Keeping a shower sparkling clean has traditionally meant gathering up a small arsenal of harsh cleaning products: bleach, ammonia, disinfectants, sulfuric acids, and air fresheners. While these types of cleaning products may be effective at lifting soap scum from grout and shower screens and banishing bad bacteria and mold, they also happen to have the unwanted effect of reducing the air quality inside your home (particularly in small spaces such as the bathroom).
The good thing is that there are so many ways to effectively clean a shower naturally without scrubbing! There's an eco-friendly way to tackle every surface in your shower, from cleaning grout and tiles to glass screens.
When asked which bathroom cleaning products households can do without, Barb di Corti, the founder of Enjo, an Australian company specializing in eco-friendly cleaning products, says, "All of them! It can be hard for people to believe, but you can keep your shower clean without a single harsh cleaning product."
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, air pollution inside the home can be up to five times worse than outside. This can means that finding natural ways to clean your shower will benefit not only the environment, but also the health of your family. Here are seven ways to maintain a clean and sparkling shower (without scrubbing) using only natural products.
1. Wipe Your Shower Daily
We've all been there: It's a Saturday and you're spending half the day scrubbing down every inch of the bathroom, sloughing off layers and layers of soap scum. The easiest way to cut down your bathroom cleaning time and always have a clean bathroom is to dry your shower daily.
"My top tip for a sparkling clean shower is to keep your bathroom as dry as possible," di Corti says. "Use a blade to remove moisture from shower screens and a super absorbent cloth to keep surfaces clean and dry."
While it may seem extreme, getting into the habit of drying down your shower at least once daily can pay huge dividends. Get yourself a squeegee or a microfiber cloth ($10.95 for 12, Amazon), and thank us later.
2. Make an All-Natural Shower Cleaner
Jessica Bragdon, the co-founder of Koala Eco, a company specializing in natural cleaners, says changing up your shower cleaning routine is as easy as buying two versatile, non-toxic pantry staples. "Some great do-it-yourself ideas include vinegar and baking soda combined," says Bragdon.
But are solutions like vinegar and baking soda really as effective against mold and bacteria as bleach and other traditional products? According to Bragdon, yes they are. "It is easy to think bleach is doing a great job as it whitens everything, but in fact it can feed mold in porous surfaces. Cleaning your bathroom by filling it with toxic chemicals is not, in my mind, actually cleaning it."
3. Get a Set of Shower Cleaning Tools
Elbow grease is overrated! There is a whole array of bathroom cleaning tools and accessories that will allow you to get the job done without having to break a sweat.
According to di Corti, "dirt builds up in layers and needs to be removed in layers." If your beautiful bathroom is hidden beneath one too many layers, try a steam cleaner. Better yet, save yourself an arm workout and get a motorized scrubber, too.
4. Tackle Mold and Mildew
When it comes to the big baddies of the bathroom — mold and mildew — prevention is often the best and only way to treat it. Once mold has settled into grout, it's extremely difficult to kill. You may be better off replacing the silicone sealant or grout all together. Even the most basic bathroom renovation can cost upwards of $2,000, so it's best to avoid a mold buildup (and a big maintenance bill down the line) by keeping your bathroom dry.
5. Upgrade Your Shower Curtain and Clean It Regularly
Did you know that your shower curtain could also be contributing to reduced bathroom air quality? Studies have shown that plastic shower curtains constantly emit volatile organic compounds (commonly known as VOCs) into the air surrounding the shower.
There are many types of VOCs, but some have been known to cause nasal, eye, and throat irritation, particularly for those who have asthma, or are sensitive to chemicals. Alternative options to a PVC shower curtain include those made from polyester, cotton, or hemp. These materials will need to be washed and dried often to prevent mold growth.
How to Clean a Shower Curtain: To maintain a clean shower curtain, simply soak it in a bucket of warm salty water. Rinse the curtain and then hang it up to air dry. For an extra grubby shower curtain, pop it into the washing machine with regular laundry detergent along with a couple of towels. Add a cup of white vinegar to the rinse. Once the washing cycle is done, hang up the curtain to dry completely.
6. Dry the Shower
Once you've removed all of the soap scum and rinsed off your shower, it can be tempting to pack up and call it a day! But drying your bathroom is a crucial step you should not skip!" Excess moisture leaves watermarks and can lead to mold," says di Corti.
So pick up that squeegee or cloth and wipe off as much excess water as possible, checking for any spots you might've missed. Allow your exhaust fan to run for about 10 to 15 minutes after drying down your bathroom to allow any lingering moisture to be removed.
7. Polish Fixtures and Fittings
The last step to a clean and sparkling shower is to polish the fixtures. While trendy brass or matte black taps may be having their moment in the design spotlight, chrome is the standard for most of us. Keep chrome taps and spindles looking shiny and clean with — you guessed it — vinegar! Combine one part vinegar to two parts water on a microfiber cloth, and buff away grease, fingerprints, and soap residue.
If you want to add a clean fragrance to your bathroom as you shine, try a couple of drops of eucalyptus, peppermint, or tea tree oil.
For lime scale and calcium build up, Bragdon recommends, "Straight-up vinegar or vinegar mixed with baking soda is a great combination for getting off built-up lime scale as well as mold and bacteria."
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Homes to Love.
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