DIY Tub/Shower Cleaner {Picture Tutorial}

April 7, 2014 79 Comments | Disclosure

This is my one of my favorite homemade cleaners. It is amazing and has just 2 ingredients: blue dawn and white vinegar. You also need any empty spray bottle. (Mine has the cleaner in it and I’m just adding more to it)

homemade-tub-and-shower-cleaner

tub shower cleaner

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Heat up  12 oz. of vinegar in the microwave. I heated mine up for 2 minutes.

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After you heat it up, add it to your spray bottle.

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Then add 10 oz. of blue dawn. {don’t substitute another dish soap} I got this huge bottle on clearance at Target for $2.50!

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Shake gently to combine

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Here is my dirty bathroom sink, don’t judge me.

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Spray the cleaner and let it sit for a few minutes {when I clean my shower I let it sit for a few hours if it is really dirty, even overnight}

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This cleaner just melts the gunk and grime right off your sink. You don’t even have to scrub it. I just wiped it down with a dry washcloth. A sponge makes it suds too much; trust me. It also does a great job of cleaning and shining your faucets. I use it to clean my kitchen sink too.

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It looks so much better, so nice and shiny! This cleans better than any other cleaner I’ve tried. I love that it is just 2 simple ingredients that I always have on hand. One thing to note, Dawn has ammonia in it so DO NOT combine it with bleach or any products that contain bleach!!

The BEST Tub/Shower Cleaner

12 oz. Vinegar (heated)

10 oz. Blue Dawn

Heat the vinegar for 2 minutes and add to a spray bottle. Add the Blue Dawn and shake gently to combine. Use to clean your sinks, tubs and showers.

What other homemade cleaners would you like to see us try and blog about?

See More Inexpensive DIY Household Cleaner Recipes:

 

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Comments

  1. That’s a great tip! Thanks for sharing, I didn’t know Dawn has ammonia in it…I have been using the hand renewal one and I have granite counters. So Don’t use this on Granite. But my tub and shower are a who different story :)

  2. Do u need to re-heat every time? How long is it good for once u mix it up?
    Thnx! :)

    • Stephanie Ortiz says:

      Hi Cara,

      No need to reheat, I think that just makes the ingredients bond. I have been making a batch right after I use my bottle because I already have the stuff out. Makes it harder to procrastinate cleaning the shower! Worst job ever! haha

  3. I cannot use any dish soap other than Watkins. I cannot use any chemical type cleaner(dishsoap)..I cannot even use Seventh Generation or Meyers anymore, since they changed their ingredients. Is there anything else I can use to get the same effects? Can I use my Watkins dish soap and have the same results?

    • I say give it a try and use your Watkins soap, maybe just make half a batch so if it doesn’t work you haven’t wasted your soap.

    • Try making a baking soda paste, then rinsing with vinegar. It causes a mild chemical reaction that shouldn’t bother you, but will be a really effective cleaner.

    • sally guenterberg says:

      I subscribe to EWG.com and they review thousands of products and they don’t rate Seventh Grneration highly even though they sound so wonderful. Check out environmental working group for some great research.

  4. This is my new all time favorite!! I use it in the bathroom to get rid of soap scum and in the kitchen to cut grease. It is amazing and I love it!! (And you only have to heat it up when you are combining it the first time. It does not separate. I have not had it “go bad” and I mix up a bottle and use it until its gone.

  5. So excited you chose to do a post about this one. I usually use Bar Keepers friend if my sinks and tubs get really bad with hard water, but this will be a weekly cleaner!

  6. I actually think I have an even better tub and shower cleaner and I got the idea from you Fab Fru Gals! I think you posted a DIY cleaner of some kind that had Borax in it and I have had the box just sitting around in my laundry room waiting… I opened it up about a month ago and decided to try just sprinkling it in my sinks instead of Comet as a scum and soap stain remover. You don’t even need to scrub much, just use minimal elbow grease with a wet sponge and your sinks and tubs have never shined more. You don’t need to rinse the surfaces off forever with water like with Comet to get it’s residue off–Borax just washes right down the drain. It’s inexpensive and eco-friendly and your surfaces will shine like new.

