How to Clean a Bathtub or Shower With a Pressure Washer

An In-Depth Guide on Using Pressure Washers for Bathtub and Shower Cleaning

Cleaning a bathtub or shower can be a tedious and time-consuming task, especially if there is a significant buildup of dirt, grime, soap scum, and mildew. However, using a pressure washer is an efficient and effective way to clean even the dirtiest bathtub or shower quickly and easily.

In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about using a pressure washer to clean your bathtub or shower.

Why Use a Pressure Washer for Bathtub and Shower Cleaning

There are several key advantages to using a pressure washer for bathtub and shower cleaning:

High-Pressure Water Blasts Away Dirt and Grime

The powerful jet stream from a pressure washer easily blasts away stubborn dirt, grime, soap scum, mildew, and mineral deposits that accumulate over time. The high pressure allows the water to penetrate and dissolve built-up residue.

Faster and More Thorough Cleaning

Cleaning with a pressure washer is significantly faster than scrubbing by hand. The strong water pressure does most of the work for you. It can clean hard-to-reach areas like grout lines and corners easily.

Eliminates Need for Harsh Chemicals

With the force of the water pressure, you often don’t need as many harsh cleaning chemicals. The water can be effective at cleaning on its own.

Kills Mold and Mildew

The high-pressure water also helps kill and prevent mold, mildew, and bacteria from growing. This helps keep your tub and shower cleaner between deep cleanings.

Environmentally Friendly

Using less chemicals is better for the environment. Pressure washers also use less water overall compared to extensive hand scrubbing.

Pressure Washer Types for Bathtub and Shower Cleaning

There are several types of pressure washers that can effectively clean bathtubs and showers:

Electric Pressure Washers

Electric pressure washers are lightweight, compact, and easy to maneuver in tight spaces. They provide adequate water pressure for basic tub and shower cleaning. Electric models are easy to use for DIY cleaning.

Gas Pressure Washers

Gas-powered pressure washers pack more power and can generate up to 5000 PSI of water pressure. They need more safety precautions but provide the highest level of cleaning power for extremely dirty tubs and showers.

Stand-Up vs. Handheld

Stand-up pressure washers on wheels provide stability and are easier to manage. Handheld pressure washers are more portable but you have to hold and aim the wand. Consider your needs and mobility.

Pressure Washer Attachments

Specialized pressure washer attachments like turbo nozzles or rotary surface cleaners allow you to tailor the pressure and spray pattern to optimize tub and shower cleaning.

Consider the size of your space, how dirty your surfaces are, and your budget when selecting the right pressure washer type for bathtub and shower cleaning.

How to Clean a Bathtub or Shower With a Pressure Washer

Properly using a pressure washer involves some key safety considerations. With the right precautions, pressure washing is an effective and low-effort method for cleaning even heavily soiled tubs and showers.

Safety First

Pressure washers are powerful, so safety should always be your top priority:

  • Wear protective gear – safety glasses, gloves, closed-toe shoes, long sleeves/pants.
  • Make sure the bathroom is well-ventilated to avoid inhaling sprayed particles.
  • Keep electrical components away from water to avoid electrocution. Use a GFCI outlet.
  • Never point the wand at yourself or others.
  • Use the widest spray pattern and hold the nozzle at least a foot away to avoid damage.
  • Check for leaks and damaged hoses before each use.

Prepare the Bathtub or Shower

Proper preparation helps maximize your cleaning power:

  • Remove shower curtains and bath mats to wash separately. Consider replacing old shower liners.
  • Remove as much standing water as possible.
  • Remove loose debris like hair to avoid clogging drains.
  • For soap scum, apply a degreasing cleaner and let sit before pressure washing.

Adjust the Pressure

The optimal pressure helps clean efficiently while avoiding damage:

  • Start with lower pressure and adjust as needed. About 1500-2000 PSI is ideal for tubs and showers.
  • For handhelds, choose a wide fan spray pattern around 40 degrees.
  • Keep the nozzle 6-12 inches away and at angle to avoid damage.

Clean Systematically

Use an organized motion to ensure full coverage:

  • Start at the top and work methodically downward.
  • Clean in a left-to-right or up-and-down pattern over the entire surface.
  • Partially overlap passes to avoid missing spots.
  • Give extra attention to soap scum in corners and on doors/walls.

