How to Clean a Shower So It Sparkles from Top to Bottom
You step into the shower to get yourself clean, but the surfaces in your shower might not be so fresh. Dirt, dust, hard water spots, mildew, soap scum, and other residue can build up in the shower over time, so it's important to incorporate this area into your regular bathroom cleaning routine. A bit of daily, after-shower upkeep can ward off some of the worst stains and grime, but you should plan to also give your shower a deeper cleaning about once a week. Use our guide below to learn how to clean a shower, including those made from fiberglass, tile, and stone. We'll also walk you through how to clean the showerhead, doors, grout, and more.
In general, the best time to deep-clean your shower is right after you use it. The surface is already wet from your shower, and the steamy temperature has loosened dirt, making your job easier. Get a sparkling shower with minimal scrubbing using these easy cleaning tips.
Best Shower Cleaning Tools
The right cleaning supplies will make it much easier to scrub away dirt and grime in your shower. For starters, a brush will do a better job than a sponge at loosening soap scum and water deposits. Look for one with a diamond-shaped head ($11, Target), which will reach into corners easier than a brush with a flat head does. You should also keep a squeegee ($7, Target) or an absorbent bath towel handy to clear away excess water from walls and doors after each shower, which helps prevent water spots and soap scum buildup. You can often find squeegees with suction-cup handles that can be attached to the shower wall for convenience.
The best shower cleaner will depend on your shower's material. Certain surfaces require special care, so be sure to use cleaning solutions and scrubbers that won't harm the material of your shower surfaces. Daily shower cleaning sprays ($3, Target) are a convenient way to prevent soap buildup that works for most materials. Following the manufacturer's directions, spray shower walls after you step out of the shower. Keep in mind that using too much spray causes streaking. Some sprays also contain an oily ingredient designed to repel water and soap; these products should be applied only on shower walls to avoid slippery, unsafe floors.
How to Clean a Fiberglass Shower
Showers made from fiberglass or acrylic are popular in many homes because they're relatively inexpensive and easy to install. This type of shower is also fairly easy to keep clean with a few household ingredients. When cleaning a fiberglass shower, avoid using abrasive scrubbing tools that could scratch the surface.
After removing all shower accessories and bottles, spray the entire area with a commercial shower cleaner ($2, Walmart) or a DIY shower cleaning solution of equal parts vinegar and dish soap. Don't forget the hardware as well! Soap scum easily builds up on shower faucets. Use a soft-bristled brush to clean around faucets and in corners.
To remove grime from the shower floor, sprinkle the area with baking soda while it's still wet with the vinegar-dish soap solution. Let sit for about 10 minutes, then gently scrub with a soft-bristled brush. Rinse the entire shower with water, and wipe away excess water with a squeegee or towel to prevent water spots.
How to Clean a Tile Shower
Showers with ceramic or porcelain tiles are durable and low-maintenance, but the grout between tiles can be a magnet for grime and mildew. Spray shower tiles with a commercial tile cleaner ($2, The Home Depot) or a mixture of equal parts vinegar and dish soap. Wait several minutes to allow the cleaning solution to break up soap scum and hard water deposits, then scrub with a soft-bristled brush and rinse well. Remove excess water from the surface with a squeegee or towel.
To clean grout in the shower, apply a mixture of two parts baking soda with one part vinegar using a grout brush ($4, Target) or an old toothbrush. After about five minutes, scrub the grout lines and rinse clean.
How to Clean a Stone Shower
Stone showers, including those made from granite, marble, travertine, and other natural stone, require special cleaning methods as the material's permeability makes it vulnerable to scratches and stains. Never use harsh tile cleaners or acidic ingredients like vinegar or lemon juice, as these can damage the stone's surface. Instead, use cleaning products specifically designed for your type of stone or a small amount of mild dish soap mixed with water. Gently buff using a sponge or microfiber cloth, then rinse clean and dry immediately with a soft towel. You should also wipe your stone shower dry after each use. Polish the surface weekly and cover it with a stone sealer twice a year.
How to Clean Glass Shower Doors
To make glass shower doors gleam, warm some distilled white vinegar in the microwave and mix it with an equal proportion of dish soap. Pour your DIY glass cleaner into a spray bottle and coat both sides of the doors. After about 30 minutes, use a damp sponge and clean water to wipe away the cleaning solution and dry with a microfiber cloth. If you're worried about damaging surrounding stone surfaces, swap the vinegar solution for a mixture of baking soda and dish soap. Apply the paste to the glass shower doors and gently scrub using a non-scratch sponge ($3, Target). Finish by cleaning the shower door track with a soft toothbrush and gentle dishwashing liquid. Rinse well.
How to Clean a Showerhead
You can get rid of mineral deposits and buildup from your showerhead without even removing it. Simply fill a plastic bag with distilled white vinegar, slip it over the showerhead, and secure with a rubber band. Wait about one hour before removing the bag and turning on the water to flush. Dry and polish the showerhead with a soft cloth. Repeat this process about once a month to keep your showerhead free from buildup.
How to Clean the Shower Drain
Fix a slow-moving shower drain with the help of a wire hanger and a few household ingredients. Start by removing the drain's cover and soaking it in white vinegar to remove soapy residue. Use pliers to straighten out a wire hanger and make a hook at one end. Carefully lower the wire into the drain and use the hooked end to pull out the clog, repeating as needed until the drain is clear. Run hot water down the drain to flush out any remaining buildup.
How to Clean Shower Curtains and Liners
Shower curtains and liners can harbor dust, germs, and mold or mildew, but they're simple to clean. Most can be machine-washed; check the instructions on the care tag to make sure. Remove the rings or clips and toss the curtain and liner in the washer on a gentle cycle in warm water. Rehang and let air-dry.