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How I Turned an Hour-Long Cleanup into Ten Minutes (You Can Too!)

2011 May 9
tags: Effectiveness, Greenworks Pressure Washer, Productivity, Time Management
by Andrew   

bathroom shower pressure washerHow long does it take you to clean the bathroom shower?  I mean really clean it, including the grout?  45 minutes?  An hour?  Every week?  That’s 50 hours a year, assuming you miss a couple of weeks!  That’s more than an entire workweek just cleaning the shower.  That’s a week each year you could be spending doing something you love…unless cleaning showers is your thing, and then you should still read this because you could clean many more showers this way!  A couple of weekends ago, I cut the shower-cleaning time to ten minutes because my wife needed a hand and I’m geeky that way.

So, when I realized I hadn’t  had lunch, I had time available to clean the shower to help my wife, and I needed to run to Lowe’s, I decided I wanted to have lunch and run to Lowe’s first.  I capitalized on my drive time to Lowe’s by brainstorming a simple solution to the dreaded shower-cleaning drudgery.  In a few simple steps, here’s how you, too, can regain at least 50 hours a year by spending only ten minutes a week on shower cleaning:

  1. Buy a Greenworks pressure washer.  I know; y’all think I’m insane already.  But, follow along with me.  Greenworks makes a very light, easily portable 1500-PSI pressure washer that sells for $99.98 at Lowe’s.  You can find it cheaper online, but you’ll pay for shipping at most places.  This pressure washer is a gem because it’s no larger than a small stair-sized portable vacuum cleaner, so it’s quite easy to move around and store.  It also has some nice features usually found on larger, more expensive models:
    • A handle-storage bracket so it doesn’t flop around on the floor
    • Electrical cord storage brackets
    • A cleaning solution bottle that’s integrated into the handle instead of the pump housing
    • A built-in Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter in the plug
    • A garden hose-ready water intake (just screw your regular hose into it)
    • A pump on/off switch integrated into the handle, in addition to the master power switch on the pump housing
    • A variable spray-pattern tip that is fully adjustable from high-pressure point spray to a very diffuse fan spray that is useful for final rinsing
  2. Empty the shower.  Take everything mobile out of the shower (soap, shower gel and shampoo bottles, shower poofs, the kids’ toys) because it will become very mobile even on the softest nozzle setting
  3. Bring on the hose.  This part will  make a big mess if you aren’t careful, so here are some tips to keep things neat and dry:
    • Buy a set of quick-connect hose ends if you don’t already use them.  They’re great because you can turn the water on and then connect an attachment to it if you buy one of the sets with an on/off toggle on the business end of the hose.  Put one of the male ends in the hose attachment on the pump, because the female on/off quick-connect goes on the business end of the garden hose.
    • Rinse and dry the hose before you run it through your bathroom window or patio door.
    • If you’re running the hose upstairs, keep it still once you’re ready to use the pressure washer.  For heights of less than ten or twelve vertical feet, most municipal water supplies will easily supply enough pressure to properly operate the pressure washer.  But, jiggling the hose at even a few vertical feet will interrupt the supply of water and possibly damage the pump.  So, have someone hold it still or tie it to something so it doesn’t move around.
  4. Turn on the vent fan.  The Greenworks pressure washer is electrical, so there’s no exhaust.  However, it creates a persistent fine mist that will quickly dampen the walls and mirrors.  Turning on the vent fan solves this problem just as it does for a very hot shower.  Please don’t ,use a gasoline-powered pressure washer in your bathroom.
  5. Let ‘er rip.  Turn on the water supply for thirty seconds, then leave it on.  Once you confirm there are no leaks, plug in the GFCI plug.  Turn on the pressure washer, point the nozzle into the shower, and give the handle a quick squeeze.  There will be a brief pause (a couple of seconds), and then the pump’s pressure sensor will notice the handle’s valve is open and it will begin spraying.  Adjust the nozzle to the desired spray pattern and clean away.  Make sure you start with the widest possible fan of water from about the midpoint of the shower.  You don’t want to inadvertently strip the grout out of the wall if it’s older or becoming loose.  As you become more certain of the handle’s output, you can adjust the spray pattern and move the nozzle closer or further from the walls and floor.

The benefits

Voila! The shower is clean.

Total setup time:  10 minutes the first time, five minutes each time thereafter.

Total cost:  $100.  Now, the cost might seem a bit much to clean the shower, but consider the opportunity cost of not doing it this way.  You’re spending ten minutes cleaning the shower instead of an hour, and that hour can now be spent with family, friends, or doing something else that needs doing.

And, it pays for itself anyway.  For example, if you make $25/hour, you’re losing $25 worth of time every time you clean the shower the old way.  For me, my personal time is worth a lot more than my derived hourly rate based on my salary, so that regained hour is priceless.  And, now I have a pressure washer that’s going to be very handy for cleaning the front walk, the driveway, and our cars.  So, I saved even more money on car washes and time on sidewalk maintenance.


Take care, and enjoy life,


6 Responses Post a comment
  1. missyfeena permalink
    January 19, 2015

    Andrew- I live in a co-op and I want to spray the whole bathroom down! There's a floor drain (yay). So I'm confused how I hook the sprayer onto the shower or sink faucet? And I have to buy a hose right? Is there a tiny cheaper model you could recommend? There's no sprayers that don't have to hook up to a water source right, like with their own water container or something. Or is there…

    • Andrew permalink
      January 21, 2015

      Hi! You can find some smaller sprayers with their own water tank, but you'll be refilling them every minute or two and their pressure won't be great enough to do any real cleaning. If you just want to do high-volume rinsing, search online for “garden hose adapter shower head” and play with the search terms until you find what you want. You can then just use a garden hose and spray nozzle. That same adapter will work for a garden hose that needs to attach to the pressure washer, too. I've never found a more compact sprayer that was as effective as the one in my post. But I haven't searched for new ones recently.Best of luck,Andrew

  2. April 23, 2013

    Don't even remind me. I don't even count how long it takes to clean and scrub the shower. I'm just glad you came up with a way to speed things up.

  3. Nathan permalink
    April 21, 2013

    You still using this setup? Stupid shower takes forever to clean…and the corners never really get clean…black gunk starts building up.

    What kind of soap you use with it? No scrubbing at all?

    • Andrew permalink
      April 22, 2013

      Thanks for writing, Nathan!Yes, I still use it. It’s only needed a couple of times a year, though, to beat down hard water buildup.The black gunk you’re describing is likely caused by the shower remaining too wet between uses. You can cut down on that by keeping the vent fans running longer with the shower door or curtain open. You could also wipe the corners with a towel to reduce the growth.Once you have it, though, it has to be killed or it will continue. You can do it with a bleach/water solution, which is cheaper than what the stores will sell you to do it, but you’ll need to be careful to rinse it all away and to avoid using it on certain types of tile. Bleach will weaken, pit, discolor, and/or dissolve certain tiles and finishes.You can also use some stud called House(?) Armor from Home Depot or Lowe’s. It comes in a green bottle and is designed to kill and then inhibit mold/mildew regrowth. There’s one specifically for indoor use.As always, be careful with those around children or pets, and don’t use the shower for a couple of hours after treatment just to be sure you don’t inhale the spray or mist.I don’t always use soap in the pressure washer for the shower because the mist is so fine it can coat the walls of the bathroom with soap. When I do use it, it’s a very weak solution of Dawn or Palmolive dishwashing liquid.Andrew

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