How to Clean a Shower

Cleaning the shower regularly is important for maintaining good hygiene and preventing buildup of dirt, grime, and mold. A clean shower also looks more inviting and helps make your bathroom feel fresh. Here is a step-by-step guide to effectively clean your shower.

Supplies You Will Need

Before starting to clean the shower, gather all the necessary supplies. Having the right tools makes the cleaning process faster and more efficient. Here are some must-have items for shower cleaning:

  • Vinegar: White vinegar is effective for getting rid of soap scum and hard water stains. The acidic properties of vinegar help dissolve mineral deposits and other residues. You can also create a simple cleaning solution by mixing equal parts of vinegar and water.
  • Baking Soda: Baking soda has mild abrasive qualities that help remove stubborn grime and dirt. It can be used alone or mixed with vinegar to create a foaming cleanser. Scatter and let it sit for 10-15 minutes before scrubbing for an intensive treatment.
  • All-purpose cleaner: Use a store-bought all-purpose cleaner or make your own with dish soap and warm water. This can be used for cleaning the shower walls and tiles.
  • Sponge or cleaning brush: Use a stiff sponge, scrub brush, or an old toothbrush to scrub the shower surfaces. A grout brush helps reach narrow crevices between tiles.
  • Microfiber cloths: Microfiber cloths are useful for wiping down shower surfaces after applying cleaners. The material is gentle and absorbs water efficiently.
  • Towels: Keep some dry towels handy to wipe down wet surfaces after rinsing. White towels make it easy to see if all the soap residue is removed.
  • Gloves: Wear waterproof gloves to protect your hands from strong cleaners. Latex or rubber gloves are ideal options.
  • Bucket: Fill a bucket with warm water to rinse shower surfaces once cleaning is done.

Tips Before You Begin

Follow these tips before tackling your shower cleaning:

  • Sweep or wipe down the shower floor to remove dirt and debris first. This prevents spreading grime while cleaning.
  • Remove all shower items like shampoo bottles, loofahs, and razors. Set them aside for easy access later.
  • Ventilate the bathroom by opening a window or turning on the exhaust fan. Proper ventilation is important when using potent cleaners.
  • Work in sections for a systematic approach. Start with the walls and then move to the shower door/curtain and floor.
  • Use a toothbrush to scrub tight spaces like faucet fixtures and knobs where grime often accumulates.
  • Let cleaners sit for a few minutes before scrubbing to allow them time to dissolve buildup.

Cleaning the Shower Walls and Surfaces

Shower walls with tile, fiberglass, or acrylic material are prone to soap scum, hard water stains, mildew, and mold if not cleaned regularly. Follow these steps for cleaning shower walls and surfaces:

Remove Soap Scum and Hard Water Stains

Soap scum manifests as a thin, sticky film on shower walls while hard water contains a high mineral content that leads to limescale buildup over time. To remove these stubborn residues:

  • Spray undiluted vinegar directly onto affected areas of the shower. Concentrate on places like the bottom tile line where buildup is heaviest.
  • Let the vinegar sit for 5-10 minutes to penetrate and dissolve the existing grime and stains.
  • Use a damp microfiber cloth to gently wipe off the vinegar. Check if stains have lifted. Reapply vinegar as needed for stubborn deposits.
  • For additional scrubbing power, make a paste with equal parts baking soda and water. Apply to stained areas and scrub with a soft brush. Rinse thoroughly.

Clean the Walls and Tile Grout

To clean the rest of the shower walls and tile grout:

  • Mix a solution of gentle dish soap (like Dawn) and warm water in a bucket.
  • Dip a sponge or soft brush into the solution andscrub the walls in a circular motion. Start from the top and work down methodically.
  • Pay close attention to the grout between tiles. Use a specialized grout brush to penetrate the crevices.
  • Rinse thoroughly with clean water to remove all soap residue. Wipe corners and edges with a dry towel.

