How to Clean Glass Shower Doors

If you have a glass shower door, you know that it can feel like an uphill battle to free it from spots, stains and to remove soap scum from glass. With some readily available household supplies and regular effort, you can cut down on the number of deep cleanings you have to do and keep your shower sparkling. 

Check out these shower glass cleaning tips for a spot-free, streak-free shine. We’ll cover some effective methods using everyday household products and how you can keep glass shower doors clean.

The Effects of Hard Water Stains

Many problems with showers come from the reaction of your home’s water to your soap. Hard water reacts with paraffin wax commonly used in bar soap. While the soap cleans the dirt off you, it leaves behind a residue on bathroom surfaces in the form of scum. After you shower, the wax settles on the glass, creating a layer of scum that you need to use cleaning products to remove. 

Calcium that is naturally present in water leaves behind mineral deposits after the water evaporates. Since having hard water depends on where you live, this aspect is difficult to change. However, you can remove the hard water stains easily with materials you find around the house. You can also use a variety of techniques to decrease the amount of spots visible in your shower.

How to Clean Glass Shower Doors with Hard Water Stains

Using household products to remove the scum and spots from your shower restores the glass’s shine. Since these cleaning agents are common in most homes, you may not need to spend a lot on a particular cleaning product for your shower. Vinegar, ammonia, and baking soda are universally used as cleaning agents in your home, including the shower.

How Often Should Your Shower Doors Be Cleaned?

Because you use your shower daily, it is important to take care of it. To create and maintain shine, do a deep cleaning once a week and treat the shower glass regularly to keep the glass’s appearance. In the end, how often you clean it depends on the state the shower is left in after use. Bigger families with small children may leave it messy with no time to clean up afterward. The key to keeping it clean is working out a routine and committing to it, whether that is to clean it once, twice or three times a week. 

If your plate is full and cleaning the shower doors is another ‘I will get to it’ chore, consider getting a cleaning professional to help you maintain it. This way, you can be sure to keep scum and grime to a minimum and prevent tricky buildup. The benefits of maintaining clean glass shower doors will pay off as it becomes easier to do over time.

Below are some of the best ways to clean shower doors, but we’ll first cover the basic essential supplies you need to get the job done.

Essential Supplies for Shower Glass Cleaner

Regardless of the products you need to start cleaning your shower, you should gather some supplies to help make the process easier. The list typically includes the following:

  • A medium-sized spray bottle
  • A bucket to hold clean water
  • A scrubbing sponge with one hard side for removing grime
  • Plastic gloves
  • Microfiber cloths for cleaning and drying
  • Your preferred cleaning solution 

1. How to Clean Shower Doors With Vinegar

Use White Vinegar to Clean Glass Shower Doors

One essential tip given for bathroom cleaning is to use distilled white vinegar. Cheap and readily available, vinegar offers an all-natural alternative to pricier cleaning products. Even if you don’t know how to clean glass shower doors with vinegar, the method is simple to learn. If you have stone anywhere in your shower, we suggest you skip using vinegar, as it can damage the stone. 

Follow these steps to clean your shower door efficiently:

  1. Combine equal parts of warm white vinegar and liquid dishwashing soap in a spray bottle. 
  2. Spray the mixture onto the door and wipe off with a soft cloth or sponge. 
  3. Test a small area with the sponge first to ensure it won’t scratch the glass. The soap should cut through any grease while the vinegar helps to wash the residue away.

You could also try to use undiluted white vinegar with a few drops of tea tree oil. The vinegar should help rinse away the soap. Tea tree oil has a reputation for being antibacterial and safe for use on the skin as well as around the home.

If you have a sliding glass door, vinegar can help clean out the scum in the tracks. This is what you will do:

  1. Cover the drain holes with paper towels.
  2. Pour white vinegar into the slots. 
  3. Allow it to work overnight. 
  4. The next day, remove the paper and wipe out the leftover vinegar.

To avoid creating noxious fumes, never use vinegar or ammonia to clean a shower at the same time as bleach.

2. How to Clean Shower Doors With Baking Soda Paste

Create a thick paste by mixing water with baking soda. Start with a half cup of baking soda for a shower door and add water as needed to achieve the paste mixture. Use more if you have a large glass shower enclosure. Rub this paste onto the shower with a soft cloth. Rinse it off with vinegar. Do not rinse with vinegar if you have stone or travertine in your shower.

