Keep your bathroom sparkling with a natural shower cleaner! Made with essential oils and plant-derived cleaning ingredients, this homemade tub and tile cleaner breaks down soap scum build-up and hard water stains. This DIY shower cleaner without vinegar is all-natural, biodegradable, septic friendly, and easy to make.
Homemade shower cleaner without vinegar
Are you looking for a natural, more eco-friendly way to keep your shower clean and sparkling?
Then this homemade shower cleaner is here to become your new best friend. It’s made with simple ingredients and great to help with soap scum and build-up in the bathroom.
I live in an area with extremely hard water, so using a tub and tile spray is a must.
The commercial shower sprays I used in the past would irritate my airways so much that I decided to create a gentler, homemade version.
Benefits of this tub and tile cleaner
After some trial and error, I came up with this DIY shower tile cleaner. There’s so much to love about the formula, and here’s a quick rundown of the highlights:
- Sparkling bathroom: You will be positively surprised by how effective this cleaner is! It removes dirt, stubborn soap scum, and unsightly hard water stains and leaves your shower, tub, and tiles sparkling. The cleaner also deodorizes the bathroom and can even help to fight mold.
- Natural + biodegradable: All materials in this tile spray are derived from plants. They readily biodegrade, are safe for septic systems, and don’t pose a threat to aquatic life.
- Safe: You can safely use the cleaner around children and pets without worrying that they might be exposed to harsh chemicals.
- Easy to make: You only need a handful of simple-to-find ingredients and about 10 minutes prep time to whip up the cleaner.
- No vinegar: No pungent odor with this one! Since the formula doesn’t rely on vinegar, the spray smells neutral. You can even customize the scent with essential oils to create lovely, fresh scents.
The ingredients in this shower cleaner spray are super simple. The formula gets its cleaning power from two materials, citric acid, and decyl glucoside. Let’s learn more! Scroll down to the printable how-to card for specific ingredient measurements.
- Citric acid is a white, granular powder naturally derived from lemon juice. Citric acid is one of nature’s most powerful cleaning ingredients. It breaks down soap scrum, hard water deposits, lime scale, and discoloration. Furthermore, citric acid removes bacteria, mildew, and mold.
- Distilled water is needed to dissolve the citric acid. I recommend distilled water because it has any impurities removed that could shorten the shelf life and quality of the cleaner.
- Decyl glucoside, a plant-based surfactant (cleanser) made from cornstarch and coconut oil, contributes to the cleansing power of the tub and tile cleaner. The material is very mild, skin-friendly, and biodegradable. It removes oily residue + grime and ensures everything washes down the drain.
- Spray bottle: A 16-oz glass spray bottle is a good option for storing and using the product. You want to avoid a metallic storage vessel because citric acid will corrode metal.
If you’re looking for ways to boost the effectiveness of your shower cleaner, consider adding the following ingredients.
I listed them as optional because they aren’t absolutely necessary, but they enhance the cleaning abilities of the daily shower spray.
- Sodium gluconate is an amazing multi-purpose ingredient. It works as a chelating agent, rinse aid, and anti-redeposition agent. It helps to deal with hard water and allows tiles stay clean for longer. If hard water is an issue, I highly recommend including sodium gluconate in the formula.
- Essential oils provide a natural scent and boost the cleansing abilities of the cleaner. I’ll share scent blends in a moment. If you prefer an unscented cleaner or want to save on materials costs, simply omit them.
Essential oil blends for natural shower cleaner
Essential oils are a great way to naturally perfume the shower tile cleaner and fill your bathroom with a refreshing scent.
Many oils also feature anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and disinfectant qualities that contribute to the cleaner’s efficiency.
I have put together a few blend ideas that smell wonderful. This is also a good opportunity to use any essential oils that have expired and that you would no longer want to use for skincare or aromatherapy.
- Sparkling Citrus: 50 drops mandarin + 35 drops sweet orange + 15 drops lemon
- Forest Fresh: 45 drops fir needle + 35 drops cypress + 20 drops lime
- Morning Meadow: 60 drops tangerine + 25 drops peppermint + 15 drops elemi
- Coastal Winds: 65 drops bergamot + 25 drops lemon + 10 drops eucalyptus
- Disinfectant Blend: 40 drops tea tree + 40 drops lavender + 20 drops lemon
How to make homemade natural shower cleaner without vinegar
Making a DIY shower cleaner from scratch is easier than you think. The shower spray works so well, and you know that it is made with safe, environment-friendly ingredients. Let’s get down to it!
#1: Dissolve citric acid
- Pour the distilled water, citric acid, and sodium gluconate (if using) into a large glass measuring cup.
- Place the measuring cup into a large pot and fill the pot 1 in / 2.5 cm with water.
- Stirring frequently, heat the mixture over a low flame and simmer until the citric acid has dissolved.
#2: Mix cleaner
- Once the citric acid is completely dissolved, remove the glass measuring cup from the water bath and place it on a kitchen towel to catch the water running down the sides. Be careful as the measuring cup is hot.
- Add the decyl glucoside and stir gently until everything is well combined and homogenous.
#3: Add scent
- If desired, scent the mixture with essential oils. Mix until the oils are combined. Some oils can make the cleaner solution cloudy, which is fine.
- Let the shower cleaner cool before pouring it into a glass spray bottle.
How to use tub and tile cleaner
Ready to use your homemade shower cleaner? Let me show you what to do. It’s simple!
- Use: Spray any surface you want to clean liberally with the product and let it sit for 15 minutes or longer. Then scrub over the area with a soft brush and rinse with clean water. Repeat the process for stubborn grime.
