Here's how often you should be cleaning your shower — and the right way to do it

No one likes to bathe in a tub that hasn’t been cleaned, yet how many of us hop in the same shower day after day without cleaning it at all?

It’s time to tackle this chore like a pro. We asked cleaning coach Leslie Reichert and Glenn Angelora, owner of The Grout Guy in New York, for advice on keeping the shower squeaky clean. Both suggest that the shower needs a little daily TLC and a good cleaning once a week. Surprisingly, shower care is just as much about prevention as it is about cleaning. Read and watch on!

Keep it dry

Since a dark, damp environment is perfect for growing mold, mildew and germs, you can minimize shower funk by leaving the shower as dry as possible when you’re finished. After every use, Reichert suggests taking the following steps:

  • Squeegee the water off of walls, floor and door.
  • Wipe these areas again with a towel to remove any leftover condensation.
  • Leave a bathroom window open for an hour or run the vent fan for 20-30 minutes to reduce humidity.
  • Leave the shower curtain or door ajar to allow humidity to disperse.

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Check out your bath products

You may be adding to your shower’s problems without realizing it. Did you know opaque bar soap leaves behind soap scum? It sure does. Make the switch to liquid body wash or shower gel and soap scum will be a thing of the past.

Is the grout in your shower turning pink, green or some other unusual color? Check out your shampoo’s ingredient list. If it contains dyes, consider switching to one without added color. According to Angelora, the colors in these products can stain grout that is worn.

Where you keep bath products in the shower is also a factor in the growth of slime and mildew. Is your shampoo, conditioner and body scrub stored on the floor of the shower? Bad idea. This allows water to collect under them and form slime and mildew. It’s better to keep them on a shelf or a shower caddy that does not have a solid bottom.

Let us spray

Even though you do your best to keep the shower dry, it’s inevitable that some moisture will remain. Left untouched, this moisture can form slime, mold and mildew that is not only unsightly and stinky, it’s downright unhealthy.

To nip that problem in the bud, two to three times a week, spray the entire shower with a well-diluted shower cleaner or full-strength distilled white vinegar with a few drops of tea tree oil. Reichert suggests one drop of oil to every 2 ounces of vinegar. The vinegar combats scum and slime; the tea tree oil fights mildew and mold. Allow it to air dry. As always, follow the manufacturer’s directions for your particular surface. Do not use vinegar on travertine or stone.

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Once a week

  • Wipe down the shower door, floor and wall tiles with an eraser sponge, like Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, suggests Reichert. It’s free from harsh chemicals, so you can use it while you’re still in the shower.
  • Clean grout every week, or as needed, depending on how many people are using the shower. For this job, Angelora suggests using a soft scrub brush, a mixture of one-part vinegar to two-parts water and “a little elbow grease.” Stay away from using harsh chemicals, especially bleach, on grout. Sure, these products give you fast results but they also strip away the built-in water repellent that’s in grout. With less "repellency," grout discolors and is susceptible to mildew.
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As needed

  • Seal grout once or twice a year, depending upon shower use. It’s easy to do, states Angelora, and it will give worn grout added protection against staining and mildew. You’ll find grout sealer at home stores.
  • Remove soap scum build-up from shower doors. Apply a paste of baking soda and vinegar. Allow this mixture to work for 20 minutes to an hour depending on the amount of scum present. Scrub using a microfiber cloth. You can add a drop of dish detergent or a few drops of hydrogen peroxide for extra cleaning. To prevent this problem in the future, apply Rain-X to the shower door after it’s been cleaned. Just follow the manufacturer’s directions.
  • Clean the shower head. Over time, minerals collect in the shower head and reduce water flow. To remove the minerals, tie a plastic baggie filled with white distilled vinegar around the shower head. Allow this to sit overnight. In the morning, remove the baggie and run the shower to flush out the dissolved build-up.

For tips on cleaning the shower curtain, check out TODAY Home's step-by-step guide.

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How often you should clean your shower curtain, liner

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How often you should clean your shower curtain, liner

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This story was originally published May. 27, 2016.

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