April 8, 2013 at 2:45 PM ET
You may keep your bathtub and shower clean with a weekly once-over (or maybe even daily with a squeegee), but over time, hard water deposits, soap scum, mold, mildew and more build up. There’s nothing pretty about the science project growing in your bathroom, but you can cut through the grime with these five easy steps. We promise they’ll make your bathtub shower shine brighter than Mr. Clean’s head.
Step 1: Prep & Spray
Remove the shampoo, conditioner, body wash or soap, razors and other toiletries from the area.
Then, spray the surface area of the unit with an all-purpose bathroom cleaner, concentrating the solution in extra dirty and tough-to-clean spots like the soap holder, bathtub corners, tile grout and the tub ring. Let the cleaner sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
Step 2: Scrub the Dirt Away
Scrub the shower stall with a soft-bristled brush, starting at the top of the leftmost wall and working downward. Vigorously brush the corners, breaking up the soap scum. Then, clean the bathtub’s interior walls, the bottom of the tub and the fixtures. Rinse well with warm water.
Step 3: Get Those Fixtures Extra Shiny
For extra shiny fixtures, try one of these surprising, tried-and-true natural cleaning methods to remove residual grime from the faucet:
White vinegar: Soak a few stacked paper towels in vinegar, ring them out and wrap around the chrome hardware (e.g. faucet, handles, shower head, etc.) for 10 minutes. Remove the wrap, and let dry for sparkling, gunk-free fixtures.
Toothpaste: Dab a small amount of regular toothpaste onto the fixtures, rub in, and then wipe with a dampened rag or sponge.
Step 4: Wipe Away Water Spots
If you have glass doors, spray them down with an all-purpose cleaner or glass cleaner and wipe clean. Stubborn water spots still there? Use one of these easy DIY solutions:
Lemon: Cut a lemon in half, and dip the opening face down into salt. Rub onto the doors, and let it sit for 5 minutes. Rinse well with warm water.
Dryer Fabric Softener Sheets: Wet them, and wipe.
Step 5: Makeover a Mucky Shower Curtain
Remove the plastic or vinyl shower curtain from the hooks. Lay it flat on the bathroom floor with the inside face up. Target the mildew and soap scum with warm water and a scrub brush. If that doesn’t do the job, try one of these natural alternatives:
Baking Soda: Create an abrasive scrub mixing this staple and equal part white vinegar. Apply, scrub and rinse well.
Hydrogen Peroxide Spray: Combine one part hydrogen peroxide with two parts water into a spray bottle. Spritz the areas, and let dry.
Toss it in the wash: Place the dirty shower curtain in the washing machine with a few bath towels. Along with laundry detergent, add ½ cup of baking soda to the load. Wash with hot water on a gentle setting and when it’s finished hang the curtain to dry.
Christine Petrozzo is a freelance writer living in San Francisco, Ca.
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.