While moving into your first home is an exciting event, cleaning your own bathroom and shower isn't that exciting. With the wide variety of expensive cleaning products on display at grocery stores, new homeowners or tenants might be overwhelmed by choices and shocked at the cost of bathroom cleaners. Instead, make your own cheap scrubbing products with items you likely already have on hand. You will save money and avoid inhaling the harsh chemicals often found in commercial cleaners.
Tile and Grout
One of the cheapest ways to clean tile and grout in a shower is simply to combine baking soda and water to apply a baking soda and water paste. Use a sponge to scrub down the tiles themselves, and find an old toothbrush to apply the paste to the grout. Once your shower has been scrubbed thoroughly, work on avoiding future grimy tiles. Keep a spray bottle in the shower containing equal parts vinegar and water. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil or citrus peels to add a fresh scent and boost the grime-fighting acidity of the cleaner. After showering, spray and wipe down the walls to prevent buildup.
Cheap Scouring Powder
If your shower really needs a good deep scrubbing, be frugal and make your own scouring powder. Combine equal parts baking soda, borax and salt, and apply the mixture with a wet cloth or damp sponge. Rinse off with hot water. This shouldn't damage your shower, but test it on a small spot just to make sure it doesn't leave scratch marks. In a pinch, try a couple of tablespoons of powdered laundry detergent on a damp sponge to scrub down shower walls.
Cleaning the Showerhead
Shower heads that get clogged with mineral deposits and soap scum result in a slow trickle of water and become ineffective. A cheap way to clear your shower head is to use a plastic bag and elastic band, 1/4 cup baking soda and 1 cup of vinegar. Combine the baking soda and vinegar and pour the cleaning solution into the bag. Carefully place the bag around the shower head so each shower-stream hole is immersed in the solution. Use the rubber band to secure the plastic bag around the shower nozzle and let it sit for an hour. Remove the bag and run the shower.
Shower Soap Scum
Soap scum is the grimy residue that builds up on shower walls, doors and the floor. A combination of soap residue, naturally-occurring body oil, mold and mildew, soap scum makes a shower look dingy, and requires a cleaner with an acidic base to break down the greasy components. A quick and inexpensive method to dealing with soap scum in the shower is to mix equal parts Dawn Dishwashing Liquid and hot vinegar. Use a sponge to apply the mixture to the walls, let it sit for 10 minutes, then rinse off. Another treatment is to stick vinegar-soaked paper towels to shower walls, including tiled walls, tub surrounds and glass shower doors. Let the towels sit for 30 minutes, remove and rinse off.
- University of Minnesota: Non-Toxic Cleaning Solutions, Useful Products and Further Reading
- City of Boston: Safe Cleaning for People With Asthma
- Apartment Therapy: How to Clean Soap Scum
- Good Housekeeping: How to Quickly Clean a Dirty Shower
- Mother Earth News: What Natural Household Cleaning Products Do You Use?
A former financial adviser with more than a decade of experience in personal finance and small business banking, Sarita Harbour is a professional writer specializing in personal finance, small business, technology, and content marketing techniques. Her writing appears online at sites such as Yahoo! Homes and Bob Vila. Harbour holds a bachelor's degree in psychology and computer science from the University of Guelph and the Personal Financial Planning designation from the Institute of Canadian Bankers.