You can also create a paste by mixing baking soda and vinegar. After rubbing this onto your shower glass, wait for 20 minutes before rinsing it off.

3. How to Clean Shower Doors Ammonia

When cleaning with ammonia, protect yourself by opening the bathroom door. If you have windows, open them or open the vent to provide additional ventilation. Wear rubber gloves when using ammonia to protect your hands. Most importantly, never mix ammonia with bleach, which can create dangerous vapors.

For cleaning heavy scum from the shower, combine three parts of water with one part of ammonia in a spray bottle. Spray the scum-covered glass and scrub the surface while still damp with a brush. Rinse thoroughly and dry the surface completely.

Another way to get a streak-free shine on shower glass when you don’t have a thick layer of built-up soap scum is to combine two quarts of distilled water with two tablespoons of ammonia. Use distilled water to prevent hard water stains. Apply this mixture to the glass and let it sit for up to five minutes. Wipe with a dry microfiber cloth.

4. How to Clean Glass Shower Doors with Lemon Juice

Using Lemon Juice to Clean Glass Shower Doors

For a more fragrant alternative to vinegar, mix the juice of three lemons with a cup of distilled water in your spray bottle. Spray the shower and wait five minutes before wiping the surface off with a clean microfiber cloth to remove stains from the glass. Dry the glass thoroughly with a fresh cloth.

Another way to use lemon juice for cleaning your shower is to dip the cut side of a lemon half in baking soda. Rub the lemon on the glass. Rinse and dry the surface with distilled water. To reduce soapy buildup, coat the interior of the glass with a layer of lemon oil.

5. How to Clean Shower Glass With Borax

Like baking soda, borax mixes well into a paste for cleaning your shower glass. Mix borax with just enough water to create a thick paste. Use a damp sponge to rub the paste over your glass. Rinse with distilled water and dry the surface. 

Create an alternative solution using the following simple ingredients:

  • One cup of vinegar
  • Three tablespoons of borax
  • Half a cup of dish soap
  • Lemon or tea tree oil drops for fragrance 

Mix these with one gallon of water in a bucket and dispense in smaller spray bottles or a sealed jug for surplus supply. This cleaning solution is strong and effective and can be used for various applications in your household. 

Look for borax in the laundry aisle of most stores.

6. How to Clean Shower Glass With A Magic Eraser

How to Clean Shower Glass With A Magic Eraser

A Magic Eraser sponge has unique cleaning properties that can remove stains from surfaces without needing cleaning agents. To remove scum, dampen the Magic Eraser and wipe off the interior of your shower. If you know you will clean your shower with one of these erasers, use it immediately after showering. The warmth and water left from your shower will help the Magic Eraser to loosen off soap scum and dirt.

They are disposable and don’t last long with frequent use, so we recommend you keep a pile readily available. 

7. How to Buff Off Heavy Soap Scum On Shower Glass

If you do not keep on top of regular cleaning or move into a home where the former owners neglected their shower glass, you have more work to do. When your shower door has a thick layer of scum on it, you will need to use more power to get it off.

Take the shower door down and move it into a safe work area. Use brass polish or a similar polishing compound and an auto buffer. If you don’t have this equipment, rent one for the day. The tool and polish help to fill in any scratches etched into the glass from the scum.

Before resorting to this labor-intensive method of cleaning your shower doors, try other methods first. Using a buffer is an extreme means of cleaning glass. If this method does not remove the scum and scratches, you may need to replace the shower door. We can help with that.

How to Keep Glass Showers Clean

To reduce the amount of buildup on your glass, you need to know how to keep your shower clean with daily chores. These tasks take seconds after each shower, but you save a significant amount of time on weekly cleaning sessions.

1. Treat Daily With a Commercial Product

Several commercial shower sprays exist. A spray of these products, according to the label instructions, prevents scum buildup and water stains. Always follow the instructions for using these products, but most you can use daily for keeping your shower looking great. Because these products help to prevent buildup, dry the interior first before spraying the treatment on the glass.

2. Mix Your Own Glass Cleaner For the Shower

How to Make Your Own Shower Glass Cleaner

As an alternative to commercial products, you can try your own daily shower cleaning spray. Use a 32-ounce spray bottle, and add to the container a half cup each of hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol, one tablespoon dishwashing rinse aid and one teaspoon liquid dish soap. Fill distilled water to top off the bottle and gently agitate the container to mix the contents. Avoid shaking, which will create a foam.

