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Shower Cleaning Basics

Cleaning the bathroom shower is a task that many people put off until it’s out of hand. Who can blame them? It’s not incredibly pleasant, and can be downright disgusting at times. But when you’re armed with the shower scrubbing information you need, you’ll be better prepared to tackle everything from soap scum to clogged drains.

Here at Merry Maids, we know a thing or two about cleaning showers. And we’re happy to share our expertise to make cleaning—and maintaining—a hygienic shower a little easier and less stressful for you. Ready to get your scrub on? First, a quick warning: Many of our cleaning suggestions include vinegar. Vinegar should never be used on stone surfaces.

Now let’s get to cleaning!


The problem with shower doors is that they’re prone to developing hard water stains. And cleaning hard water stains becomes increasingly difficult if the stains sit for a while and have time to build up. Make life easier on yourself by wiping down shower doors with a squeegee or microfiber cloth each time you exit. It takes little time, and can really make a difference.

Additionally, look for cleaning solutions that are formulated especially for glass shower doors. If you’re a DIY-er, you can make a scum remover using a solution of ¼ cup vinegar and ¾ cup water. Mix that in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat for 60 seconds before loading it into a spray bottle. Mist your shower door with the mixture and let that sit for about 3 minutes. Use a microfiber cloth to wipe down the doors with your solution, as brushes can scratch the glass. Bonus: The vinegar can also be used to clean shower door tracks.


You probably don’t often think about cleaning your showerhead. That’s OK. It’s easy to forget it’s up there, filling with hard water deposits, gunk and grime. But the showerhead plays a major role in keeping you clean. Return the favor.

Guess what you can use to easily clean a showerhead? That’s right, more white vinegar. Mix a one-to-one ratio of vinegar and water in a plastic sandwich bag. Fasten that to the showerhead with a rubber band and go about your day as the solution works its magic. And this simple trick takes care of mineral deposits left from hard water, as well as mildew build-up.


Every time you shower, you leave a memento of the occasion, especially if you have long hair. When your drain gets backed up, you’ll be standing in a pool of dirty, tepid water as you shower. Nobody wants that.

The best way to avoid a clogged drain is prevention. You can help keep your drain clear by investing in a hair catcher and by cleaning your tub stopper on a weekly basis in bathtub/shower combos.

If you already have a clog, the severity of the build up will determine the best means of getting your drain to run clear again. A little build-up, for example, can sometimes be cleared with hot water. Major clogs, on the other hand, may call for a snake or plumber.


There are plenty of things that can get caught in the shower drain aside from hair. Below you’ll find several drain-clogging culprits that may be slipping past your radar.
  • Body washes, shampoos and conditioners: Think about the scum these products form on your shower walls. The same thing is happening in your pipes.
  • Drain cleaner: Frequently using commercial drain cleaner can damage and clog your pipes. Over time, the cleaner can wear grooves into your plumbing. These grooves then fill with drain-blocking hair, conditioner and so forth.
  • Emollients and moisturizers: Many a magazine suggests applying lotions and creams in the shower to keep your skin hydrated. While this may be good for skin, it’s bad for your drains. Step away from the shower before applying moisturizers.
  • Pet hair: Washing Sammy the Beagle in your bathtub/shower combo makes for a clean pup, but backed-up pipes.
  • Soap: When the water stops flowing, soap can dry on your pipes and build up as scum. This alone can stop up a drain. But other things, like hair, can stick to the scum and make clogs worse.

Mildew thrives in the tropical environment that is the shower. Have your squeegee or microfiber cloth pull double duty by using it on shower walls in addition to doors and you can keep fungal friends at bay in between cleanings.

If you have tile walls, you also need to make sure you get unwelcome mildew out of your grout. As with solutions for cleaning hard water stains, you can buy commercial grout cleaner or make your own. If you go the DIY route, make certain that in your mixing you never combine vinegar with hydrogen peroxide or oxygenated bleach. The result is a chemical reaction that is very bad for your health. And regardless of what type of solution you use, you’ll need a scrub brush or toothbrush to get mildew out of your grout. Also, when cleaning stone showers, you have to take special care to ensure you don’t get grout cleaner on the stone.


The methods and products you use to clean your shower will depend on the type of shower you have. Below are two common types of showers, and the best means of cleaning them.
  • Bathtub/shower combos: This shower type is popular because it saves precious space in smaller bathrooms. Naturally, if you have a combo, you’ll be cleaning the tub at the same time as the shower. For the shower itself, you’ll need to buy or make some soap scum remover and hard water stain remover. (As long as you don’t have a stone shower, you can use the same recipe we’ve provided in our instructions on cleaning shower doors.) You’ll also need a microfiber cloth for wiping down shower walls. Showers with tile walls call for a little extra TLC to tackle the mildew that builds up in grout.
  • Stand-alone showers:These can either be seamless—meaning they’re built into the walls—or sectional units that look like stalls. Most stand-alone showers have glass doors, so you’ll want to hit those with a soft cloth and your hard water cleaner. As with the bathtub/shower combo, you should clean tile floor grout for mildew. Additionally, all sides—including walls and doors made of glass—require cleaning with soap scum remover. Again, you can’t use this cleaner on a stone shower.
Cleaning the shower is one of those things in life that just have to be done. And if you don’t want to do it, call your local Merry Maids office. Our cleaning professionals are happy to tangle with that mildew and soap scum so you don’t have to.