Shower floors are self-cleaning, right? After all, it gets rinsed with soap suds every time someone showers. This is a common perception, but is unfortunately wrong. The reality is that shower floors get dirty, just like any other area in the house, and have to be cleaned regularly.
Residue from soap and shampoo can accumulate on shower floors, especially in corners, cracks and crevices. Furthermore, bacteria, mold and mildew tend to find warm, wet and dark environments especially welcoming. A dirty shower floor just feels unpleasant under the feet, when all that is desired is a nice long shower to wash away the day’s worries.
The best way to clean a shower floor depends on the material of which it is made. Many shower floors are made of fiberglass, which is an artificial and durable material similar to the surfaces of bathtubs. Cleaning a fiberglass surface would require non-abrasive cleaning solutions and tools, to avoid permanent damage. Other surfaces, such as tile, are more hardy and can withstand rougher treatment.
For most shower floors a mild, non-abrasive cleaning solution, such as common dishwashing soap or kitchen cleaners, can be used. These cleaning solutions typically cut through oil and grease, making it easy yet effective for cleaning. Ammonia-based solutions should be avoided, as ammonia is an alkaline substance and therefore corrosive to fiberglass surfaces. It also has an unpleasant odor for most people.
Cleaning tools such as sponges, soft brushes and clothes should be used. These tend to be non-abrasive and will protect the surface. Avoid using steel wool or hard-edged scrapers at all costs. It may be tempting to scour every part of the shower to thoroughly get rid of dirt, but steel wool or scrapers would damage the shower floor, leaving indelible marks.
A Step-by-step Guide
Spread the cleaning solution evenly on the shower floor using a soft sponge or cloth. Make sure to get into corners, any cracks or crevices, and around the drainage area. In most showers, soap suds and dirt tend to accumulate around the drain-hole.
If the shower floor is non-slip or textured, more scrubbing may be needed to apply pressure on all the surfaces.
2. Remove Stains Thoroughly
Often while the shower floor is being scrubbed, scum from soap residue or watermarks will be found. To remove these, a few methods can be applied:
- First, use white vinegar, a common kitchen ingredient. Just pour the vinegar generously over the stains. After about 5-10 minutes, scrub it off using a sponge or brush. The acidic vinegar will break up oil molecules, removing the soap residue or any grime.
- Second, a stronger solution that can deal with tougher stains, is hydrogen peroxide. This is a mild bleaching solution, which effectively removes dark-colored stains and is especially useful for white or light-colored surfaces. Simply place a white-colored cloth over the stain, soak it with a large amount of hydrogen peroxide solution, then leave the cloth on the stain overnight. The solution will work its magic on the stain, after which the stain can be rinsed off.
- Third, baking soda can work on soap-related stains. Simply mix equal parts of baking soda and water, to make a viscous paste (for a stronger version of the paste, use vinegar or lemon juice instead of water). Apply the paste to the stain, taking care to cover it completely. Leave it for 1-2 hours, then scrub with a soft sponge or brush. The stain should come off easily.
- Fourth, a chlorine-based bleach can be used to remove mold or mildew. Most people recoil at signs of mildew or mold in their shower, but it is not only an aesthetic issue. If not removed completely, it can cause serious health problems.
Fortunately, getting rid of mold or mildew is straightforward. Simply apply the chlorine bleach to the stain, being extra careful not to splatter or get the bleach on anyone. Leave the chlorine to soak into the stain for a few minutes, then scrub off with a brush. Be careful to rinse thoroughly once done.
Stay safe: Chlorine bleach not only smells strong, it is harmful to people when in contact with exposed skin. Take care to wear protective gloves (rubber kitchen gloves work well), old clothes, and protective shoes. Make sure the shower area is well-ventilated before pouring the bleach.
- Fifth, lemon juice is effective in getting rid of rust stains. Pour the juice on the stain, making sure to cover it completely. Leave for a few hours, then scrub off with a sponge.
3. Rinse off and Leave to Dry
Once the shower floor is completely scrubbed and free of visible soapy residue, go ahead and rinse with clean water. This is typically the most fun part! Turn on the shower, and spray water into all the corners. Enjoy the clean and fresh sensation of soapy water being washed away.
When done, dry the area with a clean cloth. Leave the shower to completely dry in the air. A bathroom dehumidifier can often help.
Keeping the Shower Floor Clean
After all that hard work, it would be a pity if the shower floor reverts to a dirty condition. Maintenance is as essential as cleaning.
Keeping the shower floor clean at all times isn’t hard. Just do the following:
– Rinse the floor after every shower: Showering should include cleaning the floor in addition to the person’s body. Spending just a minute or two to rinse the shower floor would help to remove any soapy residue, before it corrodes surfaces and creates ugly stains.
– Regular cleaning: A weekly routine is recommended. This will keep the shower floor clean, and help to avoid the need for stronger and more corrosive cleaning products later on. During the weekly cleaning, any stains or signs of mold and mildew should be immediately removed. Otherwise, these could settle into the surface and become even tougher to deal with in future.
– Polish and restore: Regular automobile polish can be applied on a dry shower floor to get rid of any scratches or ugly spots. However, this should not be done too frequently.
What’s your view of the best way to keep a clean shower floor? Share it in the comments section below.