Reader’s Question: Homemade Shower Spray Recipe?

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Photo by Mary Muses

Dear Frugal Upstate,

I’m looking for how to make a frugal/homemade solutions comparable to Tilex or Arm & Harmmer’s “Clean Shower”. They are everyday shower sprays and I love just spritzing versus wiping down the ceramic tiles! Has anyone come up with a frugal solution?


A Loyal Reader

Great question! Cleaning really isn’t one of my favorite things (as my dear, patient husband will tell you) so I am always looking for ways to make it faster and easier.

I love using homemade cleaning products not only for their budget friendly frugal flair-but also because homemade cleaners are frequently better for the environment!  I’m a not so closet greenie wanna-be :)

Disclaimer:  I am not a scientist, nor an expert in home care.  All of these ideas and suggestions are just that.  You need to research & make your decisions on the safety and utility for your own family.

1.  Before you start spraying anything on your shower, you should see if there are any small changes you can make to keep it cleaner naturally.  Try using a squeegee immediately after showering, or to wipe the shower down with a towel in order to remove the moisture & soap scum before it has a chance to harden onto the walls.

2.  I found a suggestion online that “body washes” are better then bar soap when you want to keep your shower clean.  Do It says

It’s the talc in most bar soaps that causes the buildup. Changing soap can eliminate the buildup.

On the other hand, body wash is usually more expensive than bar soap. . .so that’s one where you’d have to weigh the pros and cons yourself.

3.  Several sources have suggested that applying car wax (yes, car wax) twice a year to your shower walls and doors-but NOT the floor-will make clean up easier.  Of course, you would need to start with a clean shower-no sense waxing the dirt on!

4.  Make your own daily spray.  Of course make sure all cleaners are clearly labeled and kept out of reach of children.

Water bottle 078/365

Photo by Anne Hornyak

Version 1:  “Jet Dry” Style Shower Cleaner

1/2C Hydrogen Peroxide
1/2C Rubbing Alcohol
1/4 tsp (6-8 drops) Dish Detergent*
2 tsp Jet Dry or other “spot free” dishwasher rinse”
1 1/2C Water

Mix together and spray daily.  Don’t mix up more than this at a time-the Hydrogen Peroxide will dissipate over time.  *anything labeled “grease cutting” works best.  I like Dawn or Seventh Generation.

Version 2: Simple Shower Mold Inhibitor

1/3C white vinegar*, rubbing alcohol or cheap Vodka
3 1/2 C Water

Mix & spray daily.  *Some sources suggested that since vinegar is acidic it can eat into your tub’s caulk, while others say they’ve used it for years with no issues.  Be warned and use with caution.

Version 3: Fabric Softener Daily Shower Cleaner

1C Vinegar (see note in Version 2)
2TBS Dish Detergent (see note in version 1)
2TBS Liquid Fabric Softener
3 1/2 C Water

Mix and spray daily.

So how do you clean your shower? Do you have any homemade recipes you use?  I’d love to hear about it!

And don’t forget-you too can ask Frugal Upstate a Reader’s Question

Some other great resources:

Home Ec 101: Cleaning the Bathtub Shower Cleaner Recipes

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  1. says

    LOVE this! Do you know if you can use vinegar instead of jet dry in the jet dry style shower cleaner recipe? or will that just throw it all off. I use vinegar instead of jet dry in my dishwasher so I don’t have jet dry on hand but would love to try out these cleaning recipes soon.

  2. says

    Cool. I second the use of the squeegee. We have large glass doors on our shower, and they’re super-hard to keep clean. The squeegee / shower spray combo really helps.
    Rock on!

    • Jackie says

      You can use a dryer sheet to clean your glass doors. It is easy just dampen it and rub away all of those water spots. Then rinse away. After that, I just take a dry towel and dry them. This has worked well for me without scrubbing. Good Luck!

  3. Lora says

    I’ve been using a squeegee followed by wiping off any remaining moisture with a towel. That has worked well with preventing mold and minimizing
    build-up of soap scum. I’m going to try one or two of the spray recipes that include the bacteria-fighting power of hydrogen peroxide and/or rubbing alcohol. A friend of mine installed a fan on a timer that he uses after every shower to expedite drying and prevent mold.

  4. Amyrlin says

    I use borax on the metal fixtures, it cleans and shines inexpensively and I believe is low in toxicity, I use borax from laundry to outside in the grass for flea prevention, stains in the carpet, cleaning walls, it is my all purpose cleaner..

