How to Clean a Shower

published Nov 28, 2020
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Credit: Minette Hand

Cleaning your shower can feel weird—because isn’t it kind of getting clean every time you run water and wash yourself off? The answer is yes, but also no. Running water on a regular basis probably helps rinse off surface grime. But unless you’re using a daily shower spray to maintain your shower’s cleanliness, buildup from your hair and body products, natural body oils, and hard water deposits can result in unsightly and hard-to-clean bathroom grime over time.

If you’re not extra careful, surface-level messiness can give way to mold or mildew, which can be harmful to your health (not to mention straight-up gross). The solution? Get into a regular shower-cleaning routine.

A daily shower spray could certainly be part of that routine, if you want to be an overachiever. But the most important thing is to use a dedicated tub and tile cleaner on a regular basis. Once a week is a good cadence for most people, although it depends how often you shower. Not only will your shower be cleaner each time you use it (and easier to clean when it does get dirty). You’ll also prevent nasty mold and mildew from building up in the place you’re trying to get clean. 

Ready to learn how to clean a shower? Here’s how to make it happen, step by step.

Things to Know Before You Start

As always, safety first! Remember to protect your hands and lungs by wearing cleaning gloves and a mask if you’re cleaning in a smaller or enclosed bathroom space—especially if you’re using chemicals or strong-smelling products. Make sure to protect your shower, too: Always test an inconspicuous spot first whenever trying out any new cleaning products in your home.

How to Clean a Shower, Step by Step

So, you’re ready to clean your shower? Don’t worry: The job is probably less labor-intensive than you think—especially if you keep up with it routinely—and the sparkling clean surfaces will be totally worth the elbow grease. Here’s how to clean a shower, step by step, according to Angela Dixon and Georgia Bell, Grove Guides with Grove Collaborative.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

1. Remove all products.

Start with a blank slate by removing all bath products, including your bath mat and any accessories, from the shower.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

2. Get your shower wet.

You’ll need a wet shower to thoroughly clean, so either run the shower for a moment to dampen all surfaces—or, as the Grove Guides suggest, clean after showering when everything is still wet. If there are sections of your shower that the fixtures can’t reach, try using a drink pitcher to wet those surfaces.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

3. Apply your cleaner.

Spray or apply your cleaner of choice, and allow it to sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Dixon and Bell swear by the Grove Collaborative Tub & Tile Cleaning Concentrate. But any tub and tile cleaner will do the trick. Or you can make your own DIY cleaner with equal parts vinegar and dish soap.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

4. Loosen debris.

While the cleaner is still in your shower, use a sturdy scrub brush to loosen any stubborn debris on walls, tile, and floor. Then wipe the surface down with a damp sponge or cloth. 

Credit: Joe Lingeman

5. Rinse.

Run the shower to rinse off the cleaner. 

Credit: Joe Lingeman

6. Detail clean.

Don’t forget to clean around faucets, fixtures, and the shower head. If you have hard water build up, you can remove and soak the shower head to deep clean and increase water flow. The right tool might make the job easier—Dixon recommends Full Circle’s Micro Manager Detail Brush for getting into those hard to clean areas.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

7. Clean all accessories.

Launder your shower liner, curtain, and mat if needed. An oxygen whitener, such as Molly’s Suds, can help with mold, mildew or soap scum build-up. “This bleach-alternative is great because it’s color safe,” says Bell.

How do you clean a glass shower door? 

If you have a glass shower door instead of a curtain, you’ll have an extra step (but it’s easy). Fill a spray bottle with white vinegar, then saturate the glass, allowing it to do its work for 5 or 10 minutes (longer if there’s major soap scum).

Then, dip a sponge or microfiber cloth into a baking soda paste made with equal parts baking soda and water, and use it to scrub the glass. Rinse with clean water when the glass appears clean, and finally, dry it with a clean microfiber cloth or paper towel.