  7. michelle G says:

    Maybe being nit picky, but since you said not to substitute any other soap…Does it have to be blue dawn? Or can it be a different variety? I’m not sure what the subtle differences are between the types and if that would change it enough to mess up this cleaner that sounds fab!

    • All I’ve used is Dawn with it so I’m not sure how another soap would do, from all the other things I’ve read online everyone agrees that the Blue Dawn is the best and to only use Blue Dawn

      • Hi

        I just checked my stockpile – all I have is orange Dawn. Should I give that a go or just go get some blue dawn while I am out shopping for the ingredients for the home made laundry soap?

        Thanks :)

        • Hey :)

          So rather than sitting and waiting – I got anxious and decided to try it with the orange dawn. After all I got on on a fantastic deal so if it doesn’t work out its not a huge loss.

          I forgot how much I disliked the smell of vinegar but I will tell you this cleaner works WONDERFULLY! WOW. I am sold on this.

          Thanks for posting it!

          • michelle G says:

            What am I missing? I tried this, with blue dawn even and had no luck at all! Are you using this just on toothpaste stuff or on the really tough stuff? Just frustrating that so many are super excited about it and all I got was blue lines that I had to scrub off with something else…

            • Good Morning

              I used it on the bathroom sink and the bathtub and the faucets. I sprayed it on and let it sit for a few minutes before wiping it off.

              I even used it on my kitchen sink…and on my aluminum baking pans. They always get that baked on yello grease (yuck!) but after letting this sit on the pans for a little but that came off too with very little efford.

              I am not sure why yours is leaving blue lines…did the dawn emulsify & turn color to a bright blue (like above) with the vinegar when you mixed it?

            • I’m sorry it isn’t working for you. I have used it on the tough stuff and it comes right off. Are you spraying enough on? I really saturate the area I want to be cleaned.

            • michelle G says:

              So I kept getting emails with other comments about how wonderful this is and decided to give it another try. My husband was amazed and said it looked like we got a new tub! The difference? We moved. The first time I tried it, we had a super old tub that may have been too porous, leaving the blue behind. Newer tub, fantastic results!

              Now I’m wondering, how do you clean the “dry cloth” that wiped everything down without a washer full of suds? Haha- maybe I used too much magic soap!

              • It works great for me! Question-Blue Dawn? Husband came home with Green :))) Also, why boil the vinegar? Just had to ask.

  8. Machelle says:

    Okay, can anyone who has tried this tell me what you do about all the stinkin’ suds? I sprayed my shower doors, but when it came time to rinse it, there were so many suds I couldn’t rinse it clean, and my sponge is STILL saturated with soap…after 45 minutes of rinsing the doors, rinsing the sponge, and rinsing the doors again. I finally gave up. The suds were multiplying! I got so frustrated I just left it, and now my doors look worse than ever with all that smeared around cleaner dried on the doors…I followed the directions to the letter!

    • The instructions say don’t use a sponge, it suds too much..use a dry towel

    • Spray right on the walls right after you get out of the shower. The water helps the mix slide down the walls/glass and do the magic, keeps you from over saturating the area and prevents the Dawn blue streaks. If you have a lot of soap scum, leave it there to sit for an hour. Otherwise, give the walls another rinse down after 10-15 minutes and everything will be super clean without having to sponge or wipe down.

    • Jessica says:

      Same here. I used a dry towel then had to use the shower sprayer and I don’t know if I will ever get rid of all the suds. This was soooo not worth the wasted soap and vinegar for me.

    • Don’t know if this will help, but I’ve found that cold water breaks down bubbles faster than hot/warm water (have noticed this when hand washing dishes – I wash in hot, rinse in cool).

  9. Hi I’m just wondering though if this would be disinfecting enough to use in bathroom etc? I always want to kill the germs and disinfect, yes even the sink…can you tell me if the vinegar and soap have anything in them that does this? I’d love to try…Thanks!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Vinegar is a natural disinfectant that will kill most nasties but is non toxic to humans and our pets. It’s even better for some things than bleach.

