The Best (and Most Effective) Time to Clean Your Shower, According to a Cleaning Pro

published Apr 13, 2022
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Credit: Lauren Kolyn

Everyone likes a simple hack that will make their cleaning to-do list feel more manageable. These hacks run the gamut from using unexpected household items to clean things more effectively (like using a broom to clean a bathtub) to combining cleaning products for the best deep clean (like using Tide to clean floors.)

One of the viral hacks I’ve always been most curious about is the one where you use a dish wand in the shower, after you’re done using it. There are countless TikTok videos out there that demonstrate how to get into the habit of cleaning your shower more often with the help of this common kitchen staple. All you need to do is fill the wand with your favorite shower cleaning solution, or Dawn dish soap, and keep it hanging in a handy spot in your shower. Once you finish your shower routine, you then grab the wand and quickly soap up the walls and doors, rinsing it down right before you hop out. 

It’s a neat trick, especially for people who drag their feet on weekly cleaning. It definitely feels easier to scrub a few tiles while waiting for your hair mask to soak in than devoting an entire Saturday to polishing the bathroom. Some of the logic behind this hack, devotees say, is that cleaning the shower after taking one can be a more optimal cleaning window, since the steam from the shower should loosen lingering dirt and grime. But is that true? According to cleaning professionals, not so much. 

“Heavy-duty grime is heavy-duty grime. Your showering won’t make it any looser or easier to clean,” says Melissa Maker, cleaning expert, host of YouTube channel Clean My Space, and author of “Clean My Space: The Secret To Cleaning Better, Faster – And Loving Your Home Every Day.” “Grime in a shower comprises soap scum and mildew. These don’t ‘loosen’ in a shower. The most convenient time to clean the shower is when you schedule a time to do it because that’s when you’ll get it done.”

Credit: Ana Kamin

While Maker insists there is no magical window to make cleaning pesky shower grime easier, if you still want to avoid a weekly major scrub job, there is one key thing you can do to ensure you won’t have to scrub your tiles or porcelain that often. 

“Dry it thoroughly after each use,” says Maker. “Rinse the shower clean from any body scrub or soapy products before you end, and just before you step out, squeegee glass walls, tile, and the tub or ground.” If you don’t want to use a squeegee, she recommends using a thick microfiber cloth or designated towel instead to sop up all remaining moisture. “This takes less than two minutes to do. I do it every day. My shower is three years old and looks in perfect condition.”

This method shouldn’t take any longer than using a dish wand, and it helps to address the mess where it starts. “By not leaving any water behind, you remove the three main components of soap scum — hard water residue, soap remnants, body oils/dead skin cells — and the one key contributor to mold/mildew — moisture,” says Maker. When possible, you should ventilate the room for an hour before and after your shower to help keep mildew to a minimum.  

That’s not to say that you can’t also use a dish wand, especially if it gets you to clean the shower more regularly. But Maker points out you’ll still need to rinse the shower and dry it after using it anyway, so it might be more time-effective just to cut that step out. “Our showers don’t get ‘dirty’ as much as they fall victim to the build-up of the three above items we leave behind, plus the moist environment it exists in. That’s the soap scum we have to end up scrubbing away. My goal is to stay ahead of it, so I never have to scrub,” she says.

Talk about staying ahead of the shower cleaning curve.