We're confident that our readers take good care of their bathrooms and shower areas... at least we're pretty sure that's what they think. Here we'll break down the process of deep cleaning the wall and stall surfaces, fixtures, and getting rid of the mold and mildew.
This is the part where you remove all the bottles, toys, loofahs, body scrubbers, sponges, shaving apparatus, soap bars, etc. Recycle any empty containers, and wipe each item you're keeping with a wet cloth - there's usually soapy goo and other residual mess on the bottles and other objects. It traps bacteria and washing it will go a long away. Wipe any visible sticky messes from surfaces, and clean the hair out of the drain.
Turn on the exhaust fan to get rid of any fumes, and keep the door or window open to ensure adequate ventilation. Turn the shower to hot and run it for a few minutes pointing the showerhead onto the walls, wetting surfaces inside the shower area. This will soften up the dirt, mildew buildups, and other gunk.
3. Mold and Mildew
As you know, mold and mildew can accumulate in any bathroom very quickly. A good practice is to tackle any visual mildew growth on the grout and other areas before moving on to the general grime. The key to success here is to kill the mold cultures and to neutralize its spores. For this our recipe consists of a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and washing soda or a product like OxiClean. Mix them to create a white paste which should feel like toothpaste by consistency. Use an old toothbrush to apply the paste to grout lines and other areas prone to collecting mold and mildew, and let it sit there for 10 minutes. Then use that same brush to rub the grout areas between tile.
Your bathroom likely has tiled walls in the shower area, which collect water droplets after every shower, which then air dry to result in water spots and dried streaks. This can be mitigated by wiping the tiled surfaces with a dry towel after every use, but that's often not realistic, but fear not - we have a solution: for non-porous surfaces, such as tile, use a cloth wet with diluted white vinegar to wipe. Follow up with a dry cloth to buff the surface. Consider using a tile and grout protectant product that seals the surfaces and keeps them free of spots and deposits.
Here we will focus on the thermostatic and pressure balance controllers, valves, diverters, shower heads, bars, shower arms, and other shower fixtures and finishes.
Apply a cleaner and use an old toothbrush around the edges of the drain to get residual soil and build-up. It’s also a good idea to remove the cap of the drain, if applicable, to clean underneath it.
A periodic spritz of white vinegar will help to prevent build-up on your shower head and other chrome/metal surfaces. For a deeper clean, remove the showerhead and soak it in a 50/50 white vinegar and water mixture. The vinegar will help to loosen the residues on the surface, as well as any clogs inhibiting the flow of water. Do this for an hour, and then wipe it with a sponge and run water through it to rinse.
Plastic shower caddies tend to be especially susceptible to soap residue and dirt buildup. Wipe those shampoo bottle rings clean with soap and some fluoride toothpaste, and if necessary, spray hydrogen peroxide on moldy areas.
Don’t overlook the shower curtain. Remove it and the plastic liner from the rod and shake off any dust, preferably outside. Follow the manufacturer's directions for cleaning, if it's made of synthetic cloth it can often be put through the laundry, including the dryer, which kills the most germs. If it's plastic - be careful, and refer to the official instructions on the product or packaging. The plastic liner can be replaced for a few dollars, but if you would like to extend its life, it can be sprayed with a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water. Scrub at the moldy areas on the bottom of the curtain with a mixture of washing soda and hydrogen peroxide, and then rinse it away. Chlorine-based bleach may discolor it and should be avoided.
Pro Tip: Trim the shower curtain to just barely overlap the wall of your tub - this is a great way to limit the growth of mildew and encourage the liner to dry faster without sacrificing function.
And last but not least, do yourself a favor and replace your loofah with a fresh one!