What to do: Take it from the top: Pour an ample amount of white vinegar into a plastic grocery bag (enough to fully submerge the showerhead nozzle) and tie it in place for an overnight soaking. Remove it in the morning and run the water to rinse. Give plastic shower curtains and liners a spin in the washing machine with your regular detergent and a few old towels, which act as scrubbers to help get rid of soap scum and mildew. Rehang to dry. For shower doors, make a paste by adding a few drops of distilled white vinegar to a cup of baking soda; apply it directly to the door (it’s nice and thick, so it will stick). Let sit for an hour, then rub with a microfiber cloth. Rinse and buff dry with a fresh, dry microfiber cloth. The tub is less of an issue—a weekly scrubbing is usually enough. But for extra gleam, fill it with hot water, then drain. Apply a bathroom cleaner and let sit for 15 minutes before scrubbing.
Why: Besides the soap-scum issue, there’s the showerhead, which can harbor Mycobacterium avium, a pathogen linked to pulmonary disease. Gerba says that turning on a neglected shower can send millions of germs straight into your lungs.
Best practices: Wipe condensation from all surfaces after showering, and leave the window open for one hour a day to lower the room’s humidity level.