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Daily Shower Sprays Are Garbage. Here's What to Buy Instead.

Photo: Carson Masterson (Unsplash)
5 Neat Things5 Neat ThingsJolie Kerr is a cleaning expert, advice columnist and the host of the podcast “Ask a Clean Person.” Each week, she’ll round up five essential cleaning products, tools and organizational systems to help you live your tidiest lives.

A reader recently asked me about shower sprays — those products that are designed to be sprayed, daily, in your shower to keep soap scum and bacteria like mold and mildew at bay between cleanings — and I was like, “THANKS I HATE IT.”

There are reasons that I hate daily shower sprays and I could go into all of them or I could just tell you the main one, which is this: I just don’t think that adding more moisture to an already moist bathroom situation is a wise choice. Because moisture breeds bacteria, and so a better way to go is to reduce the amount of moisture hanging about, rather than adding more to the party. Here are some better alternatives to shower sprays for keeping things clean.

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A Squeegee

Moisture is the enemy of bathrooms, and a squeegee will push large amounts of it towards a drain where it belongs.
Photo: Amazon

The reason I hate shower sprays, as a reminder of the sentence you literally just read, is because they’re just adding moisture to an already moist situation, and that’s not really going to solve much. So, instead of buying shower spray, buy a squeegee. It’s cheaper, less wasteful, takes up less space in your shower and wicking water off of shower walls (and doors, if you have them) will do a much better job of preventing soap scum build up, water and mineral deposits, and the development of bacteria.

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X-14

If you have mold in your bathroom, and that orange and pink mold in particular, X-14 is the stuff you need.
Graphic: Shep McAllister
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That bacteria is probably going to happen anyway! Because that’s just kind of the nature of bacteria, especially bacteria like mold, mildew and Serratia marcescens (a.k.a. the orangish/pinkish stuff) that just really, really likes to set up home in damp, dark places … like bathrooms. So, when the bacteria happens, reach for X-14 because X-14 is, as we’ve well established, The Thing for nuking bacteria in bathrooms.

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Microfiber Cloths

Microfiber cloths are the superhero cloth of bathroom cleaning. They buff away streaks, are easy to clean, and are cheap enough that you can buy a whole stack of them.
Graphic: Shep McAllister
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To be fair, this isn’t exactly a miracle solution to the problem of dampness in bathrooms but it is a solution: Microfiber cloths are excellent for quickly wiping off wet surfaces, buffing away streaks and product build up and so on. They’re also inexpensive, dry quickly, and are easily launderable, which means you can use and wash them frequently without really adding too much to your laundry day routine.

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DampRid

DampRid is like a dehumidifier that you don’t have to plug in. The pellets inside will absorb water out of the air until they’re full, no user input required.
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DampRid is so weird and cool. It’s a desiccant, which means it absorbs water from the air and helps to regulate humidity and moisture levels. If you have a bathroom — or closet, or basement, or attic — that’s prone to dampness, get thee some DampRid. The absorbent pellets will pull moisture out of the air, that will collect in the DampRid container. Once all the pellets are dissolved, simply dump out the water, refill the container with fresh pellets and start the cycle anew. The other thing that DampRid has going for it over, say, a dehumidifier is that it doesn’t take up a lot of space or require electricity.

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A Small Fan

If your bathroom doesn’t have an air vent, a small fan to circulate air can also help keep the moisture down.
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Many bathrooms have built-in vents that help to circulate air and keep moisture levels low. However, many bathrooms don’t have vent systems and sometimes, even when they do, the vents don’t do very much. If you have space for it, a small fan will make more of a difference than you might think, not only when it comes to moisture management but also for, um, odor control.

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About the author

Jolie Kerr

Jolie Kerr is a cleaning expert, advice columnist and the host of the podcast Ask a Clean Person