Prevent Mildew and Mold

The moist environment in showers can harbor mildew and mold. Prevent future growth by:

  • Wiping down walls after every use to eliminate excess moisture.
  • Allowing the shower space to air dry by leaving the door open after use.
  • Applying undiluted vinegar to affected areas and letting it soak for 15 minutes before rinsing. The vinegar disinfects and inhibits mold.
  • Using bathroom ventilation regularly and installing a bathroom exhaust fan if needed. Proper ventilation controls humidity.

Scrubbing the Shower Floor

As the surface that bears most of the use, the shower floor tends to get dirty easily. Follow these tips for cleaning a shower floor:

Remove Grime from Tile or Vinyl Flooring

For tiled or vinyl shower floors:

  • Sweep or scrape away any large debris with a broom or plastic scraper. Removing loose dirt first prevents scratching.
  • Apply an all-purpose bathroom cleaner or mix together warm water, dish soap, and vinegar. For extra cleaning power, add 1/4 cup baking soda.
  • Use a stiff scrub brush and work in sections to scrub the flooring. Let the solution sit briefly before going over stubborn stains.
  • Wipe clean with a damp microfiber mop or towel. Rinse thoroughly to eliminate cleaner residue.

Deep Clean Fiberglass Shower Floors

For fiberglass shower flooring:

  • Sprinkle baking soda generously across the bottom surface. Let sit for 10-15 minutes. The baking soda will draw out grime and odors.
  • Spray undiluted vinegar over the baking soda and let fizz for 2-3 minutes.
  • Scrub using a soft bristle scrub brush or plastic pan scrubber. The foaming reaction helps lift grime.
  • Rinse thoroughly with hot water. Wipe away excess moisture with a towel.

Remove Stains from Grout

To remove stains from tile grout lines:

  • Mix oxygen bleach powder with just enough water to form a paste. Apply directly to stained grout and let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Scrub using an old toothbrush. The abrasion from the bristles combined with the bleaching action helps brighten grout.
  • Rinse thoroughly and wipe dry with a cloth.

Check and Replace Caulk

Finally, inspect the caulk seals around the shower floor perimeter. Cracked or missing caulk can allow water seepage that leads to mildew and damage. Scrape out old caulk entirely before reapplying fresh silicone caulk.

Cleaning the Shower Door and Tracks

Shower doors and tracks easily accumulate residues from mineral deposits, toiletries, and even body oils. Follow these steps to clean them:

Remove Mineral Deposits

Hard water drips leave mineral residue on shower doors that manifest as spots and scales. To remove:

  • Spray undiluted white vinegar onto affected areas and let soak for 10 minutes.
  • Use a damp microfiber cloth to gently wipe down and remove any softened deposits.
  • For stubborn areas, make a paste with baking soda and water. Apply to spots and use a soft brush to scrub.
  • Rinse clean with water and dry with a lint free cloth.

Clean the Glass

To clean the rest of the glass shower door:

  • Mix a solution of warm water, dish soap, and white vinegar. For squeegee-clean results, add 1/2 cup of rubbing alcohol.
  • Dip a sponge into the solution and wipe down the interior and exterior glass surfaces. Avoid harsh scrubbing.
  • Use a squeegee on the glass while surfaces are still wet to prevent new water spots.
  • Wipe excess moisture with a microfiber cloth. Move in horizontal strokes with slight overlap between passes.
  • Check carefully and repeat cleaning if any soap residue remains.

Scrub the Tracks

Shower door tracks easily collect dirt, hair, and grime. To clean:

  • Spray a cotton swab with all-purpose cleaner and run it gently along each track to loosen debris.
  • Use a small vacuum nozzle or damp cotton swabs to remove loose dirt.
  • Spray track interiors with cleaner and scrub using an old toothbrush. Reach tight corners carefully.
  • Wipe clean using fresh dry cotton swabs.

