A regular scrubbing is a must.

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Cleaning your bathtub and shower isn't an easy task. There's a lot of surface area to cover, after all, and it can take real elbow grease—and a lot of muscle—to get the job done. It's no surprise, then, that so many people avoid the task, putting off any scrubbing until visible soap scum has accumulated on the surface.

blue shower tile
Credit: Getty / fStop Images

How Often You Should Clean Your Shower or Bathtub

Ultimately, cleaning your bathtub or shower weekly is the ideal cadence to keep these issues at bay. To do so effectively, "start by removing all the products you have—shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, and so on," advises Ricky Regalado, founder of Rozalado Services and Route. Then, spray the area with a cleaning solution from top to bottom, covering all surfaces, he notes.

How to Clean Your Bathtub, Shower, and Shower Head

But soap scum isn't the only thing that collects on bathtubs and showers. According to Mary Cherry, the owner of Evie's Cleaning Company, water deposits and skin cells meld with soap and, in a humid environment, breed mold, mildew, and bacteria—things you definitely don't want in your space. Plus, those water deposits can degrade your surfaces and hardware, including your faucet, handle, and showerhead, which can mean you might have to replace them more often.

An often overlooked area of the shower to clean is the showerhead—and it's actually easier to get sparkling than you might think. You can even clean it using items found in your pantry. Combine baking soda and vinegar in a bag, pouring the vinegar slowly, says Vianney Garcia, quality control manager at Rozalado Cleaning. "When making this mixture, you should slowly and cautiously pour the vinegar into the bag as it could cause a boiling effect and foam prematurely when it instantly binds with the baking soda," warns Garcia. Attach the bag to the showerhead with a rubber bend, letting it soak for at least three hours or overnight if possible. Then, gently remove the bag and brush the head of the shower to remove any tartar residue. Turn the shower on and let it run for a few minutes to complete the cleaning process.

Choosing the Right Cleaner

Cherry adds that the type of cleaner you choose should be dependent on the surface you have. For example, "Tiles made from stone, like marble or travertine, need special cleaners," she explains. "That means you shouldn't use anything acidic or abrasive, like vinegar." And when you scrub, steer clear of melamine sponges, Cherry warns, since they are abrasive and can cause damage.

Before you resort to using all that muscle, look for a formula that allows you to spray and walk away. "Letting the product sit on the surface and work its magic means less work for you," she says.

Don't Forget to Take Off Your Shoes

Lastly, when you're cleaning, be sure to remove your shoes before stepping into your bathtub or shower to prevent introducing new bacteria onto the surface. You shouldn't, however, go barefoot. "You don't want to get all of the scum, germs, and bacteria on your bare feet, especially if you have a cut," says Cherry, who advises placing towels under your feet to both protect them and help you avoid slipping and falling.

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