- Does your shower get soap scum and hard water scale?
- Do you hate to buy high-priced commercial shower cleaners at the store?
- Would you like to avoid washing harmful chemicals into your septic system?
If so, try this homemade shower cleaner. This basic recipe has been around for a while but we have added a few tweaks.
This homemade shower cleaner uses Dawn and vinegar. You may have seen these same ingredients mentioned on other blogs. It is popular because it works. Our particular version is different in that we are using any color of Dawn Ultra and Heinz Cleaning Vinegar.
As we stated in the Dawn article, we do not believe that there is any significant difference in the cleaning powers of the various colors of Dawn Ultra. So for this recipe, you can use the blue, yellow, or the new Dawn Destinations, which comes in several exotic colors and scents.
Do not use the Dawn Antibacterial that currently comes in orange and green. These formulas contain the anti-bacterial chemical chloroxylenol. If you dump large quantities of chloroxylenol into your septic system, it could kill the beneficial bacteria that break down organic waste. This could damage the efficiency of your septic system. Antibacterial soaps and detergents are useful products in some applications, but shower cleaning is not one of them. The Heinz Cleaning Vinegar is used because it has extra strength to dissolve tough soap scum and lime scale deposits in your shower.
The homemade shower cleaner recipes on a lot of websites call for a 1:1 ratio of Dawn to vinegar. I feel that this is way too much Dawn. Not only does it waste your expensive Dawn, but it takes more water to rinse off. Therefore it wastes water as well.
This recipe uses a 1:3 ratio of Dawn to vinegar. This means if we use 1 cup (8 oz) of Dawn, then we will dilute the Dawn with 3 cups (24 oz) of vinegar. This would make a total of 32 oz (1 quart) of homemade shower cleaner. In my opinion, this ratio results in a more effective product that is cheaper and easier to rinse off.
Right now I am using a Zep Professional 32 oz spray bottle to hold my homemade shower cleaner. You can buy these at Home Depot. Some people say that this cleaner is hard on the cheap spray bottles and that this Zep bottle holds up better. This spray bottle also has a long trigger that is ergonomically designed to be easier on the hands. One pull on the spray handle dispenses a lot of product. This is good if you have arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome and don’t want to do a lot of repetitive squeezing. The jury is still out on this bottle so let me know how it works out for you. I am loving mine so far. I want to give thanks to Jamie Tarence of Family Savvy for introducing me to this bottle in her shower cleaner article.
Mixing the Shower Cleaner
Start by pouring 1 cup of Dawn into your 32 oz bottle. Then fill the bottle to about halfway full with the Heinz Cleaning Vinegar. You can heat up the vinegar to make it easier to mix if you want to. I have tried mixing it cold and it will still mix up but it is definitely easier to mix with warm vinegar. There is no need to get the vinegar boiling hot. Only heat it to the point to where it is still safe to handle.
Now that you have the bottle halfway full, mix up the solution by using a swirling motion. Do not shake it as this will make too many suds. Here is an animation that shows the swirling method. If you heated the vinegar, this won’t take very long. If you are mixing it cold, it will take a little longer. Continue swirling until it looks like it is completely mixed up.
Now you want to go ahead and fill the bottle the rest of the way up with vinegar. There is writing on the bottle that states that the lowest ridge is 32 oz. The picture on the right shows where this spot is. You don’t have to get it exact. Just be sure to leave a little room at the top so that you can mix it up once you pour the rest of the vinegar in.
Gently mix the shower cleaner by turning the bottle upside down and back upright a few times until it is well mixed. Do not shake. After the cleaner sits for a while, it has a tendency to settle. So it is a good idea to mix it a little every time you use it.
4 Safety Tips
The first thing that we need to do is label the bottle. Refer to 4 Ways to Label Homemade Household Cleaners for a list of options. This is a very important step from a safety standpoint.
The second thing I want to mention is ventilation. This homemade shower cleaner is very potent and gives off some very strong fumes. You will want to run the bathroom vent fan when using this cleaner. It may also be a good idea to open some windows to let in some fresh air while this stuff is in use. I am not kidding, this stuff is strong!
The third thing to think about is eye protection. This cleaner is not something that you want to get in your eyes. I highly recommend wearing safety goggles while spraying this in the shower. If you do accidentally get some of this in your eyes, flush your eyes out with water out of the tap.
The fourth thing you want to do is wear some rubber gloves. The long ones that go well past the wrist are best. Vinegar is an acid and can actually cause mild acid burns or other skin problems.
3 Shower Cleaning Methods
I know of three ways that you can use this homemade shower cleaner.
Use a Dishwand
You can put the shower cleaner solution in the dishwand and scrub the shower walls with it.
You press the little button to release more cleaner when you need it.
A lot of people have discovered the dishwand shower-cleaning method and swear by it.
Be careful with this method though. Green scouring pads can scratch. If you are concerned about scratching, use a blue pad like the tub-scrubber below.
Use a Tub and Shower Scrubber
This is my favorite method. I picked one of these Scotchbrite Tub and Shower Scrubbers at Dollar General. I like it because I can spray down and scrub the entire shower really quick.It works faster than the little dishwand. I guess that is why the dishwand is for dishes and the tub and shower scrubber is for, well, tub and showers!
See how smart I am. 🙂
Use As a Scrub-Free Daily Shower Cleaner Spray
You could just spray this on, let it sit a few minutes and then rinse it off. You would probably need to scrub the shower clean the first time to get the really tough soap scum and hard water stains off.
Then you would maintain it with regular use of this diy shower cleaner. Be aware that this will probably be the smelliest of the three options. If you are a stay-at-home spouse, you would probably want do this during the day while the kids are at school and the spouse is away at work.
I hope you like this homemade shower cleaner. Please feel free to comment with your observations, suggestions, and ideas.
Please join the Home Hints Facebook Group.