I seriously can’t believe I’m writing this post or sharing these pictures, but sometimes you’ve just gotta air the dirty laundry (or the dirty shower) in hopes that your horribly, embarrassingly, dirty shower floor will help someone else. This simple DIY Apple Cider Vinegar Shower Cleaner might be the only thing in the world that can actually fight the hardest water I’ve ever seen.
And I grew up on well water in the rural Midwest.
Before I show you what our shower looked like, let me defend myself a little bit. This photo isn’t the result of a shower that had been neglected for months on end. It’s not a shower that was unloved; left to go mildewy and grimy because we never cleaned it.
Quite to the contrary, I scrubbed at this shower regularly and hard. I spent probably $30 or $40 in store-bought cleaning products, scrub brushes, and rubber gloves. Before I show you what our shower looked like, let me tell you more about what I’d already used trying to clean it before taking said picture:
- Scrubbing Bubbles
- Lime Away
- Undiluted Bleach
- More elbow grease than I knew I had
I cleaned that shower so much and so fiercely that months after taking these photos, and while sitting in a public coffee shop, I can still smell bleach. It’s just psychological, but still. That’s a pretty powerful association. And yet, this is what our shower looked like:
You’d think it hadn’t been cleaned in years.
Exasperated, I finally caved into something I’d had good luck with in the kitchen: apple cider vinegar. I’d been able to use apple cider vinegar to remove hard water buildup from the water channel behind my coffee pot and from the Brita pitcher we filter our drinking water through. Why not try it on the shower?
I bought a gallon-sized bottle of apple cider vinegar for less than $2, put a stopper in the shower drain, and went to town. I poured a couple of inches of apple cider vinegar into the floor of the shower, sat back, and waited. I was skeptical, but I was also running out of options.
After several minutes, I got down on my hands and knees, elbow-length rubber gloves pulled up as high as they could go, and some Black Keys pumping in the background (a girl needs to rock out when it’s cleanin’ time.) I took a deep breath and wiped at the floor of the shower with a washcloth.
And do you know what happened? The buildup in the shower floor just sort of lifted away. It took a little bit of effort, but honestly, I got significantly better results with the apple cider vinegar and a washcloth than I’d had before with a hard plastic scrubbing sponge and bleach. It was pretty flippin’ amazing:
I swear by apple cider vinegar now, and while I think my husband thinks I’m a little hippy for it, a gallon of the stuff is a staple in my cleaning cabinet from now on.
Do I still use bleach? Yes. I like how fresh and clean our bathrooms smell after they’ve been cleaned with bleach.
Do I still start with bleach? No. I start with apple cider vinegar. Once the hard water buildup is gone, I use bleach to disinfect and make the bathroom smell nice. (The “after” picture in this post is after the apple cider vinegar, but before using any sort of bleach.)
So what’s the magic DIY recipe for my shower cleaner? Here it is, step by step:
- Buy a big jug of apple cider vinegar.
- Pour it into your shower, sink, tub, or whatever container you have at home (tea kettles, coffee carafes, etc.) that have developed hard water buildup.
- Let it sit for a few minutes.
- Wipe things down.
- Rinse with water.
- Enjoy your nice, clean shower/sink/tub/whatever container you have at home (tea kettles, coffee carafes, etc.) that used to have that nasty hard water buildup on them.
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