How to clean a shower – 8 simple steps to a spotless shower space

From limescale to soap scum, this is how to restore a shower to near new

Blue brick metro tiles in a glass shower
(Image credit: Jonathan Gooch)

There is nothing more refreshing than taking an ‘everything’ shower in a freshly cleaned shower space – free from smeared marks and strange drain smells. 

Whether you struggle with removing limescale from shower glass or brightening up your tile grout lines, cleaning a shower can be a laborious task at the best of times, especially if you have a big walk-in.

Luckily, there are some great cleaning tips to make cleaning this spot simpler and less strain on your arms and back. This is how to clean a shower for a spotless shine when cleaning a bathroom in only eight steps. 

How to clean a shower 

The key to keeping a clean shower is knowing how often to clean a shower to prevent stubborn build-up. Ideally, you should clean your shower weekly – even if it is just a quick wipe down, with a deep clean every two weeks or so, depending on its usage and how many people use it. This is the best way to prevent bad drain smells and ensure you come out of your shower feeling fresh and clean each time you use it. 

1. Declutter your products

modern bathroom with tiled shower and marble niche

(Image credit: Emily Lauren Interiors / Photography Madeline Harper)

Before cleaning, it can be helpful to declutter your bathroom, remove products you might not be using anymore, and throw out empty bottles. Clearing away some space before you start will make the cleaning process much easier. 

Throw out any expired, used, or half-used products you no longer like to make space for those you do. Before cleaning, there should be nothing left on shelves or on the floor of your shower. 

2. Start with the walls

bathroom with statement tiles

(Image credit: Future)

'No matter if you have vinyl walls or tile, you should always start here when cleaning a shower so that runoff doesn’t make your shower dirty again,' says Courtney Cole, designer at TileCloud

‘The first step is to prepare your shower tiles by harnessing the power of steam,’ she recommends. ‘Close all doors and windows in your bathroom and run your shower with hot water for about ten minutes. This will loosen the dirt particles, making them easier to remove.’ If you have one, you can also use a steam cleaner for the same effect with the added benefit of also helping to clean tile grout without scrubbing for brighter grout lines. 

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Courtney then recommends using a mixture of two parts baking soda to one part soap with a bit of water to create a gentle abrasive paste that will remove soap scum and limescale from a variety of shower wall surfaces. ‘For tougher grime, vinegar mixed with water works wonders, especially for killing mold and providing a non-toxic clean,’ she adds.

‘Start from the top of the shower and work your way down. Apply the cleaning solution generously over the tiles and scrub with a non-abrasive sponge, bristled brush, or cloth in a circular motion. For tougher spots, let the cleaning solution sit for a while before scrubbing.’

Once you have finished scrubbing, rinse the walls down and dry them off to avoid streaks.

3. Remove limescale and soap from doors

green tiled walk in shower with glass shower doors, black walls hung radiator, white tiled floor

(Image credit: Bert & May)

Cleaning glass shower doors is one of the most tiresome parts of cleaning a bathroom, especially if you have let soap and limescale build up over a long period of time. 'The best way to deal with this tough build-up is by soaking the area in a good cleaner before scrubbing,' suggests Karina Toner, cleaning expert at Spekless Cleaning.

She recommends starting with either a commercial shower cleaner (we like Method Daily Shower Spray from Walmart) or a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water. Saturate the doors and allow the solution to sit for around five minutes. Then, use a non-abrasive sponge to help lift the marks. 

‘For stubborn stains or mildew, apply a paste of baking soda and water and scrub gently,’ she adds. You can also try cleaning with The Pink Stuff for a gentle abrasive that won't damage shower glass. 

‘Finish off by rinsing the entire shower area with warm water to remove the cleaning solution and loosened dirt. If you want to make your door shine, use a glass cleaner or a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water to clean glass shower doors and metal fixtures. Dry the surfaces with a clean microfiber cloth to prevent water spots.’

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Karina Toner
Karina Toner

Karina is the Operations Manager at Spekless Cleaning, a trusted maid service based in Washington D.C. The team has over five years of experience providing top-quality cleaning services for both residential and commercial clients. 

