Challenge Day 48: A Clean Shower, Fast and Cheap

Refill automatic shower cleaner

New Year Cleaning Challenge Day 48

It's where the soap meets the grime, every day: your shower. How to keep the shower stall fresh and clean without scrubbing?

Daily shower cleaning products can make quick work of soap scum, soil and hard water deposits ... if you remember to use them.

Automatic shower cleaners are wickedly convenient--and wickedly expensive! Is there a way to keep a clean shower, fast and cheap?

Find out with today's New Year Cleaning Challenge assignment, and get squeaky-clean for pennies!

Today's Assignment
Put A Daily Shower Cleaner To Work

When it comes to household cleaning tasks, scrubbing the shower stall is seldom anyone's favorite chore. Why scrub and scrape, when there's a way to keep showers clean every day?

Introduced about 15 years ago, daily shower cleaning sprays are the answer to a low-maintenance shower stall. Designed to be sprayed on warm, wet shower surfaces, daily shower cleaners bond with soap scum and stains. These products contain sheeting agents that prevent deposits; next time the shower is used, the soil is washed away.

Daily shower cleaners aren't for every shower or every family, but with a wide range of formulations and brands, most of us can find a product we can live with ... if we remember to use it, and use it correctly.

Ideally, these cleaners need to be applied immediately after the last shower of the morning to work their best. After turning off the water, apply an even spritz to all shower surfaces; rinsing is not recommended. Done correctly, daily shower cleaners can eliminate or lessen the need to scrub showers to remove soap scum and hard water deposits.

Even more convenient? Automatic shower spray dispensers do the job for you with a push of a button! Mounted high on shower walls, these dispensers may not work as thoroughly as a manual application on large showers, tiled shower stalls, or showers with integrated seats and soap dishes--but they sure beat standing there, damp and shivering, wielding the spray bottle after every shower!

The downside to automatic shower spray dispensers? Cost. Taking a leaf from the manufacturers of inkjet printers, these devices are reasonably priced, but you'll pay the premium when you purchase refills. An unofficial spot-check of prices at local supermarkets and discount stores showed that refill bottles cost 30% to 50% more than a same-sized sprayer bottle; the price difference is even more pronounced when compared to sprayer refill units.

Automatic sprayer refill bottles aren't designed to be open and refilled, but ingenuity can triumph over all, and reduce the cost of using an automatic shower sprayer.

Visit the local beauty supply store, and purchase a standard hair color applicator bottle. These $2 plastic bottles have a pointed, screw-on cap that will also fit the top of large shower spray refill containers.

Insert the small pointed tip into the tiny hole at the top of the automatic sprayer bottle, squeeze, and fill ... for a cost of about half the price of refills. Sweet!