Home & Outdoors

Your shower is disgusting—here's how often you should really clean it

Who knows what could be lurking in your bathtub.

Shower Credit: Andrii Atanov/Getty Images

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There are some things I know to clean at least every week, like my sheets, my toilet, and my floors. But there are other things I clean a lot less frequently (and I mean a lot less). Like my phone. And my refrigerator. And, last but not least, my shower. After all, when it comes to the latter, doesn't all that soap and shampoo naturally rinse away any germs every time I turn on the water?

Apparently not. According to a new survey, most of us are guilty of not cleaning our showers as often as we should—and it turns out that's pretty gross. Here's what happens when you don't sanitize your shower on the regular (spoiler: it's disgusting) and how to clean it properly to get rid of any dirt and grime.

Why your shower is dirtier than you think

Head
Credit: Travelarium/Getty Images

You might be clean but your tub probably isn't.

Over half of Americans confess they only clean a surface—like their showers—when there's visible dirt. But here's the cringe-worthy truth: Just because you can't see any grime or mildew, doesn't mean it isn't there. In fact, one expert points out that because mold is microscopic, once you actually see it, it means there are millions of mold spores growing already.

Other studies have revealed that potentially harmful germs like streptococcus, staph, and E. coli all are commonly found in bathtubs (yuck!). And that soap scum that looks innocent enough? It's actually a breeding ground for certain types of bacteria.

How often you should clean your shower

It depends on a variety of factors, but for the average person, Jonathan says, "Once a week is plenty to prevent mildew or mold building up." However, he also notes that prevention is key. Because the better you take care of your shower or tub, the cleaner it will stay in between scrubs. He recommends leaving your shower door or curtain open after each use, opening a window, or turning on the exhaust fan to help dry the walls and prevent mildew.

The best way to clean your shower and bathtub

Clean
Credit: Thiago Santos/Getty Images

Germs begone!

Jonathan suggests using a mixture of warm water and white vinegar to get rid of soap scum on shower walls. A couple drops of tea tree oil or an all-purpose bathroom cleaner can also help remove (and prevent) mildew and mold. As for the grout—which we all know can get really gross really fast—our experts found that Oxygen bleach is your best bet. Dilute the bleach with water, then let the mixture sit on your grout for 15 minutes before scrubbing it off with a scrub brush or toothbrush and rinsing with more water.

If you have a shower curtain, keep in mind that it needs to be washed, too (yes, even if it looks clean). Fortunately, that's incredibly easy—toss it in the washing machine with two towels, which will scrub the curtain, and turn it on a delicate cycle. When it's finished, take the curtain out and hang it to dry. Voila!

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