How to Clean and Maintain a Tile Shower

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The shower is one of the more challenging areas of the home to maintain. Because of the soaps, shampoos, and hard water minerals, residues build up and cling to surfaces. Plus, the dark, humid environment is the perfect breeding ground for harmful mold and bacteria. There are several ​approaches on how to clean a tile shower, and we’re going to go through five of them here.

1. Deep Cleaning

You could use a professional maid service. For those who would rather not go that route, these steps will help you clean your shower on your own. If you prefer not to use chemical cleaners, an alternate to step two is provided. There are six steps to this method:

Before getting started, grab a shop vac or heavy duty vacuum cleaner, and vacuum the shower floor.

  • Step One: Remove soap scum off of the tile and shower head with a dry, non-abrasive cleaning pad or scrubber. If you have a high pressure ​detachable shower head, you’ll have to clean the hose as well
  • Step Two: Spray your tiles with a commercial tub and tile cleaner, letting the product sit on any highly soiled areas. In place of a commercial product, make a thick paste of baking soda and water. Let this mixture sit on difficult stains or mold.
  • Step Three: In a spray bottle, dilute vinegar with an equal amount of water. Spray the vinegar solution onto the baking soda. The vinegar with cause the baking soda to bubble and the acidity of the vinegar will dissolve the mess. Let the mixture stand for ten minutes.
  • Step ​Four: Scrub with a non-abrasive scrubber sponge until the surface is clean.
  • Step Five: Rinse with hot water.
  • Step Six: Dry the shower completely, or the water spots will return.

Tile showers will retain their just-cleaned finish if they are dried after each use. This will slow the buildup of soap scum and mold.

best cleaning method tile shower

​2. Shower Maintenance

Professional cleaning coaches recommend daily shower maintenance and a thorough cleaning once every week. For this cleaning technique, the prevention of build-up is as important as the cleaning method.

For a daily shower maintenance hack, squeegee the water off the walls, doors, and bottom of the shower after every use. Run the vent fan or open a window for 20-30 minutes to disburse the humidity. Several other tips keep the tile shower easier to maintain.

  • Skip opaque soaps as they create more residue. Instead, choose a liquid body wash or shower gel. Switching products should eliminate most of the soap scum.
  • Check the ingredients of shampoos and conditioners. Purchase products that do not contain added color. Coloring agents can stain the grout.
  • Keep shower supplies on a shelf or in a shower caddy. This prevents water and product residue from getting trapped under containers. Trapped soap and water will create mold.
  • To prevent mold, spray tiles two to three times each week with full strength vinegar with a drop of tea tree oil for every two ounces of vinegar.
  • After spraying, allow the tile to dry. The tea tree oil will fight odor and mold formation.

​3. Weekly Cleaning

How to clean a tile shower actually starts with keeping up on your weekly cleaning. Setting a good routine in place to keep you shower clean will make the deep cleaning process significantly easier.

First wipe the shower door, floor, and wall tiles with an eraser sponge. Mix a solution of two parts water and one part vinegar. Use this solution to clean the grout with a brush. Do not use bleach on the grout. Bleach will damage the surface, making it susceptible to stains and mold.

To clean the tile, make a paste of vinegar and baking soda, let the mixture sit for 20 minutes and scrub with a microfiber cloth. If the tile is difficult to clean, add a few drops of hydrogen peroxide to the paste. You can also use a mop specialized for grout and tile for this step.

It is advised not to use abrasive cleansers on porcelain or ceramic tiles because they can damage the grout and scratch the surface of the tile. It is also not recommended to use vinegar, because vinegar is highly acidic and may also damage the tile. The following products are recommended.

  • A soft sponge
  • A pH neutral cleanser
  • A grout brush or toothbrush
  • Stain resistant sealer
  • Grout cleaner

Use a soft sponge and a pH neutral ceramic and porcelain cleaner, following the directions of the product manufacturer. Use a grout brush to work the ceramic cleaner between the tiles. Rinse and dry the surfaces.

​4. Deep Cleaning for Mold and Stains

When cleaning hard water stains, soap scum, or mold, use an alkaline cleanser and a soft brush to scrub until the stains are gone. Use grout cleaner and scrub with a grout brush.

After scrubbing mold, discard the brush to prevent re-contamination. When using a product other than what is recommended by the manufacturer, test a small area before cleaning the entire shower.

5. Care and Maintenance

Treat ceramic or porcelain shower tiles with a stain-resistant penetrating sealer when the shower is installed, and every year after that. It is important to check product directions, as some products will require a more frequent application.

best way to clean tile shower


Hard water stains, soap deposits, and mold can make a tile shower challenging to clean. Once the shower is clean, it is advised to dry the tiles after every use. Taking the time to wipe the shower will make cleaning the tiles easier. When shower tiles are dry, there is less opportunity for mold and bacteria to grow in the dark, humid conditions.

Allen Michael is the Founder and Editor of Home Viable, a website that he started to provide readers with tips on home efficiency and automation. He draws on his engineering background combined with his family-of-four experiences for his articles.