What is this on my shower walls and how do I clean it?
October 30, 2012 1:07 PM   Subscribe

How do I clean the weird textured surface of my apartment shower?

I've been in my apartment since May, and I have no idea how to properly clean my shower -- it is so gross.

I know how to clean a regular shower and bath, sort of. I'm really just learning how to clean as my husband did much of the cleaning and I generally just look things up on the internet. My last house had separate standing shower that was tiled and had a molded plastic floor. The tub was separate.

In my new place it is very small shower/bath combo with sliding glass door. This makes maneuvering difficult as it is very narrow (and I'm not a big person).

The biggest trouble is the the shower walls themselves. Rather than tile, it is weird textured paint with a few tiles (for decoration?) and a mirror embedded in the texture. It is dark chocolate brown. It is the weirdest shower I have ever seen.

Lately there are some dark stains, and I don't feel like it is really clean. The texture destroys sponges, and my normal cleaner that worked great in my old house (Lysol 3 in 1 foaming cleaner, and a Scotch Brite scrub brush (kind of like the scrubby side of a dish sponge) doesn't do anything.

Anyone have this type of material before? How do you clean it? Also additional suggestions on shower/bath cleaning (like how do you clean where the glass doors overlap?).

posted by hrj to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried an actual bristle brush, like this (or similar)?
posted by Rock Steady at 1:27 PM on October 30, 2012

Have you tried a Magic Eraser?

On our textured, fiberglass tub I find that the only thing that gets it really clean is Scrubbing Bubbles Mega Shower Foam, and then scrub like a fool with a Magic Eraser. It acutally works well, the trick is to keep the surface you're cleaning wet with the cleaner.

Kaboom Foam-Tastic is also good and the scent won't knock you out.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:28 PM on October 30, 2012

I have a shower that has some textured plaster and marble with holes in it. I wait until the shower is completely dry and spray hydrogen peroxide on the walls and ceiling using a sprayer. Long after the bubbling stops I follow up with a regular shower cleaner.
posted by answergrape at 1:34 PM on October 30, 2012

Response by poster: Have you tried an actual bristle brush, like this (or similar)?

Yes, that is what I use now, but it doesn't seem to be getting clean. I'm using that with the Lysol cleaner.

Have you tried a Magic Eraser?
Nope, because I assumed the texture would shred it. It is more like stucco in there. I haven't tried Scrubbing Bubbles or Kaboom.
posted by hrj at 1:43 PM on October 30, 2012

I don't know how "delicate" your walls are, so that might negate my suggestion, but I have a Black and Decker ScumBuster and it seems to do a good job cleaning stuck-on messes in the shower. It's got a lot of kick to it, but with different attachments/heads that come with it, you might find one that does the trick.
posted by tacodave at 2:11 PM on October 30, 2012

Some mineral deposit stains (reddish browns) can be removed by spraying vinegar onto the walls after each shower, then rinsing down 20 - 30 minutes later. This works for soap scum too. As long as the shower is non-reactive (fiberglass) and not plaster, the vinegar won't harm the wall.
posted by muirne81 at 2:19 PM on October 30, 2012

I've had good luck getting mold to STAY off by using peroxide in a spray bottle and then a dishes brush. I used to use bleach, but it didn't work very well.
posted by small_ruminant at 2:25 PM on October 30, 2012

So...grain of salt, because I don't know what this will do to stucco, but it's worth trying. My shower/tub is hard to clean and the only thing that has reliably gotten it clean is to use a combination of white vinegar and dish soap. Mix it up, like three parts vinegar to one part dish soap, and pour it on the gross spots on the wall. Let it sit for five or ten minutes, and then rinse it off. You might use a brush or sponge at that point to encourage any grossness to come off.

I tried a million different commercial cleaners, but the white vinegar/dish soap thing is magic, I swear. The soap scum and dirt just rinses off! And I don't *think* vinegar or soap would hurt the kind of walls you're describing. It's worth a shot.
posted by zoetrope at 2:58 PM on October 30, 2012

I came in to recommend Kaboom too. If you ever feel so grossed out by your shower that you want to nuke it from orbit -- it's the only way to be sure -- then Kaboom is the answer.
posted by selfmedicating at 5:10 PM on October 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

I was going to recommend what zoetrope recommended, except I use half vinegar and half Dawn dish detergent. I spray it on the walls and tub and leave it overnight. Then I use a bristle scrub brush and rinse it off.

It's the only thing that has worked on the soap scum (Period. But also without creating chemical fumes in my windowless bathroom, and making me hesitant to take a bath for fear of soaking in the chemicals.)

After the initial big clean, now I just spray one wall and section each night, scrub it in the morning, for maintenance.
posted by vitabellosi at 5:55 PM on October 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

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