How to Clean Ceramic Tile Shower Walls & Grout

Cleaning your ceramic shower tiles and grout is simple. All it takes is some time depending on how dirty they are. To clean ceramic shower tiles, use DIY solutions including vinegar, baking soda, bleach, or get a commercial cleaner. You can also use a steam cleaner.

Below are some of the best cleaning methods with guided steps:

Using Vinegar to Clean Ceramic Shower Tiles

Vinegar is one of the most effective cleaning products. It’s no surprise that it’s found in certain store-bought household cleaners. Vinegar’s acidity aids in the dissolution of mineral deposits, filth, grease, and grime. It’s also capable of killing germs and fungi.

  1. Begin by sponging the walls with warm water. If your shower has a movable head, set it to a high temperature and let the water run for at least 10 minutes along the walls. The hot water opens the pores of the tile, making it easier to clean. You can also use a pail of hot water and a sponge, or a piece of cloth to get the work done.
  2. In a bowl, combine 1 part vinegar and 1 part water. Stir well to mix all of the ingredients until they are well combined then transfer the solution into a spray bottle.
  3. Spray the solution onto your shower tiles liberally and evenly. More solution should be sprayed on dirtier areas, as well as the spaces between the tiles, that is, the grout. Do not use up all of the solution at this time, or make more solution as you clean, because you will be using it later.
  4. Allow the solution to settle for five minutes. This will help to remove the soap scum and other dirt. Depending on how dirty your tiles are, you may need to wait 30 minutes or more for the solution to set.
  5. use a stiff bristle brush or a grout brush to loosen and scrub off the dirt still sticking on the tiles.
  6. Next, rinse the walls thoroughly with warm water. You can use your shower to rinse keeping the temperature at a low level. You can also rinse the tiles with a bucket or a pal and a sponge or a clean piece of cloth.

Baking Soda Ceramic Shower Tiles

Baking soda, being a base, dissolves organic compounds such as dirt, grease, and other nasty substances. Furthermore, each baking soda particle’s mineral structure acts as a soft abrasive to clean without leaving scratches.

  1. As in the case of cleaning using vinegar, begin by running warm water over the wall tiles to open up pores and loosen dirt.
  2. In a bowl, combine 3 parts baking soda and 1 part water. Combine the baking soda and water until a thick paste forms.
  3. Add hydrogen peroxide to the mix by replacing half of the water with peroxide for tough stains. For added cleaning power, you can also add some dish soap.
  4. Use a sponge to apply the paste. Spread the paste over the tiles to accomplish this. Make sure to use a lot of it in between the tiles and on stubborn stains.
  5. Spray some vinegar solution to the paste. The baking soda will react with the vinegar, causing it to bubble. The vinegar helps dissolve through the soap scum and other stains and dirt.
  6.  Leave this for about 30 minutes for the reaction to fully take place.
  7. Scrub your tiles thoroughly and in a circular motion with a stiff bristle brush or a grout brush. You can use a toothbrush to clean small crevices.
  8. Finally, dry the tiles with a squeegee or a clean unused towel or piece of cloth This will keep water from pooling in corners and crevices, which will help to keep mold and mildew at bay.
Ceramic tile bathroom wall
Ceramic wall

Steam Cleaners to Clean Ceramic Tile in Shower

Another method for cleaning grout that may remove deeply embedded stains is to use a steam cleaner with a grout brush nozzle.

The high-pressure steam from the device cleans and disinfects ceramic tile surfaces, as well as blasting dirt from small cracks and crevices that would otherwise go unnoticed.

This is both environmentally friendly and safe for all types of tile; however, not all steam cleaners work on shower tile and grout, so ensure you have the proper equipment.

Always use a nylon brush with your steam cleaner rather than a wire brush, which can damage your grout.

Never use a steam cleaner on damaged grout because it can trap moisture beneath the surface, allowing mold and mildew to grow.


  1. Wipe the surface of the tile with a damp cloth to remove any loose debris and dirt.
  2. Fill the steam cleaner’s water tank with distilled water and wrap a microfiber cloth around the steam cleaner head. Do not add any cleaning products to the water!
  3. Plug the steam cleaner into a wall outlet and turn it on then give it a few minutes for the water to heat.
  1. Once it’s all ready, squeeze the trigger or pump the handle depending on your steam cleaner model to release the steam through the microfiber cloth;
  2. Move the cleaner’s head back and forth across the tile surface to wipe of the dirt till you see it’s clean.
  3. When the microfiber cloth becomes dirty, replace it and during changing of their p cloth or the attachment of the steam cleaner, make sure to unplug the unit from the wall outlet.
  4. Once you are done leave it to dry all by itself leaving the windows open or you can hasten by switching on the ventilation fan.

