We’ve all seen those shower gel ads – step into your shower, lather up some body wash in its piping-hot water and allow the sweet fragrance to transport you to a relaxing tropical paradise. However, if your shower’s seen better days and your partner or child is shouting through the bathroom door that they need a wee, it’s not an experience many of us often have in real life.
Thankfully, we can help you spruce up your shower so it’s fit for a shower gel commercial (we can’t help you with the queue for the bathroom, sadly). In this article, we’re going to explain how often to clean your shower and the best way to do it. We’ll also touch on shower maintenance, and how you can make sure there aren’t any leaks or other issues going on. (See our other article on what damage can a leaking shower do if you need further help with this.)
How to clean a shower: Top tips
Let’s get sparklingly clean!
- Start by removing all shower gels, shampoos and soaps from your shower area
- Gather all the equipment you need: bathroom cleaner, marigolds, etc. Remember, you can get gleaming Insta-flawless showers with some bicarbonate of soda, a bottle of white vinegar and a good microfibre cloth – so you really don’t need to spend a fortune
- Make sure you open your bathroom window or switch on your extractor fan while you’re cleaning, and do avoid mixing different chemicals. Keep it simple!
1. Make tough stains vanish
If you don’t give your shower tiles a quick, regular rinse and wipe, soap scum can build up. This can cause discolouration, stains and light mould that can be difficult to remove. Not to worry, though: here’s how to remove those tough stains with bicarbonate of soda, some cling film and a bit of masking tape…
- In a bowl, make a mixture of three parts water to one part bicarbonate of soda, forming a paste. You’ll need enough mixture to generously cover each stain on your tiles
- Put on your gloves and, with your hands, apply the paste directly to the stains. You’re looking for discolouration, stains or light mould missed by standard cleaning. Spread a good layer of paste on each stain, covering it up. Once you’ve put the mixture everywhere it needs to go, cover it with cling film – fixing it in place with your masking tape so it doesn’t move or come loose. You’ll only need to tape the corners so it stays in position.
- Leave the taped-up mixture to sit on the stain for 24 hours, then rinse it away the next day and wipe the tiles down with a damp cloth. Dry them completely to finish. If a stain is still there but smaller, or not as dark or obvious as before, repeat the whole process until it’s gone.
2. Get gleaming stainless steel
Stainless steel? If only! (If you have a lot of stainless steel pots or appliances, you’ll know what we’re talking about.) But thankfully, you don’t need any fancy stainless steel cleaning products when you’ve got a single lemon in your fruit bowl.
All you have to do is cut the lemon in half and rub it all over your stainless steel surfaces (and taps). If you need a little extra cleaning power, sprinkle some bicarbonate of soda on them before you rub with the lemon. Then just wipe with a soft cloth. You’ll have gleaming surfaces that smell citrus-fresh!
3. Remove mould and mildew
Moist, warm air is the perfect breeding ground for mould and mildew – so if it’s anywhere in your house, it’s likely to be in your bathroom. Here’s a quick guide to getting rid of it with common household ingredients:
- Distilled white vinegar
Spritz on and leave for one hour before scrubbing off with a brush and wiping with a damp cloth.
- Bicarbonate of soda
- Mix a quarter of a tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda into a spray bottle of water. Spitz on the mould and scrub with a brush.
- Use a damp cloth to wipe, then spritz again and leave it to dry.
- 3% concentration of hydrogen peroxide
Spray and leave for 10 minutes, scrub with a brush, then rinse with a damp cloth.
For more information, see our article on how to get rid of mould.
Top tip: If you’re not doing this already, turn on the extractor fan and/or open a window for 15 minutes during and after your shower to reduce moisture in your bathroom.
4. Discover the best way to clean grout
Grout is porous so it holds water for longer. This is why it’s especially prone to discolouration, and developing mould and mildew. You can remove grime by using a pre-mixed chemical spray (be warned that these are usually extremely toxic and not to be used with children around). Alternatively, here’s our homemade bleach mix recipe:
- Mix one-part bleach with three-parts water
- Spray the affected area
- Wait for 30 minutes
- Scrub with a brush
- Rinse the area with your shower
- Dry with a cloth
5. Make your shower door shine
You can clean everything in your bathroom, but if the glass doors of your shower are smeared or dirty it lets the whole room down. And it’s not as easy as just wiping them down with a soapy sponge! Follow this method, though, and you’ll soon have smear-free shower doors.
- White vinegar in a spray bottle
- Bicarbonate of soda
- A squeegee
- Microfibre cloth
- Wet the shower glass with the showerhead
- Completely soak the glass with white vinegar from your spray bottle
- Let the vinegar work on the glass for at least 10 minutes – even longer if there’s a significant build-up of hard water spots
- Dip a sponge into the bicarbonate of soda and scrub the glass. This will act abrasively to move anything that shouldn’t be there. The vinegar will work to dissolve any hardened soap scum
- Once you’re satisfied and the glass looks clean, rinse off the vinegar and bicarbonate of soda with fresh water. You can use a squeegee to get rid of excess water.
