Cleaning a shower seems counter-intuitive. After all, your shower cleans you! And it does it by basically raining clean water down onto you whenever you want. How could something like that get dirty? The answer, it turns out, is easily. Not only does a shower absorb the grime, sweat, and dirt that you wash off your body, the moisture that accumulates attracts mold and mildew. If you don’t clean your shower, the part of your house that’s supposed to be for cleaning could end up becoming unhealthy, unhygienic, and just plain gross.
Luckily, cleaning a shower doesn’t have to be an ordeal. Update your cleaning routine and save your shower by following these steps:
- Clear out the shower area. Remove everything you keep in the shower area. Soap, shampoo, conditioner, brushes, razors, sponges, etc. If you have a shower rack or some other storage system in your shower, take that out along with everything on it. The shower area should be completely clear before you start cleaning.
- Wash everything you keep in the shower area. Before you start cleaning the actual shower area, use a cleaning agent to scrub out everything you just took out. All the bottles and brushes you use when you shower absorb a lot of moisture and grime, which means they can be attractive homes for mold to grow. You don’t want to do a really good job of cleaning the shower only to immediately put something dirty back inside. While you’re wiping everything down, make sure your soap and shampoo bottles close tightly and securely. Leaving behind soap residue after a shower is unhygienic, hard on the shower surfaces, and can attract mold.
- Rinse! Now that you’ve done the pre-prep, it’s time to start on the shower itself. First, thoroughly rinse down the floor, tub, and walls of the shower area with hot water. Use a bucket or something similar to toss water onto waters that are hard to get to. If you have a handheld shower head, that will work really well for hitting the corners and hard to reach spots. Make sure any and all residue, including dirt, soap residue, and hair is flushed down the drain before you finish this step.
- Apply Anti-Mildew Cleaning Agent. You can buy mildew-removing cleaning products at most hardware, department, or grocery stores. You can also make your own cleaning solution with ammonia, vinegar, baking soda, and hot water. Rinse the shower again, this time with your cleaning agent. Use a spray bottle if you can, otherwise be sure not to overuse your solution, or it could eat away at the shower. If you’re using a homemade, ammonia-based solution, you’ll want to put on rubber gloves and manually scrub it into the walls and floors.
- Scrub Down. After you’ve applied the cleaning agent, use a sponge or similar cleaning tool to scrub it into the walls, ledges, crevices, and floor. Next, rinse the shower out completely with hot water. Dry the walls after your rinse to prevent new mildew from forming in the moisture.
- Clean Metal Surfaces. A mix of vinegar and water will get you the best results here. Wipe down all the metallic surfaces in the shower, such as the drain, faucet, knobs, shower head, handles, and towel bar. Scrub away any hard water spots and residue.
- Scrub Tiles. Run the shower on the hottest setting until your bathroom is steamy. Then, turn off the water. Dip an old toothbrush (definitely not one you plan on using again!) in your ammonia/vinegar/baking soda solution and scrub between the tiles. This will break up loose dirt that builds up in the crevices. If it’s been awhile since you last cleaned your shower, consider using a sponge or brush to brush the walls and floors as well. Then rinse the dirt and residue down the drain.
- Clean Door or Curtain. It’s easy to forget this step, but it’s very important. The crevices and joints of a shower door are great spots for mildew to grow. Curtains require a little less work, but they get dirty, too. If you have a glass door, use a white vinegar solution to thoroughly scrub the windows, panels, joints, and tracks. Make sure you get everything; this is probably the place most susceptible to mold and mildew. If you have a cloth curtain, you should be able to take it down and wash it in the washing machine. If the curtain is plastic, rinse it in a vinegar/water solution.
- Clean Out the Drain. Aah, now for the tricky (or at least gross) part. Go get your garbage can and keep it close by. You should also consider wearing rubber gloves. Using a clothespin, crochet hook, or ideally a Zip-it drain cleaner, reach down into the drain and search around for obstructions. There’s no easy way to say it: you’re probably going to pull out a lot of wet hair. It’s going to be nasty. Throw away that hair, suppress your gag reflex, and keep going until there’s nothing left to pull out of the drain. Then, you guessed it: rinse again, with hot water and maybe some of your cleaning solution.
- Rinse the Shower head. You’re almost done! Now that you’ve thoroughly cleaned the shower area, you just have to make sure that the water coming into it is clean, too. Over time, particles and minerals build up on the inside of your shower head. This will especially be a problem if your water is hard. Over time, these particles will make the water coming from your shower head coarser and harder on your skin and the walls of your shower. Carefully take the shower head off and soak it in a bowl of vinegar for a few hours. If it’s been a long time since you’ve completed this step, you can leave it overnight. After its soak, take the shower head out and scrub the holes with your old toothbrush. Be careful when you’re replacing the head, and make sure it’s working properly after re-installation.
This may seem like a lot, but you’d be surprised at how fast it goes. If you do this to your shower about twice a month, it’ll will last longer and be more hygienic. Plus, you’ll feel better about using it.
If you notice something is wrong with your shower, or any other part of your bathroom, that can’t be fixed with a good cleaning, give us a call today.