  10. I was super excited about this and tried it when we were cleaning for our move from our apartment yesterday. I’m not sure what I did wrong in using it but will try it one more time before I dismiss it. I have one window in a small bathroom. I sprayed the entire shower (maybe I did too big of an area?) and almost immediately my eyes and throat were burning. I kept having to step out. So you really need super good ventilation. Apparently one open window and a door open to the hallway is not enough. Also, I had the same problem as one of the other posters. Mine left some dim blue streaks but mostly, it left major soap scum. I was confused, since the whole idea is to REMOVE soap scum. The only thing I can think that happened is that 1) I sprayed too much on and 2) in the time it took me to get from one part of the shower to the other, it had dried in a sort of film. I tried wiping it off with my dry cloth and it was already dried and fixed on to the tile. It was just like wiping at soap scum. Yes, when I was making it I did heat the vinegar and mix it with the Dawn and my whole bottle was a lovely shade of blue. I ended up mostly fixing my dilemma by waiting until everything was dry, wetting a scrubber sponge, and the scrubbing and rinsing the dried parts off. Took me about twice a long. :( Any input? I really wanted it to work!

    • Winnie Green says:

      I hear you, my son who has a apartment down stairs came up stairs finding me gagging asking what were the fumes he could smell all the way into his apartment. Am I doing something wrong, 50/50 white vinegar and dish soap, do I have to heat it????
      I have to say though my tub and sink sparkled after I hosed it down

  11. I tried this today on a very gunky sink. It had gunk around the faucet and handles base, and was starting to mold. Sprayed it on heavily, let it sit 15 min or so. Wiped down with paper towels. The slight soap residue is what gives it the shiny look and prevents future gunk, mold, toothpaste, etc from adhering for several days. It works like the Scrubbing Bubbles Extend-A-Clean does. But much cheaper!!! Thanks!!

  12. Does this work on yucky brown stains on the floor of the bathtub?

    I really need help!!

  13. Whoa. I wish I had taken before and after pictures. I kept seeing this recipe float around Pinterest but never got around to making it. We have really hard water where I live and the shower doors get so grimy so quickly especially if we don’t squeegee them down after each and every shower. I hate cleaning my shower so it rarely gets done. I made the cleaner….sprayed it on….changed the sheets on my bed and went back to wipe it off thinking surely I didn’t wait long enough. Lo and behold, the doors were clear! It did smear and suds a little bit and I used a rag then went back over it with a dry towel and voila I have clean doors (no scrubbing!!) Thank you for posting the recipe!

  14. I used Seventh Generation lavender dish soap and apple cider vinegar with a couple drops of lavender essential oil. Worked like a charm on my gross and disgusting tub! Thanks for sharing! Now, I don’t mind cleaning the bathroom as much. :)

  15. Trying it on our massive shower right now. It took almost the entire bottle to spray that sucker down. Now I have to remember to wipe it out before tomorrow morning so my husband doesn’t step into a slippery-as-an-ice-rink shower. :)

  16. Jessica says:

    I thought this stuff was horrible. It was so toxic smelling and hours later my nose, throat, and lungs are still burning like wildfire. I don’t think I will ever get rid of all the suds either. I should have known that if a few drops of blue dawn is all it takes to get my soiled cloth diapers looking brand new again that 10 oz would be WAY too much for this application. I can’t even bathe my kids in the tub right now because every time I run water it suds up again and I’m afraid their sensitive skin will react to all the soap if they don’t slip and fall first. Major FAIL! Next time I will stick to baking soda.

