A Shiny New Shower & Tub: A Cleaning Regimen for Keeping them Perfect Forever

updated May 4, 2019
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(Image credit: Bethany Nauert)

Alright, I keep telling myself, this is your one chance. You may never again have a bathroom with a brand-new bathtub and shower surround. Of the 10 bath/shower combos I’ve lived with in my life, none have been remotely new nor perfect…but soon all that will change. I’ve got one chance to do this right!

The little prairie house that we’ll be moving into — that of 35-year-old orange shag carpet fame — needed a total demo-n-reno, including a new subfloor and entirely new plumbing. Don’t ask — I’m staying safely away from those types of projects. But the bathroom renovation is a ton of work with a very fun reward: a perfectly new, never-soapscum-ed, never-stained, never-clogged, never-mineral-deposited, never-even-used-before tub and shower.

I am super excited and equally intimidated, so I thought I’d consult the experts and put together a thorough cleaning plan-of-attack before I ever set foot in our new bathroom. I don’t want to wreck it from the get-go! Here’s what we’ll have to do…

  • Squeegee shower walls after every use: I don’t own a squeegee, but if Martha says
  • Wipe down tub and faucets after every use: Again, if Martha says it will prevent soap scum buildup and mineral deposits, I believe her.
  • Spray all surfaces with Apartment Therapy’s daily cleaner every day: Okay, this is getting ridiculous. I know this step only adds 60-seconds, but it’s all starting to add up.
  • Spray all surfaces with white vinegar ever other day: SF Gate counsels that this is crucial for “deodorizing and disinfecting; a few quick sprays three times a week eliminates future scrubbing”. I like the sound of that.
  • Use baking soda rather than abrasive cleaners: SF Gate also notes that fiberglass shower walls are too delicate for the usual scouring and scrubbing, but that vinegar plus baking soda will get the job done gently.
  • Protect the walls with boat wax: DoItYourself.com says that this will help the water run off more thoroughly. Where does one acquire boat wax?
  • Clean the caulk with X-14, Zep, or bleach: Jezebel’s Ask A Clean Person Jolie Kerr recommends all three products for removing stains and mildew from caulk, but I am not about to wait for stains and mildew to form before I jump into action. Proactive strike!
  • Put vinegar-soaked paper towels along the seams: According to Jolie Kerr’s feature on Reddit, those hard-to-reach seams between the fiberglass pieces can be taken care of by soaking a paper towel in vinegar and letting it sit in the crevice for awhile.
  • Wax the tub quarterly: DoItYourself.com advises, “You can apply a spray on auto wax to edges and sides of the tub (it should never be applied to the floor of the tub), and buff it to maintain the high gloss sheen that it came with when new.”

What are the chances I will actually do this? Check back in quarterly!

Re-edited from a post originally published 5.1.12-NT