How To Clean Shower Tiles Without Scrubbing in 9 Ways

Tiles create a luxurious shower environment. But dirt, hard water deposits, and soap scum will build over time, hindering their beauty. 

Although tiles seem very durable, it is not a good idea to scrub them clean, since you can cause unintended damage. 

You needn’t worry, though. Cleaning shower tiles without scrubbing is easy. Here are a few effective methods you can use.

How To Clean Shower Tiles Without Scrubbing 

The methods below offer multiple ways to clean shower tiles without scrubbing. 

Rinse your shower thoroughly after use and clean it weekly to avoid large amounts of buildup.

What You’ll Need 

  • Bowl and spoon for mixing
  • Spray bottle(s)
  • Soft cloth or non-abrasive sponge
  • Cleaning solution (choose from below)
  • Water for rinsing
  • Rubber gloves

Pre-Clean Your Shower Area With Steam 

Hot water is excellent at opening up porous materials on the shower floor and walls, which in turn loosens up grime and debris from the surface.

Do the following to steam clean your shower area:

  1. Close the bathroom door and windows.
  2. Run water at the hottest level, taking care not to scald yourself, for ten minutes. Allow the steam to build up in the area.
  3. Turn off the water, and clean using one of the methods below.

Alternatively, rent or buy a steam cleaner. This tool can clean ceramic tile and grout and sterilize glass shower doors and their tracks. 

If you decide to use a steamer, make sure to plug it into a GFCI outlet.

Clean The Shower Tiles 

Choose your preferred cleaning solution to get rid of the dirt and grime in your walk-in tiled shower.  

1. Vinegar And Dish Detergent

Cleaning with vinegar and dish detergent is the easiest way to clean a tile shower.

Vinegar is acidic; it will break down mineral deposits and grime and eliminate odors. 

Dish detergent is made with a mixture of surfactants that cut through grease and oil. 

This combination offers a deep clean of the tiles and grout.

Complete the following steps:

  1. Pour and mix equal parts of vinegar and dish detergent into a spray bottle. 
  2. Spray onto the shower tiles.
  3. Gently rub in circular motions with a soft cloth or sponge to ensure coverage.
  4. Let it sit on the tiles for 60 minutes.
  5. Rinse clean with warm water.

2. Hydrogen Peroxide And Baking Soda

According to the CDC, hydrogen peroxide is an effective cleaner to remove bacteria, spores, fungi, and more from areas such as the shower tiles and floors

Baking soda is alkaline, which helps break down dirt and grease for easier removal.

Complete the following steps:

  1. Pour and mix the water and hydrogen peroxide in a 2:1 ratio (water:hydrogen peroxide).
  2. Spray the mixture onto the shower tiles. 
  3. Pour some baking soda into a bowl. Dip a moistened soft cloth or sponge into the baking soda.
  4. Rub the baking soda onto the tiles in gentle, circular motions, covering all surfaces.
  5. Let it sit for 30 minutes.
  6. Rinse the tiles clean with warm water.

3. Vinegar And Baking Soda

When vinegar, an acid, mixes with baking soda, an alkaline, they create a new pH level. This results in the release of hydroxide, hydrogen, and carbon dioxide that bubbles. 

This bubbling action works in conjunction with the cleaning properties of vinegar and baking soda to loosen dirt and grime on the tiles.

Complete the following steps:

  1. Make a paste of baking soda (½ – cup) and water (3-tablespoons) in a small bowl. Adjust the amount of water and baking soda, if needed, until you create a paste that can be spread.
  2. Use the soft cloth or sponge to apply the paste to the tiled surface in gentle circular motions.
  3. Spray vinegar onto the tiles covered with baking soda. It will bubble upon contact.
  4. Let it sit for 60 minutes.
  5. Rinse clean with warm water. 

4. Lemon Juice And Baking Soda

Similar to vinegar, lemon juice is an acidic substance you can use together with baking soda to clean shower tiles without scrubbing. 

Follow the same steps highlighted in the method above to clean your shower walls and floor.

5. Borax And Hydrogen Peroxide

Borax is an alkaline cleaning agent that can break down grime, grease, and oil. Combined with hydrogen peroxide, it will effectively clean without scrubbing. 

You will need two spray bottles for this method.

Complete the following steps:

  1. Mix ½ – cup borax and 12-ounces of warm water into a spray bottle. The borax may settle, so shake before use.
  2. Spray the tiles with this mixture and let it sit for 60 minutes. (Do not rinse.)
  3. Spray hydrogen peroxide onto the borax and tiles. Let it sit for another 60 minutes.
  4. Rinse clean with warm water.

6. Tile And Grout Cleaners

Cleaners containing phosphoric acid are the most commonly used for cleaning tiles and grout. 

Phosphoric acid is a gentle acid that can remove hard water deposits, rust, and other residue. It should not be used on natural stone tiles.