How to Clean Grout

Because the grout on ceramic tiles is lower than the tile surface, regular cleaning methods often pass over it without cleaning it.

Grout is aggravating because being bright white, the sealing makes every stain and discoloration stand out, and its porosity causes it to hold on to dirt and stains, making it difficult to clean.

However, Cleaning grout is easy with the right cleaners and equipment. Below are two products that can help you clean your grout and restore its original color:

Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide works wonders when it comes to bleaching and brightening soiled tiles and unclean grout, Hydrogen peroxide is also great at killing microorganisms such as bacteria, yeasts, fungi, viruses, and spores, making it an excellent choice for bathroom cleaning.

To make the solution add one part 3 percent hydrogen peroxide and one part water in a spray bottle to clean your grout. To give the solution time to work, spray it liberally over your grout and let it sit for about an hour. Rinse with warm water then wipe the area clean using a microfibre towel or cloth.


First and foremost, bleach is an oxidizer, not a cleaner. Oxidizing agents react with surfaces and break chemical bonds, which aids in the killing of bacteria and the whitening of pigments—but they don’t remove or clean anything on their own.

For effectiveness, mix three parts of water to one part of bleach and add one drop of dishwashing liquid then stir.

Apply to the grout and allow the cleaner to sit for 10 minutes if you’re dealing with stubborn stains. Scrub the grout with a toothbrush or another small scrub brush then rinse well, and dry with a towel or cloth.

How to Clean Soap Scum Off Ceramic Tile in Shower

To determine the best method for removing soap scum off ceramic wall tiles, you first need to understand the composition of soap scum. Having this knowledge can help you choose wisely what will work best for you.

There are commercially sold cleaners specifically formulated for the purposes of removing soap scum and other dirt.

You can also make your own homemade soap scum remover using some readily available products and equipment you can easily find at home.

Below is a detailed explanation of how to tackle soap scum using the methods mentioned above:

 Cleaning Soap Scum with Commercial Cleaners

Almost all commercial cleaners come along with instructions manual on how to use them thus making them easier to use.

Below is a generalized procedure on how to use common commercial soap scum cleaners.

There are two types of tile or bathroom cleaners: liquid and foam spray. On horizontal tile surfaces, where you don’t have to worry about it dripping, a liquid spray works well.

On tile walls, foam is often easier to use because it stays in place without dripping. The viscosity of liquid sprays, on the other hand, allows them to penetrate deeper into the dirt and bind effectively.

Read the instructions on the bottle before using a commercial tile or bathroom cleaner on any tile.

Test the cleaner in a small, inconspicuous area before using it on the entire tile to ensure that it will not damage it.

  1. Run warm or mildly hot water over the tiles for about 10 minutes to open up pores and loosen the dirt.
  2. Apply a generous coat of tile cleaner to the tile surface, ensuring that all spots and grooves are covered.
  3. Allow the cleaner to sit on the tile for a few minutes. Allow the tile cleaner to sit for 3 to 5 minutes after applying it to your tiled surfaces.
  4. This enables the cleaner to cut through soap scum and residue, making it easier to remove.
  5. Some cleaners may take longer than 5 minutes to complete their task. Consult the bottle’s instructions to determine the proper amount of time.
  6. Wipe down the tile with a wet, non-abrasive sponge dipped in warm water to remove soap scum and cleaner residue.
  7. You can also use a damp cloth instead of the sponge if you prefer. If the soap scum is particularly dense on the tiles, a soft scrub brush may be required to remove the residue. But be cautious not to scrub too hard or you will scratch the tile.
  8. Next, thoroughly rinse the surface with warm water to wash away the soap scum residue and cleaning agents off the tiles.
  9. Once you are done, use a squeegee or towel to thoroughly dry the entire tile surface.

Homemade Cleaners for bathroom Soap Scum

Another alternative for DIY enthusiasts is using homemade cleaners to clean off soap scum.

Here are a couple of the most effective soap scum removal methods using homemade cleaners:

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Both vinegar and baking soda have properties that dissolve organic compounds such as dirt, grease, and other nasty substances, soap scum included.

  1. Make a paste with a cup of baking soda and enough white vinegar in a small bowl.
  2. When the mixture has stopped fizzing, sponge it onto the walls and leave it for about 15 minutes.
  3. Scrub the area thoroughly with a soft-bristle scrub brush before wiping it down with a sponge.
  4. Rinse the wall thoroughly with water to ensure that no cleaning agents or dirt remain.
  5. Finally, use a towel or an absorbent piece of cloth to dry the walls.