4. Soak shower curtains

Karo Shower Curtain

(Image credit: Lulu & Georgia)

If you have a shower curtain rather than a glass door, it is important to clean it to prevent it from going moldy or making your bathroom smell musty. 

Lina DaSilva, cleaning expert and founder of Toronto Shine Cleaning, recommends throwing your shower curtain in the washing machine with half a cup of baking soda to help deodorize and remove soap scum. You can also try using vinegar in laundry to help kill off mold and mildew, too. 

Lina DaSilva
Lina DaSilva

Lina DaSilva is the founder of the award-winning Toronto Shine Cleaning. With over 5 years of industry experience, she specializes in residential cleaning and home organization. Her venture focuses on offering living wages and empowering homeowners to enjoy cleaner, more organized spaces.

5. Don’t forget the showerhead

Shower light

(Image credit: Keuco)

One of the most commonly forgotten spots when cleaning a shower is the shower head. If you live in an area with particularly hard water, neglecting to clean a showerhead can lead to limescale blocking the outlets, reducing the water pressure, and slowly breaking your head over time. 

Gabriella Dyson, Head of Solved at Homes & Gardens, recommends wrapping the showerhead in a small plastic bag and filling it with white vinegar. This will help to loosen limescale and kill bacteria, making it easier to scrub away. 

Be sure to also wipe down any pipes and controls in your shower to kill off bacteria and remove watermarks. 

Gabriella Dyson
Gabriella Dyson

Gabriella Dyson is Head of Solved at Homes & Gardens, editing and writing practical advice for homeowners in the process of cleaning, decluttering, or attempting home improvements and DIY projects. Gabriella previously worked on, writing features about issues surrounding historic and listed building projects.

6. Flush out the drain

White tiled shower with twin black shower heads, black bath

(Image credit: Cortney Bishop)

Unclogging a shower drain is nobody’s favorite activity, but it has to be done to keep your pipes in good condition and make your bathroom smell nice. If you stay on top of cleaning a drain, you will likely only need to remove any hair and wipe the drain and hair trap down with a shower cleaner to freshen it up and remove any sludge caused by soap. 

If you do not empty it regularly, you may find that you need a commercial drain unblocked, such as Green Gobbler drain unblocker from Walmart, to help dissolve hair and soap buildup and get your water flowing more freely again.  

7. Finish with the basin

Blue bathroom with pale zeillge tiles

(Image credit: Alex Zarour)

Finally, as you finish cleaning the shower, it is time to tackle the floor. Cleaning a shower floor is often the easiest part – all you need to do is spray it down with your shower cleaner and work from the far corner back towards the shower door with a clean cloth, ensuring that you pick up any hair or other debris that may have fallen when cleaning to prevent it going back down your freshly cleaned drain.  

8. Launder any bath mats

Miele washing machine in a stylish farmhouse modern laundry room with sage green cabinets, a sink full of flowers, and a decorative vase

(Image credit: Miele)

Finally, with the shower itself clean, you can launder any shower mats or bathroom rugs outside the shower door, so you ensure you are stepping from a clean shower to a clean floor. You don’t want to step out with wet feet and have them recoated in hair and dust, after all.  


What is the best DIY shower cleaner?  

One of the best DIY cleaning solutions for showers is a mix of distilled white vinegar, a few drops of dish soap, and distilled water. The vinegar helps to kill mold and bacteria, freshening up grout lines, while the soap removes grease and leaves a spotless shine. 

How do you deep clean a shower naturally?  

If you are looking to avoid chemicals when deep cleaning a shower, one of the best tools to use is a steam cleaner. A good steamer with multiple attachments for tiles, basins, and grout will help to remove soap scum and kill bacteria without the need for chemical cleaners or the need to scrub, as is the case with many DIY cleaning solutions. Although it is an investment, multi-head steamers can also be used around your home, often making them worthwhile.  

Keeping a shower clean comes down to regular maintenance and what you do immediately after each shower. For instance, there are several things to do after a shower that will make cleaning easier, such as squeegeeing the walls to remove soap and water and emptying the plug of hair to prevent tough build-up that you have to scrub to remove.  

Chiana Dickson
Content Editor

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for two years, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.