As the designated shower cleaner in my home, I have squeegeed and sponged, scrubbed, scoured, and rubbed until my fingers were white. Removing mildew from the grout and residues from the tub and tiles is hard work, and I hated it.
So, three years ago, when I first heard on radio about a product--called Clean Shower--that could relieve me of this unpleasant chore, I checked it out immediately. I wasn't disappointed. In my view, Clean Shower and products like it are the best thing to appear on grocery shelves since sliced bread. I stock up when these products are on sale; I clip coupons for them; my bathrooms are never without them.
Shower cleaners come in spray plastic bottles. Drying and cleaning after a shower is as easy as applying a few squirts of the pleasantly scented solution on the still-wet shower walls, shower curtain, and tub. I even use it on bathroom sinks. As long as a shower is reasonably clean to begin with, continuous use of these products will keep the shower clean.
Clean Shower was invented in Jacksonville, Fla., by a chemist named Robert H. Black. According to news accounts in 1997, Black was motivated by a life-changing event: His wife made him clean the shower, and he realized what a nasty job that was. "Being an inventor, I invented my way out of it," he is quoted as saying.
According to U.S. patent 5,910,474, the principal ingredients of Clean Shower are a nonionic surfactant, a chelating agent, and an alcohol. A preferred formulation described in the patent specifies the following composition, in percent by volume: isopropyl alcohol, 4.4; Antarox BL-225 (a mixed ethylene glycol ether nonionic surfactant), 1.5; Hamp-ene diammonium EDTA (a chelating agent that is a 44% aqueous solution of diammonium ethylenediamine tetraacetate), 1.5; and fragrance, 0.002. The balance is made up with water. The composition is supposed to prevent the buildup of deposits and provide a pleasant sheen on shower surfaces without the need for rinsing,...