Copyright © 2008 Happy Clean Living

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Cleaning your Bathroom Shower

Cleaning a bathroom shower is a VERY hard detailed job.
Sorry to burst your bubble - but there is NOT a miracle spray to get your shower clean, regardless of all the wonderful advertising out there. It takes "elbow grease" and "hard work "to get it clean enough to pass my inspection or my nose.

Yes, I hate smelling body oil and dirt in a shower. It is the worst! I don't know if my nose is unusual, but when I get a new house - I cringe at the smell of all the body oil/dirt. I really believe it is because people either don't know how to clean a shower correctly or just don't do it. Once I get a hold of some one's shower, the smell is gone for good with my regular cleaning.

However, the first couple of cleanings are a killer when I take on a new customer. I'm going to use pictures from two of my customers - One is the new house and the Other is a customer I've had for a long time with a sparkling clean shower.

As most of you know I added a new customer to my schedule last month and their shower was no exception. I did my second cleaning today and remembered to take some pictures as I cleaned it. It will continue to get cleaner each time I clean - but it has come a LONG WAY from my cleaning.

First off, I use lots of products that have BLEACH/CLOROX in them. Clorox clean-up spray (Tilex works good too), Comet and Soft Scrub (with bleach) on a new shower (once the shower pass the first clean I usually use lemon smell Soft Scrub).
I use a sponge with a non-scratch surface and scrubbing brush to get inside the grout and get the soap scum off the shower walls.

Note: If you have marble looking shower walls, DO NOT spray the Clorox clean up or any other type of spray. It will ruin the finish on marble looking shower walls.

For tile showers with bad grout, I spray on Clorox Clean-Up first to start getting rid of the mold/mildew. Make sure your fan is going to help with the toxic fumes.

If you need to get rid of black mold in a corner or floor, you can put Clorox on a Maxi-pad and leave over night. However, I don't have over night to get a customer shower clean so it will take scrubbing it many times until it becomes sparkling clean again.
I have my bucket full of water in order to keep my sponge watered as I clean the walls of the shower. My sponge is wet and I squeeze some Soft Scrub on my sponge (see white dab of Soft Scrub on my sponge). Then I work the Soft Scrub on to the walls. I put a pretty good coating of Soft Scrub the first time I clean a shower - so that I can then get my scrubbing brush and scrub the down the walls. Scrub the walls down really good.
Holy cow - look at the dirt I get out of the grout. (I actually think a lot of it is hair dye - at least I hope so.) The first time I cleaned the shower, it had caked on body dirt (I can't even describe it) and soap scum.
Keep scrubbing and scrubbing.
And scrubbing - it DOES take a lot of elbow grease if you have let your shower go.
Look at that dirt running down the walls. Keep repeating putting on the Soft Scrub with a sponge and then scrub with a scrubbing brush until the whole shower is done.
It's a HUGE shower with two separate shower heads - like a small bedroom... It is HUGE!.. My body is killing me from all of that scrubbing! But, at least it is behind me. As long as they are a current customer - it won't ever be bad again!
Now on to the other "long time customer", I just put the Soft Scrub on a wet sponge and scrub down the walls with the non-scratch surface of my sponge. I always have a bucket of water in the shower when I am cleaning it - to keep my sponge wet each time I add the Soft Scrub to the sponge to clean until every surface is clean and sudsy.
If the shower you are cleaning has a nozzle with a handle - rinse off all the Soft Scrub off all the walls. Spray away! If your shower does NOT have a nozzle with a handle, you'll have to rinse off the shower by filling a bucket with water under the nozzle and then pouring the clean water down the walls. Fill again and again until all the Soft Scrub, dirt and grime have been rinsed from the walls. DON'T forget to give the shower floors a good scrubbing too. I usually do the walls then rinse the walls and then do the floor. Add some Comet to the floor and get your Non-scratch Sponge and scrub away. It is VERY important not to forget to clean the floor and get rid of anything that would cause athlete's foot - Yuck!!

