Easy, affordable, and effective homemade cleaner for your shower and hard water stains. This recipe uses dish liquid soap and vinegar and gets the job done.
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Recipe updated: April 3rd, 2024

When I was researching the internet to find out how to clean the hard water stains off of my glass shower door, I came across many homemade solutions of white vinegar + blue Dawn. Everything I found online said it has to be Dawn dish detergent, and the blue kind at that. I am going to introduce a new way to make a homemade shower cleaner with vinegar, not using blue Dawn detergent.

Those hard water mineral deposits can be stubborn to remove. I wanted to get my shower clean, but I didnโ€™t have any Dawn detergent at my house. So, I thought Iโ€™d give a different dish detergent a try to see if it could still get the job done. In my cupboard under the kitchen sink, I had some green Palmolive dish liquid handy, and so I gave that a go!

In this post, I will explain the process I took using this alternative dish cleaning liquid + white vinegar solution, the recipe for this natural cleaner, and lots of photos to show the before and after.

Warning: My shower was pretty dirty, so the before photos are not pretty.

Palmolive dish liquid
Palmolive green dish cleaning liquid

๐Ÿ› How to Clean a Shower with Homemade Vinegar and Dish Soap Solution

These step-by-step instructions are accompanied by detailed photos for enhanced clarity and guidance.

Step 1. Get an Empty Spray Bottle

The first step is to find a spray bottle that will hold at least 2 cups of liquid.

Step 2. Combine Dish Liquid and Vinegar in a Glass Bowl

The ratio for dish liquid and vinegar is 1:1, and I used 1 cup of each. Put one cup of straight vinegar plus one cup of dish soap into a glass bowl.

Mix dish liquid and vinegar
Dish cleaning liquid + vinegar solution heated up in a glass dish

Step 3. Microwave for 2 Minutes

This cleaner will clean your shower better if it is warmed up. So, for the best results, microwave the cup of vinegar and cup of dish soap in the glass dish for about 2 minutes and then stir it up.

Step 4. Transfer into the Spray Bottle

Next, pour the warm vinegar solution into a spray bottle. If the bottle is not filled to the top, you can even add a little bit of warm water to fill the bottle completely.

Now the homemade cleaner is ready to use to clean your shower.

Homemade Cleaner with Vinegar in a spray bottle
Homemade cleaning solution filled up into a spray bottle

๐Ÿšฟ Using the Cleaner on Your Shower

While the homemade cleaner with vinegar solution is still warm, you are going to want to head over to your shower and spray it down really well. I like to get the shower walls a little bit wet first with regular water, then spray with the warm homemade cleaning solution. Let the cleaning solution sit in your shower for a least 10 minutes.

spray down the dirty shower
Spraying down the shower walls and floor

If you have a glass shower door, spray it down really good with the solution too, and let that sit for 10 minutes as well. This cleaning solution is excellent at cleaning those hard water stains off of glass doors. I have not used this on a shower curtain, so I cannot comment on using it on that.

let the cleaning solution soak on dirty shower
Glass shower door with the cleaning solution soaking on it

My shower floor pan is white and as you can see from the photo below, the dirt has stained it pretty well. Regular scrubbing with an over-the-counter cleaning solution does not remove the dirt stains. So, what I did was spray down the shower pan with the same homemade dish liquid + vinegar solution and then sprinkled baking soda on top of that. This part will require a bit of scrubbing muscles, but it does remove the dirt that has caked its way into the pan crevices. Baking soda when combined with this homemade cleaner can really work some magic!

dirty shower pan with homemade cleaner soaking
Very dirty shower pan with dish liquid + vinegar solution sprayed on it

I used the brush seen in the photo below to scrub the shower pan with. It is just a generic brush with soft bristles. You can try using an old toothbrush for this part, but I’m not sure if those bristles will be strong enough. I guess it depends on how dirty your shower pan is. If you need some extra deep cleaning, try using a brush with wire bristles.

scrub brush on dirty shower pan
Baking soda was added on top of the dish liquid + vinegar solution and the brush I used to scrub

After the cleaning solution has soaked in for at least 10 minutes, itโ€™s time to gently scrub the glass shower doors and shower walls. The dirt and grime will start to melt away. I like to use the brush in the photo above and scrub in circles on the glass shower door. As I do this, I can feel the glass get super smooth, and thatโ€™s when I know the hard water stains are now gone. I also scrub down the shower walls a bit just to remove the pink stains and other visible stains. A microfiber cloth can also be a good tool to use when scrubbing shower doors.

Finally, after I’ve done all the scrubbing, I then rinse the entire shower with hot clean water from the tap. For me, it is very satisfying to see all the dirt, built-up grime, and remaining residue rinse away with the hot water down the shower drain.

