Having a glass shower can make you feel like you’re in a lush, private spa retreat. But for most of us, someone from housekeeping won’t be stopping by to keep your shower clean.
As the adults in the home, it’s up to us to keep our families healthy and safe. So, you need to know how to clean your glass shower properly, so you don’t end up with yucky grime, soap scum, water stains, mildew, or worse, mold. We’ve put together a helpful guide with tips for how to clean glass shower doors.
We’re going to look at the best glass shower cleaning products, store-bought and homemade. We’ll also give you shower cleaning tips and answer some frequently asked questions.
Table of Contents
What Is Soap Scum?
Soap scum, also called lime soap, is a white (or gray) residue that occurs when soap combines with hard water. Soap scum residue is magnesium stearate, calcium stearate, and other alkali metal variations of fatty acids.
Most hygiene products like body soap contain parabens, which leave behind soap scum. Bar soap is worse than liquid soap.
A common site in kitchens and bathrooms, soap scum, is an unsightly, aggravating film that builds over metal faucets, grout, tile, and glass. You may notice spots, splotches, streaks, or layers of caked up soap scum. Over time, this grime will turn pink or orange.
Once soap scum starts to build up, it can be hard to get rid of, which is why it’s best to tackle this problem as soon as you notice it is occurring instead of letting it get out of hand.
Hard vs Soft Water
Over 85% of the water plumbed into homes throughout the US contains hard water, according to the US Geological Survey. Many people scratch their heads in confusion when they hear hard water. After all, water is a liquid and doesn’t turn solid unless frozen.
Hard water is not describing the physical attributes of the compound. When your water comes out of the faucet, it will not look any different if it’s hard than it would when it’s soft.
When you hear water referred to as hard, there are high calcium and magnesium concentrations. These are two minerals that naturally occur in H2O (water). The more of these minerals that water contains, the harder it becomes, based on the hard water scale.
On the other hand, soft water does not contain harmful minerals that can cause disaster for your water system or personal hygiene. Soft water is safer and cleaner.
When you have soft water, you won’t have nasty chemical buildups in your pipes, appliances, or on your surfaces. And it’s easier on your body, so you feel clean after a shower.
Soft water improves soap performance, so it works better, whereas hard water breaks down soap ingredients, causing them to become inactive. You will not get as clean when using hard water.
Problems that Occur from Hard Water
Magnesium and calcium are crucial components of human health, but you do not want these minerals in your water system.
Hard water can cause multiple problems with your home. When used for cleaning, hard water can cause residue or film buildup on your clothing, dishes, or shower. It’s also common to see loose particle residue inside your washing machine or dishwasher.
The issue occurs when hard water gets hot, which can cause calcium deposits that damage pipes, coffee machines, and other appliances. Hard water can cause higher heating costs, loss of efficient function from your appliances, and affect your hygiene.
If you’ve ever felt a filmy residue on your body, hair or hands after washing, it’s probably the result of hard water. Your hair or skin may feel brittle or dried out. And you may feel like you still have soap residue on you after you’ve rinsed.
The 9 Best Cleaning Supplies To Make Your Shower Doors Sparkle
There are many commercial cleaners to choose from to remove soap scum from your bathroom and shower. But there are also homemade solutions. We’re going to look at the nine best cleaning supplies to make your shower doors sparkle.
Many people are starting to prefer natural remedies to harsh chemical cleaners. Vinegar is a common household item that makes an excellent cleaning agent for your home, including glass shower doors.
You can combine vinegar in a spray bottle with other ingredients, such as baking soda or Dawn dishwashing detergent, for an all-natural cleaner you can use every day.
After letting the solution soak on your glass for 30 minutes, rinse with water and wipe down with a microfiber cloth. If you have stone accents in your shower, skip the vinegar and mix Dawn and baking soda into a paste. Vinegar can damage the stone.
Baking soda is a cheap, all-natural abrasive cleaner that’s ideal for scrubbing soap scum stains. Most people have baking soda sitting in their pantry or fridge.