Complete the following steps:

  1. Use a soft sponge for walls and a mop for the floors to apply the cleaner.  
  2. Let it sit for 15 minutes to allow the solution to soak into the mineral deposits.
  3. Rub over the tiles with the sponge or mop.
  4. Rinse with warm water, and dry with clean cloths or towels to avoid a spotted appearance.

You can also use other commercially made tile and grout cleaners to address certain issues such as mold and mildew. Follow the instructional-use labels to ensure you use it correctly on your shower tiles.

7. Melamine Foam

Generally sold under  the brand name Magic Eraser – although you can find it in its generic form as well – melamine foam is a soft sponge-like material that acts like sandpaper at a microscopic level, needing only water to clean. 

It is effective at removing the white film on tiles left behind by soap and mineral deposits. The sponge will wear away or appear to decompose with use.

Use melamine foam for spot cleaning shower tiles, applying light pressure so you do not rub away any sealant.

Complete the following steps:

  1. Wet the Magic Eraser with warm water.
  2. Wipe across the surface to remove soap scum and stains.
  3. Rinse surfaces clean with warm water.

8. Oxygen Bleach

If your shower is really dirty, you can try oxygen bleach. This substance comes in a powdered form and has a different active ingredient than chlorine bleach, called sodium percarbonate. 

Take care not to spill or inhale the powder.

Oxygen bleach is less harsh and more color-safe than chlorine bleach. 

Regardless, test an inconspicuous spot to make sure it doesn’t change the color of your tiles. Ventilate the work area.

Complete the following steps:

  1. Mix three tablespoons of powdered bleach with two gallons of warm water.
  2. Dip your cloth or sponge into the mixture with gloved hands.
  3. Gently rub it over the tiled surface. Let it sit for 15 minutes.
  4. Rinse with warm water. Keep the room ventilated until the bleach smell is gone.

9. Bleach and Baking Soda

Chlorine bleach works as a disinfectant against bacteria, viruses, and fungi, using an active ingredient called sodium hypochlorite. 

The work area should be well ventilated when bleach is being used. Undiluted bleach may discolor your tiles, so it is important to mix it with water.  

Follow the label on your bleach container. Generally, an effective bleach solution is four teaspoons of bleach mixed with 1-quart of room temperature water.

Baking soda will work with the bleach to loosen and remove any oil and debris.

Complete the following steps:

  1. Make a baking soda paste mixing ½ – cup baking soda and three tablespoons of water. Adjust each ingredient as needed until you have a paste-like consistency.
  2. Use the soft cloth or sponge and apply it to tiled surfaces in circular motions. Let it sit for 30 minutes.
  3. Make the bleach mixture of four teaspoons bleach to 1-quart water in a spray bottle.
  4. Spray onto baking soda-covered tiles. Let it sit for five minutes.
  5. Rinse clean with warm water.

Note: Always color test an inconspicuous spot to see if it will change color. Consider using bleach as a last resort for cleaning stubborn areas in the shower.

Shower Tile Cleaning Tips

Cleaning your shower area with any of the methods above is easy. The tips below can make the job even easier: 

  • Clean with the windows open, especially when using commercial cleaners or bleach.
  • Prepare your cleaning materials in advance so that you can clean the tiles while they are still warm after pre-cleaning.
  • Wear a mask, gloves, and eye protection. 
  • Step carefully in the shower to avoid slipping.
  • Apply the cleaner in a circular motion. 
    • As you clean, the circular “edges” overlap with each other, making sure everything is covered as you clean. 
    • It will also protect the grout from being worn down from aggressive linear cleaning.
    • All of the following methods will require you to rinse the cleaner away. You can use water from the shower or pour water along the walls with a pitcher or pouring bowl.

Preventing Dirt And Grime Buildup In The Shower

Daily rinsing and a weekly deep-clean will keep your shower pristine. The following will help you prevent the accumulation of dirt and grime:

  • Trash: Do not leave empty containers in the shower area. These collect dirt and grime. Throw shampoo and shower gel bottles away as soon as they are empty.
  • Containers: Clean and rinse underneath soap containers where water will collect and sit. Do this weekly when you clean the shower surfaces. Make sure the tops of the containers are closed.
  • Shower head: Clean the shower head weekly with an appropriate cleaner to prevent clogs.
  • Drain: Keep the shower drain clean and free from hair and debris. Use a hair trap and collect and remove the hair daily after showering.
  • Repair: If new grout needs to be applied or any of the plumbing needs to be fixed, make sure you allow the area to be completely dry. Seal the grout and use silicone caulk as needed to keep your shower area protected from excess moisture.

In Summary 

Scrubbing with steel wool and abrasive powders and cleaners can scratch and damage the tile finish and wear out the grout. This can lead to unsightly, dull tiles and the need for expensive repairs.

We hope this guide will help you to find the best cleaner for your shower tiles without scrubbing. 

Don’t forget, for the best results, hot steam the shower area before using a cleaner. Make sure you clean shower tiles at least once a week without scrubbing and keep the entire bathroom area clean.

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