Resist the urge to use a wire or steel wool scrubber and abrasive cleanser on your acrylic or fiberglass tub and shower -- unless you don't mind them looking scratched. Instead, use a soft-scrub product and a sponge with a nylon scrubber to keep your tub and shower sparkly clean.
When it comes to cleaners, you can certainly buy commercial products to do the job. However, homemade solutions are less costly and contain fewer chemicals.
Simple solutions that include household ingredients such as baking soda, vinegar, ammonia, lemon juice, castile soap -- and even a few drops of essential oils for fragrance -- are much better options than overly chemical and expensive commercial products. All in all, homemade cleaning solutions cost pennies compared with store-bought alternatives -- and are as good, if not better, at getting the job done.
Homemade Soft Scrub
Combine the following ingredients in a mixing bowl or spray bottle:
- 1/2 cup of liquid vegetable-based castile soap
- 2 cups of baking soda
- 5 to 10 drops of an antibacterial essential oil: lavender, rosemary or tea tree
- 4 teaspoons of vegetable-based glycerin
You only need to add the glycerin if you plan to store the leftovers in a spray bottle; the glycerin acts as a preservative.
Spritz the tub with the homemade soft scrub, or apply the solution with a soft sponge.
Let the ingredients foam for up to 15 minutes -- or longer to remove stubborn soap scum -- before scrubbing with the nylon scrubber on the sponge.
Wring out the sponge in clean, cool water. Rinse the tub and wipe it down. Buff it dry with a clean cloth -- or let it air dry, if preferred.
Mold Remover for Caulk and Tile Surrounds
Combine two parts of warm water to one part of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle. Spray on the mold in tile grout, along caulked areas and other places where mold grows. Let the solution sit on the mold for up to one hour. Rinse clean with warm water.
Scummy Shower Pans
In place of harsh cleansers, use borax or baking soda to scrub the bottom of a scummy shower pan. Wet a sponge under warm running water and wring it out. Sprinkle the borax or baking soda directly onto the sponge and use it as a cleanser. You can also use an acrylic scrubber; just make certain to scrub in circular motions rather than horizontally back and forth (circular scrubbing is more effective at removing the scum). Rinse clean with cool water.
Black Fiberglass Tubs
Black acrylic or fiberglass shows up soap scum, hard water stains and filmy residue. To clean these, you can make a paste of a one-to-one ratio of powdered laundry detergent and water. Scrub the tub in circular motions, letting the paste sit on the tub for 15 minutes. Rinse and wipe clean.
Baby Oil Prevents Soap Scum
Apply a bit of baby oil to a clean cloth and wipe the tub with it. Baby oil prevents soap scum buildup. You can also apply it to your body in the shower, or add a bit to your bathwater, to help soften your skin.