Updated 11 April 2013

How clean is your shower?

The warm, moist and dark conditions in the shower make it a germ danger zone.


What could be more refreshing than a quick shower after a long run, or a warm shower on a really cold night?

But you are not the only living thing that likes your shower - germs do too. The warm, moist and dark conditions in the shower make it a germ danger zone. The germs that live in clogged drains may be washed up to the surface when the shower is used and disease might spread. Unclean taps might also spread cold and flu bacteria. The shower curtain can also be germ-ridden, especially since it stays moist when it's not opened and aired.

Apart from the bacteria that may lurk in the drainpipes and on the taps of showers, several disease-causing fungi and viruses can be present on shower floors. Athlete's foot (Tenis pedis) and Plantar's warts are frequently spread in this way.

And although mildew isn't necessarily a health hazard, moulds may actually ruin your shower curtains.

Cleaning the shower

This task should not take long, but should be done regularly. I mean, who wants to look up while you're showering and wonder what's that growing from between the tiles? 

Special shower cleaners are available and safe to use on most shower surfaces. However, some products may not be suitable for use on marble or other sensitive surfaces. Read the product label carefully before use.

Bathroom shower walls and floors should be brushed once a week with a solution of bleach and water (one cup of chlorine bleach to five cups of hot water) or a good household cleaner, specifically for surfaces. This will clean your shower and kill bacteria and fungi.

Chemical mildew-removers are also effective in the removal of moulds, but these may be toxic. Read labels carefully, wear rubber gloves and leave windows open to ensure adequate bathroom ventilation when you apply these.

Keep your shower curtain clean by shaking it after use, leaving it open and scrubbing it with a household disinfectant. Soak the curtains in salt water after you've washed it to prevent future mildew growth.

Replace your shower curtain with a glass door if you can afford it. It's more hygienic and easier to clean. Get rid of soap residue on your shower door by wiping it with a vinegar-dampened sponge.

Remove soap and hard water buildup on shower tiles with tile cleaner once a week. Tile wax can be applied afterwards to prevent future buildup. Shower mats should also be scrubbed with disinfectant or chlorine bleach at least once a week.

Remove all hair and excess soap residue from the drain plug to prevent drains from clogging. A drain cleaner can be put down the plughole every few weeks to prevent clogging.

Handy hint:
The solution to a dripping shower head is to replace the washer in the tap handle. A blocked shower head needs tobe removed and washed out in hot water and detergent. Then use a piece of wire to clean out the holes. 

The bath


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Exercise benefits for seniors »

Working out in the concrete jungle Even a little exercise may help prevent dementia Here’s an unexpected way to boost your memory: running

Seniors who exercise recover more quickly from injury or illness

When sedentary older adults got into an exercise routine, it curbed their risk of suffering a disabling injury or illness and helped them recover if anything did happen to them.