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Shower solutions

Published November 06. 2010 09:00AM

So there I am in my shower this morning. What should be a pleasant soothing experience turns out to be a very stressful but educational event.

As the hot water sluices over me, I allow my mind to wander on to nothing of importance. I'm enjoying the delightful feel of being totally relaxed, warm and fuzzy. Then I make the mistake of opening my eyes.

Right in my line of vision is what appears to be dirty grungy grout. I look up, down and around.

My beautiful white ceramic tiles are a sickly gray with grayish black grout lines.

OK. Explain this to me.

Water is clear. Soap is a cleaning agent. How can those two things end up making my shower and bathtub look like the inside of a coal mine?

Well, are you ready for your science lesson for the day?

I've learned that water is a chemical substance. It's formula is H2O. One molecule of water has two hydrogen atoms covalently bonded to a single oxygen atom.

Now if you have hard water, (my hand is raised) that means it has high mineral content of calcium, magnesium and could have bicarbonates and sulfates. There's limestone, chalk and other mineral deposits in there. So my beautiful white porcelain tub, sinks and toilets developed lovely blue rings and stains. (We won't discuss what it was doing to my laundry.)

That's why we installed a water softener. Now I don't get the lovely blue stains anymore. It removes the calcium and magnesium with sodium ions. (Hey! I bet you that's why I've gained so much weight! My body is absorbing too much sodium every time I take a shower! It all makes sense now!)

Let's throw soap scum into the mixture.

I admit I'm lazy. If I can find a way not to scrub my shower every week, I'm there. So when I saw the commercial for Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner, I plunked my money down and brought that baby home with me.

It does work. Somewhat. But evidently you still have to scrub in between.

Here's my explanation, in Linda's terminology.

You know what all those minerals, ions, and molecule monsters in water look like? They're these little teeny tiny round things with suction cup fingers and toes. As soon as you turn on the water, wherever they hit ceramic tile and porcelain, they grip on with those little teeny tiny suction cup fingers and toes and hang on for dear life.

If you were to take a magnifying glass and hold it up to the wall, you'd see them all staring back at you with their little teeny tiny tongues sticking out at you saying "Nah nah nah nah nah."

The Internet says, "Getting rid of soap scum in the bathroom can be a real challenge, especially when it has been ignored for a while."

No. Really?

It goes on to say, "Soap scum becomes concrete when it hasn't been cleaned off on a regular basis."

Concrete. I'm dealing with concrete here, People. On my bathroom walls and bathtub!

But wait. It gets better.

"Always with cleaning, prevention is the best defense, but no matter how well we have learned that lesson, life seems to get in the way of the best intentions to keep the bathroom spotless. Here, we have given you a few tips for when you let things slide a little too long and several tips for preventing the problem from even starting."

I find it hard to believe that this statement was made for Linda alone. So that must mean there are more of me out there. I take great comfort in that.

And if you are like me, I'm sure you've tried every product known to man to make cleaning the bathtub/shower easy breezy. And none of them work.

The Internet article says "If the first one doesn't work, don't give up just move on to the next one." (Couldn't you just smack the wiseacre who said that?)

It suggests, lemon oil which cleans and prevents further build up; Borax; baking soda followed by white vinegar; Spray and Wash; powder laundry detergent. Supposedly 1/2 cup ammonia to one gallon of water, sprayed on, wiped and rinsed well works on the worst soap scum build up. But you have to keep children away and wear a gas mask. (I added that last part.) Straight vinegar sprayed on is supposed to be good, too. (Again, a gas mask.)

Or ... Ladies, what I'm about to reveal to you I should make you pay me.

OK. I got it off the Internet so it doesn't cost you a dime. And maybe you already know this and if so, I'm mad at you for not sharing this info with me sooner.

Are you ready?

Car wax.

That's it.

All we have to do is wax our bathtubs, shower walls and doors with car wax and it says it prevents soap scum. It makes the water bead up and those little teeny tiny water molecule monsters slide right off. It says it's good for about six months! And RainX is good to use on shower curtains.

All this talk about scrubbing and waxing is making me exhausted. I think I need a nice long relaxing soak in the tub.

Darn. Then I'll have a nasty tub ring. Let's see, the Internet says if you take baths instead of showers, another trick to keeping the soap scum monsters from attaching is to add a bit of Epsom Salt to the bath water every time you bathe. Something about the salt keeps the scum from attaching and it will soothe away those aches and pains from all the cleaning.

But then you're sitting in salt which your body could absorb and it could cause you to gain weight.

Hey. I'm just saying ...

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