  17. Well, I tried the recipe and then after spraying it on my tub and sink, sat down to read the comments. My husband was complaining about the stink, so I thought I would go ahead and start wiping it up. My sink was not rally bad, but with the dry cloth it pretty much came up. I rinsed the rag and the suds began! I started to panic, but after about 3 minutes of rinsing and wiping it looks really good. Now my tub had a really bad case of soap scum. We have one bathroom with seven people (Including three teens) using it. It was a nightmare that I had been trying to clean for weeks with no real luck. I thought, well here is another failed attempt. But when I started wiping, the scum is rubbing right off. So even with the stink and the suds (and I used a lot of the spray! LOL) I am gonna let it set a bit and tackle the tub. For me it is worth the suds and stink to finally be rid of the nasty scum!!! :)

    • Melanie says:

      This works FANTASTICALLY. Using a sponge is a no no, it HAS to be wiped completely dry with a dry towel. Anything else will make it suds,and you do NOT WANT suds. Wipe it dry, all crevices. It’s amazing. It does take a bit of elbow grease and I don’t think many people are used to that. Great stuff! Thanks for the recipe!

  18. I decided to give this a try but instead of using it on my tub, I tried it on my kitchen’s linoleum floor (Which by the way looked worse then my tub ever could..lol). I have lived with this kitchen floor for quite some time and it always seemed to have dirt that seeped through and an hour after mopping, it always looked like I had not touched it in decades! I sprayed it on, let it sit for about 15 minutes, wet mopped (as sort of a rinse…lots of suds..oops) then dry mopped and OH MY GOODNESS!! My floor has never looked this good! There is no sticky residue and the shine is almost blinding!
    There was a smell to it, but I just cracked a window open and everyone in the house seemed OK! Good stuff in my opinion!

  19. I have been using this cleaner with fantastic results for a while now, not sure why people are having such trouble with suds??? I use a magic eraser in my shower and it works fantastic! No excessive bubbles either. Just a side note-we have hard water and it always does a good job of removing the stains!

  20. This was wonderful! I was not a fan of the smell. I sprayed my shower at night before bed. I got up and began my cleaning. I used my normal shower scrub brushes that were slightly wet, and yes I had lots of suds, but immediately the yuck on the bottom of my shower that takes me forever to scrub, scrub away was scrubbing by one pass of my scrub brush!! I can hardly believe how wonderful that this worked!! I have severe back injuries and this was the easiest bathroom cleaning I have ever done!! If you get lots of suds……..rinse with lots of water! Lol! I don’t care about the suds when I have something that is the easeiest and fastest cleaner I have ever used! I will not be using anything else! I may experiment with more natural dish soaps and possibly essential oils for a different smell (a bit more pleasing) but I will be using this recipe! THANKS A MILLION FOR SHARING!!
    ~Joy~

  21. I love this. I made it 3 parts vinegar to 1 part Dawn and mixed it in a Dawn bottle. I squirted it on a bath enclosure with a textured floor that I have fought with for 10 years. I also used it on a walk-in shower. I let it sit 30 minutes, then rinsed it down h hot water. No scrubbing or wiping. Everything is sparkling. I’m thrilled. I think squirting kept the vinegar particles out of my nose. The aroma was gone in less than an hour. I’ve used every commercial product available and nothing worked this well. Bleach products made the tub smell clean, but did nothing for the scum and oil build-up. The shower door is spotless and the textured tub grid is all white. Thank you!

  22. This works pretty good on SMOOTH surfaces…..but on my tub with a textured bottom it didn’t do squat. I might use this in areas that my 1 year old would be in contact with, but it doesn’t hold a torch to cleaning with ammonia. I tried :-(

  23. This is kind of a crazy question. But I’m kind of obsessed with this cleaner. It works SO well! Anyway, would it be bad to use this to clean the outside of my car?

    • Margaret O'Malley says:

      The vinegar WILL kill plant LIFE… if it gets on it.. as far as the FINISH on your car.. ok for paint.. but NOT a well waxed car.. NOT good for Rubber wipers, and rubber window seals unless IMMEDIATELY washed off.

  24. Robin Hoelting says:

    I also have a textured bottom in my tub. I have struggled for years to get the gunk out of it, with only moderate success. Have never found a commercial product that would work as well as baking soda and peroxide, but even that didn’t get it “clean like new”. Gotta say, folks, this did the trick. And all I did was spray and wipe. I saturated the tub (I’m talking puddles) and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Didn’t want to leave it any longer because if there’s anything smells worse than vinegar, it’s vinegar mixed with Dawn. But my fiberglass tub is 12 years old and my husband is a “grease monkey”, so I have had a permanent tub-ring and it was impossible to get the black out of the textured bottom. This took it back to new again, and with NO SCRUBBING!!