A simpler daily shower cleaner uses just vinegar, dish soap and essential oils. Combine one cup distilled water, a half cup of white vinegar, a few drops of liquid dish soap and 10 to 20 drops of your favorite scent of essential oil. The last only adds fragrance, and you can skip it if desired. Avoid using this daily shower spray if you have stone on the floor or walls of the stall.

After you shower, dry the glass interior thoroughly. Then, spray the dry glass with a mist of either of these mixtures. As the shower cleaner dries, it will help reduce scum on the glass and leave the surface sparkling until you do your weekly stall clean.

3. Switch Soap

Because scum comes from paraffin wax in bar soap, consider switching to another cleaning agent for when you shower. Choose a body wash, shower gel or liquid soap to avoid this problem. Some bar soaps do not contain talc, which contributes to scum. Choose such talc-less bar soaps to reduce scum.

It may seem like a drastic measure, especially if you prefer soap over body wash, but it can prevent excess scum buildup and make it easier to maintain your shower door glass in the long run. 

4. Soften Your Water

If you live in an area with hard water and experience other problems inherent with the minerals, consider getting a whole-home water softener. Because this option is expensive, only consider it if hard water makes cleaning clothes and maintaining plumbing difficult. You should still conduct regular cleaning of your shower to reduce soap scum buildup, but you may not have as many hard water stains.

5. Waterproof Your Shower

Waterproof Your Shower

Because water causes stains, you want to treat your shower glass with a product that prevents water from staying on the surface. You use waterproofing treatments on your car’s windshield, and these same products can protect your shower.

Follow the instructions on the bottle of windshield waterproofing treatment to treat your shower. These products allow water, dirt and soap to fall off. If these substances can not stick, they can not leave stains or buildup on your shower.

Choose this type of treatment if you have a frameless shower to protect the glass. While it will work with the glass of framed showers, you need to keep the product away from the metal frames as well as any tile or stone inside the stall. It may eat at the metal and other materials over time if it comes into frequent contact.

Look for these windshield water repellents from automotive stores or online. If you have any leftover product, save it for future reapplication every three to four weeks or use it for your cars.

6. Air It Out

Getting rid of moisture from the glass will protect your shower from hard water stains. One of the best ways to keep your shower door clean is to allow your bathroom and shower to air out after every use. Steam forms moisture droplets that gather on your roof and walls, eventually dripping and drying, then forming water markings.

Leave your shower door open after your shower and run the bathroom vent for at least 20 to 30 minutes after you shower. Doing these will help your shower air out and reduce the mildew-promoting moisture in the room.

7. Dry It Off

Dry Your Shower After Each Use

Drying off your shower after each use prevents stains left by hard water from evaporating. For this task, you can use a microfiber cloth or a squeegee. Both work equally well, but microfiber cloths can also apply cleaning agents during your weekly shower cleaning. Here’s what to do to effectively dry off your shower door after each use:

  • After each shower, wipe off the glass with a dry microfiber cloth. The cloths reach around corners and under your shower door, making them an ideal tool for cleaning and drying your shower. 
  • Microfiber cloths offer a better alternative to disposable paper towels or standard washcloths because the material does not scratch surfaces, nor does it leave behind pieces of fiber on the surface. This cloth also works well to buff out any streaks from the glass.
  • Make sure to wring out water after using the cloths and lay them out to dry to prevent mildew. Wash these cloths at least once a week to keep them clean since you can reuse them multiple times.

An alternative to using microfiber cloths is a squeegee to wipe the water off your shower glass after each shower. You don’t need to get a large one. Some hand-held models have suction cups on the ends for hanging in the shower. 

Teach everyone in your family to dry off the glass with the cloth or squeegee after every shower and leave the door open to let the remaining moisture evaporate instead of settling on surfaces.

Get More Information From the Glass Experts

If you need to replace your shower door or want to upgrade to an all-glass shower, contact us at Garrety Glass. We know all about glass. For high-quality shower glass at prices you will love, consult with one of our design professionals to customize your glass shower. We’re in the business of getting you a beautiful, glass-filled home that will add value and enhance your living areas. See how we can help you upgrade your shower.

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Get More Information From the Glass Experts