How to Maintain Ceramic Tile Showers

Simple Tips for Maintaining your Ceramic Tile Shower

By Mark J. Donovan

A custom ceramic tile shower is a luxury bathroom feature that many homebuyers highly value. With an unlimited array of ceramic tile options and plumbing features, as well as the ability to customize the shape and size of a ceramic tile shower it is no wonder why more and more homeowners are forgoing the old fiberglass shower stall. However there is more to a ceramic tile shower than building or owning one. Knowing how to maintain a ceramic tile shower, and actually doing the maintenance, is critical for ensuring its long term charm and looks.

Tile grout is made from water, aggregates, and Portland cement and as a result it is porous.

In addition, some types of ceramic tile, particularly unglazed ceramic tiles are also porous. Water left on ceramic tile shower walls and floors can penetrate into the grout and these certain tiles, which inevitably leads to mold and mildew growth. Once the mold and mildew take hold, particularly on the tile grout, it becomes nearly impossible to remove it. Yes there are tile and grout cleaners, both alkaline and acidic based that can remove much of the mold and mildew stains, however in many cases the results are less than perfect.

And in the case of acidic based tile and grout cleaners, they can literally eat away some of the grout.

Properly Maintaining a Ceramic Tile Shower

To properly maintain a ceramic tile shower there are two key things that you need to do. First, it is vital that you wipe down the ceramic tile shower walls and floor after each use to remove any water from them. You can do this with a towel and/or squeegee. If the water is left on the shower walls and floor, it will soak into the grout and/or tile and breed mold and mildew in short order.

The next item on the list for maintaining a ceramic tile shower is to seal the tile and grout periodically. This should be done when the ceramic tile shower is first installed and then off and on every 1 to 2 years. Again, not all ceramic tile is porous. If your shower is constructed using glazed tile you may only need to seal the grout lines.

Ceramic tile shower and shower floor

If your ceramic tile is using unglazed ceramic tiles you may need to seal both the tile and grout. To confirm if the tile needs to be sealed, dab a little water on the tile and see if it turns a darker color. If it does, then you need to seal the tile as well as the grout.

There are many different tile and grout sealers on the market to choose from. Some are latex and acrylic based, and others are mineral based. The mineral based ones have a strong smell, so I would recommend using the latex or acrylic based tile and grout cleaners.

To seal ceramic tile and grout make sure that the ceramic tile shower is thoroughly dry first. Note, it can take a week or more for a ceramic tile shower to thoroughly dry. Also make sure you carefully read the instructions first on the tile and grout cleaner packaging label before applying it. Typically to seal ceramic tile and grout you use a rag or sponge to apply it to the tile and grout. After applying it, wait just a couple of minutes before removing any of the excess material with a damp rag and/or paper towels. You never want to let the tile and grout sealer dry on the tile before wiping it off. It can be nearly impossible to remove once it has dried on the tile.

So with these couple of tips you should be able to properly maintain your ceramic tile shower and have it looking good for many years to come.

How to Tile a Custom Ceramic Tile Shower Ebook

For information on installing a shower pan membrane liner for a ceramic tile shower, see the Shower Pan Membrane Liner Installation Ebook from  The Shower Pan Membrane Liner EBook will quickly teach you the step-by-step process for installing the shower pan membrane liner correctly. It includes instructions on framing the shower stall, pouring the pre-slope and shower base mortar, and installing the shower pan membrane liner.

See’s Ceramic Tile Calculator

See my “How to Tile a Custom Ceramic Tile Shower” Ebook to learn how to tile your own shower:  For a detailed set of instructions on tiling a shower floor and walls, including pictures for every step in the process, see my “How to Tile Custom Ceramic Tile Shower Ebook”.

Related Information

Additional Ceramic Tile Resources from


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