Cleaning the Shower Head

Don’t overlook the shower head when cleaning. Follow these tips to remove limescale and bacteria:

  • Unscrew the shower head and remove limescale and mineral deposits by soaking in white vinegar for 30 minutes.
  • Use an old toothbrush dipped in vinegar to gently scrub the nooks around the shower head face. Rinse thoroughly.
  • Disinfect the interior water lines by filling a plastic bag with equal parts water and white vinegar. Place bag over shower head and secure with a rubber band. Let sit for 1 hour before removing.
  • Rinse shower head under running water. Dry exterior with a cloth before reattaching.

Preventing Future Shower Buildup

Regular cleaning keeps your shower fresh, but there are also steps you can take to prevent buildup of dirt, scum and stains between deep cleans:

  • Squeegee the shower walls and doors after each use. This eliminates the majority of residual moisture that leads to soap scum.
  • Spray shower walls lightly with vinegar after the final rinse of your shower. This helps repel minerals and soap residue.
  • Use bath mats outside the shower to limit dirt and grime from feet that can transfer inside.
  • Install shower head filtration systems to control minerals and impurities in your home’s water supply.
  • Apply car wax to shower walls and floors every few months. The wax barrier makes scum easier to remove.
  • Let the shower space air out after use by leaving the door open or running the fan. Lower humidity deters mildew growth.

FAQs About Cleaning Showers

How often should I deep clean my shower?

Aim to deep clean the shower every 1 to 2 weeks for average use. Increase frequency for households with heavier use. Also do spot cleans after long vacations or periods of infrequent use.

What is the quickest way to clean a shower?

For quick cleans between deep cleaning sessions, spritz a shower spray cleaner all over. Let soak 5 minutes before rinsing away soap scum and spots. Wipe down with a squeegee and microfiber cloth.

Is vinegar or bleach better for cleaning a shower?

Vinegar is the winner! Its acidic formula is powerful against soap scum, minerals, mold, and bacteria. Bleach can damage shower grout and some surfaces. Use vinegar alone or boost it with baking soda.

What natural products can I use to clean a shower?

Great natural shower cleaners include vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, liquid castile soap, oxygen bleach powder, and essential oils like tea tree oil. Check out DIY recipes using these ingredients.

How do I get rid of existing mold in the shower?

Attack mold growth by mixing 1 cup bleach to 1 gallon of water. Spray generously on affected areas and do not rinse. The bleach solution kills and prevents regrowth. Improve bathroom ventilation going forward.

Why does my shower door get cloudy?

Cloudy shower doors generally result from hard water residue and mineral buildup over time. Soak doors in vinegar occasionally. A squeegee after each shower also helps prevent water spots that lead to cloudiness.


Cleaning the shower properly involves targeting all surfaces – walls, floors, doors, tracks and the shower head. Regular cleaning not only removes grime buildup but also helps disinfect and prevent mold growth. Pay attention to grout lines and crevices where residues can hide. Combining the abrasive power of baking soda with diluted vinegar makes an effective homemade cleanser for dissolving soap scum and minerals. Work in sections, letting your chosen cleaner soak briefly before scrubbing. Complete the cleaning process by rinsing thoroughly and drying all surfaces. A clean inviting shower provides comfort and good hygiene for your family.

So in summary:

  • Gather supplies – vinegar, baking soda, all-purpose cleaner, brushes, gloves before starting
  • Tackle soap scum with vinegar. Let it soak before scrubbing.
  • Mix dish soap and water for cleaning shower walls and tiles.
  • Use baking soda paste for fiberglass floors. Scrub tile floors with brushes.
  • Remove glass door streaks with vinegar or rubbing alcohol. Clean tracks with cotton swabs.
  • Soak shower heads in vinegar frequently to remove buildup.
  • Squeegee after showering and improve ventilation to prevent mold buildup.

Follow these steps to keep your shower fresh, stain-free and hygienic for optimal health and comfort.