- Dry the glass with a microfibre cloth, then use glass cleaner to finish cleaning the glass, trim and towel hangers.
6. Unclog the shower drain
If the water in your bath or shower isn’t draining properly, chances are you’ve got a blockage. Don’t reach straight for a toxic drain cleaner that could damage your pipes and cause a flood. You can make your own effective and safe drain cleaner from things you might already have around the house:
- Pour a cup of bicarbonate of soda into the blocked drain
- Pour 100 ml of white vinegar in shortly afterwards and watch it fizz
- Once the fizzing has stopped, flush out the pipe with a kettle full of boiling water.
If you need more advice, see our how to unblock a bath or shower guide. To prevent blocked drains in future, install a plug guard to catch hair and bits of soap.
7. Spruce up your shower sealant
If black mould has taken hold of your sealant, the best idea is to remove and replace it.
- Use a flat-headed screwdriver to lift the sealant away.
- Apply a new layer with a sealant gun and some white sealant
- Wet your finger with some soapy water (the soap stops the sealant sticking to your finger) and smooth out the seam, getting as neat a finish as you can.
To prevent your shower sealant from getting mouldy in future, remember to give it a regular scrub when you clean your shower tiles.
If you have a leaking shower, it’s best to address this immediately. Check out our article on the damage a leaking shower might do if left unchecked, now.
Clean showerhead hacks
If you’re not regularly cleaning your shower head, you might notice a weak flow of water, water shooting off in all directions because of blocked ducts and limescale deposits on the face of the showerhead. All are easily solved with a deep clean.
Ways to descale the showerhead
Limescale build-up can cause your showerhead to get clogged and look dirty. There are a number of homemade solutions that will soon see it shining again, including lemon juice and our trusty old white vinegar.
Fixed shower heads
If you can’t remove your showerhead:
- Half-fill a strong plastic bag with vinegar
- Tie it securely by placing a rubber band around the showerhead, making sure the showerhead is fully immersed in the vinegar
- Leave it to soak overnight. (If you have a brass, gold, or nickel-coated shower head, remove it from the vinegar after 30 minutes. Leaving it any longer than this could damage the finish.)
- Untie the bag and take it off the showerhead. Switch on your shower and run hot water through it for 60 seconds to flush out any mineral deposits still stuck inside the showerhead
- Scrub the showerhead with an old toothbrush if you still have build-up, to shift any limescale around the ducts where the water comes out
- Turn the hot water back on to do another flush. Repeat the whole process until you see no more limescale
- Polish the showerhead with a soft cloth to finish. Give it a buff and it’ll look like new!
Unfixed shower head
If you can unscrew your shower head, it’ll be easier for you to do a deep clean:
- Remove your showerhead
- Fill a washing up bowl with either white vinegar and warm water solution or lemon juice and warm water
- Soak your shower head for 30 minutes
- Now rinse your shower head in warm water and scrub off any remaining limescale.
Fix a dripping shower head
A leaking shower head can be caused by a build-up of limescale in the holes that water is supposed to come out of. You can fix a dripping shower head (if it’s caused by limescale) by following the cleaning steps above.
If you’ve tried these methods, it may be time to replace the showerhead or call in a professional if your shower head is fairly new. Check out our common water leaks and how to fix them article, and if you need our help, our repairs team are always at the ready.
Tips to prevent limescale build-up
Rinse your showerhead every month and you should be able to prevent limescale build-up. A one-minute daily rinse and dry of your shower tiles and doors, using a squeegee or microfibre cloth, can really help to keep your shower looking super every day.
How to protect your shower
It’s worth noting that insurance doesn’t cover leaks caused by poor maintenance, so it’s important to keep your shower in tip-top condition. Keep referring back to our handy guides for help.
And if things go wrong with your gleaming, newly cleaned shower, contact us for help. One of our expert engineers will help to get your issues sorted out quickly and efficiently, so you can get on with everything else. Make sure your protected with plumbing and drainage insurance and access to our trusted, experienced professionals who can be on hand to help whenever you need them.
What is the best way to clean a shower?
A quick, daily rinse and wipe after you’ve showered is the best way to clean your shower tiles and glass doors. Keep your showerhead clear of limescale by giving it a vinegar bath once a month.
How do you clean a badly stained shower?
You can remove tough stains in your shower by making a paste with bicarbonate of soda and water, spreading it onto the stains and covering them with cling film for 24 hours. Rinse it away the next day and wipe the tiles down with a damp cloth. Dry them completely to finish.
How do I get my shower white again?
- Remove surface dirt with a daily one-minute rinse and wipe
- Tackle any tough stains on tiles and doors with vinegar and bicarbonate of soda
- Clean mouldy grout with a bleach-and-water solution
- You may need to remove sealant if it’s mouldy, replacing it with new white sealant.