I can't even tell you the layers of dirt and soap scum I scrubbed off my new shower... Scrubbed and scrubbed until I actually could see the tile beneath...
Don't forget any door tracks - get those scrubbed well too!
Sometimes the dirt and soap scum is so bad and I can't get it off by scrubbing. I grab a razor blade and go at it! Sometimes I've had a solid soap line from the soap dish to the floor and the only way to get it tackled is with a razor blade. The goal is to get the surface as clean as possible!
After everything is clean and rinsed, take a hand towel and dry the shower.
Look at how clean it is now... There are still a few spots I will continue to work on - you can see the black in the grout. But at least most of the grout is clean - Yeah!!
After the shower is clean and dry - it needs to be protected. I polish the shower with furniture polish.. yes... FURNITURE POLISH. Just like we did with the bathroom sink and buff it up to a shine and it protects!

It's just like a car out in the elements and rain - you use car wax... In a shower, the walls stay cleaner if you put a wax on the walls to repel the water and dirt. The water actually balls up on the walls after you protect it will furniture polish.

(Don't use Pledge Furniture Polish - it doesn't work. See post here:)
With the new shower - I put on a lot of furniture polish to get that protective coating. I used two dusting rags (with ridges).. One to put the polish on and buff up.. Then a dry one to buff and buff - shine and make slick.
Furniture polish is great for brushed nickel fixtures. I put it on all the fixtures, but the shiny fixtures need to be shined up with a window towel after you've put the polish on them. This protects them from getting water spots.
After my shower is clean, dried and polished I turn my attention to the outside door (If your shower has one - sometimes it's a shower curtain).
If your shower door has ridge on them - clean it good. It always amazes me when I start cleaning the amount of dirt that collect inside each of those groves. Spray on the Windex and dry with a window towel - if it is really dirty you may want to use a wet washcloth and some 409 and then shine it up with a window towel.
On regular see through shower doors spray them and shine it up... As a side note - the inside of the glass doors are polished with furniture polish too and buffed up really nice - to keep the water from making water spots and ruining the see through shower door- beautiful finish.
Dry and shine!
Aaaaaaahhhhh a beautiful and clean, clean shower that passes my nose test - LOL!!
This is another tip that I give my customers. After each shower, squeegee down the walls. Or take your towel and wipe down the walls. If you do this daily after each shower, it WILL stay cleaner longer. Most of my customers are on a bi-weekly schedule and their showers stay clean for 2 weeks. I would NOT recommend going longer then that - or you'll have to start at square one again -- look at the pictures above and remember how hard that was...

It's better to have a regular cleaning schedule and keep it clean, mold free, grime free, germ free. A nice place to clean our bodies - how do you get a clean body when you clean in a filthy shower?? OR how do you get rid of athlete's foot or other diseases when it's there lurking on the shower floor...
A squeegee - your best tool in lightening your cleaning load and schedule... Plus the furniture polish protection!

I hope my cleaning tips will help you keep a clean shower that I won't wrinkle my nose at :D..


Small House said...

OH THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!! I love your cleaning posts. I truly do. We're cheap at this house, and very young when we built it. We have a vinyl tub/shower. I'm thinking that these cleaning supplies will be safe?!! I LOVE-LOVE-LOVE the furniture spray idea. I always thought about putting car wax on it, but was to lazy to "rub on, wax off." THRILLED about the furniture polish. OH...can't wait for saturday to clean!!!!!
Have a good day.

T. L. C. said...

Oh my word, You did this tonight just to delight and make my day!
Yay!!!! I was writing my grocery list while going through post and saw this, stopped, read, and then picked up the pen to add the clorox bleach spray to the list and soft scrub!

Sondra, you would be so be pointing your finger at me if you saw my shower. Now, its now completely at square one but lets just say another few more days....

Okay, tomorrow is a day off, so you'll know what i'll be doing.
Also great idea to polish the shower. Never would have thought of that but great idea!!!

thank you for this post, I hope you doooo believe it helps!!!

Ann Marie said...

Oh wow!
First I have to say Thanks for the post. I know how much work goes into explaining things with pictures, and you are awesome for taking the time to help us all out.. THANK YOU!

Ok.. so what do you clean marble with? We are going to tear out all of the tile in our bathroom ( I hate the grout ) and put in marble.. I use alot of comet and clorox in the shower.. I am so anal I use old toothbrushes to get into small grooves and such..

I look forward to getting a new bathroom that I will want to clean. YOU would be disgusted with both of my bathrooms.. I look forward to putting them on the net for the world to gasp over.. I'm afraid I could have mold.. :(
Oh the horror of such grossness!!

If you think I have been shocking lately.. wait until you check out my bathrooms!!