- Surfaces: Homemade shower cleaner without vinegar is safe to use on ceramic tiles, tubs, and shower trays, as well as shower doors, shower curtains, chrome, stainless steel, plastic, and fiberglass.
- Time: The product needs time to do its magic. Leave it on for at least 15 minutes and up to an hour.
- Initial treatment: If you’re dealing with a particularly challenging situation and use the spray for the first time, leave the spray on overnight. I also recommend scrubbing the area with a sponge or brush to remove it.
How often can I use homemade shower cleaner?
Whether you like to do a quick clean every day or follow a weekly deep cleaning routine, you can use the shower cleaner spray as often as needed.
Are there any cautions?
Yes. When using the homemade shower spray, keep the following things in mind:
- Sensitive surfaces: This DIY shower spray is too harsh for porous and sensitive surfaces such as natural stone, marble, and granite. The acidic content of citric acid is too corrosive and will damage such surfaces over time.
- Minimize skin contact: While the shower cleaner is from natural materials, it’s pretty powerful and can be potentially skin-sensitizing. So be sure to avoid skin contact and wash it off swiftly if it gets onto your skin.
Does this homemade shower cleaner really work?
If you are hesitant to give this a try – I understand you. We are conditioned through marketing to think that cleaner needs all those chemicals to be effective.
But let me assure this shower spray does a stellar job. To understand this further, let’s find out what hard water and soap scum are and how the cleaner addresses these issues.
What is hard water?
Hard water is high in dissolved minerals, mostly magnesium and calcium. When hard water evaporates, it leaves behind a residue.
You may notice a white, dusty film in your tub or find the build-up of lime scale on your faucets.
What is soap scum?
Soap scum (also called lime soap) is a white, chalky residue that appears when soap reacts with the minerals in water.
The minerals bond with the soap and create a stubborn film that sticks to sinks, showers, tubs, and tiles. The harder the water, the more soap scum will build up.
Okay, and how can this homemade shower spray help?
The cleaner contains citric acid, which rips and dissolves calcium and magnesium. All of the soap scum breaks down and become loose enough to wash away.
Citric acid also removes stains and unpleasant odors. Decyl glucoside cuts through grease and grime, leaving you with shiny tiles and clean showers.
When I use shower steamers, I sometimes find some mica residue on the my shower tray. But this essential oil shower spray blasts it away and scents the bathroom beautifully.
How to store homemade shower cleaner
Keep the homemade tile shower cleaner in a dark, cool place that isn’t exposed to direct sunlight or any heat sources.
You can store the spray in your cleaning cupboard or bathroom cabinet, so it’s easy to reach whenever you need it.
How long does DIY shower cleaner last?
This homemade shower cleaning spray will be good for at least 1 year and should be fine for 2 years. You can use it as long as there’s no change in color, texture, or smell.
- Dissolve citric acid. Pour the distilled water, citric acid, and sodium gluconate (if using) into a large glass measuring cup. Place the measuring cup into a large pot and fill the pot 1 in / 2.5 cm with water. Stirring frequently, heat the mixture over a low flame and simmer until the citric acid has dissolved.
- Mix cleaner. Once the citric acid is completely dissolved, remove the glass measuring cup from the water bath and place it on a kitchen towel to catch the water running down the sides. Be careful as the measuring cup is hot. Add the decyl glucoside and stir gently until everything is well combined and homogenous.
- Add scent. If desired, scent the mixture with essential oils. Mix until the oils are combined. Some oils can make the cleaner solution cloudy, which is fine.
- Store. Let the shower cleaner cool before pouring it into a glass spray bottle.
- Use. Spray the tub and tile cleaner generously on tiles, tubs, shower doors, curtains, and fixtures. Let it sit for 15 minutes. Then scrub with a sponge or microfiber cloth to gently clean the surface. Rinse with water and allow to air dry.
Before ending the post, I want to address a few questions you might have. I always aim to share natural cleaning recipes that work just as well as any commercial cleaner you can buy at the store.
And part of creating your own cleaning products is understanding how and why things work the way they do. Of course, if you have more questions, drop them in the comment section below!
Why make homemade shower cleaner without vinegar?
Although vinegar is an effective and natural household cleaner, I cannot stand the pungent odor. My bathroom should smell fresh, not like salad dressing.
If you’re in the same boat, you’ll appreciate that this cleaner has no smell.
Instead, we use citric acid, which is just as powerful as vinegar, to get the job done. The benefit of citric acid is that it is completely odorless.
Should I add a preservative?
No, there’s no need to add any additional preservatives. The cleaner is highly acidic, making it impossible for bacteria to survive.
What are surfactants?
Surfactant means surface active agent. They are an important component of detergents because they deliver the cleansing power.
Surfactants work by lowering the surface tension between things. Soap scum, grease, and grime bond to tiles and surfaces. A surfactant breaks this bond and ensures these particles can be rinsed away.
I can’t find decyl glucoside. Can I use another surfactant?
Yes. Coco glucoside is an excellent alternative to decyl glucoside and is available almost worldwide. Lauramine oxide is another option that you can use for this recipe.
Can I use castile soap in this recipe?
No, castile soap can’t be used in this shower cleaner recipe. Castile soap (like any soap) is alkaline and will break apart if combined with an acidic component such as citric acid.
Furthermore, castile soap isn’t an effective cleaning agent at all. In fact, it can even contribute to build-up, especially in hard water conditions.
The minerals in hard water react with the soap and diminish its cleaning capacity and lead to the build-up of soap scum.
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