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 giving a second thought to the last time it’s been cleaned? If you can't remember the last time you did this bathroom chore, it's officially time to tackle it like a pro.
We asked cleaning coaches Leslie Reichert and Glenn Angelora, owners of The Grout Guy in Farmington, New York, as well as Vera Peterson, president of Molly Maid, for advice on how often to clean a shower, how to clean a shower, a shower head and shower glass. A quick summary: they all suggest that the shower needs a little daily TLC and a good cleaning once a week. After all, shower care is just as much about prevention as it is about upkeep.
To quickly jump to the category you're looking for, click on the links below or keep scrolling to see all the shower cleaning tips.
Best shower cleaning products | How often should you clean your shower? | How to clean a shower floor | How to clean shower walls and doors | How to clean a shower head | How to clean a shower caddy | Check out your bath products |
Best shower cleaning products
“To effectively clean your shower, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on cleaning supplies and can use items you have at home,” Peterson says. “Use white vinegar, baking soda, lemons and water to create an effective cleaning solution that will make your shower shine.”
In case your shower needs a little extra TLC, where are some of our favorite products. In addition, if you’re looking to reorganize your shower space, these well-loved products will get the trick done.
How often should you clean your shower?
"To keep your shower clean, we recommend breaking down cleaning tasks into daily, weekly and yearly routines," Peterson says.
With regular maintenance, a deep yearly clean can be avoided. However, it is recommended to replace the shower curtain liner or wash the shower curtain yearly to maintain cleanliness.
What to do daily
Since a dark, damp environment is perfect for growing mold, mildew and germs, minimize 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 (if you have one!) 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.
What to do a few times a week
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's not only unsightly and stinky, but perhaps downright unhealthy if you have pre-existing allergies or respiratory issues.
To nip that problem in the bud, spray the entire shower two to three times a week 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 two ounces of vinegar. (The vinegar combats scum and slime, while the tea tree oil fights mildew and mold.) Allow it to air dry. As always, follow the manufacturer’s directions for your particular surface.
Note: Do not use vinegar on travertine or stone. “Vinegar is highly acidic, and although it is normally never used in an undiluted form, it still presents a considerable danger to many homes with natural stone,” says Peterson. This is where a diluted solution comes into play, as it provides a safer cleaning method. Attempting to concoct your own mixes can lead to improperly treating surfaces and expensive repairs.
Peterson also notes that makers of stone countertops and floor tiles strongly advise against using undiluted vinegar on their products. Even diluted, she says, it can potentially etch the natural stone, as well as possibly deteriorate the grout!
What to do once a week
Wipe down the shower door, floor and wall tiles with an eraser sponge, 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.
How to clean a shower floor
Depending on the type of shower you have, you may not always be able to tell when the floor requires some upkeep. Here's how Peterson suggests cleaning it for best results.
pH-neutral cleaner (for stone)
Gentle all-purpose bathroom cleaner (for fiberglass and acrylic)
To clean shower floors, Peterson suggests using baking soda and vinegar as a gentle and natural cleaner that is also tough on soap scum and hard water buildup. For tile showers, she says to apply a mild cleaning solution and use an abrasive sponge or scrubbing pad.
"For stone surface showers, wipe down the shower after each use and use a pH-neutral cleaning product to remove soap scum," she says.
For fiberglass and acrylic showers, use a non-abrasive cleaner like an all-purpose bathroom cleaner or light baking soda solution.
How to clean shower walls and doors
To clean the walls and door of a shower, it’s best to start by having all the supplies you'll need ready to go.
Cleaner of your choice (such as baking soda or white vinegar)
Gloves (depending on the cleaners ingredients and the amount of scum)
Cloth or towel
Begin by wetting the shower walls and glass doors with the shower sprayer or water from a bucket.
Fill a spray bottle with white vinegar and spray the solution on the walls and doors, allowing it to soak for at least 10 minutes. For heavy buildup, let it soak for longer.
Use a scrubbing sponge dipped in baking soda to scrub the glass.
Rinse the walls and doors with fresh water and use a microfiber cloth and your preferred glass cleaner to give the glass a shiny finish. Remember to experiment with different cleaning solutions to find the one that works best for you.
Here's an alternate way to clean your shower door:
To remove soap scum buildup 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 from recurring, apply Rain-X to the shower door after it’s been cleaned.
How to clean a shower head
Because you can't get really clean without one!
White distilled vinegar
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 buildup. Easy!
How to clean a shower caddy
Your shower caddy or cubby can get pretty grimy, too, so don't forget to give it a clean out every couple of weeks!
Cleaning solution (depends on the type of cubby you have)
Start by clearing out the cubby and removing items such as shampoo bottles, soap or other shower accessories. This will give you a clear space to clean and prevent your cleaning solution from accidentally damaging these items. Before you start cleaning the cubby, sweep away or use a handheld vacuum to remove any loose dirt or debris.
Next, Peterson says, apply cleaning solution: Choose a solution that is appropriate for your shower cubby. For example, if your cubby is made of tile, use a tile cleaner. Apply the cleaning solution to the cubby and let it sit for a few minutes.
Scrub the cubby using a scrub brush/sponge. Scrub in circular motions, paying special attention to any areas with stains or grime. If the cubby is extra dirty, you may need to repeat this step with some fresh cleaning solution.
Rinse the entire area thoroughly with water. You can use a detachable shower head or a bucket of water to rinse away the cleaning solution.
Dry it off using a towel/cloth to dry the area thoroughly to prevent water spots.
To keep your shower cubby clean, Peterson recommends wiping it down regularly and removing any excess water/soap residue. This helps prevent mold and mildew from growing and makes future cleaning easier.
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? Make the switch to liquid body wash or shower gel and watch soap scum be a thing of the past.
Is the grout in your shower turning pink, green or another 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.
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? This allows water to collect underneath and become a breeding ground. It’s better to keep them on a shelf or a shower caddy that does not have a solid bottom.