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How to Clean Shower Doors

Soap scum, hard water stains, and pesky streaks can all take away from the neat appearance of a glass shower door. We’ll walk you through how to clean shower doors and prevent stains and grime from building up.

Author Image Written by Brenda Woods Updated 03/01/2024

Glass shower doors can give your bathroom a sharp, modern look, but they also provide a huge, highly visible canvas for soap scum and hard water stains. If you want to keep your shower doors clean and streak-free, you’ll have to do some basic maintenance in addition to occasional deep cleaning. In this guide, we cover how to clean shower doors and tracks as well as what you need to do to keep them looking good.

Cleaning shower doors is much easier when you do it frequently, not allowing the grime to build up. If you need some help keeping up with your home cleaning routine, consider hiring a professional service like The Cleaning Authority to maintain a shining set of shower doors. However, if you’d rather clean your shower yourself, keep reading to learn the best methods to use.

When it comes to the marks and stains on shower doors, there are two main culprits: hard water and soap scum. Hard water stains are unsightly but harmless. Soap scum, however, can sometimes harbor dirt and bacteria, so it’s best to keep your shower free of this grime. Here are some cleaning tips for tackling both of these problems.

Getting Rid of Hard Water Stains

Water that’s high in mineral content, particularly calcium and magnesium, is referred to as hard water. It’s not dangerous to consume or wash in, but it often makes things harder to clean, including your shower. When drops of hard water are allowed to dry on a surface, they can leave behind a film of these minerals that’s easy to see on glass, particularly transparent glass.

Removing hard water stains and deposits in bathroom. Stains drops on glass shower doors. Cleaning bathroom concept.
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To get rid of these stains, you need a cleaner that’s not too abrasive; otherwise, you might scratch the glass. Make sure to avoid scouring pads as well. A damp sponge or a brush with soft plastic bristles will work well.

Windex and other cleaners are specially designed for cleaning glass, but if you want to avoid harsh chemicals, get some distilled white vinegar. Warm it in the microwave for 30 seconds, then put it in a spray bottle and mist the shower doors. Let the vinegar soak for five to 30 minutes, and then scrub the glass and rinse. For more severe hard water stains, mix equal parts of the warmed vinegar with a grease-cutting dish soap and let it soak for up to 30 minutes before scrubbing.

However, if you have a shower with natural stone tiles, avoid using vinegar or other acidic cleaners, which can damage the stone. Instead, mix the dish soap with baking soda to form a paste, apply it to a damp sponge, and then lightly scrub the glass.

Getting Rid of Soap Scum

The build-up that forms in baths and showers from using bar soap with hard water is called soap scum, and it can be annoyingly difficult to clean. For this, add a little bit of vinegar to baking soda. The mixture will foam up, but when the bubbles die down, you’ll have a paste you can spread on any soap scum. Let the mixture sit for about 15 minutes before scrubbing it with a non-scratch sponge and rinsing.

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If you don’t want to use vinegar, you can cut a lemon in half and dip the cut area in baking soda. It will bubble gently and leave behind a foam you can scrub directly on the grimy glass. If this isn’t working, you can sprinkle on a little table salt and scrub again. Keep in mind that salt is an abrasive, so avoid scrubbing too much or too hard when using it.

Getting Rid of Streaks

Once you’ve done the tough cleaning, you may find that there are still streaks of water or cleaning solution on the glass. To get a perfect shine on your shower doors, use a mixture of ammonia and water. Combine two cups of water with two tablespoons of ammonia in a spray bottle and spray the shower doors. Leave the solution on the glass for three minutes and then buff the streaks away with a dry microfiber cloth.

Caucasian woman cleaning shower stall in the bathroom
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How to Clean Shower Door Tracks

If you’ve got sliding shower doors, you’ve probably also got a metal track that collects hard water stains, soap scum, and mold and mildew as well. It’s a tricky spot to clean since it’s tough to get a scrub brush or sponge into all the nooks and crannies. You can use a foaming bathroom cleaner like Scrubbing Bubbles to get into all those hard-to-reach areas.

Alternatively, you can use distilled white vinegar again. Simply plug the hole that lets water drain out of the tracks and fill the tracks with vinegar. Let it sit overnight to dissolve the grime and soak the remaining vinegar out the next day with paper towels. Finally, use an old toothbrush to scrub out any debris.

How to Keep Shower Doors Clean

While you can’t completely prevent hard water stains and soap scum, you can cut down on them greatly by preventing grime from building up. The most important thing to do is to avoid letting water droplets dry on the glass. Keep a squeegee in the bathroom and scrape down the shower doors after every use.

You might also consider using a quick daily spray after the squeegee. There are plenty of cleaning solutions you can buy for this purpose, but if you’d rather use something homemade, try mixing a solution of two parts water to one part vinegar with a few drops of dish soap. You can add some of your favorite essential oil, too, and you can use a water-repellent glass treatment like Rain X to make sure water doesn’t stay on the shower doors long enough to stain.

As for soap scum, it’s a specific reaction between the minerals in hard water and the fatty acids in bar soap. These fatty acids aren’t found in body wash, so switching to a liquid soap will cut down on the scum.

Additionally, since these problems are largely caused by hard water, you can always install a water softening system in your home. It’s not a cheap solution, but it should make cleaning most things in your home a little easier.

If you still need help removing stubborn soap scum or hard water stains, consider hiring a professional service like The Cleaning Authority, which has branches in 45 states. To get a free estimate from The Cleaning Authority, visit the company’s website.

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