  25. Well..I tried it with 1 ounce of dawn full amount vinegar a few months back…i thought there must have been a typo…sprqyed, waited awesome clean sink.
    I tried it the full amount of dawn…it qas dawn of the crazy soap goo!!! I did NOT read the part about,wipe off with a towel! This is the manditory …someone could have slipped and killed themselves! Imhad the blue streaks and all…yuck! It took 45 minutes to get it off. That beong said, i wil Try again, less dawn, and definitely wipe first!!! I must say my mirrors that are frosted bathroom window look awesome today. I never reaiIzed they were able to shine so bright…all was not lost…lessons learned…read all of pin next time!

  26. P.s i had my son spray it for me while i was making the beds…he’s taller tan me now at 12! I heard him coughing and it progressed really fast almost to a coughing fit! I pulled him out, opened the window and shut the door. It was pretty strong smelling and should be carefully monitored for anyone with asthma!

  27. dimmie warden says:

    Will definitely try this, thanks for the info.

  28. I just tried this on my shower. It really did need some help. It looks GREAT!!

  29. Margaret O'Malley says:

    honestly.. did LITTLE to deal with my soap scum on my clear glass shower doors… IF ANYONE has a FAIL SAFE for Soap Scum, PLEASE feel free to e-mail me with a solution!

  30. I’ve read the recipe through twice. I’ve read all the comments. Now I’m trying to decide whether to try this out not! Some people swear by this and say it did wonders; others say it didn’t do anything and it’s noxious. The recipe says to use a whole bottle of Dawn, while others say to only use a partial bottle. My shower has tile walls that need clean grout and a textured fiberglass floor that’s hard to clean. The shower is hard to rinse since there’s no sprayer on the head, so the dry wipe method is appealing if it works. I don’t want a streaky filmy still-dirty shower left that will suds up as soon as the water hits it, but I’d love to have an economical eco-friendly cleaner that really works. Advice or feedback is welcome!

  31. Winnie Green says:

    HOLY COW you did not worn us about the fumes / smell!
    I turned on the fan and covered my nose and mouth with a washcloth and got out as fast as I could. My nose is burning. It better be a miracle because I wont use that again other wise.
    A little warning would have been nice

    • I have developed sensitivity to almost any and every thing that has the slightest odor. Odors cause me instant and long lasting headaches. However the one thing that does not bother me is vinegar so am excited to try this recipe. Maybe I won’t have to hide in a different room with all the windows open when my cleaning lady is here. If I am lucky maybe I, myself, will be able to clean with it.
      Thanks

      • I have an allergy to scent too, Leslie, and have to look for unscented products for pretty much everything. When I do get exposed to a bad scent, there are three things that seem to help me, besides getting outside into the fresh air. One is sniffing coffee grounds (instant works too, but not as well), another is sticking my head in the freezer to breathe the cold air, and the third is to eat a candied ginger (Reeds and The Ginger People make some). I hope this can help you too. Good luck!

  32. This didn’t work for me at all. I tried and tried. I don’t know what I did wrong, but it seemed to make my shower door worse! And yes, it smelled awful!!

  33. I don’t like the idea of dry polishing, so, suds or not, I’m going to try spraying it with the shower hose. I do have one concern, however, that I’m surprised no one addressed. With so much Dawn, I’m concerned about the bottom of the tub or shower floor being slippery.

    • Yes, the floor will be very slippery due to the Dawn, so be very careful. I use my handheld shower nozzle to first rinse down the floor and then rinse the walls, glass, etc.

  34. I don’t like the idea of dry polishing, so, suds or not, I’m going to try spraying it with the shower hose. I do have one concern, however, that I’m surprised no one addressed. With so much Dawn, I’m concerned about the bottom of the tub or shower floor being slippery.

    Also, I don’t get the purpose of heating the solution. Is it necessary for only the mixing, or does it have to be heated with every use?

    • Sheila (also) says:

      These are exactly my concerns. I don’t see any replies to Sheila #1′s post. I’m trying again.

  35. I think i want to give this a try and hopefully it will work on my bathroom sink as well. Soap and water don’t seem to be working effectively. I’m trying to find more eco-friendly and cheaper solutions for my bathroom. I am also looking for an effective solution for tile floors.

  36. I used this with a 3x Power Sprayer Bottle I bought at Walmart. I love the bottle from Walmart because you use less effort for spraying large areas (shower/tub) and I thought it was worth the $3.00 +/- investment. Also, I made the mistake of pouring the vinegar in the bottle and it was too hot and warped my bottle. I suggest heating the vinegar in a Pyrex measuring cup and mixing the Dawn in the cup and THEN pouring it into the bottle.

    I have very hard water and this stuff worked like a dream with about a half an hour soak.

    LOVE IT!!!

  37. Stephanie says:

    I think I found the secret…

    First, I’d like to say I LOVE THIS CLEANER! I use vinegar all the time and can’t believe I didn’t see this sooner. I’ve used it a few times now and recommended it to friends. I do have a couple of hints that helped me in a few ways:

    - Read the directions, seems like some people think this is a 50/50 mix… nope 10oz and 12oz.
    - Having a detachable shower head helps speed up the wiping process tenfold!
    - No need for dry cloth, I used my detachable shower head and large cleaning brush (like for carpet) and got almost NO SUDS!!
    - Make sure you have the bathroom fan on for the entire process. The vinegar smell can be super strong.
    - Work in stages. I usually spray my tub/shower & curtain, then the toilet, then the sink. Let it sit for 5 ish minutes and get some fresh air. Then go in and use your toilet brush to rub it all around the toilet. If the smell is not too strong, then do the sink too. No flushing or rinsing yet, just let it sit. Then leave the bathroom for another 5 ish minutes. Then come back and rub it around the shower and tub. You don’t have to scrub, I just like to make sure it’s nice and covered. Then leave again for another 5 minutes. Come back and wipe down the sink, finish the toilet and flush. Take another break if you need it. Then come back and finish the shower. I usually get it most of the way clean (make sure the bottom is free from all soap) then I’ll just hop in the shower and use my cleaning brush to finish making sure all the soap is off the faucet areas.

    These are things that worked great for me and hope they help you too! Good luck!

  38. Thank you for such a great idea. I followed the recipe, adding lemon oil. I sprayed it on my shower that always has soap scum, and it rinsed right off. No problems with excess suds. The smell wasn’t the greatest (it was way better smelling than the store bought cleaners) but if you don’t spray it on, and put it in a dawn bottle and sqirt it on, the problem is solved I might try that next time. For now, it is a great cleaner. Thank you!

  39. Had a bottle of cream cleaner put water in and a bit of that cream cleaner shake and spray let it sit then wipe it.

  40. Looks good, but I dont have Dawn in my country….can any other dish washing liquid?

  41. How long will this solution stay effective???

    • It stays effective for a while. I’ve had some in a spray bottle for over a year and it still works great. I just give it a little shake

  42. This stuff is heaven sent – worked so effortless for me – thank you!

  43. Cheryl McBrayer says:

    I only have ultra Dawn, can that be used?

  44. Residential Cleaning Packages says:

    I love this tutorial…

  45. Hello! I want to try this on my apartment shower/tub because my husband is a mechanic and he turns our tub black every day he takes a shower. I had a question about the heating of the vinegar. I don’t have a microwave only a stove so I was wondering what are the suggestions for using a stove to heat the vinegar. Do I need to boil it? Thanks for the help.

  46. I think I oversaturated it, I cleaned it with a dry towel, but what happens when I take a shower, will it suds up then? It did make it cleaner than it’s ever been but I wonder about the soap that sits on there, or is there nothing to worry about.
    Thanks,
    Terri

  47. Stephanie Ortiz says:

    I’d just run the shower a little bit then run your hand over it and see if it’s slippery. If it is… rinse it a lot then see if you can hop in there with some waterproof shoes (like flip flops ) and wipe it down.

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