There are few things that make a bathroom feel more luxurious than a clean tiled shower. However, cleaning a tile shower can be a daunting task. Below are some tips on how to safely clean tile showers that will help make this task a little easier.
Before beginning the cleaning process, make sure you have all of the supplies you need on hand.
Perhaps the most important item is an appropriate tile cleaner. However, not all tiles are created equally, and care must be used when choosing a cleaner. Ceramic and glass tiles are non-porous and able to withstand harsher cleaning materials. Glass cleaner works well on glass and ceramic tiles, as do most commercial cleaners and vinegar-based cleaners. Natural stone tiles must be treated with more caution as they can absorb chemicals and acidic cleaners. If you have tile made from a natural stone (such as granite, slate, or marble, etc.), it is essential that you use a non-acidic cleaner and a non-abrasive cloth (such as a hand towel or microfiber cloth) in order to safely clean tile showers. Use of acidic cleaners and rough cloth can result in wear, damage, and discoloration to natural stone. Ammonia should also be avoided, as it can dull the stone’s finish.
The tile grout may require special attention and additional cleaning supplies. A melamine foam eraser can work well to remove stains from grout. Before beginning, test the eraser on a small and unnoticeable area of the shower to ensure the tile is colorfast.
Other tools necessary include a squeegee or hand towel, which will help remove excess moisture.
While the shower is dry, wipe down the shower walls and floor to remove any solids such as dust, dirt, or hair. Scrape or remove any other deposits, such as areas of thick soap scum or mildew. Before cleaning, make sure the chosen tile cleaner is approved for the type of tile you are cleaning (natural stone, ceramic, glass, etc).
Once the shower is free from solid debris, spray down small sections at a time with your tile cleaner of choice. Allow your shower cleaner to set and take effect. Then, using an appropriate cloth or brush, rub the section until the entire area is clean. Remember to rinse and squeeze the cloth or brush, as a very saturated cloth will not clean effectively. Once a section of tile is clean, use a melamine foam cleaner or brush to take on areas in the grout with persistent stains or mildew. Some areas of mildew may be difficult to remove or may leave stains, and this can require extra attention with a mildew cleaner that is appropriate for your type of tile. Then rinse the walls of the shower free of tile cleaner using the shower head, cup, or spray bottle filled with water. Repeat around the shower walls.
Removing moisture from the shower once it is clean is an important step in the process. Use a squeegee to wipe down the shower after it’s been rinsed, paying careful attention to the corners where excess moisture may collect. For extra assurance, dry the walls of the shower with a towel.
If the floor of the shower is tiled, repeat these steps using precautions to avoid slipping on the wet tile floor.
Of course, it is easier to maintain a clean shower than it is to clean up a shower full of mildew and soap scum. To maintain a clean shower, use the squeegee on the tile after showering to remove the bulk of the moisture from the walls and corners. If you don’t like the idea of a squeegee, try wiping the shower after each use, or after every other use. This will help prevent mildew and mold from growing. Then, spray an after-shower spray that is appropriate for use on the tile. After shower sprays break down soap and shampoo residue, which makes “soap scum” easier to clean.
Skipping bar soap can also make a clean tile shower easier to maintain. The materials used in bar soap mean that is more likely to create soap scum in a tile shower. Liquid soap is less likely to leave a film or residue when used and can be rinsed more easily with just water.
Finally, treat mildew and mold immediately−don’t wait! Mold and mildew will continue to spread and can stain surfaces and grout if not promptly treated.
How to safely clean tile showers
A Guide to the Care & Cleaning of Natural Stone