squeegee after your shower. It may seem like a big effort, but it takes about 20 seconds, and prevents any soap scum from building up. Alternately, just take an old towel and wipe the walls quickly before you leave the shower. If the walls are dry, you will never see soap scum, because it won’t be able to settle!
You can also create your own shower spray by mixing a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water and keeping a spray bottle of that in your shower. When you’re all done in the morning, mist the shower down. That will prevent soap scum from clinging to the walls.
I hope that helped. Let me know how you like this routine! Also, what are your shower cleaning tricks?
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