Onyx is one of the most beautiful and unique natural stones that you can add to your home. If you are considering installing an onyx-made shower in your bathroom, you may wonder what is the best method to clean it. We've done a bit of digging to find the answer to this.
Most importantly, when cleaning an onyx shower, is to avoid abrasive cleaners and applicators. Typical all-purpose or commercial shower cleaners are a bit too acidic and harsh for onyx. Natural cleaners or those made specifically for natural stone are usually safer.
Here are the steps involved with cleaning an onyx shower:
- Prepare the Shower Area
- Generate Steam in the Shower
- Prepare a Cleaning Solution
- Clean The Shower Walls
- Clean The Shower Floor
- Rinse The Shower With Warm Water
Though onyx is a hard stone, it has a delicate porous surface, and care must be taken when cleaning and polishing it. Continue reading as we discuss each of these steps in more detail. We will also discuss chemicals to avoid when cleaning onyx.
How To Clean An Onyx Shower
Cleaning your onyx shower can take anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes. If you have a large shower area, it may take longer.
Things you'll need:
- Baking soda
- Soft sponge
- Rubber cleaning gloves
- 5-gallon bucket
- Non-abrasive commercial cleaner or homemade cleaning solution
- 4 cleaning cloths
Step 1. Prep The Shower Area
Gather all of your cleaning equipment, bring it into the bathroom. Next, remove all accessories and personal products from the shower. This includes shampoo bottles, bar soap, razors, and shower caps. It's also a good idea to inspect the bottom of any bottles to see if they have any mold. If they do, place them aside so that you can disinfect them later with a cleaning solution or diluted bleach. If there is a shower curtain, remove it before starting your cleaning routine.
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Step 2. Generate Steam in the Shower
Turn on the shower and set it to the hottest water setting. Doing so will allow steam to develop in the shower area, helping to loosen any hard water stains, soap scum, and grime on the shower walls and floor. You may want to ventilate the bathroom by opening up a window and the door when doing this.
Step 3. Prepare A Cleaning Solution
The best cleaning solutions for onyx showers are commercial cleaners typically designed for onyx or other natural stones (i.e., marble, granite, quartz, etc.) or homemade cleaning solutions.
Here are a few homemade cleaning solutions to consider:
For Hard Water Cleaning
Onyx can be susceptible to hard water stains just like any other natural stone tile. Here's a quick solution that you can put together to help combat this.
- 1/2 gallon hot water
- 3 TBS Dr. Bronner's Liquid Castile Soap
- 10 drops of pine essential oil
Not only will the solution leave your shower smelling of fresh pine cones, but it will also give it a nice shine. The great thing about castile soap is that it will not leave a soap residue on the stone, unlike many other soaps. You can use a toothbrush or soft bristle toothbrush to help work this solution into the tile or grout of your shower. Afterward, rinse it off with warm water and pat the tiles dry.
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Soap Scum Cleaner
If you have a significant buildup of soap scum in your shower, you can create this homemade solution to break it up so that you can easily wipe it away with your cleaning sponge.
- 3/4 cup powdered milk
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1/2 cup liquid castile soap
- 5 drops of peppermint essential oil
- Shallow kitchen bowl
To make the solution, mix all of the ingredients in a small bowl and stir it to form a paste. Next, apply the solution to the shower as needed. Allow it to sit on the shower tiles for about five to seven minutes. Afterward, rinse it off with warm water and pat the tiles dry.
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Onyx Stain Remover
If you don't have a commercial stain remover for your onyx shower, you can create this natural stain-fighting formula to help lift those stubborn stains in no time. This solution can also work on any natural stone surface, including granite, quartz, and marble.
- 1 TBS baking soda
- 1 Tsp Epsom salt
- 1 cup of water
- Small kitchen bowl
To create this paste, start by pouring the salt, baking soda, and essential oil into the bowl and mixing them together until they form a paste. Next, use a cleaning cloth or soft-bristled brush to apply the paste to the stain and allow it to sit anywhere from five to 15 minutes (or longer if needed). Then rinse the shower with warm water and pat the tiles dry.
Step 4. Clean The Shower Walls
Start by spraying your cleaning solution on your sponge or cleaning cloth instead of the surface of the wall tiles. It's best to start on the left of the shower can work your way over to the right side using circular motions to cover the entire surface. After you have cleaned the walls, now it's time to clean the showerhead and knobs. Use a soft sponge or cloth to clean the metal on the shower hardware.
Be sure to spray your cleaning solution on the cloth instead of the showerhead itself, as this can minimize the amount of runoff on the shower floor. If you have a shower door, use an appropriate cleaning solution to wipe it down -be sure to use a different cloth than you used to clean the onyx tiles.
Step 5. Clean The Shower Floor
After you have cleaned the walls in the shower hardware, it's time to tackle the floor. Start on the left side of the shower and work your way to the right using circular motions to clean the floor. Be sure to start at the shower area that's farthest from the door and work your way back toward the entrance. If you have grout between the stone that has areas where mold or mildew has accumulated, use a soft-bristled brush to apply your cleaner. You can also use a disposable toothbrush for more detailed cleaning or hard-to-reach areas.
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If your shower is big enough, you can also use a steam mop to help clean and sanitize the floor area.
Step 6. Rinse The Shower With Warm Water
Turn the shower on warm water and use your cloth or sponge to rinse off the walls, shower head, and the floor. If you have applied a mold or stain remover, you may need to let it sit for five to seven minutes before rinsing out the shower.
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Onyx Cleaning Tips
- If using a commercial cleaner on your onyx shower, be sure only to use a minimal amount so that it does not leave a film.
- Never use a scouring pad or scrub brush on your onyx shower suface, only soft cleaning cloths or sponges.
- If cleaning other surfaces and materials, be sure to change cleaning cloths to not apply abrasive cleaners to the onyx surface.
- Always rinse your cleaning solution thoroughly to avoid leaving residue.
How do you get stains out of onyx?
Natural onyx stone is porous and can easily absorb liquids, particularly if it is not sealed. It's rather difficult to get stains out of the stone once they've set, which is why it's important to clean them up immediately. To prevent stains, be sure to blot any spilled liquids with a clean, dry cloth or paper towel.
What cleansers to NOT use on onyx?
It's best to avoid any abrasive or acidic cleaners (glass cleaner, all-purpose cleaners, Mr. Clean, Comet, etc.). This can include commercial cleaners that contain ammonia or all-natural cleaner such as vinegar. You'll also want to avoid rough scouring of scrubbing pads. The best cleaners to use are ones specifically designed for natural stones and homemade cleaners with a neutral pH of around 7.
Does onyx need to be sealed?
Yes, onyx surfaces such as shower tiles and countertops are typically sealed by the manufacturer before arriving at your home. These stone sealers work to minimize the amount of liquid that the stone may absorb, preventing stains and damage. While you can also seal your onyx surfaces yourself, it's highly recommended that you have the manufacturer do this for you to ensure that it's done properly.
Wrapping Things Up
If you notice that your Onyx shower is starting to look dull or lose its original luster, it could be that it just needs a deep cleaning. The best way to clean an onyx shower is to use a commercial cleaner designed specifically for natural stones or a homemade cleaner made of mild non-abrasive ingredients.
Before you go, be sure to check out our other posts:
How To Install Or Replace A Shower Head In A Bathtub