The best way to clean shower walls

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We can’t make cleaning your shower fun but we can make it faster and easier. This article documents all of our best tips for cleaning your shower walls. These tips are applicable whether you have glass walls, plastic walls, acrylic walls, or any other type of walls. There are a few tips that are particularly useful if you have tile shower walls, which are notoriously difficult to clean. 

The best way to clean shower walls

Why do you need to clean your shower walls?

Why do you need to clean the walls of your shower? Thinking critically about  the problems you are trying to prevent (or alleviate) can help you clean any part of your house more efficiently and effectively.  

  • Mold and mildew. Mold and mildew are the primary reasons cleaning your shower walls is so difficult. This is especially true if you have tile shower walls with grout. Mold and mildew love warm, damp places so the shower is their ideal habitat.
  • Limescale. Limescale is a chalky, white deposit that is left behind after water that has minerals in it evaporates. Limescale is not a health hazard, but it is also not pretty.
  • Soap scum. Soap scum is a close relative of limescale. Soap scum is created when the fats in soap mix with the minerals in water that produce limescale. Soap scum tends to be darker in color than limescale. It is generally dark yellow to light brown. 

What is the best way to clean shower walls?

Cleaning the walls of your shower can be a laborious task. This is especially true if your shower walls are made of small tiles and there is a lot of grout you need to scrub each time you clean your shower. Here are our best tips for making cleaning your shower walls as easy as possible.

  • Thoroughly wet shower walls before cleaning them. I recommend running your shower on the warmest setting for 3-5 minutes prior to cleaning your sower. This loosens up all of the crud on your walls and makes it easier to get it off.
  • Thoroughly saturate with soap or cleaner before scrubbing them. This is in line with the previous point. If your shower walls are warm, wet, and soapy before you start scrubbing them they will be easier to clean. 
  • Use cleaning products that prevent mold. You should use cleaning products that deter mold from growing as a preventative measure. Some examples of cleaning products that prevent mold are vinegar (or anything acidic) and bleach. 
  • Use a sink scrubber to clean your walls. Use a stiff bristled brush rather than a soft sponge when cleaning your shower walls. Sink scrubbers are a good option because they usually have nice, ergonomically designed handles. 
  • Clean incrementally. If cleaning your whole shower at once is too overwhelming then keep some liquid soap and a stiff bristled brush somewhere near your shower. When you shower at night or in the morning you can take a minute or two to scrub one of your shower walls at a time. 

How often do you need to clean shower walls?

How often should you clean your shower walls? In general you should clean your shower walls once a week. The exact frequency with which you need to clean your shower walls varies based on two factors – the material you shower walls are made out of and the ventilation in your bathroom.

If you have a well ventilated bathroom you can go a few extra days without washing your shower walls. This is because mold does not grow as well in dry areas with lots of air circulation. Your bathroom is likely well ventilated if you have a powerful fan or if you have large windows you keep open and you live in a dry climate.

If you have shower walls that are smooth and are made out of a material like glass or acrylic then you can go longer without washing your bathroom than someone who has tiles with exposed grout. Mold grows much more quickly on grout than it does on other flat, slippery surfaces like acrylic.

How often to clean bathroom walls

What should you clean shower walls with?

The exact cleaning product you use to clean your shower walls is not as important as the method you use. Here are a few examples of cleaning products that work well on shower walls.

  • Dish soap. Dish soap is designed to move caked on grime so it should come as so surprise that dish soap is useful for removing grime from the walls of your shower.
  • General purpose cleaning sprays. General-purpose cleaning sprays like 409 and Scrubbing Bubbles work well for cleaning your shower walls. If you use one of these products you should make sure to wait for a few minutes after you spray the walls for the product to soak in before scrubbing your shower walls. 
  • Vinegar. Vinegar is acidic so it eats away at some types of dirt and grime. Vinegar is a particularly good choice for cleaning shower walls because the acidity deters mold from growing. 
  • Bleach. Bleach has similar properties to vinegar in terms of preventing mold from growing but it is a harsher cleaning product. I recommend using bleach if your shower is very dirty, and specifically if there is a lot of caked on mold in the grout. 

How to clean moldy grout on shower walls

Do you have grout lines that are already moldy? If your grout lines are already moldy then you are best off using bleach to clean them. If your shower walls are lightly spotted with mold you can apply bleach and wait 5-10 minutes before rinsing it off. If your grout lines are very dark and moldy you might need to let the bleach soak for a few hours. Make sure to open your windows and keep the space well ventilated if you do this.

Clorox and lysol sell bleach solutions that come in a spray bottle. I would buy one of these cleaning solutions to use for these purposes. You should be careful before making your own spray bleach solution.

Preventing shower walls from getting moldy

The easiest way to get mold off of your shower walls is to make sure it never grows there to begin with. Here are some preventative measures you can take to prevent mold from growing on your shower walls.

  • Keep your bathroom well ventilated. Mold likes to grow in warm, damp conditions. You cannot always control the temperature of your bathroom but you certainly can control the water content in the air. Always run your bathroom fan or open a window after taking a bath or shower.
  •  Use cleaning products that deter mold from growing. There are two common household products that deter mold from growing. These are bleach and vinegar. If you spray your shower with a vinegar or bleach solution every few days it will prevent mold from growing. I recommend using a 50-50 mixture of water and distilled white vinegar.

Other bathroom cleaning tips

Check out some of our other articles for more tips on how to clean your bathroom more efficiently.

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