Sondra said...

Ann Marie and Sandra,

On marble and Vinyl Tub/shower - Don't spray on the Clorox/Cleanup on these surfaces. Just scrub them down with the soft scrub on your non-scratch sponge. If there is a mold/mildew spot, make a paste of Comet and tackle that spot.

I've just had bad experience using any type of heavy duty "Spray" product on these types of surfaces. The Soft Scrub and Comet will not ruin the surface.

I think the biggest thing about cleaning your shower is using the non-scratch sponge to scrub the walls down good.

Ann Marie - I would never be shocked because EVERY house I start to clean has a bad shower. I really think people just have never been trained on how to clean shower walls that are vertical.

AND with all the advertising that a little bubble has scrubbers that will make a shower magically shine is such a lie and no help at all.

Everytime I go down the cleaning isle in the grocery store and stock up - people always seem to ask me if the product works and I have to tell them how to clean a shower - LOL!

Janel said...

All I can say is WOW!!! What a great post! I just LOVE all of your cleaning posts and Ann Marie's organizing posts!!!

I can't believe that you did a post on the shower...I was cleaning mine yesterday and I was hoping that you would write on this subject! Have you ever cleaned one that was made of an acrylic bathtub liner (Bath Fitter)? We did this a few years ago and although it looks great, it is hard to keep clean without scratching it(soap scum).

I noticed on a previous post of your home, you have something in your bathroom like I do (maybe fiberglass?) Do you clean the shower in your own bathroom the way you do for your clients?

Thank you for showing us the nitty gritty of it all! Maybe sometime you can do some posts on cleaning the kitchen.
Blessings, Janel in NJ

Tigersue said...

I have a couple of black spots I have been trying to scrub out for years, without much luck. I did get a steamer that did get a bit of it off, but then the steamer stopped working after my third use, and I haven't bothered to get another.

I cleaned a shower for a friend, and it had all that grimy stuff you were talking about on the walls and the floor. I couldn't figure it out, it was so yucky! The answer, hair coloring makes perfect sense. My sister always colored her hair when she lived with me, but she must have scrubbed down the shower/tub afterward because I never say it in my house.

Thanks for the great tips!

Jenni and Chad Stewart said...

Hey Sondra, I don't blog much myself, but I am an admirer of blogs. :)I found your site through Ann Marie. She said you had some cleaning posts that were a "must see" so I thought I'd check it out. Sure enough, I am inspired! I always love good cleaning tips, and I LOVE the furniture polish idea. Are furniture polish, Soft Scrub, and Comet safe to use on natural stone like travertine? I have been using all these gentle stone cleaners on my travertine and they just don't cut the mustard! I also have travertine on my kitchen and bathroom floors. Any tips?

Sondra said...

Yes, I used softscrub on travertine and furniture polish. It really helps. If the grout starts to develope mold, use clorox clean-up on it too. It will not hurt it at all and you will be pleased with the results!

Let me know if you have anymore questions.

Sondra said...

Oh, and comet is really really safe and cuts through dirt and soap scum great.

I'm planning on doing a blog on mopping floors this week or next. I need to get more pictures. On floors I use Mr. Clean. I'll try to get the blog done this week - check over the weekend.

Pam said...

Do you have any suggestions for getting soap scum off see through shower doors? Do you just use all the products listed on them?

Tigersue said...

Hi Sondra,
We are finishing a bathroom and our shower is the man made marble. Our installer said to absolutely NOT to use Soft Scrub. What then?

Hilary said...

Do you use the furniture polish on the floor as well (and what about in the tub)? I am concerned that it would make it too slippery.

Sondra said...

No, never put furniture polish on the shower floor or tub. Yes, that would make it slippery and dangerous. Just polish the walls.

Krista said...

I am AMAZED by your "maxi pad trick" on your shower post. I had a TON (I know its absolutely disgusting) of black mold in a line over my soap holder and could not get rid of it for the life of me! Even mold cleaner did not work. Put it on this morning and it already is sparkling white, I can't believe it! BEcause of this I will be using your other cleaning methods as well because now I have full faith that they work! Thank you thank you thank you!
I originally found your blog for the CTR 7 lessons (you have EXCELLENT stuff by-the-way) and then started reading your cleaning posts on your blog.
And for me to take time and comment on a post is something, so you know it was good!
Thanks a ton, you are great!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin