The 8 Best Shower Cleaners of 2021 for Bathroom Tub & Tile6 min read
Cleaning the bathroom is probably not high on your list of favorite household chores. The tub is awkward to reach into, the shower is painstaking to scrub, and the tile gets dirty in no time at all — and oh, those cleaning solution fumes! But if you want to spend less time cleaning and more time enjoying a sparkling shower stall or bathtub, there are dozens of excellent tools, sprays, scrubbers, gadgets and mold removers on the market that make this dreaded chore much easier to tackle on the daily.
In the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab, we evaluate shower cleaning products by first assessing them for safety: Scanning labels for appropriate eye and skin irritant warnings, and confirming the product is registered with the EPA — an assurance that it will actually eliminate the bacteria and viruses it claims to. Then we look at how well sprays dispense and how sturdy scrubbing tools are. Finally, while there is an industry standard recipe for creating artificial soap scum, we prefer to test on the real thing by placing the products in consumer testers’ homes to see how well they remove the soapy build-up, limescale and mildew stains that form naturally in everyone’s bathrooms.
Here are our top picks to clean every nook and cranny of your shower and keep it looking spotless, year-round:
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Best Shower Cleaner for Mold & Mildew
24 Hour Bathroom Cleaner and Sanitizing Spray
You may not realize that as soon as a surface is touched (even immediately after cleaning it!) bacteria starts to grow. But that’s exactly why Microban’s bathroom cleaner is so exciting to us —
like all the products in the Microban 24 Hour line, it not only sanitizes or disinfects surfaces when you clean them, it also puts down a protective barrier to keep bacteria from growing for up to 24 hours. In Cleaning Lab tests, this spray cut through tough soap scum, didn’t leave any damaging residues and, because it’s EPA-registered, we’re confident that its 99.9% germ-killing claims are accurate. To maximize its mildew- and mold-preventing powers, apply it to clean, hard surfaces every seven days, and any soft surfaces (read: shower curtains) every 28 days.
- Sanitizes and disinfects
- Keeps surfaces bacteria-free for up to 24 hours
- Controls mildew growth with regular application
- Doesn’t provide 24-hour protection against viruses
Best Aerosol Shower Cleaner
If you prefer using aerosols over trigger-spray cleaners for the fine, wide mist they dispense, Breathe’s bathroom cleaner offers those benefits without the harsh hydrocarbon propellants that give some aerosol cleaners a strong chemical smell. Instead, Breathe uses nitrogen — a major component of air — to dispense the cleaner out of the can. Not only does this eliminate the smell, you also won’t be left with a partially full can that suddenly stops spraying. In our tests, we found a little went a long way. Lightly spray a small area with a fine mist and wipe clean. For heavy soil, let it work for a minute or two and use a soft brush to scrub away deposits.
- EPA Safer Choice-certified
- Works quickly
- Over-spraying in a confined area may cause irritation
Best Shower Cleaner for Tile & Grout
Brilliant Bath Foaming Action Cleaner
If you have white grout to brighten, there’s nothing that works better than CLR Brilliant Bath cleaner in our experience. Spray it on, let it set a minute or two , then scrub. In our tests, stains not only disappeared quickly, but as the grout dried, it continued to get whiter and whiter. This cleaner also effectively removes soap scum from tub and tile surfaces. It dispenses as a foam, so it clings well to vertical surfaces for better penetration, instead of quickly running down walls like thinner liquids do.
- Works with minimal scrubbing
- Continues to whiten grout as it dries
- Only for white grout
- Doesn’t remove rust
Best Shower Cleaner for Hard Water & Limescale
Calcium, Lime & Rust Remover
High levels of magnesium and calcium minerals can turn water “hard” — and when hard water droplets dry on surfaces like tile walls and shower heads, the minerals stay behind, leaving spots or, worse, a white, crusty buildup known as limescale that can clog plumbing. To remove hard water stains and dissolve limescale residue on a variety of household surfaces, try CLR’s Calcium, Lime & Rust Remover. To use on your shower head, mix equal parts cleaner and warm water, then submerge your shower head in the solution for no longer than two minutes. Scrub away the loosened deposits with a soft brush and rinse with cold water.
- EPA Safer Choice-certified
- Can be used on a variety of surfaces
- Works on rust stains
- Severe buildup may need additional applications
Best Combination Shower Cleaner & Scrubber
Magic Eraser Bath Scrubber
Mr. Clean Magic Erasers are longtime Good Housekeeping Seal stars because of how convenient they are to use and how well they clean a myriad of household surfaces — and the brand’s Bath Scrubbers are no exception. The sponges contain the same microscrubbers as the original Magic Erasers do, as well as foaming cleansers that dissolve soap scum on glass, tile and tub surfaces. Just wet the sponge, squeeze it to activate the foam and clean. We’re fans of the all-in-one ease — no need for a separate cleaner and brush!
- Convenient to use
- Has cleansers built into the pad
- Can be difficult to store after use
Best Long-Reach Shower Cleaning Tool
Good Grips Extendable Tub and Tile Scrubber
Skip awkward kneeling and climbing to scrub hard-to-reach spots in your shower with this extendable scrubber. It extends to 42 inches long and has a scrubber head that pivots to clean any angle with a pointed tip for getting deep into corners. Replacement scrubber heads are available, and the handle has an opening to hang it from a hook for easy storage.
- Pivots to any angle
- Head is replaceable
- Pole is sturdy and grip is non-slip
- Needs to dry thoroughly before storing
Best Shower Cleaning Squeegee
The best way we’ve found to keep a shower spotless is to wipe water away daily. It only tasks a few minutes to give the tiled walls, tub or glass door a quick pass with a squeegee post-shower and the payoff is huge. The Good Housekeeping Cleaning Lab likes Casabella’s clip-on silicone squeegee because it grabs water in a single pass and clips onto the shower head or door handle (so you won’t forget to use it!). If the last person showering for the day squeegees it down, mold and mildew will be virtually nonexistent, majorly cutting down on cleaning time.
- Clips to shower head or door handle
- Comfortable to hold
- Silicone grabs water and glides smoothly
- Blade is on the small side
Best Shower Glass Protectant
If you’re looking to clean less often, you can treat shower surfaces with a protectant to repel hard water, soap scum and grime. We like EnduroShield Home Glass Treatment — in our tests, we found it very easy to apply and it helped water sheet off, so post-shower squeegeeing was easier, too. To use, apply this long-lasting treatment to glass shower doors after cleaning to help them stay crystal clear — then, the next time you clean, you’ll be able to skip the tough scrubbing. The manufacturer claims one application lasts for over three years, but it’s easy to refresh it should you need to.
- Prevents spotting and filming
- Easy to apply
- Also works on car and home windows
- Very large glass showers may need more than one kit
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