To clean with baking soda, apply half a cup of powder onto a cloth and scrub damp doors. Remove with warm water. For added cleaning power, use vinegar or lemon juice instead of water. You can also mix baking soda with vinegar to form a thicker scrubbing paste.
Another non-chemical cleaning solution for your glass shower doors is a lemon – yes, we mean the fruit. Lemons are an extraordinary cleaner to prevent streaks, so your glass glistens.
To use lemon, cut it in half, dip the cut surface into baking soda, and scrub your shower doors. The mixture of baking soda and lemon produces a foam. Rinse with warm water to remove the suds. You can also apply lemon oil afterwards to prevent soap stains.
At one time, ammonia was a standard cleaning solution. But many people have started using more natural ingredients that don’t have as strong of a chemical smell.
However, ammonia still serves its purpose as a potent cleaning agent to remove tough stains and soap scum from glass doors.
All you need is two tablespoons of ammonia mixed with warm water in a spray bottle. Let the solution soak on the doors for three to five minutes then wipe it away using a dry microfiber rag.
You need adequate ventilation when using ammonia. Turn on bathroom vents, open the door and any windows. Always wear gloves and NEVER mix with bleach, as the combo creates harmful vapors.
Vodka and Peppermint
For a pleasant smelling homemade cleaning solution, combine a half cup of vodka with ten drops of peppermint essential oil in a spray bottle.
Apply this spray mixture to your shower doors after each use to prevent buildup. Or use it once a week for a deep clean. Let the solution soak on the glass for ten to fifteen minutes.
Most people have hydrogen peroxide in their first aid kits, but it’s also an excellent cleaning solution. Due to the smell, you can use essential oils to add fragrance.
Mixing tea tree and peppermint is an excellent mixture to tackle mildew and mold. Adding these oils with peroxide produces a strong cleaner that smells great.
Combine ten drops each of both essential oils, along with a half a cup of hydrogen peroxide and one cup of water in a spray bottle. Apply the solution to your glass doors, let soak for one to two hours, and then rinse well.
Alcohol and Hydrogen Peroxide
Take a second dip into the medicine cabinet and pull out rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide to create a strong glass shower door cleaner.
Combine a half a cup of peroxide with half a cup of alcohol, one tablespoon of dishwasher rinse aid (Jet Dry) and one teaspoon of dishwashing detergent (Dawn works best).
Dilute the mixture in a spray bottle and slowly shake to mix. Avoid hard mixing, which can make the solution foam. Use on your doors as necessary for hard cleans.
Borax is a chemical cleaner that forms a scouring paste that can clean soap scum and water stains off glass shower doors.
You can buy Borax at most stores, located in the laundry aisle. To clean your doors, mix Borax with water to form a paste then apply the mixture to the doors using a damp sponge.
You can rinse the solution after applying using distilled water. Then dry the entire surface with a microfiber cloth.
Bring It On
When you have hard water, soap scum buildup and water stains are inevitable. When hard water forms stain deposits, it usually requires a chemical solution to remove.
Bring It On Hard Water Stain Remover is a versatile product that you can use on your entire bathroom, regardless of material to remove hard water residue buildup, soap scum, and stains.
How to Clean Glass Shower Doors
Most shower installer companies recommend that you wipe down your shower doors each day after everyone has finished their showers.
You’ll get the best results if you start cleaning shortly after the last person has showered, while everything is still wet and warm. Warm water loosens shower grime, making cleaning easier.
Wipe your shower doors, walls, and floor off using a foam cleaning pad (Magic Erase) or a sponge every day (it’s okay to skip days where the shower isn’t used). Daily wipe-downs reduce how frequently you need to deep clean.
You can also use a squeegee or an old towel to wipe down the shower doors after each use to prevent hard water deposits. And leave your doors open when not in use so the air can dry the shower.
Doing minor daily cleaning of your shower reduces the need for deep cleaning, which you should do every few weeks. Try this cleaning schedule to keep your shower doors, walls, and floors.
