Thursday, August 29, 2013

How to Clean a Japanese Shower Room

I decided to write a follow-up to my humidity post after Raku and a I spent a long time searching through the cleaning section of our favorite drug store.  We've got all kinds of good stuff now, and the mildew doesn't stand a chance.

I've been here nearly a year now and I'm still discovering new products, or finally figuring out what they do, so I thought it might be useful to write about what I've found.

The most important new word I've learned is カビ, which means mildew.  So if you're looking for bathroom cleaner, カビキラー  (Kabi Killer) is the good stuff, it definitely had bleach in it.  In my experience the more red you see on the packaging the stronger it is.

Scrubbing Bubbles with カビキラー
Once you find a cleaning product you like, you can just buy refill bags rather than buying a whole new container each time.  When it is time to refill, make sure you're actually buying the same product!  Part of my problem was that I had refilled with something else, that clearly didn't have bleach in it.  When I dumped it out it was bright green and smelled like apples.  The new matching refill was a clear liquid that smelled a little minty.  Oops.

These are chlorine bleach tablets meant to go down drains.  They fizz and dissolve sort of like alka-seltzer.  I don't really know if they do all that much, but I've been using them down the shower drain about once a week.  Side note, the shower drains here are wide enough to put your hand down and filled with standing water.  They're normally covered by a plastic hair-catcher that snaps into place, and on top of that a removable metal grate.

This is a product to clean bathtubs, and even cleans out the jets, since the water doesn't just come out of a spout.  The directions say to fill your bathtub at least 5 cm above the jets with lukewarm water, dump in the powder, and set the temperature to 40° c.  Let the temperature rise for 10-15 minutes, then add 5 cm of cool water.  Set the temperature to 40° c again and allow the temperature to rise for 5 minutes, then drain.  I assume the temperature changes are to keep the water circulating in order to fully clean the jets.  It recommends submerging any bath stools, bowls, or soap dishes in the tub so that they can be disinfected at the same time.

And finally, this is a カビキラー pen to target small problem areas.  


  1. This post is perfect! This is my first spring/summer in Tokyo and I've been worried about the recent musk coming from the shower room.

    1. Yeah, it can be really annoying! But the Kabi Kila makes all the difference.

  2. Nice post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m impressed! Extremely useful info specially the last part I care for such information a lot. I was seeking this certain info for a long time.
    Bathroom Renovation
    Thank you and good luck.

  3. I bought some of the Scrubbing Bubbles “dissolve in the bath and recirculate” stuff but wasn’t sure if Google Translate was informing me of the directions correctly. I feel a lot better about using it, now that I see your directions above match!! What a relief

    1. I'm so glad it was helpful. Google translate is such a life saver, but sometimes SO confusing!