Cleaning your bathtub or shower once a week can help prevent soap scum and mildew from building up. The materials you will need depend on what your shower or bathtub is made from (i.e. marble, porcelain, fiberglass). Be sure to check out “How to Clean Shower Heads” and “How to Clean Shower Curtains” to complete your shower’s transformation!
What You’ll Need
- Ingredients for your cleaning solution (see below)
- Spray bottle
- Sponge or soft cloth
- Liquid fabric softener (optional)
- Cream of tartar (optional)
- Hydrogen peroxide (optional)
- Liquid disinfectant cleaner
- Diluted chlorine bleach
- Baking soda
- Old toothbrush
- White vinegar
- Lemon cut in half
- Oxalic acid (optional)
- Rubber gloves (optional)
- Furniture polish
The Cleaning Process
- Prepare your cleaning solution and put into a spray bottle. Depending on what your shower is made from, choose the appropriate solution.
- Porcelain – Store-bought tile cleaner OR make your own using a recipe from Donna Smallin’s book, Cleaning Plain & Simple: Mix 1 2/3-c. baking soda, 1/2-c. dishwashing liquid, and 1/2-c. water; add 2-tbsp. white vinegar.
- Fiberglass – White vinegar, heated. WARNING: Do not boil the vinegar.
- Marble – Mix 1/2-c. liquid fabric softener and 1-c. water.
- Glass shower door - Mix 1/2-c. vinegar and 1-qt. water or laundry pre-wash to clear the cloudy film that can often accumulate on glass
- Use a sponge to rub solution over walls, tub, and shower. If your tub is fiberglass, use a soft cloth so you don’t scratch the surface. Don’t forget cracks and crevices where bacteria are more likely to grow.
- For tough soap scum, use a solution of either 1-c. liquid fabric softener and 1-qt. warm water or a paste of cream of tartar moistened with hydrogen peroxide.
- According to Good Housekeeping’s Household Handbook, you should clean mildew with liquid disinfectant cleaner or diluted chlorine bleach (see package instructions).
- Clean tile grout with a solution of 1/2-c. baking soda and 1/2-c. bleach. WARNING: Make sure to wear protective rubber gloves when working with bleach. Apply this paste and scrub with an old toothbrush.
- Let various solutions sit for 10 minutes, then rinse completely with water, and towel dry.
- Remove mineral stains and rust spots by soaking them in vinegar or lemon juice. After five minutes, scrub with a sponge before rinsing completely with water.
- For extra-tough mineral stains, use oxalic acid. This can be bought at a hardware or drugstore. WARNING: Make sure to wear protective rubber gloves when working with oxalic acid and use extreme caution—it is poisonous!
- To clean brass and copper fixtures, rub with half a lemon sprinkled with some salt.
- Clean your tub’s rubber bath mat with disinfectant spray by rubbing both sides with a sponge. You can also clean it in a washing machine with bleach. Prevent build-up by hanging the mat up to dry between uses.
- Prevent future build-up by covering only the walls of your shower with furniture polish. This will act as a shield from dust, soap, and water. WARNING: Be careful not get furniture polish on the shower floor—it will become slick and you may slip! It is also helpful to towel dry your shower walls after each use. And don’t forget to remove hair from the drain to prevent clogging!
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