Rinse and Dry

Finish by rinsing away any loosened residue:

  • Do a final rinse pass to wash away dissolved grime.
  • Use towels or a squeegee to dry surfaces and prevent water spots.
  • Run the shower or faucet briefly to rinse pipes. Check for leaks.
  • Ventilate the room to fully dry all surfaces.

Extra Tips and Tricks

  • For grout, use a targeted turbo nozzle for penetrating cleaning.
  • Change nozzle angles to clean in crevices and corners.
  • Let tougher grime soak after applying cleaner, then pressure wash.
  • For maintenance cleaning, mix mild soap into washer reservoir.

With some practice, you can become skilled at using a pressure washer to easily blast away built-up gunk and restore the shine to your bathtubs and showers!

Pressure Washing Bathtubs and Showers by Material

Bathtubs and showers come in several different surface materials that have different cleaning needs. Here are tips for pressure washing common tub and shower materials:

Fiberglass and Acrylic

Fiberglass and plastic acrylic surfaces are prone to scratching, so use caution:

  • Use lower pressure (800-1200 PSI) and wider fan spray nozzles.
  • Keep nozzle 6+ inches away and avoid focusing on one spot.
  • Rinse thoroughly – fiberglass can absorb chemicals.

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile is durable but grout is vulnerable:

  • Use a 15-25 degree nozzle and fan spray.
  • Clean grout lines with a turbo nozzle.
  • Be careful using cleaners on grout to avoid discoloration.

Glass Shower Doors

Clean glass doors and enclosures carefully:

  • Use lower pressures (800-1000 PSI) and a 40 degree nozzle.
  • Rinse and dry thoroughly to avoid spotting.
  • Use a squeegee on glass after rinsing.

Natural Stone

Softer natural stones require gentler pressure washing:

  • Use lowest pressure setting (500-800 PSI).
  • Choose a wide (40 degree) fan spray nozzle.
  • Avoid harsh alkaline cleaners that can damage surfaces.

Cleaning Products

See the section below for recommended cleaners for each material. Avoid abrasive scrubs that could scratch.

Adjust pressure and technique based on your specific tub and shower material. Test small hidden areas first.

Best Cleaners and Chemicals for Pressure Washing Bathtubs and Showers

The proper cleaning solutions help pressure washers loosen and dissolve built-up gunk for easier rinsing. Here are some top cleaner options:

All-Purpose Home Cleaners

General degreasing cleaners like Mr. Clean or Simple Green work for most basic tub and shower cleaning needs. Spray on, let soak 5-10 minutes, then pressure wash off.

Oxygen Bleach Cleaners

Non-chlorine oxygen bleach cleaners like OxiClean safely break down soap scum, mildew stains, and grime without harsh fumes or damage to surfaces.

Acidic Cleaners

For mineral deposits on tile and grout, acidic cleaners like white vinegar, phosphoric acid, or lime scale removers help dissolve buildup and restore surfaces.

Antimicrobial Cleaners

Disinfectant cleaners containing bleach or other antimicrobial ingredients kill bacteria and prevent mold and mildew growth in wet areas like tubs and showers.

Grease-Removing Degreasers

For heavy oil and grease, degreasing cleaners like Easy-Off Fume Free Max Oven Cleaner or ammonia-based cleaners cut through accumulated grime on contact for easier pressure washing.

Material-Specific Cleaners

Specialty cleaners tailored for fiberglass, acrylic, natural stone, etc. gently clean without damaging sensitive surfaces.Consult manufacturer guidelines.

Notes on Chemical Use:

  • Spot test cleaners on a small hidden area first to check for damage.
  • Use gloves, ventilation, and other precautions with strong chemicals.
  • Only use cleaners designed for bathrooms – avoid anything too corrosive.

The right cleaning solutions paired with the power of a pressure washer make cleaning even severely dirty tubs and showers an easy and efficient process!

Pressure Washer Maintenance and Best Practices

Properly maintaining your pressure washer helps ensure it continues safely providing top cleaning performance:

Follow Manufacturer Maintenance Tips

  • Change pump oil, filters, etc. as recommended. Check hoses and fittings.
  • Replace nozzles annually or when worn. Soak in vinegar to clean nozzles.
  • Use manufacturer recommended cleaner fluids. Avoid bleach or corrosive chemicals.

