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a clean shower

How to Deep Clean Your Shower

Mildewed grout, spotty shower doors…sounds like a shower deep clean is in order! Start with a kit of hardworking brushes and tools that cater to every task, then follow this top-to-bottom guide that’ll make every surface sparkle.

8 min read

Your bathroom works hard to keep you feeling fresh and clean, but all those steamy showers eventually take a toll. Over time, mildew spores and soap scum accumulate on tile and glass—until your shower needs a bath. Grout is porous, and requires a good scrubbing every season, while shower heads need to be cleaned of mineral deposits every once in a while. Here’s how to tackle each task.

scrubbing tiles
AT Shower ProductImage X
drain protector
drain protector

Create a Shower Cleaning Tool Kit

The trick to cleaning the bathroom fast is to gather everything you need in one bucket and keep it together, ready to go. Basic baking soda and vinegar are all you need to clean, but scrubbing a shower requires some special equipment for grout and tile. For weekly cleaning, a makes things go much quicker, and you’ll want a grout brush and extendable scrubber for seasonal deep-cleans. Here’s the full kit:

brushing around the drain
brushing around the drain

How to Clean a Shower Head

A DIY cleaning solution works wonders for the shower head: Fill a plastic bag with a mixture of half water, half white vinegar. Wrap the bag around the showerhead and secure it with a twist tie. Let the showerhead soak for 5 to 10 minutes (or while cleaning the rest of the shower). Remove bag, then use a deep clean brush to scrub off any mineral deposits.

scrub brush in shower
scrub brush in shower

How to Clean Grout in Shower

First, remove everything from the shower—shampoo, conditioners, body washes, razors, etc. Wipe down toiletries with a damp cloth to remove any built-up residue. Start with ½ cup of baking soda, slowly adding water until you’ve formed a spreadable paste. Working from the top of the shower down, dip the grout brush in the mixture and scrub the spaces between the tiles. The vinegar and baking soda will mingle and foam as you scrub. Do the same along the door tracks, lifting any mildew while you work. Use residual paste to clean walls. (See below.)

squeegee in shower
squeegee in shower

How to Clean Shower Walls and Floors

Using an extendable brush and scrubber (handy for reaching the upper walls and corners), spread baking soda and water paste (see above for recipe) across shower walls and floor. Scrub, then rinse with clean water. Wipe dry with clean cloth to prevent spots and hard water stains.

If your shower has a tub base, here’s how to clean it:

To clean porcelain tubs, make a thick paste with a mixture of abrasive cleaning powder and water. Using a heavy-duty scrubbing brush, clean sides of tub with paste. Let paste sit for 30 minutes, then rinse.

To clean acrylic tubs, make a paste with baking soda and vinegar, which will be gentler on the acrylic than abrasive powder. Vinegar also has antibacterial properties. Scrub walls with paste, let sit for 20 minutes, then rinse.

How to Clean Shower Drain

That baking soda-and-water cleaning paste you made to clean the shower grout? It’s perfect for cleaning the drain as well. Use paste and a grout brush (or an old toothbrush) to clean the top and crevices of the drain. Take off the drain cap to scrub in and under the drain hole. Remove any gunk or hair (a drain snake is a helpful tool for snagging hair deep down inside the drain), then replace cap. Rinse. For drains without a cap, catch hair with a drain protector.

How to Clean Shower Doors

Hard water stains can show up when water droplets on the shower door and tiles are allowed to air dry. So if you’re noticing residue—or just want to freshen up the door—mist it with a solution of half water and half white vinegar. Run a squeegee under hot water from the shower head, and pull it along the shower door. Follow up with a dry microfiber cloth to polish. 

Good Tip: Keep the squeegee in the shower and use it to dry door and walls after showering (at least occasionally) to cut down on tricky-to-clean buildup.

How to Clean Mold in Shower

Regular cleaning goes a long way towards preventing mold from becoming a problem in the tub and shower. But to banish mold from grout and tiles where it’s already built up, make a paste of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. Scrub affected area with deep clean brushes, and let paste sit for 15 to 30 minutes. Rinse clean. Finish by spritzing shower with a homemade bleach disinfecting spray. Let sit for a few minutes, then wipe clean.

Good Tip: To keep your shower sparkling, organize all the shampoo bottles and soap that create sticky messes. A shower caddy with drainage slots allows things to dry quickly (less mold!), while removable trays make cleaning easy when it’s time for a thorough scrub-down. This one tucks neatly into the corner. Here are more tips to declutter and add storage to your shower space

How to Clean Shower Curtain

If you have a shower curtain, the best way to clean it is to simply run it through the wash (skip the dryer which could melt plastic liners), then rehang.

How to Clean Shower Tiles

For everyday freshening and to make shower tiles sparkle, wipe first with a cloth dampened by a white vinegar and water mixture. Use a dry cloth to buff and polish.

Good tip: Suction cups, like the ones on storage caddies or hooks, stick better to clean tile. 

Ready to move onto deep cleaning the sink, maybe even decluttering your bathroom drawer and scouring the sink? Try this step-by-step bathroom cleaning guide for quick tips.

Article originally written by Apartment Therapy, updated by OXO.

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