Everyone has his or her own thoughts on which housecleaning chores are the worst. For many people, cleaning the bathroom ranks high on the list of most-hated chores. While scrubbing the toilet can be a drag, it's the shower and bathtub that can cause the most headache. Dried-on soap scum, a greasy buildup on the floor and a gray ring around the bathtub can overwhelm even the most dedicated housekeeper. Cleaning service providers know the nitty-gritty of how to make a bathtub gleam. Here are some tips inspired by the pros.

Clean the Tub Every Day

If you're envisioning spending an hour scrubbing your tub every day, you've got the wrong idea. While professionals routinely have to scrub out tubs that have mineral buildup from hard water or layers of soap scum, it's much easier to clean a bathtub that has been maintained.

This can be as simple as using your washcloth to wipe down the walls of your shower and the inside of your tub each morning after you are done bathing. It won't negate the need for periodic scrubbing, but daily cleaning will keep most of the grime and buildup at bay.

Use the Right Products

There are several products on the market that will easily remove soap residue and body oils from your tub. Some elbow grease is going to be necessary, but if you're using the right products (and wiping down the tub each day), you should not be wearing yourself out by scrubbing your shower. Products containing bleach are good for keeping mold at bay. Gritty cleaners can be sprinkled in the tub and do wonders for breaking up mineral deposits and various other residue.

If you would rather use natural products, that's a possibility, too. Wellness Mama has some tips on using products that you already have around the house, such as vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda.

Two caveats: Using products that are not designed to be used in the type of tub you have can be ineffective at best and damaging to the finish at worst. Know what type of finish you have (the most common are enamel, porcelain and acrylic), and read labels carefully.

Also, be careful not to mix cleaning solutions. Mixing bleach and ammonia can cause problems with your eyes and lungs.

Use the Right Techniques

When it comes time to scrub your tub and shower, make it easier on yourself by using the techniques the pros use. Here are some tips:

  • Let the cleaner do its job. Allow it to sit on the stains and grime for enough time to begin breaking down the residue. If you were to simply spray and scrub right away, you would need to exert quite a bit of effort to remove oils and grease. On the other hand, if you allow an enzyme cleanser to start dissolving it first, you won't need nearly as much elbow grease.
  • Scrub in all directions. Once it's time to start using your scrub brush or sponge, first scrub in one direction, then in another. This will help prevent streaks of grease from being left behind.
  • Rinse, then rinse again. Remember that it's the job of the cleaner to attract oils and dirt to itself. If you don't rinse thoroughly, you are just making it likely that the tub and shower will get dirty again soon. Also, soapy residues that are left behind can cause the tub to be slippery, which can result in a dangerous fall.

Perhaps the best tip is to scrub your tub out frequently enough that it's not a large job. If you don't have time to do this yourself, it makes sense to hire residential cleaning services to do it for you. You can certainly still wipe down your bathtub and shower daily to allow you to go longer in between heavy-duty cleanings, but don't put off the inevitable too long.