- Daily – wipe shower with a dry towel or squeegee after the last bath (use a light cleaner if there were multiple showers) and leave doors open to air dry
- Weekly – once a week, wipe down the whole shower using a Magic eraser or sponge
- Monthly – deep clean once a month using a robust cleaning solution and appropriate tools. Focus on nooks, crannies, corners, and grout.
Tips for Keeping Your Shower Door Clean
Keeping your shower door clean isn’t as demanding a job as you would think. You can use some simple solutions to prevent scum buildup, so your showers look good as new despite years of frequent use. Try these tips to keep your shower door clean.
- Squeegee your shower doors after each use. Start at a top corner and work down to remove any collected water that can cause mildew.
- Spray a DIY cleaner on shower doors, let it soak for a few minutes, and then wipe away with a dry microfiber cloth. Repeat after each shower or at the end of the day.
- Keep your shower well ventilated by leaving the doors open when not in use. Leave the bathroom vent running during use and for at least 30 minutes afterwards to remove humidity. If you don’t have a vent, consider opening a window or using a dehumidifier.
- Spray a vinegar solution to your shower, once a week. Soak for five minutes and rinse with warm water or wipe with a lint-free cloth.
- Wipe shower surfaces down with a wet, activated (squeeze the sponge after wetting) Magic Eraser once a week to remove any stubborn soap scum stains.
- Once a week, wipe down glass shower doors with a damp lint dryer sheet (you can recycle the ones you’ve used in your laundry). Then go back over the surface with a wet paper towel.
- When there’s a lot of scum buildup that natural solutions won’t clean, turn to weekly or monthly cleanings using commercial cleaners like X, X, or X. Pine-sol is also useful for cleaning glass shower doors.
- Spray your shower doors with a coat of Rain X Shower Door Water Repellent, which will protect your glass from soap scum, grime, and water stains for up to three months.
- Clean between metal tracks with an old toothbrush once a month. For large buildup, consider a paint scraper or razor blade.
Now that we’ve covered some of the best tips and products to clean a glass shower door, let’s look at a few commonly asked questions also asked about shower cleaning.
What is the best cleaner for glass shower doors?
Most people prefer natural cleaners for glass shower doors over chemical products. Vinegar is the best non-chemical cleaner for everyday shower cleaning. But for hard buildup and stains, you may need a stronger product like Borax or ammonia.
How do you get hard water stains off glass shower doors?
The best way to remove hard water stains from glass shower doors is to spray a cleaning solution on the surface. Alternately, you can use a sponge dipped in the vinegar solution to scrub the doors.
After applying the vinegar solution, let it soak. The more stains there are, the longer you want it to soak. At a minimum, wait five minutes. Severe stains may need an hour to soak, and it may take multiple cleanings before the stains are gone. Rinse with hot water.
How do hotels keep glass shower doors clean?
Hotels keep their shower doors clean and shiny by doing thorough cleanings every day. Turn on the shower as hot as it will allow and let it steam up for ten minutes.
Next, spray the doors using a cleaning solution and wipe with a cloth or sponge. Rinse clean and squeegee the doors to remove any water droplets. Then wipe the area with a dry lint-free cloth, so you don’t get streaks.
What can I put on my glass shower doors to keep them clean?
Rain-X is a popular product for car windows, but they also make a fantastic product for shower doors. Grab a bottle of Rain-X Shower Door Water Repellent (they have a shower door cleaner too!) and coat your shower doors after cleaning.
Squeezing your doors after every shower use can also help keep your doors clean. You can also apply lemon oil after cleaning to create a water-proof barrier.
Glass shower doors are becoming a common occurrence in bathrooms due to the many benefits over shower curtains. However, glass doors can collect soap scum and hard water buildup when not appropriately cleaned, which leaves a gross film over your glass. We’ve given you multiple tips on how to clean glass shower doors, so your shower looks good as new.