You've been working in the yard all day, and you're dirty and sweaty. The problem is, your shower stall or bathtub is grimier than you are. It's imperative that you keep this part of your bathroom as sanitary as possible.
Shower enclosures are a chore to keep clean -- but they can be less of a problem if you follow these guidelines:
- Keep mildew from taking hold by wiping shower walls with a towel after each shower.
- If the shower area is subject to mildew, periodically spray it with a mildew inhibitor and disinfectant.
- Leave the shower door slightly open to allow air to circulate; this will discourage the growth of mildew.
- Remove hard-water deposits on shower enclosures with a solution of white vinegar and water.
- Glass shower doors will sparkle when you clean them with a sponge dipped in white vinegar.
- Add 1 cup liquid fabric softener to 1 quart warm water, and use to loosen and clean soap scum from shower doors.
- Mix 1 part mineral oil with 4 parts water in a clean, empty spray bottle. Spray on soap scum and dirt in your shower or tub. Wipe off with a sponge.
- Remove water spots on the metal frames around shower doors and enclosures with lemon oil.
- If the grout or caulking in your shower breaks away where the walls join the tub or shower floor, recaulk immediately to prevent water damage.
- Note: Never use harsh abrasive powders or steel-wool pads.
- Coat the tile walls of your shower with furniture polish to prevent soap scum buildup and water spots.
- Clean mineral deposits from a shower head by removing the head, taking it apart, and soaking it in vinegar. Then brush deposits loose with an old toothbrush. Clean the holes by poking them with a wire, pin, toothpick, or ice pick.
Most bathtubs are made of porcelain. If the fixtures are older, chances are the material is porcelain on cast iron. These fixtures may not be as acid- and alkaline-resistant as newer porcelain-on-steel tubs. Fiberglass and acrylic tubs, which are lighter and easier to install than steel tubs, are used in new construction and remodeling, but they are not as durable as porcelain-coated steel. If you have a fiberglass tub, you will have to be especially careful when you clean it to avoid scratching the surface. Here are some guidelines for cleaning your bathtub:
- Porcelain tubs should be cleaned with nonabrasive powder or liquid cleanser. Sprinkle powder on a damp sponge and apply it to the porcelain surface of the tub or basin. Use a synthetic scouring pad on stubborn soil. Rinse well.
- When you clean the bathtub, also remove hair from the traps in the drains to prevent clogging.
- Fiberglass tubs should be cleaned with a commercial fiberglass-cleaning product or nonabrasive liquid cleanser. Apply either product with a damp sponge, and rinse with clear water.
- Commercial rust removers are very effective in removing rust stains. Wear rubber gloves when you work with these products because they contain acid. You can also clean discolored porcelain fixtures with a paste made of cream of tartar moistened with hydrogen peroxide or a paste made of borax moistened with lemon juice. Scrub the paste into lightly stained areas with a brush, and rinse well.
- A ring around the tub can be rubbed away without cleaners using a nylon net ball or pad.
- Cover a stubborn bathtub ring with a paste of cream of tartar and hydrogen peroxide. When the paste dries, wipe it off.
- To remove discoloration from a yellowed bathtub, rub the tub with a solution of salt and turpentine. Rinse well. Caution: Wear rubber gloves when you work with this solution.
Of course, cleaning your shower stall or bathtub is only part of the battle. To finish the job, you need to work similar magic on your shower curtain and bath mat. We'll tackle that chore in the following section.