Proper Storage

  • Completely drain all water and dispose of cleaning solutions after each use.
  • Store indoors or under a cover when not in use to protect from elements.
  • Use fuel stabilizer if storing gas pressure washers over winter.

Practice Safe Operation

  • Never leave a running pressure washer unattended.
  • Do not operate with damaged cords or hoses.
  • Turn off at main switch when not spraying. Engage trigger lock when storing.

Prevent Mineral Buildup

  • Flush system with fresh water after use to avoid mineral deposits inside.
  • Remove nozzle to check for clogging. Soak in vinegar or descaler solution if needed.

Proper pressure washer maintenance and operation techniques ensure it will remain effective for bathtub and shower cleaning over years of service.

FAQs About Cleaning Bathtubs and Showers With Pressure Washers

Is it safe to pressure wash a bathtub or shower?

Yes, as long as proper precautions are taken – lower pressures, wear protective gear, test on small areas first, keep electrical components away from water, etc. Start with lower settings and increase pressure as needed.

How much PSI should I use to clean a bathtub?

800-1200 PSI is typically optimal for cleaning acrylic, fiberglass or porcelain tubs. Use 500-800 PSI on more delicate surface materials. Adjust pressure up if needed for heavily soiled areas.

Can I use a pressure washer on shower doors?

Yes, glass shower doors can be pressure washed – use a lower 800-1000 PSI setting and rinse/dry thoroughly after cleaning to prevent spotting. Avoid aiming directly at seam caulking.

What chemicals work best for pressure washing bathroom surfaces?

All-purpose bathroom cleaners, oxygen bleach cleaners like OxiClean, acidic cleaners for mineral deposits, and antimicrobial cleaners all work well to dissolve grime for pressure rinsing. Avoid very harsh or corrosive chemicals.

How do I pressure wash corners and crevices in a tub or shower?

Use nozzle turbo attachments or adjust nozzle angles to direct spray into tight spaces. Let tougher built-up areas soak first – scrub gently if needed – then pressure wash. Repeat as needed.

Can I use a pressure washer to remove old tub or shower caulk?

Yes, a pressure washer can help remove old silicone caulk for recaulking. Use a turbo nozzle attachment and angle the spray directly at caulk joints. Be sure to smooth and clean surfaces before applying fresh caulk.

What precautions should I take when pressure washing a tub or shower?

Wear protective gear, ventilate the space, keep electrical away from water, test cleaner compatibility, start at low pressures, avoid aiming at one spot too long, and rinse/dry thoroughly after cleaning. Make sure all cleaning chemicals are fully rinsed away.

Professional Bathtub and Shower Pressure Washing Services

If tackling a pressure washing project seems too daunting, consider hiring professional cleaners to handle the job.

Pros have top equipment, specialized nozzles and accessories, and extensive experience pressure washing all bathroom surfaces and materials safely. They know the most effective methods and cleaning agents to efficiently blast away years of soap scum and restore your tub and shower to a sparkling clean state with minimal effort on your end.

Look for insured and licensed professionals and check reviews to find a reputable service in your area. It’s an investment that can save hours of laborious scrubbing.

Many pros also offer maintenance cleaning packages on an ongoing basis to keep your tub and shower looking freshly cleaned between deep pressure washing sessions.


Pressure washing is a game-changing cleaning method for tackling even the most severely dirty and grimy bathtubs and showers. By following safe pressure washing practices and techniques, you can blast away stubborn accumulated gunk in a fraction of the time and effort compared to scrubbing by hand.

Choose an appropriate pressure washer style equipped with the right accessories like nozzles and attachments. Use the optimal pressures and spray patterns for the materials present, combined with effective cleaning solutions tailored for bathroom surfaces. Work methodically and rinse thoroughly.

With some practice and care, pressure washing can make achieving gleaming, spotless tubs and showers an easy and efficient process. No more endless scrubbing and scouring! Just let the power washer do the hard work.

Your bathtub and shower will be sparkling clean in no time, and you can maintain their fresh look by pressure washing regularly. Enjoy the satisfaction of revitalizing your bathroom surfaces with ease using this powerful cleaning method.