Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cleaning Miracle: How I Finally Got My Shower Pan Clean

This has changed my life. No, seriously. I'm pretty sure I've complained on this blog before about our horrible, impossible to clean shower. The two main problems are the super dirty shower pan that's discolored and because of it's pebbly texture, had ground in dirt that would not come clean, no matter how much we scrubbed, and the icky, moldy grout that also will not get clean.
I really want to rip it out and start fresh, but at the moment we have neither the time, nor the money. So I've made it my mission to get the thing clean so I don't feel dirtier when I come out of the shower.
I started by Googling "How to clean dirty shower pans" which led me to this wonderful article about ground in dirt and shower pans from ehow.com. I bought the materials and we tried it this weekend. We let the mixture sit on the floor for about 10 hours. Then I went in to scrub it off, and started shouting to Matt to come look. "It's clean! It's actually getting clean!"
It's ridiculous how excited this has made me. But seriously. After five years of living with that scummy, dirty floor, it finally looks fresh and clean. There's not a speck of dirt left! I can't believe how simple it actually was.
We tried the mixture on the walls, and were less successful. It worked about as well as other commercial cleaners have, which is to say, you can tell it's getting cleaner, but it's still not clean. So I'm off to do some more Googling and hopefully find a successful home remedy for the grout.
But the shower pan mystery has finally been solved!


  1. Love this link for the shower pan clean - Fantastic. And I love that it's so environmentally friendly. Thank You! Those kind of plastic materials are Sooo impossibly hard to make clean! I am thrilled to have this solution.

    For the grout, I've had outstanding results using straight bleach.

    I get a plastic bottle from a beauty supply store with a long tipped end, like is used in color treatments, so I have control over the flow of the application. A short cheap brush may also be useful if the grout lines are wide - like a school paste brush- but you could use anything: a q-tip, some paper towel, a small sponge applicator.

    Be sure to wear gloves to protect your hands and old clothes because a one drop splash means a permanent white spot on your clothes. And have the window open. Glasses or googles would be wise. Consider doing it in stages. But be aware that you don't want the bleach on your skin or to inhale the fumes.

    Start at the top, squeeze the bleach onto the grout lines. If they are wide lines, you'll need to spread the bleach with one of the above tools to cover the whole width of the grout.

    Let sit for several hours, even overnight if needed.

    Turn the shower on to rinse thoroughly.

    You may need a second application if it was really bad and the results aren't stellar. Do the second application, it's worth it.

    Note: if the grout is covered with a thick soap film, you do have to deal with that first.

    If the film is thin, two doses of bleach sometimes does the job - the first eats thru the layer and the second bleaches the grout -, but not always. Some soap layers can act like an impenetrable shield!

    If the film is thick you may have to scrape it off first. (I like a plastic knife for that - the kind you get at fast food restaurants) or a dental scraper for the narrow grout line or use a commercial soap film shower spray - there are several at the grocery store. ... or both. Then do the bleach.

    The bleach is amazing and requires no muscle - just stand back and give it time.. plus you've killed off any mold.

    But again, do take precautions re the fumes. (After you've done the application, close the door. If you have to go back in, hold your breath.)

    And then admire your white grout! It's like magic!
    Hope this helps so you have a totally renewed shower!

  2. Wow, that's awesome. Thank you for the tips! I will definitely try that. I've used bleach before, and it works somewhat, but not great. But this seems like a more intense application, which is exactly what I need. Thanks again!

  3. Would you share the mixture with me? They've changed the link and I can't get to the article you were referring to. Thanks!

  4. Would you share the mixture with me? They've changed the link and I can't get to the article you were referring to. Thanks!

  5. The townhouse I purchased had many years of ground-in dirt in the fiberglass shower floor. After trying everything ever mentioned, I finally found something that worked - acidic detergent & a small stiff scrub brush. I bought the Tom Shirley brand at a janitorial supply store. No other local store carried it and it costs too much online with shipping. It wasn't expensive - under $10 for a quart bottle. Spread a liberal coating and let it set 8 - 10 minutes (bottle says 2-3 but that's not enough). Scrub well with the scrub brush then rinse with cold water. Apply a second coating for 3 - 5 minutes, scrub & rinse. Finish by going over the floor with powdered cleanser to get the last of the detergent off the floor as it seems to leave the floor a little bit slippery. This product contains 3 different acids so watch the eyes. But it smells good and didn't burn my hands at all.

  6. Since your comments above were from 2011, I didn't really think I'd ever hear a response! Thank you so much! I'm definitely going to try this!

  7. Which mixture did you leave on for 10 hours? The article mentions using WD-40, baking soda, and vinegar - but all separately. Which did you let stay on for hours? Thanks. Just really want to get this thing clean.

  8. Should use the acrylic based shower base which is easy to clean and durable for it's solid surfaces. Choosing the best acrylic shower base helps to feel you free for cleaning purposes. So replace you old shower pan as soon as possible for the better cleaning result.

  9. Does anyone have the directions for the mixture that is left on the base for 10 hours. Like the folks above, I can't find the correct link. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

  10. Things You'll Need
    Baking Soda
    White vinegar
    Show (7) More

    Mix ¼ cup of baking soda, ½ cup of Borax, ½ cup of white vinegar and 1 gallon of warm water in a bucket. Wear latex gloves to keep your hands dry.

    Stir the soap mixture with a scrub brush.

    Place a tub stopper or an old rag in the shower drain. If your shower has a built-in stopper, use it to plug the drain.

    Pour 5 cups of the soap mixture onto the shower pan. Sprinkle 5 cups of baking soda onto the shower pan.

    Scrub the baking soda into the shower pan with a scouring pad. Let the baking soda/soap mixture sit overnight.

    Scrub the shower pan with a scrub brush to break up the ground-in dirt.

    Pull out the tub stopper or old rag, or just open the drain with the built-in drain control.

    Rinse the shower pan with hot water from the shower.

    Add 2 cups of hot water to the the remaining soap mixture. Pour the remaining mixture onto the shower pan.

    Scrub the shower pan with a scouring pad to remove any remaining dirt and grime build-up.

    Rinse the shower pan with hot water from the shower.

    Dry the shower pan with a soft cloth or towel.

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  12. This article is very helpful and informative. Thank you for sharing!

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