How to Clean a Shower

scrubbing a shower wall

​The Spruce / Ria Osborne

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 30 mins - 1 hr
  • Total Time: 40 mins - 1 hr, 10 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $10

When you step into your shower, you expect to emerge fresh and clean. But where does all that soapy body soil and dirt go? Much of it lands on the surfaces in your shower where it can attract mildew spores, bacteria, and even more grime. For this reason (and many more), it's important that you regularly take the time to get your shower really clean.

materials for cleaning a shower
The Spruce / Ria Osborne 

How Often to Clean Your Shower

A shower should be thoroughly cleaned each week. However, if you do 60 seconds of maintenance each time you use the shower, you may be able to stretch the more extensive cleaning to two weeks. Shower curtains should be washed at least seasonally or more often as needed.

If you're into the idea of daily maintenance, use a squeegee or a bath towel after every shower to wipe down the shower walls and clean the doors. Hang any shower tools (like brushes or poofs) to drip dry completely and clear the drain of any excessive hair. This quick routine will keep ceramic tile, fiberglass, and stone shower enclosures looking their best and make your weekly cleanings that much easier.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

Cleaning Ceramic Tile Showers

  • Sponge or plastic mesh scrubber
  • Rubber gloves
  • Soft-bristled brush or old toothbrush
  • Squeegee

Cleaning Fiberglass Showers

  • Squeegee
  • Spray bottle
  • Sponge or soft-bristled brush

Cleaning Stone Showers

  • Microfiber cloths
  • Spray bottle

Materials

Cleaning Ceramic Tile Showers

  • Commercial shower and grout cleaner or a homemade solution of 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar, 1/2 cup ammonia, and 3 quarts of hot water in a spray bottle
  • Chlorine bleach

Cleaning Fiberglass Showers

  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Baking soda or borax
  • Sponge or soft-bristled brush

Cleaning Stone Showers

  • Non-acid, ammonia-free stone cleaner or mild dishwashing soap
  • Warm water
  • Chlorine bleach
  • Stone sealer

Instructions

How to Clean Ceramic Tile Showers

The biggest challenge with cleaning tile showers is the grout, especially if it has been left unsealed. The porous nature of the grout makes it the perfect growth medium for mildew spores so it's important to keep up with cleaning to maintain your overall health.

  1. Empty the Shower

    The shower will be much easier to clean if you remove all of the shampoo bottles, soap, razors, poofs, and toys. Combine products and recycle any empty bottles. Wipe down each item with a cloth dipped in hot water to remove any sticky messes or mold. Remove hair from the drain.

    wiping down a shampoo bottle with a cloth
     The Spruce / Ria Osborne 
  2. Ventilate and Wet the Walls

    To help ventilate any fumes from cleaning supplies (and help the shower dry quickly), turn on the bathroom fan and open the bathroom door, as well as any windows. Use the shower head or a bucket to wet down the walls of the shower.

    using the shower head to wet down the walls
    The Spruce / Ria Osborne  
  3. Remove Mildew

    If you notice mildew on the grout, tackle it before you move on the usual grime. Mix a solution of one part chlorine bleach and two parts water. While wearing rubber gloves, apply the solution to the mildewed grout with a sponge. Allow it to sit for at least ten minutes, then scrub the grout with a soft-bristled brush or old toothbrush. Rinse the area well with hot water before moving to the next step.

    Warning

    Never mix cleaning solutions like chlorine bleach and ammonia that can cause toxic fumes.

    scrubbing mildew off of a tile shower wall
    The Spruce / Ria Osborne
  4. Apply the Cleaner and Wait

    Whether you are using a commercial cleaner or a homemade solution, the key to easier cleaning is to give the product time to do its job. Spray cleaner on the walls and floor of the shower and step away for at least five minutes to ten minutes. The cleaner will begin to break apart the soap scum and soil and lessen your need to scrub.

    spraying shower walls with cleaning solution
    The Spruce / Ria Osborne  
  5. Scrub and Rinse