    • jeannie says

      I’ve discovered that many cleaners trigger migraines. Borax is one of these. also the new Oxi Cleaners. Because they perform so well I’m not ready to give them up.However, I always hold my breath when using them and rinse with plenty of water. I removed the color in my apartment carpet using borax and salt. Because it was natural I didn’t take proper precautions like first testing in the corner of a closet.

      • brandkb says

        I know you posted this comment a long time ago, but I was interested to know if hydrogen peroxide triggers your migraines. Both Borax and Oxi cleaners are oxidants (the opposite of antioxidants) as well as hydrogen peroxide. I have a friend in a lab who does a lot of biology stuff, and she uses hydrogen peroxide to mutate cells when she does experiments. It always makes me wonder if it’s safe for first aid use…

  5. PJ says

    These make sense! The whole purpose in my opinion, is to have a bottle of the solution handy and use it right after stepping out of the tub/shower. Having arthritis and spine-movement difficulties, using a towel or squeegee aren’t workable. I’m going to try #3 because it can be used over a period of time, versus the day it is made. It sounds like the answer but please post any other solutions readers might respond with. THANK YOU!

  6. Jenn @ Frugal Upstate says

    Heather-I think the point of the jet dry is to make the water sheet off the walls rather than stick in droplets & dry, leaving soap scum behind. By all means you could sub in vinegar instead. (and as a side note, vinegar never worked in my dishwasher-our water is too hard)

    NCN-My problem is training the hubs to use the squeegee. 30 days to a new habit, right?

    Lora-we have an extreme humidity problem and we run a dehumidifier on a timer for exactly that reason in the Master Bedroom.

    Amyrlin-I have borax for my laundry soap-but I’ve never actually used it for anything else.

    PJ-I’m so glad some of these might help!

  7. Tarah says

    I’d recommend this fantastic book called “Clean House, Clean Planet,” by Karen Logan– you can get it from a frugal reader’s best friend: the library :) She has multiple recipes, one great one for a tub scrubber is:

    1 2/3 c baking soda
    1/2 c liquid soap (like Dr. Bronner’s found at Trader Joe’s, e.g.)
    dilute with
    1/2 c water
    add (last!)
    2T vinegar

    stir until lumps are gone. Add to your flip-top bottle (like a shampoo bottle). If it’s too thick, dilute more with water.

    • Jenn @ Frugal Upstate says

      Tarah-Thanks for sharing the shower scrub recipe-I may have to make that it’s own post so those folks who never read the comments don’t miss it!

  8. Kim G. says

    My Grandma used to wax her shower tiles too and they aways looked wonderful! (she used to wax the footstones when cleaning family resting places too). I am not so sure about the talc causing the build up since i make my own soap and i still have build up – not too much but def need to use the squeegie more often and i cant wait to try one of these. I dont have tile in my shower, so i cant wax them but my grandma was a queen at cleaning at no cost – so I (personaly) would trust it. thanks. 😀

  9. Steve says

    Careful with the use of Rubbing Alcohol in the daily shower cleaner. Rubbing alcohol will soften the silicone bathtub caulks (it is one of the main ingredients in removers of silicone caulk) I used a product for about a year called Shower Power that had rubbing alcohol in it, and had to recaulk my shower.


    • Jenn @ Frugal Upstate says

      Steve-thanks for you input. I hadn’t heard about Rubbing Alcohol degrading the silicone. I wonder if Vodka would have the same effect? I know it would kill the germs just as well :)

  10. Mary says

    If you had pumping a spray bottle constantly, I found the PERFECT solution … in the garden supply area … it’s a gallon (or so) bottle with a pump on top …. pump it up and down a few time, hold the handle and you’re spraying like the pros! Basically, it’s like a lawn sprayer, but I think it’s made for flowers, but who says you can’t use it on SHOWERS! =D

  11. Neopond says

    To domestic hubby,

    I use 3%, you can get it at your local grocery, drug store or wal-mart etc. It’s pretty basic peroxide and it works well for me

  12. Cathy says

    I have FMS so scrubbing a whole tub hurts! I now keep a Mr Clean Magic Eraser in the shower and each time I take a shower, I rub down just one wall ( I use my feet on the day I do the floor.) No chemicals at all! And every week I know my whole shower has been cleaned and I am not exhausted trying to scrub it all in one day!

