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Clean Your Shower All Year in 25 minutes for $21.49

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I have mentioned in the past that I use the Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner to automate my housekeeping. Before that invention, I would dread cleaning the shower. It would take me at least 7-10 minutes a week. However, since I'm Lazy, I'd wait two weeks and then scrub away for about 10-12 minutes. At that rate, I would spend nearly 5 hours a year cleaning a shower. The bright side is that I could use a few gallons of very cheap bleach a year. I never measured the amount of bleach, but I'd estimate that it would cost me around $6.00 for the year.

The biggest problem with the Automatic Shower Cleaner is that the refills tend to cost $4-5 a piece... and they last only 3 weeks. I was talking with my mother about this and she said she never uses hers simple because of the cost. I don't blame her. At the price of refills it would cost around $75 a year before factoring the cost of batteries.

They say that necessity is the Mother of Invention. I think the combination of being both Lazy and Frugal is the father of invention. I stopped and thought, "there's got to be a way to make this cheaper." It turns out that it's simple to refill the Automatic Shower Cleaner. It takes a little bit of force, but I grab a towel and unscrew the cap. The first time you do it, it's particularly tough, but subsequent openings are easy.

The question is what do you fill it with? There are a number of options. I've heard that people go to the dollar store and buy some Tilex (or a generic version). I have decided to pick up a gallon of Zap. It's a very concentrated cleaner - the label recommends diluting the cleaner with 20 parts water for every part cleaner for maintenance cleanings. For less than 2 ounces of Zap and some tap water, I can refill the 32oz. container.

There's no question that $50 for a bottle of cleaning liquid sounds expensive. However, a 128oz gallon will last me for 64 refills. That's going to cost me 78 cents for three weeks of cleaning. If each refill lasts three weeks, I'm going to need to fill it 17.3 a year. That is going to cost me $13.49. It looks like it's more than twice as expensive as my bleach. It gets more expensive though. I need to also buy AA batteries. While I prefer to use rechargeable ones and could save some money and the environment that way, it's easier to do the math this way. An $8.00 pack of batteries should last me the year. At a total cost of $21.49, this is now much more expensive than my old system of using bleach and elbow grease.

So if I'm paying $15 more a year, why am I writing this article? It saves me about 4.5 hours of cleaning. I'm effectively paying $3.33 for an hour of my time back. That's an extreme small price to pay to avoid a chore that I deeply dislike doing, I think that's a great investment.

Last updated on February 6, 2008.

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18 Responses to “Clean Your Shower All Year in 25 minutes for $21.49”

  1. Saving Freak says:

    This is a great post. Although many people disagree on the exact number the cost for your time is somewhere around $13 an hour. So using that number, or anything around it, this exercise saved you about $43. Not a bad return for some ingenuity.

  2. Lazy Man says:

    Thanks Saving Freak. I don’t know if everyone’s time is worth the same amount. There are extreme examples of what Bill Gates time is worth vs. someone in a third world country. Either way, I find that this strikes a great balance of saving me time at a minimal cost.

  3. Traciatim says:

    Make sure for your rechargables in items that use small amounts of power over a long period of time that you use ‘low drain’ NiMH batteries, like Sanyo’s Eneloop, or Rayovac’s Hybrid batteries.

    Normal NiMH batteries will ‘self drain’ just sitting there doing nothing, but these hybrid style batteries have the benefits of not doing that quite as quickly, so they are far better for low drain low use devices (like Remotes for TV’s and the like).

  4. Chad says:

    That contraption is a waste of money. The refills leak and the cleaner does very little in the way of keeping the shower clean. Take the five minutes every couple weeks to scrub away the unclean and put the money in the bank.

  5. Dan says:

    Lazy man – try Holy Cow cleaner. A relative passed on the product to us and it works wonders. Instead of scrubbing the bathtub for 20 minutes, we just have to spray it, let it soak, and wipe it off. It’s even cleaner now than it was after scrubbing.

    Perhaps the best part for us is that its organic, no chemicals. We have 2 young boys, so we don’t have to worry about exposing them to toxic cleaners.

    You can get 2 bottles online for $6, but there is a backorder wait time for the 2 most popular bottles.

    Sorry if this sounds like an ad, I have no affiliation (I wish I did).

  6. Lazy Man says:

    Chad, perhaps I got one that works better than yours. It is one of the better purchases I’ve ever made.

  7. Lisa says:

    I’ve also heard nothing but bad about this thing…from it being too expensive to it just not doing a good job cleaning. I’m glad I read through the comments though, because I want to look into the Holy Cow cleaner…sounds great.

  8. tc says:

    I just had a chore epiphany last night! I decided that my hand washable clothing is driving me nuts. I love the clothes but washing a bunch of stuff by hand every week is annoying and something I dread doing in my tiny apartment. So I’ve decided that I’m going to spend laundry money and just do a delicate cycle to save myself the hassle. I have too much going on in my life to spend an hour washing clothes when I could be spending that time being much more productive. I also get the emotional satisfaction of getting rid of a chore that I hate!

  9. Lazy Man says:

    Holy Cow looks interesting. The website is a bit of a turn-off. It doesn’t seem to give me a lot of information and looks amateurish. Is it available in stores?

    I’ve also looked into Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps.

    Either way, I would need a cleaner that is concentrated, clear, and doesn’t need to be wiped off to be automated.

  10. David says:

    Dr. Bronner’s would work, but make sure you REALLY dilute it.

  11. SavingDiva says:

    I’m glad to see that someone else has an obsession with the automatic shower cleaner. I’ve been using coupons to purchase my refills….I think I’m going to have to continue to do this because I can NOT get the top off! I’ve tried a few times…my hands are red…oh well!

  12. JvW says:

    Lazy is cleaning it every other week? Yikes, I must be supremely LAZY then.

    I do spritz it from a spray bottle of shower cleaner, though. I have used the same bottle for about a year now.

  13. Lazy Man says:

    If I were living by myself, the shower would be cleaned once a year.

  14. Adfecto says:

    I love thinking about chores in terms of how much I’m paying myself to do them. If it is going to take 8 hours and I would pay a person $400 to do the job it is $50 an hour and it would be worth my while to figure out how to do it myself. However, if it is going to take me 2-3 hours but cost only $15 to have the neighborhood kid mow my yard I’ll let him do it (be sure to have liability insurance cause the kid sure doesn’t have workman’s comp). Anyway, thanks for the post.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think that the contraption concept is a good idea. The refills leak and the cleaner does very little in the way of keeping the shower clean. Take the five minutes every couple weeks to scrub away the unclean and put the money in the bank.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I hate cleaning the shower but it’s a necessary thing not sure if i cuold get away with cleaning it just once a year with many people using it!

  17. Amber says:

    I’ve heard mixed yhings about the automatic shower cleaner, but i really want to try it out after we move, I absolutely HATE cleaning the bathroom :)

    I’ve also heard of other people using their own cleaner instead of buying replacements.

  18. James Chapman says:


    This is just an idea, but hear me out: Couldn’t you perhaps use vinegar and lemon juice in some way? I read that vinegar is used for most cleaning chores. No harm in trying. And I don’t think vinegar is that expensive either – you might already have some lying around – and if not, it might be cheaper than the product you’re currently using.

    Just a thought.

    take care…

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