Vinegar and Dish Detergent.

Mixing vinegar and dish detergent is also another effective solution to deal with soap scum. The vinegar breaks down the soap scum while the detergent helps wash it off together with other dirt.

  1. Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a bowl, then add one tablespoon of dish detergent and stir well.
  2. Apply the solution liberally to the surface and let it sit for about 15 minutes on the soap scum.
  3. Scrub it thoroughly with a soft-bristle scrub brush, making sure to cover all affected areas. For the final scrubbing, use a cloth or sponge dipped in solution.
  4. Rinse the area thoroughly with warm water to remove all of the cleaning agents and dirt.
  5. Dry the surface using an old towel or absorbent cloth.

Tips to Prevent Dirt on Ceramic Tiles in the Bathroom.

Tile shower surrounds will keep their beauty and durability for decades if you keep them clean and well maintained

We say that prevention is better than cure right?

Yes it’s true. In this case preventing accumulation of dirt on your tiles is good as it will save you from the trouble of a lot of cleaning work in the future while at the same time keeping your walls sparkling clean.

Below are some tips on how to prevent dirt on your ceramic bathroom wall tiles:

  • Keep a squeegee in the bathroom for wiping down water off tub and shower walls after each use. Alternatively, wipe the moisture from the walls with an old towel or piece of cloth. Wiping down the walls prevents both hard water stains and soap scum buildup.
  • Before you leave the shower, spray it down with a 1:1 vinegar and water solution.  You don’t have to spray every day; 2-3 times a week will make a big difference, and this will prevent soap scum from accumulating on your shower walls.
  • Clean your shower at least twice a week to prevent grime from accumulating on the walls.
  • When cleaning your walls, choose tile-friendly cleansers and products that don’t include dyes that could discolor the tiles.

While porcelain and ceramic tile shower surrounds are more durable and stain-resistant, they are not impervious to discoloration from materials used in the shower by some persons.

  •  Treat your tile surround with a penetrating stain-resistant sealant that protects against both water and oil-based substances to keep it in top shape.
  • Check the instructions on the sealant, as some recommend more frequent reapplication for maximum protection. Do this as soon as the tile surround is installed and about once a year after that.
  • Consider switching from a bar soap to a liquid soap, body wash, or dry shampoo. The fatty acids that cause soap scum to adhere to the tub or sink are absent in these products.
  • Additionally, if your property has hard water, you may want to consider investing in a water softener to soften the water and prevent stains on your bathroom surfaces.

Precautions (Dos & Don’ts)

Cleaning ceramic might seem easy but there are several dos and don’ts as you might end up doing as much harm as good by damaging the tile wall and its aesthetics in the process.

Here are some of the precautions that you need to observe when cleaning ceramic tiles:

Avoid using harsh chemicals to clean your tiles.

Harsh chemicals that can damage the finish pose the greatest danger to any type of tile. Acidic products, such as citric acid or neat vinegar, can degrade the finish.

While some people recommend cleaning ceramic and porcelain tiles with a white vinegar and water solution, some experts advise against it because vinegar is highly acidic and can damage grout and tile glaze.

Unless your wall is sealed, stay away from acidic cleaners and always dilute cleaning solutions to ensure that they are safe for your tiles, and avoid using these cleaners on natural stone or unglazed ceramic entirely.

You should also avoid using lime and mineral dissolving products on your grout because they are too harsh and will break down sealants.

Finally, you should avoid using strong bleach or ammonia-based cleaners on your ceramic tiles. These ingredients are far too strong, and they will cause damage to the ceramic tiles.

Use Appropriate Cleaners & Tools

Avoid using cleaners and detergents designed for other bathroom fixtures  on your tile surround because they may contain abrasives and chemicals that scratch the tile and damage the grout

Cleaning solutions aren’t the only thing that can be harmful. Cleaning tools that are hard or abrasive should be avoided. Scratching your tiles can be done with steel wool, magic erasers, and scouring sponges.

Use a grout brush or toothbrush to work the cleaning agents in between tiles to remove dirt and bacteria that cause mold.  For routine cleaning, use a soft sponge and pH neutral ceramic and porcelain tile cleaners, and make sure the tile is completely dry afterward.

Following are more precautions

  • Keep away from any cleaning products that contain dyes. Some commercial cleaners come in bright blue, green, or other attractive colors, but the dyes can absorb and collect in your tiles over time, discoloring them.
  • Avoid cleaning with oil or wax-based cleaners because they leave a residue that attracts dirt.

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