  13. Rob Strats says

    Has anyone tried putting one of your homemade solutions in a Scrubbing Bubbles daily automatic shower sprayer? I’ve read that people online simply unscrew the bottle when it’s empty, and put an off-brand, dollar store daily shower spray in the bottle. However, I’ve heard that vinegar solutions corrode this device. I’m wondering if anyone has given it a shot in there. I’m thinking of filling mine with this Brighly Green brand- you can buy a 1 gallon bottle of concentrate for $50. It’ll be several years worth of sprays.

  14. Phyllis says

    I’ve used those dailey scrubbers, they’re great, however… they use batteries and they only last about 9 months. We went through 2, shucked them both went back to my lemon oil on the glass once a month.

  15. Nancy says

    I used to buy a shower cleaner at $1.00 but then it went to $1.50 and quickly was $2.50 so I found this looking for an alternative. Increasing prices are quickly changing my shopping habits. Have a great day all!

  16. Diane says

    I make my own soft scrub for shower and bath and even for pots and pans!
    I just use a small amount of baking soda add a drop or 2 of detergent(I think Dawn works best). I dip the sponge or cloth in it and clean. It is mildly abrasive without scratching.
    I buy baking soda in the 5 lb bags at Sam’s club. use it for cleaning dishes, tubs and sinks and in my laundry. I keep a used grated cheese container filled with the baking soda so I can sprinkle it anywhere.

    I invested in a shower head that has a detachable hand held sprayer. I try and get off all the soap and shampoo before stepping out of the shower/bath.
    It is also great to clean things in the tub like screens and larger items that do not fit in sink.
    Thanks for the shower cleaner recipe. I have tried to use vinegar in the shower, there is a slight odor but it goes away quickly.

  17. Scottie Wood says

    I love this website. I had some daily shower spray and couldn’t find it again. I’m going to try #3 above and see how it works. It’s very difficult for me to clean my tub because of the way the sink blocks part of it. Thanks for all the tips!

  18. brandkb says

    Thanks for this post! I just found it and already put it to work. I used Trader Joe’s lavender dish soap and then added a few drops of lavender essential oil to make it smell nice.

    I would suggest to those of you who have well water or really hard city water (like we do here in LA) to use distilled water when you’re making homemade cleaners. Part of the gross stuff on your shower is often due to hard water build up. Distilled water won’t have any of the minerals often added for taste in “drinking water.” I use a neti pot so I happen to have distilled water on hand, but it’s very cheap at any grocery store or drugstore.

  19. Patty says

    We have very hard water, and I’m too lazy to squeegee/wipe down the shower, so I’ve used various commercial sprays, with success, but have been looking for a less chemical, less expensive DIY version. I’ve been using formula #1 with great success. I’ve noticed that even after my husband showers, (he doesn’t spray the shower down when he’s finished), the chrome fixtures look great once dry.

  20. Pauline says

    Thank you so much for this article. I have been using the Jet Dry shower spray for two months and am very impressed with the results. I did find that I would sometimes need to shake the bottle before spraying because some of the product had settled at the bottom. Now I can’t wait to try baking soda as a scrub to clean out pesky stubborn soap scum!

  21. Jen says

    I used the 1st recipe except added a few drops of 100% all natural eucalyptus oil…and works better than any expensive cleaner and smells amazing!

  22. Steven says

    I would suggest not using the fabric softener while it smells better it’s leaving my glass shower doors cloudy after just a few days.

    • says

      Hmmm. you are the first one to leave that comment (I don’t have glass doors to know either way). I wonder if that’s a problem with all the fabric softeners, or if maybe it’s just that brand you used?

    • says

      Kayla–you really will have to look at the ingredients and see what you feel comfortable with. I would say off hand that the version two made with vinegar/water or vinegar/vodka would be something to consider. All the ingredients are food. I do not know that I would consider repeated exposure of the jet dry in version 1 to a toddler’s skin a good thing (although then again you are rinsing). For Version 3 if you already use fabric softener in your laundry, and dish soap on your dishes and don’t have an issue with an allergy or reaction and are going to rinse the tub well then you may want to consider that.


  1. […] I’ve posted several “green cleaning” recipes and on The Chemical Revolution in blog posts past.  Tonight I have one more to add. I did some searching on the web for some improved “shower scrub” recipes to clean my shower and tub and came across this one in the comments of a blog. […]

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