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When it comes to making bathroom tiles look fresh and shiny, the old saying, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," certainly applies. Keeping the bathroom as dry as possible is key to preventing mold and mildew, says Christine McNerney, Senior Director of Merchandising, Non-Food at Thrive Market. Adding a few minutes to your post-shower routine can help prevent soap scum from forming in the first place: You can try using a household squeegee or a microfiber cloth to dry the tiles or spritzing on a daily shower cleaner while the tiles are still moist. (Of course, if you have children, you shouldn't keep cleaning products easily accessible in your bathroom.)
Even if you're diligent about maintenance, you should still plan to clean thoroughly once a week, or, if we're being realistic, at least every two. In most cases, you'll be able to use a standard all-purpose bathroom cleaner, but if you've got specialty tiles or glazes, check with the manufacturer or do a spot test in an inconspicuous area (or an extra tile, if you happen to have one handy). In some cases, products with bleach can cause discoloration, especially in places with colored grout. Finally, note that if you're hoping to destroy or inactivate bacteria and viruses you should choose an EPA-approved disinfectant.
Here, the best shower tile cleaners for your bathroom.
Best Overall: Scrubbing Bubbles Disinfectant Bathroom Grime Fighter Spray
This effective spray, a follow-up to the iconic shower cleaner that starred in the popular 1980s cartoon commercials, is made with alcohol that helps it kill 99 percent of home viruses and bacteria when used correctly. Despite its sanitizing prowess, it has a fresh, citrus scent that won't leave your bathroom smelling like a doctor's office.
It's safe to use on ceramic tile (both glazed and unglazed), chrome, fiberglass, glass, porcelain, vinyl, and stainless steel. In a pinch, you can also spray a little on a cloth and use it on high-touch surfaces, such as toilet handles and sink faucets.
Best With Bleach: Clorox Plus Tilex Daily Shower Cleaner Spray Bottle
To keep your shower tiles clean, you might want to invest in a daily cleaner that prevents the build-up of soap scum and mildew. Tilex Daily Shower Cleaner is a great option that's affordable and easy to use. As the bottle says, you just “spray and walk away.” Left behind is a protective barrier that keeps soap scum, mildew, and other grime from sticking around and clinging to your tile and grout.
You'll have to use another product to get your shower clean in the first place, but once it’s in tip-top shape, this will help keep it that way. We recommend spraying it after the last person in your home showers for the night, so you can make sure it doesn't get rinsed off too quickly.
Best Budget: Great Value White Vinegar
Costing as little as two cents an ounce, this pantry staple offers serious value for money. You can mix a 50-50 solution of white vinegar and water and use it to clean ceramic shower tiles, but don't use it on natural stone materials like granite, soapstone, or marble since its acid content can be damaging.
If you have stubborn red-orange marks on your tiles or around fixtures, try dipping a soft toothbrush into undiluted white vinegar and rubbing gently. White vinegar can also be mixed with baking soda to help unclog a drain.
Best Cleaning Paste: Pardo Naturals Scrubbing Paste
Pardo Naturals, a family-owned business based in Georgia, was started by Rita Pardo when she found herself looking for natural alternatives to help treat her daughter's eczema. She began with skin products like a shea body butter she first gave away to friends, but she now sells a wide variety of cleaning products, including toilet tabs, herbal-scented cleaning vinegars, dishwasher tablets, and carpet powders.
This scrubbing paste is made with baking soda, castile soap, and essential oils, and it comes in scents like lavender, citrus, lemongrass, peppermint, and "thieves" (a distinctive blend of rosemary, lemon, clove, cinnamon, and eucalyptus). An unscented variety is also available.
Best Natural: Method Eucalyptus Mint Daily Shower Cleaner Spray
Made with mostly mineral- and plant-based ingredients, this biodegradable daily shower cleaner has an invigorating smell that's really unique (the company calls it a mix of "bergamot, citron, lime leaf, eucalyptus, and wild mint," although shoppers describe it as "lightly minty").
"We believe that biodegradable cleaners are very important in order to help minimize the impact that chemicals can have on aquatic life," says McNerney. "A lot of cleaning products wind up going down the drain, which is why we believe it’s an important consideration to keep in mind while selecting products."
To keep your shower clean, you just spray it on your moist shower walls after you've showered. Though scrubbing isn't required, for best results you'll want to start with clean tiles. Method's products are safe to use in homes with furry friends, and the company doesn't test on animals or use their byproducts, either.
Best for Grout: Soft Scrub Total All Purpose Bath & Kitchen Cleanser
Even if you're cleaning your shower on a regular basis, grout has a tendency to discolor over time, and regular cleaning doesn't always fix things. This squeezable formula can be applied either directly onto the surface or a damp sponge. Its foamy texture does require a fair amount of rinsing, but you'll get real results for your efforts. It's especially good at removing stains (you can also use it to remove coffee and wine from kitchen countertops) and making white grout look new again.
Best for Natural Stone: Granite Gold Shower Cleaner
Unlike many bathroom tile cleaners, this spray-on product is safe to use on natural stone materials like granite, marble, or travertine. You can use it by itself to keep the natural shine of your shower tiles strong, or pair it with the brand's shower cleaner and sponge to tackle soap scum. The formula contains no ammonia or phosphates, and can be used on food-contact surfaces, too. You can spray it on stone countertops in your kitchen, but will want to make sure they're completely dry and treated before you place any food on them.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Lexi Dwyer has written about dish scrubbers, laundry whiteners, and soap dispensers for The Spruce. She loves all things Mrs. Meyer's and would put its geranium hand soap on her list of things she'd bring to a desert island.
For additional background on shower tile cleaners, we spoke to Christine McNerney, Senior Director of Merchandising, Non-Food at Thrive Market who spoke about how to prevent mold and mildew.