A sink and a mirror

Best Inexpensive Products for Deep Cleaning Tub and Shower and Daily Maintenance

The only thing better than making things myself is when what I make turns out to be cheaper, better and faster than something I might buy in the store to accomplish the same goal.

Learning how to make and use powerful tub and shower cleaners—one for a miraculous deep clean, the other for daily maintenance—rocked my world. I have a feeling they are about to rock yours, too.

A sink and a mirror

Quite possibly one of the best tips to ever land my mailbox arrived more than 25 years ago and yes, I’m talking about pre-Internet. This letter was from a loyal reader of my print newsletter, Cheapskate Monthly, a professional property manager. He handles rental apartments in a college town and lots of them. As an apartment is vacated, his job is to see that it is thoroughly cleaned and made ready for the next occupants. 

This reader told me that the biggest challenge is always the bathroom, specifically the tub and shower. He kindly left specific details to my imagination but let me know that “gross” is not strong enough to describe what he often finds.

And that’s when he gave us his super magical potion—the only product he uses to return showers, tubs, tile, enclosures, faucets, and doors to their sparkling clean, and sanitized selves. 

Years later I added a second protocol to my bathroom cleaning routines: a Daily Shower Cleaner that does a great job to keep our showers super clean much longer.

Complete printable recipes and instructions for both of these cleaners follow:

Tub and Shower Soap Scum Cleaner

I have never found a commercial tub and shower cleaner that comes close to this homemade product. Tub and Shower Soap Scum Cleaner is like magic and I’m not the only one who thinks so. I’ve had thousands of responses over the years from my readers who were as astonished as I was the first time they used it.

You’ll need:

(See full printable recipe below)

  1. Pour one cup blue Dawn into a 32-ounce spray bottle (1/2 cup if you are using a 16-ounce bottle).
  2. Fill the bottle the rest of the way with white vinegar.
  3. Apply sprayer top; shake gently to mix.

To Use: Open a window to make sure the area to be cleaned has good ventilation. Spray liberally on the tub, shower, floor, walls, fixtures, and doors. Allow to sit from 30 minutes up to overnight, depending on the severity of the problem. Just close the door and walk away.

All of the offensive scum, gunk, mildew, and grime will break down and become soft and gooey. Simply rinse it away.

For especially challenging situations—or if this is the initial treatment—use a sponge or brush to gently scrub the surfaces before rinsing.

Caution: Do not use on natural stone, marble or granite, which are porous materials treated with a sealant. Vinegar is acetic and will damage that sealant, dulling the surface over time.

MORE: How to Remove Yellow Sweat Stains—It Really Works!

Daily Shower Cleaner

While  Tub and Shower Soap Scum Cleaner works really well—it’s simply amazing—it’s not something you are going to want to use for daily maintenance. Instead, use this Daily Shower Cleaner to keep your shower sparkling clean.

You’ll need:

(See full printable recipe below)

  • fresh hydrogen peroxide
  • rubbing alcohol
  • Blue Dawn dishwashing liquid
  • dishwasher rinse aid, like Jet-Dry
  • water
  1. Pour all of the ingredients into a large spray bottle (24-ounce or larger). Mix gently.
  2. This no-rinse, no wipe, no scrub shower cleaner spray is safe to use on glass, glazed tile, stone, tubs, doors, and shower curtains. The gentle formula contains no bleach, ammonia, or harsh chemicals and it won’t scratch surfaces or leave behind a dull residue.
  3. Store your daily shower cleaner in a dark cupboard, as hydrogen peroxide begins to break down quickly in the presence of light.
  4. Use within 6 months.

To Use: Just before you step out of the shower, spray the walls, doors, fixtures, curtain with Daily Shower Cleaner. Do not rinse—just walk away!

clean shower bathroom sparkling

Tub and Shower Soap Scum Cleaner

I have never found a commercial tub and shower cleaner that comes close to this homemade product. Tub and Shower Soap Scum Cleaner is like magic and I'm not the only one who thinks so. I've had thousands of responses over the years from my readers who were as astonished as I was the first time they used it.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: DIY Household Cleaners
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 2 minutes
Servings: 1 quart
Cost: Varies

Equipment

  • 32-oz Spray bottle

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Blue Dawn dishwashing liquid
  • 3 cups white vinegar

Instructions

  • Pour one cup blue Dawn into a 32-ounce spray bottle (1/2 cup if you are using a 16-ounce bottle).
  • Fill the bottle the rest of the way with white vinegar. 
  • Apply sprayer top; shake gently to mix.

Notes

To use: Open a window to make sure the area to be cleaned has good ventilation. Spray liberally on the tub, shower, floor, walls, fixtures, and doors. Allow to sit from 30 minutes up to overnight, depending on the severity of the problem. Just close the door and walk away.
All of the offensive scum, gunk, mildew, and grime will break down and become soft and gooey. Simply rinse it away.
For especially challenging situations—or if this is the initial treatment—use a sponge or brush to gently scrub the surfaces before rinsing.
Caution: Do not use on natural stone, marble or granite, which are porous materials treated with a sealant. Vinegar is acetic and will damage that sealant, dulling the surface over time.
Tried this recipe?Mention @EverydayCheapskate or tag #EverydayCheapskate!
clean shower bathroom sparkling

Daily Shower Cleaner

While homemade Tub and Shower Soap Scum Cleaner works like magic to clean soap scum from tubs and showers, it's not something you are going to want to use for daily maintenance. Once that tub and/or shower is sparkling clean, use this Daily Shower Cleaner to maintain that squeaky clean sparkle.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Housekeeping
Cuisine: Cleaning

Ingredients

  • ½ cup hydrogen peroxide, make sure it is a fresh bottle
  • ½ cup rubbing alcohol, 70% or 91%
  • 1 teaspoon Blue Dawn dishwashing liquid no substitutes, please
  • 1 tablespoon Jet-Dry dishwasher rinse aid or similar rinse-aid product
  • 2 cups distilled water

Instructions

  • Pour all of the ingredients into a large spray bottle (24-ounce or larger). Mix gently.
  • This no-rinse, no wipe, no scrub shower cleaner spray is safe to use on glass, glazed tile, stone, tubs, doors, and shower curtains. The gentle formula contains no bleach, ammonia, or harsh chemicals and it won't scratch surfaces or leave behind a dull residue.
  • Store your daily shower cleaner in a dark cupboard, as hydrogen peroxide begins to break down quickly in the presence of light.
  • Use within 6 months.

To Use:

  • Once you are done showering and just before you step out of the shower, spray the walls, doors, fixtures, curtain with Daily Shower Cleaner. Do not rinse—just walk away!
Tried this recipe?Mention @EverydayCheapskate or tag #EverydayCheapskate!

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6 replies
  1. Katie French says:

    5 stars
    It is like magic! Mary is not exaggerating in the slightest. I have 3 full baths and 6 adults in my home. I literally NEVER SCRUB my bath/showers anymore and they sparkle. This works on the shower curtain liner as well.

    Reply
  2. Karen says:

    I used this for quite a few months until I noticed it was taking the finish off the shower fixtures. They actually started to rust at the base where attached to the shower wall. It worked great but I had to stop using it, and now I need to replace the fixtures.

    Reply

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