How to Clean Your Shower Tiles

by Team HomeServe

You come out of the shower fresh and clean, so how does your shower tile end up so grimy? Your shower tiles start to look dull and dirty due to all the dirt you wash off your body, soap scum, bacteria and moisture that can cause things to grow.

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Learning how to properly clean your shower’s tiles can help you keep your shower looking great.

What Type of Cleaner Should You Use on Shower Tiles?

Before you clean your shower, make sure you know what type of tiles you have. Some tile materials can be damaged by common cleaners. For example, acidic cleaners can cause etching on some natural stone tiles like marble. You can often find specialty cleaners for specific types of stones, and mild soap is generally safe for most types of tile.

Ceramic tiles are common in showers and work with a variety of tile cleaning products. Always read the label to ensure the tile cleaning products you choose are safe for ceramic. You can also use household products to clean ceramic tile. Vinegar and baking soda are two options that work effectively and shouldn't damage your tiles. Mix equal parts of vinegar and water in a spray bottle for a simple cleaner.

The cleaning tools you choose are also important. Avoid anything that can scratch the tiles or gouge the grout. Gentle non-scratching cleaning scrubbers or soft brushes work well.

How Do You Clean Shower Tiles?

Cleaning shower tiles takes time and elbow grease, but you can make the job easier with some tricks. These steps make it easy to figure out how to clean shower tiles:

1. Run the shower with hot water for a few minutes before you clean. The heat and steam help to loosen all the gunk from the tiles to make cleaning easier.

2. Spray your selected tile cleaner — such as diluted vinegar or a commercial cleaner — onto all tile surfaces. Make sure you get plenty of cleaner on the extra dirty areas. Let the cleaner sit for at least five minutes.

3. Scrub all tile surfaces with a gentle cleaning tool, such as a brush with soft bristles. Work from the top of the shower down to the bottom. You might need to scrub dirtier areas more than other areas. Tiles that look relatively clean just need a gentle scrub.

4. Rinse the shower tiles from top to bottom with hot water. If you have a removable showerhead, use it to rinse the tiles. You can also fill a cup or bucket with warm water and pour it down the tiles.

5. Look for areas that didn't come completely clean. Apply more cleaner, let it soak, scrub the tiles and rinse.

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How Do You Get Soap Scum Off of Shower Tiles?

Soap scum can be more difficult to clean off your tiles and other shower surfaces. You might need a stronger cleaner to remove the soap scum. If you're using a vinegar solution, add a tablespoon of dish soap to the mix for extra cleaning power. Baking soda is also effective for removing it.

Here are the steps to use it:

1. Make a paste out of the baking soda and a bit of water.

2. Scrub it onto the tiles and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes.

3. Follow up with your scrubbing tool to help remove the soap scum.

4. Rinse the baking soda off the tiles. Check for remaining soap scum and repeat the process if necessary.

How Do You Clean the Grout?

Shower grout can be a little more difficult to clean. The grout lines are often narrow, and they might not come clean with general tile cleaning. They can also get very dirty, especially if your grout lines aren't sealed.

Try these steps:

1. Spray equal parts of vinegar and water on the grout. Let it sit for five minutes.

2. Scrub the grout lines with a toothbrush or small, gentle cleaning brush.

3. Make a paste of baking soda and water if vinegar alone isn't enough to clean the grout lines. Scrub the paste onto the grout lines and wait five minutes.

4. Spray the diluted vinegar over the grout lines to create a bubbling action.

5. Scrub the grout lines again with the brush.

6. Rinse the grout lines well with warm water.

7. Apply hydrogen peroxide to the grout lines if they still aren't clean. You can also make a paste of peroxide and baking soda that can help remove tough stains.