The Most Effective Homemade Cleaner In My Arsenal

by Jillee
3 Materials
45 Minutes

Until you've tried this cleaning solution, you don't *really* know how clean your tub or shower can actually look!

Having a clean shower feels wonderful. Unfortunately, if there’s one cleaning task I used to put off the most, it was cleaning the tub and shower. All of that gross mildew and soap scum was overwhelming and it felt like it took forever to clean! And it never ended up feeling or looking as clean as I’d have liked, even after repeated scrubbing.

After a while, I started to suspect that our hard water combined with the soap scum to form an impenetrable layer of super-scum that couldn’t be cleaned. (Not true in the slightest, but it made me feel better at the time!)

I eventually read about an easy homemade shower cleaner that promised to erase tough stains, soap scum, and hard water deposits. And it wasn’t just one person’s opinion; I saw dozens of rave reviews for this cleaner all over the web!

I was still skeptical, but was willing to give it the old college try (especially since I already had the ingredients on hand.) Read on to find out why this has become one of my favorite homemade cleaners!

The first time I tried it, I mixed up a batch and sprayed it liberally around the tub in my boys’ bathroom, which needed some serious help at the time. I let the spray work its magic for an hour or so, and then wiped it down with a sponge and rinsed everything off. And I was honestly shocked!

This cleaner had done what so many other bathroom products had failed to do. It had managed to penetrate that stubborn, grimy, super-scum layer to reveal the clean, shiny surface underneath. I didn’t even know it could look that clean!

I’ve now been using this magic soap scum remover for years now, and I’ve never gone back to any other method or cleaner! Here’s how you can make (and use) my favorite homemade shower cleaner.

My Homemade Shower Cleaner and Soap Scum Remover

To make this powerful shower cleaner, measure out equal amounts of Dawn soap and white vinegar. (Somewhere between one and two cups of each should be plenty.)

Heat the white vinegar in your microwave until hot, then pour it into a spray bottle.

Pour the Dawn soap into the bottle and then put the lid on and gently shake to mix.

How To Use

Spray liberally around your tub and/or shower. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes to an hour, then scrub (if needed) and rinse well.

When using this cleaner, make sure your bathroom is as well-ventilated as possible. Turn on the fan and open any windows because this stuff is POTENT.

It smells strongly of vinegar right after spraying it, but the smell dissipates quickly after rinsing. If you really can’t stand the smell of vinegar, you could throw a bandana around your mouth and nose while you’re using the cleaner. (But the result is well worth it, I promise!)

Why It Works

This homemade shower cleaner works so well because it’s two cleaners in one! White vinegar can eliminate odor, dissolve tough messes, and remove stains, and do about a hundred other things too.

Dawn dish soap cuts through stubborn grease and grime like nobody’s business, and it has almost as many uses as vinegar. The soap also makes the homemade shower cleaner thicker, so it clings to the walls and floor of your tub and shower, rather than running right down the drain.

Happy cleaning, and enjoy your sparkling tubs and showers! :-)

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Frequently asked questions
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3 of 47 questions
  • Sheri Kerr Sheri Kerr on Feb 15, 2023

    Does it have to be Dawn, or can it be any dish soap?

  • CharlyCRNA CharlyCRNA on Mar 21, 2023

    Does this mixture have to be used while it is hot or can it be used even after it cools?

  • MJ MJ on Mar 12, 2024

    Thank you for this recipe. Can this be used effectively after it cools?

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3 of 97 comments
  • Millie Millie on Feb 21, 2024

    I’m definitely going to try it. We have a very high salt content in our water also. It does leave white water spots on my pots and pans. Hoping the CLR will will work.

    • Karen Merseal Karen Merseal on Apr 21, 2024

      On your pots and pans, try Bar Keepers Friend. Powder or liquid (shake liquid well before using.) Then rinse well and wash with regular dish soap. Dry after second rinse.

      You can find this at grocery stores. It's amazing on all kinds of surfaces and it does not scratch.

  • Karen Merseal Karen Merseal on Apr 21, 2024

    Another good homemade cleaner for hard water is citric acid. You know those extremely sour candies the kids like? That's citric acid. It's also used in a lot of foods as a preservative.

    Mix 2 tablespoons of citric acid to 4 cups of hot water. Pour into spray bottle and spray your tub and shower or pour it into your toilet if you're getting that hard ring around the bowl. Leave over night if possible. Swish toilet with toilet brush and flush. The longer you leave it, the better. You can find citric acid in the canning isle.