How to Clean a Shower

A soapy, dirty shower floor.

Cleaning a shower can often be a pain. There comes a point when, if you don’t clean the darn thing, it becomes counterproductive. The time comes when you step out of the place feeling dirtier than when you climbed in. And 8 out of 10 girlfriends agree: a clean shower is sexier than a filthy one. The other two women were too scared of the bathroom to make it much past the toilet. On a personal note, my wife uses the method I’m going to describe. Honestly, it yields some fantastic results. But when I discovered I was going to write this article, I asked her to demonstrate how to clean the shower. Sure, I’d seen it done before, but admittedly it had been a while. And let’s face it: I’m the average dude . . . we don’t clean showers. We’re the ones who let them grow into a colony of technologically advanced bacteria and leave of their own accord once they discover space travel. So anyway, she rinses the tub, mixes up a solution while it fills up, and lets it sit. After about ten minutes, we go back upstairs and she starts stripping. Confusion begins to set in. This process started the way I thought it would, but it was rapidly going to a very different place. So, I ask her if I should strip, as well. “Only if you want to,” she says.

I’m more confused, and becoming a little worried. The last time we went to a place where audience participation was optional, it was sad and lonely. I’m about to commit a gratuitous act of nudity when she climbs into the partially filled tub. Scrubbing the shower walls commences. Confusion gives way to . . . well, more confusion. When I ask her to explain she says, “This way your readers know it’s gentle on the skin. And so long as you don’t take a picture of this to post, you can tell this story.” I digress.

Shower Cleaning 101

  1. Rinsing down the showerRinse the shower thoroughly. Honestly, the best way would be to take a shower ahead of time. Splash around. I mean, really get the walls and the entire floor of the shower good and wet. Good luck not getting the bathroom wet, as well. This next point is crucial: If you start with a dry shower, you’ll have to work all the harder to get the dried-on grossness off the walls and floor of your shower. In the end, doing so is just going to be a big headache.
  2. filling the tubBucket or tub? After you’re done rinsing the shower, and yourself, if you followed my advice (go ahead and towel off; maybe throw on a shirt and some pants), and assuming you have a bathtub/shower combination, fill the tub with two or three inches of warm (not hot) water. If you have a standalone shower, find a bucket and fill it with warm water. At the very most, you’ll need half a gallon of water; most likely you’ll need significantly less.
  3. bottle of seventh generationPrepare your cleaning solution. Take any dish soap (I recommend the Seventh Generation brand) and add about 1/8 cup to the tub; 2 tablespoons if by bucket. Then, take your handy baking soda and spread it across the surface of your tub water. You don’t need a huge amount, so don’t go crazy. Same goes for the bucket proceedings: No more than two or three spoonfuls.
  4. Box of baking sodaMix it up! Mix the solution gently, breaking up any baking soda chunks. If you want, go ahead and mix vigorously and see how many frothy bubbles you can manage. There’s no real benefit to doing this, but it can be fun. For the tub situation, once you’re done mixing, let it sit for ten minutes or so. If you are bucket-bound, move on to the next step.
  5. spongeGive the cleaning solution another good mixing, and then take a sponge and scrub the hell out of the walls of the tub and shower. The solution should be strong enough to take care of most general shower grossness: soap scum, mildew, etc.
  6. Rinse bucketDrain the tub when you have finished. Rinse the sponge and tub thoroughly, then use the sponge to rinse off the walls. You may need to rinse the sponge a number of times while ensuring you get every area you cleaned. The solution can leave a film if it air dries, and you’ll have to start all over.

Other Uses for Your Homemade Shower Cleaner

The solution above has many wide and varied uses: cleaning sinks and manual (not electric) tools (so don’t come crying to me if you go dunking your power tools in this stuff), toilets, and even the bathroom floor! You can clean dishes with it, too, but in my honest opinion, the dish soap alone would be more effective.

Natural Shower Cleaning Options

spray bottle shooting starsCreate your own spray shower cleaner. Fill a squirt bottle about two-thirds full with warm water and add a tablespoon of natural dish soap. Gauge how much baking soda you need based on the size of the spray bottle, but I would say no more than one teaspoon per cup of water. MIX THOROUGHLY lest the sprayer clogs. Spray on your shower walls, let sit for a few minutes, and then scrub like crazy. Do NOT allow to dry.

spray bottle of seventh generationSometimes, when showers get really nasty, you need a little extra help. The cleaning solution I’ve suggested is effective, but unquestionably mild. However, there is a commercial grade shower cleaner available. The Seventh Generation brand is awesome because it promotes a clean environment, and its products are mostly natural and not tested on anything with a face. If all else fails, go for that. You can order Seventh Generation Shower Cleaner from Amazon.

A bucket full of soapy waterA bucket of soapy water can clean a shower. Seriously, putting approximately half a gallon of water in a bucket and mixing it with some natural dish soap will do the trick in a pinch. Although, it does mean you have to scrub a bit harder.