How to Clean Shower Tiles Without Scrubbing

Person cleaning shower tiles - How to Clean Shower Tiles Without Scrubbing

Shower tiles, like any other surface, can lose their shine over time due to daily use and exposure to soap scum, water spots, dirt, and grime. Cleaning them can be quite a task, especially if you have a large number of tiles. 

Personally, I find this cleaning job rather daunting. To simplify the process, I opt for a cleaning method and product that requires minimal scrubbing on my part. 

If you’re also tired of arduous shower scrubbing sessions, fear not! Let’s dive into how to clean shower tiles without scrubbing and restore the sparkle to your shower!

Step 1: Identify the Cause of Your Dirty Tiles

Identify the Cause of Your Dirty Tiles

Before delving into the cleaning process, it is crucial to identify the cause of your dirty shower tiles. Different types of stains require specific cleaning techniques for optimal results.


Shower tiles can get covered in dust, mud, or other forms of dirt. 

Hard Water

Mineral deposits from hard water can leave unsightly spots on your tiles and cause mineral buildup in the fixtures and fittings of your plumbing (Source: USGS).

Soap Scum

Soap residue can accumulate on tiles, making them appear grimy. Soap scum appears as a white or gray layer. 

It is caused by an accumulation of soap that has reacted with the salts and minerals left behind when hard water evaporates (Source: Corrosionpedia). 

If left for too long, soap scum can harden and be difficult to remove.

Step 2: Choose the Right Cleaning Solution for the Job

Baking soda, white vinegar, and sponge on the floor

There are several cleaning solutions available that can effectively tackle different types of shower tile stains. Here are some examples that will do the job:

Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide

This is quite a potent combination to combat tough stains and grime without abrasive scrubbing. Be careful when using hydrogen peroxide, as it can stain surfaces and materials. 

Note: Always test hydrogen peroxide on a small, inconspicuous patch before using it on your entire shower. Also, keep hydrogen peroxide away from any fabric material! You don’t want to accidentally cause bleach spots on your favorite towels or bath mat

Distilled White Vinegar and Dish Soap

This combination is ideal for removing hard water stains and soap scum without damaging the tile. Soap scum disintegrates under acidic conditions from vinegar. 

Safety Note: Never use bleach on surfaces that may have any vinegar residue. Our article tells you why.

Bleach and Water

Bleach and water are effective agents against mold and mildew, but use them with caution and avoid prolonged contact with surfaces or surfaces with vinegar residue. 

Note: Always test bleach on a small, inconspicuous area before applying it to your entire shower. This will prevent accidental discoloration. Also, please keep bleach away from any fabric material! The last thing you need are accidental bleach spots on your favorite bath linens.

Related: Is it safe to mix baking soda and bleach?

Commercial Floor Cleaner

Check that any floor cleaner is suitable for your specific type of stain first to avoid damage! For cleaning shower tiles, my personal recommendation would be this all-purpose surface cleaner from Attitude Nature. Check out our other recommendations for eco-friendly cleaners.

Step 3: Choose the Right Tools for the Job

Person using brush to clean shower tiles

Scrub Brush

Yes, the title of the article suggests that there will be zero scrubbing involved – but in order to properly clean your shower tiles, some agitation is necessary. Don’t worry! With the right tools, minimal elbow grease is required here.

One option is to use either a manual or electric soft-bristled scrub brush to agitate the cleaning solution gently, dissolve soap scum, and remove dirt. 

Related: The Best Shower Cleaning Brush for Any Bathroom

Tile Cleaning Machine

An electric tile cleaning machine can simplify the process and save time and effort. Models can range from motorized mops to high-temperature steam cleaners. 

I suggest choosing a lightweight model that is easy to maneuver in a small shower space. What’s great about a tile cleaning machine is it can be used on your shower floor AND your bathroom tile floor (in addition to any other tile floor in your home). 

It is a bonus if you have a tile cleaning machine with wet and dry functions, as this can help reduce the humidity of your shower room, too!

Related: Best Tile Cleaning Machines

Steam Cleaner

A steam cleaner is a chemical-free option that helps to loosen dirt and grime, making it easy to wipe away. 

If you use the steam cleaning method, invest in a quality steam cleaner for the best results. 

Some steam cleaners designed for tiles also have upholstery attachments so that you can have multiple uses from one steam cleaning machine!  

Related: 5 Best Upholstery Steam Cleaners

Step 4: Let the Cleaning Solution do the Work for You

Cleaning solution and equipment

Once you have recruited your chosen cleaning solution and employed the right tools to apply it, allow it some time to work its magic. 

You can avoid unnecessary scrubbing and achieve excellent results by giving the cleaning solution some time to act. Avoid letting bleach sit too long, as it may damage the tiles.

Step 5: Rinse Clean

shower head

After the cleaning solution has had time to act, rinse the tiles thoroughly with water to remove any residue.

Step 6: Repeat Regularly

Person with gloves and cleaning equipment cleaning shower tiles

To keep your shower sparkling, establish a regular cleaning routine. The more frequently you clean, the easier it becomes to combat future dirt and stains. 

Some people find that cleaning while in the shower can save time, as the water is readily available for rinsing any cleaning solution.

However, if you do decide to do this, ensure you use skin-friendly cleaning products. 


Can you use Dawn and vinegar on shower tiles?

Yes, a mixture of Dawn dish soap and vinegar can effectively clean shower tiles without causing damage.

Vinegar is a natural, biodegradable, and non-toxic cleaning solution that can remove dirt, grime, and some stains. However, vinegar is acidic, so it may not be suitable for all types of tiles, especially those made of natural stone!

Before using it extensively, it’s always a good idea to test vinegar on a small, inconspicuous area.

Note: Never use bleach on surfaces that may have any vinegar residue. Our article tells you why.

Will vinegar damage shower grout?

As vinegar is acidic, it can deteriorate grout over time. It’s best to use vinegar sparingly in this instance. 

Can I use Windex on my shower tile?

I would not recommend Windex for shower tiles, as it may not remove certain stains and can leave streaks.

How do I clean natural stone tile?

Natural stone tiles require special care to avoid damage. Use a pH-neutral cleaner specifically designed for natural stone, such as a mild detergent and warm water. 

Final Thoughts on Cleaning Shower Tiles Without Scrubbing

With the right cleaning solutions and tools, maintaining clean shower tiles doesn’t have to be laborious. 

Regular cleaning and choosing the appropriate methods will help keep your shower tiles spotless and looking their best.

Person cleaning shower tiles with text overlay How To Clean Shower Tiles Without Scrubbing

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