Scroll down to see the shocking before and after pictures!

๐Ÿงผ Optional Homemade Cleaner Variations

  • Add a bit of lemon juice to the solution to get a fresh lemon scent. Lemon juice also helps to clean as it is high in citric acid, has a low pH, and has natural antibacterial properties.
  • Add about 10 drops of tea tree oil to the cleaning solution. Tea tree oil is known for its antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, and antimicrobial properties. Adding a bit of tea tree oil to this cleaning solution can also help eliminate odors.
  • Substitute the white vinegar for apple cider vinegar. One downfall to this is that white vinegar is slightly more acidic than apple cider vinegar, so using this as a substitute might not be as strong as a cleaning solution.

Warning: Do not mix hydrogen peroxide into this solution. This is not a good idea. Mixing hydrogen peroxide with vinegar will form peracetic acid with can irritate your skin, eyes, and respiratory system.

Homemade Cleaner with Vinegar Pin

๐Ÿ“ Final Thoughts Using the Homemade Cleaner

For me, the shower pan took the longest to clean. I let it go too long before cleanings and the dirt really got stuck in there. I had to scrub a lot, and I kept adding more baking soda to really get that dirt gone. Overall, I found that soap scum buildup, water spots, and dirty grout are some of the main things this cleaner is excellent at getting rid of. I was also amazed at how well it can clean shower glass doors. If you are a person that likes cleaning with natural products, then I definitely recommend making this homemade cleaning solution.

Out of all the over-the-counter cleaning products, I have yet to find anything to clean my shower walls and shower door better than this homemade cleaner. And I’ve tried it all from the Magic Eraser, Scrubbing Bubbles, Clorox Cleaner + Bleach, to Kaboom. This vinegar cleaner is definitely the best way to get the shower clean! Next, I’m going to use this cleaner to tackle some toilet stains, dirty bathroom tiles, and dirty bathroom grout. I’m also going to use it as a glass cleaner for windows around the house!

Clean shower door after using vinegar cleaner.

Below, I will share some before and after photos.

FYI, my shower was pretty gross and dirty. Maybe yours is not this bad. I let it go awhile longer before I should have cleaned it. My goal is to use this dish liquid + vinegar cleaning solution much more regularly. This way, the dirt and water stains will not build up to be this bad.

I am very happy with the results! Using a dish liquid detergent for this cleaning solution that is not the blue Dawn brand worked great! I am here to say that cleaning my shower still worked while using a different brand of dish liquid detergent than what the rest of the internet said to do.

๐Ÿ˜ณ Before Using the Cleaner Photos

gross shower
very dirty shower
Look how foggy and grimy that door looks
this shower needs cleaning
Yucky soap scrum and pink hard water stains
soaking homemade cleaner with vinegar solution on dirty shower
Ewe so gross!
before photo of dirty shower
Very dirty white shower pan

๐ŸŽ‰ After Using the Cleaner Photos

clean shower pan
So much better!
after using the homemade vinegar cleaning solution
All the dirt is gone!
crystal clear shower door after using homemade cleaner with vinegar
Yay, I can see through the glass again!
after photo clean shower
Much, much better!
clean shower
Feels so clean!
clean shower pan
Not gross anymore!
homemade cleaning solution vinegar dish liquid
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5 from 6 votes

How to Clean a Shower with Vinegar and Dish Soap

Easy, affordable, and effective homemade cleaner for your shower and hard water stains. This recipe uses dish liquid soap and vinegar and gets the job done.
Prep Time5 minutes
Active Time15 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
By: Avatar for Tamara RayTamara Ray
Cost: $2


  • 1 cup Dish liquid detergent It can be any kind you already have in your house
  • 1 cup White Vinegar
  • baking soda optional for shower pan


  • Dump the dish liquid and vinegar inside a microwavable bowl.
  • Microwave on high for 2 minutes.
  • Stir the warm solution with a spoon.
    Dish detergent and vinegar heated up in a glass dish.
  • Transfer to a spray bottle.
    Homemade shower cleaner with dish soap and vinegar in a spray bottle.
  • Wet down your shower walls and shower door with tap water.
  • While the solution is still warm, spray down your entire shower liberally.
  • Let sit for at least 10 minutes.
  • If your shower pan is really dirty, this is where you can add some baking soda to that and scrub really good.
    Baking soda and homemade cleaner on bottom of a shower floor.
  • Scrub down the shower door with a circular motion and the shower walls.
  • Spray down your entire shower with hot water.
Keywords cleaner, dish liquid, homemade, shower, vinegar
Tried this?Let us know how it was!
5 from 6 votes (6 ratings without comment)

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