    Using a sponge or plastic mesh scrubber, clean every section of the walls and floor. Never use a metal scrubber or hard-bristled brush because they can scratch the ceramic tile. Rinse the walls with clean water starting at the top and moving down.

    wiping down the area with a sponge
    The Spruce / Ria Osborne 
  6. Squeegee Dry

    Use a squeegee or old towels to remove any water from every surface. Skipping this step will result in water spots.

    using a squeegee on shower walls
    The Spruce / Ria Osborne 

How to Clean Fiberglass Showers

Fiberglass shower enclosures are durable and easy to clean if you use the right tools and products. It's very important to never use anything that will scratch the fiberglass surface, especially when it comes to what you clean with. When scratches occur, soil settles into the area, making it harder to clean.

  1. Empty, Spritz, and Squeegee

    After removing all of the bottles and accessories in the shower, spray the walls and floor with distilled white vinegar. Use a squeegee to wipe down the walls. The vinegar will cut through soap scum and any minerals in water spots.

  2. Scrub the Floor

    Fiberglass floors are usually textured and need a bit of scrubbing to remove grime. Use a good scrub brush or soft-bristled brush to scrub away the dirt on the textured floor and rinse with water.

    Tip

    Once your fiberglass shower stall is sparkling clean, you can use fiberglass boat wax to provide a protective coating on the walls that allows water to run right off without spotting. However, never use the wax on the floor because it can leave a slippery finish.

How to Clean Stone Showers

If you have upgraded to marble, granite, or another natural stone as a finish, your shower should be cleaned a bit differently. By wiping down the walls after every use, you should only need to clean the stone once a week.

Warning

Never use vinegar or harsh cleaners on natural stone because they can etch the surface.

  1. Empty and Spray

    After emptying the shower of all loose items, spray down the walls with a commercial stone cleaner or solution of one tablespoon dishwashing soap in one quart of warm water. Wipe down with a microfiber cloth, using a bit of extra elbow grease on any water spots and soap scum. Rinse with clean water and dry with a microfiber cloth starting at the top of the shower and working to the bottom to avoid streaking.

  2. Treat Mildew

    If you spot any mildew on the stone or grout, mix a solution of one part chlorine bleach and one part water. While wearing rubber gloves, dip a sponge into the mixture and apply to the mildewed area. You can use a toothbrush to reach smaller grout areas. Let the solution sit and work for fifteen minutes, scrubbing lightly with a soft-bristled brush, and then rinsing away with plain water.

  3. Reseal the Stone

    Natural stone typically needs a barrier to prevent chemicals and water from penetrating into the stone. Sealing stone also prevents bacteria from settling into the natural crevices of the stone's surface. After the stone is completely clean and dry, apply a stone sealer in small sections following product directions. Buff with a soft cloth until all of the sealer is absorbed. This usually needs to be done at least twice a year.

Removing Tough Stains From Showers

There are a few stains that seem almost impossible to remove, but there is a way.

Rust Stains

If a shaving cream can left a rusty ring in the shower, apply a paste of lemon juice and baking soda to remove the stain. However, if the stain is large or old, you will need to use a commercial cleaner that contains oxalic acid.

Warning

Never use chlorine bleach on a rust stain. It may cause the rust to become permanently set onto the surface.

Adhesive Residue

If you've had stickers on the shower floor or a removable accessory left some goo, use a bit of olive oil to saturate the area. Allow it to sit and work for at least 15 minute, then use a plastic scraper or the edge of a credit card to remove the goo. If a bit of glue is left, some rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball will typically remove it.

FAQ
  • How often should you clean your shower doors?

    To keep the weekly cleaning down to a minimum, use a squeegee to wipe off the shower doors after each time you take a shower.

  • Do shower heads need to be cleaned?

    You should clean your shower head once a month to keep them running freely and not get plugged up with mineral deposits and scum.

  • What tool should be used to clean ceramic tile in a shower?

    Use a sponge or plastic mesh scrubber to clean your shower's ceramic tile. A metal scrubber or hard-bristled brush can scratch the tile.

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Mold. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  2. Dangers of Mixing Bleach With Cleaners. Washington State Department of Health.