How do I clean my bathtub without hurting my back?

Barbara Hartley
by Barbara Hartley
I am frustrated with cleaning my bathtub and shower doors. I am limited physically and find it difficult to clean these areas. I am also on a septic system so I have to be careful with cleaners. Is there a way to clean these areas without hurting myself and my septic system? Soap scum and hard water are the culprits!
  25 answers
  • Rin2496165 Rin2496165 on Oct 02, 2016
    HI. As far as soap scum and hard water I use baking soda and vinegar. Baking soda has some scrub to it and the two just dissolve soap scum. To avoid bending over for the bottom of a shower door I use a little cart that I bought for the garden. Plastic seat on wheels with a storage tray underneath. Huge back saver. Looks like it was made by PlaySchool lol. I use it to clean bottom cabinets and am going to to use it to lay flooring. My shower and useless garden tub are both fiberglass. A cheap broom from the dollar store with some Barkeeper works great and in the end I have a clean broom. Hope this helps
    • Karl Karl on Sep 16, 2023

      I would avoid this method. Baking soda and vinegar produce huge amounts of co2. If cleaning a bathtub, someone elderly could be harmed. If her back is what she is worried about, get a spouse or grand kid to do it...attempt at humor. You can get a chemical sprayer and use concentrated vinegar only...40 to 70 percent.

  • Deb Deb on Oct 02, 2016
    I use a new clean mop just for that purpose and scrub with a mop.
  • Marlene Marlene on Oct 02, 2016
    Clean the bathtub and shower with a mop. No bending!
  • Gloria_doug Gloria_doug on Oct 02, 2016
    I use an adjustable squeegie with sponge on the end , usually made for windows. No bending .
  • Bea Bea on Oct 02, 2016
    I can sympathize! I found a sponge that has a scrubber side that is attached to an adjustable long handle at Dollar General. It's great when you have limited range of motion or aren't able to bend. I also have found that using an after shower spray cuts down on the number of times I actually have to scrub the shower. Plenty of recipes on Hometalk for the after shower spray. Best of luck!
  • Lisa Larchyk Lisa Larchyk on Oct 02, 2016
    Soap scum on shower doors is cleaned easily with liquid fabric softener on a damp rag. Wipe it on, spray it off! For my tub and enclosure, I have a Mr Clean scrubby-thing that came attached to an extension pole. Works pretty well.
  • Jerre Miller Jerre Miller on Oct 02, 2016
    When I finish showering I wipe my shower down with a squeegie. Once a week I use a dish soap sponge with a handle that I can put vinegar and dish soap in. I scrub the shower and tub down with the sponge then rince and squeegie it down.
  • Msc12149616 Msc12149616 on Oct 02, 2016
    Once you clean the walls and tub apply a liquid car wax (just follow the directions) going forward the water and soap sum etc will slide ride off :)
    • See 2 previous
    • Msc12149616 Msc12149616 on Oct 02, 2016
      Yes of course it needs to be redone, but it saves you much time, energy and pain in between..... up to 3 months, if you gently wipe down the water of the walls at least after the shower, get a micro cloth, and do it after you take a shower, turn the water of, wrap yourself in a towel and gently wipe the walls :) 4x a year, that's all I need to do :) and if that is too much, I guess you need to hire a cleaning lady every 3 months.... cleaning the bathroom 1 1/2 hours max = $30
  • Diana Deiley Diana Deiley on Oct 02, 2016
    Once a month, I use a kitchen sponge and wipe on liquid barkeepers soap (you could use a long handled brush), then rinse with cold water. Works great. Best of luck. Stay well.
  • TMP TMP on Oct 02, 2016
    Cleaning every three or four days is key. The cleaner you keep it, the less work each cleaning requires.
  • Mary Mary on Oct 02, 2016
    I hurt my back once when I was young and discovered that a kitchen sponge mop works great. You don't have to bend over, rinse under the faucet, pull the ringer handle and carry on. Years later I have one just for the showers. It works well with any cleaning product
  • Marianne Marianne on Oct 04, 2016
    Use a product like 'clean shower' to use between "big" cleanings. It keeps the shower clean a long time.
  • Donna Gregory Donna Gregory on Mar 18, 2018

    I hurt my neck and shoulder in a car accident. I am hiring a cleaning service until I feel better. $159.00 every two weeks or you can hire them monthly or even just one time. Maybe I can claim it as a medical expense on my taxes. In between times, I will do what I can with my non-dominant hand.

  • Dawn Dawn on Apr 25, 2023

    I bought a broom from the dollar store and use that. I don’t need to bend over any more to clean the tub. It works very well to scrub.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Sep 17, 2023

    Use a long handled sponge mop!

  • Lottie Finney Lottie Finney on Sep 17, 2023

    I am disabled in my back too. And I have found that a squirt bottle of vinegar and dawn and a scrub brush you can fill with cleaner works amazingly. I spray the dawn (blue) and vinegar on every inch and let it sit about 20 minutes. Then I just get In my shower and use the small scrub brush with dawn and vinegar in it as I’m showering. Then I use the brush to go over the shower when I’m in there and I no longer have to scrub it is so easy now. The soap scum just comes off.

  • Deb K Deb K on Sep 17, 2023

    Hi Barbara, hope this helps you out.

    1. White Vinegar - The natural enzymes will break down soap scum and odors.
    2. Baking soda - The rough texture is perfect for making bathroom fixtures shine.
    3. Borax - mix ½ cup with water for superior disinfecting strength on surfaces

    Once you get it cleaned , you can keep it clean by using a squeegee to dry the doors, walls and tub to prevent build up. You can also use an after shower spray to reduce buildup

    • 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide
    • 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol
    • 1 teaspoon liquid dishwashing soap, like blue Dawn
    • 1 tablespoon dishwasher rinse aid, like Jet-Dry
    • 2 cups 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, marble, granite; tubs, doors, and shower curtains. The gentle formula contains no bleach, ammonia, or harsh chemicals and it won’t scratch surfaces, damage sealant, 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.

    To use: Just before you step out of the shower, spray the walls, doors, fixtures, curtain with No-Rinse Daily Shower Cleaner and walk away.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Nov 26, 2023

    Use a long handled brush etc.

  • You could try a steam cleaner with a long nozzle or a power brush with a long arm to it.

  • This is how I clean my shower doors. The squeegee helps keep the doors clean. If you use it regularly it really does limit the amount of build up.

  • Applying cleaner correctly can be facilitated by using a clean floor mop or a no-kneel scrubber, which eliminates the need for awkward bending over. Ideally, you should first use an overhead sprayer to completely coat the tub if you intend to use a mop. After that, proceed as usual with the mop, working your way from the corners to the center of the tub.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Feb 09, 2024

    Take an empty 32oz water bottle and add 5-6 oz blue dawn dish soap and then fill with vinegar. Mix. Pierce the cap or make slits in it. Now spritz all over the shower and let it set 15 min. Then use a dedicated broom from the dollar store and brush it all over, rinse well. If you don't rinse well enough it will be slippery. Repeat as needed.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Feb 09, 2024

    Before you leave the bath, drain the water down, and run the facecloth with a little shampoo on it all around the line the water was. Step out of the bath and when ready drain the rest of the dirty water and put in some hot clean water.

    Go around again on the dirt line with the cloth, rinse and dry. If you do this every time the bath is used it will stop the build up. I've been doing this for years and mine always looks good. I too have very hard water! If you still have a scum line use something like Barkeeper Friend, then proceed as before.