Glass shower doors provide a beautiful welcoming entry to your personal cleaning sanctum...unless they greet you with less-than-sparkly water spots and overall haziness. How do you remove those unsightly glass-clouding spots once you have them? We consulted glass shower manufacturer and installer information, educational hard water research data, and governmental insights to find the best and easiest ways to remove water spots from shower doors.
While there are many ways to remove water spots, here are 13 natural and commercial ways to restore a glass shower to a clear shine:
- Baking soda
- Bar Keepers Friend
- Dish soap and vinegar
- Dryer sheets
- Magic eraser sponge
- Scrubbing bubbles
There are many ways to clean glass shower doors. It is important to know which techniques are recommended by the manufacturer of your doors and which are the easiest to maintain with the least work required for your specific glass shower doors. Join us as we look at methods for restoring and maintaining water-spot-free shower glass doors!
How Often Should You Clean Glass Shower Doors?
To keep your shower doors clear, you should clean them each day or after each shower. While this may sound difficult, adding regular shower cleaning to your routine will, actually, make life easier. An easy step will become part of the household routine, and you will remove the tedious time-consuming task of removing soap scum and hard water deposits.
Tools of the Trade
The proper tools will protect you and your shower glass as you remove water spots. Use only as strong of a cleaner as is needed for the job and protect yourself and surrounding shower materials if the cleaners are likely to cause damage. Properly ventilate your bathroom and wear proper skin, breathing, and eye protection when using cleaners to remove water spots from your glass shower doors.
A squeegee is one of the first tools that will facilitate quick shower door maintenance. This low-cost tool will make it easy for each person in the household to help keep the shower door clear and water-spot free. Purchase one for each shower; if the cleaning tool is handy, people are more likely to use it regularly.
Non-Abrasive Scrubbing Pads
While glass may seem tough, it will etch and scratch with harsh abrasives and scouring pads. Use a non-abrasive scrubbing pad to avoid damage while removing water spots.
Soft Cloth Cleaning And Drying
No matter which shower glass door cleaning option you choose, select a soft cloth option. Microfiber provides a good streak-free option for both cleaning and drying.
How Do You Restore Shower Glass?
While glass shower door water spot prevention is best, we all know this is not always possible in the real world. According to the USGS (US Geological Survey), in harder water, soap reacts with calcium. This ‘soap scum’ requires more detergent to get things clean and may cause you to feel like there is a residue left on your skin.
In addition to this hard water soap scum, shower doors are exposed to our human dirt and skin cells. Left to harden, this collection presents a significant challenge to remove and restore discolored shower doors to their original gleam and shine.
Before embarking on your shower glass restoration project, consider your door frame and shower enclosure materials. You do not want to use any natural or commercial products that will damage the other shower components. Just because a cleaner is labeled "natural" does not mean it is not too acidic (vinegar) or highly alkaline (bleach) to cause damage to your components. Consult your shower door manufacturer recommendations to ensure the suggestion is safe for your installation.
Now let's get into these 13 ways to get those water spots off your glass shower doors.
Ammonia is a powerful way to clean soap scum and water spots from your shower door glass. Use proper skin protection when using ammonia. Never mix ammonia with bleach; this will cause a toxic gas. When using ammonia, always open a window (if possible), leave the bathroom door open, or turn on the bathroom vent.
Mix ammonia with distilled water in a spray bottle. For general water-spot cleaning issues, use one tablespoon ammonia to one quart of distilled warm water. For heavy soap scum buildup, use one-part ammonia to three parts distilled warm water. Spray, leave for five minutes, scrub with a non-scratch scrubber, then dry with a soft cloth.
2. Baking Soda
A baking soda and water paste is a good way to remove water spots and restore a glass shower door. Use a cloth to apply ½ cup of baking soda mixed with enough water to make a paste (start with a few tablespoons). Rinse with warm water.
3. Bar Keepers Friend
Bar Keepers Friend is an acidic rather than an alkaline (bleach) cleanser. In addition to being safe for shower glass doors, acidic cleaners are very effective against hard water mineral deposits and soap scum.
Bar Keepers Friend comes in multiple formulas including a powdered cleanser, a soft cleanser, and a spray foam cleanser. While either provides a good option for most shower glass doors, the spray foam easily clings to vertical doors while you allow time to remove water spots.
Bio-Clean is an eco-friendly, non-acidic, professional shower door cleaner. The cleaner removes hard water stains, soap scum, mineral deposits, and grime. It is safe on many surfaces; however, you will need to check Bio-Clean and your shower material manufacturer guidelines.
Borax, mixed as a paste, may be used as a shower glass cleaner. Use enough water to make a paste and rub the paste on the shower door with a damp sponge. Rinse the shower glass and dry with a microfiber towel.
6. Dish Soap And Vinegar
The grease-fighting power of dish soap and the acidic composition of white vinegar combine to remove soap scum and create shine on glass shower doors. Keep in mind that the acidity of vinegar may damage shower components.
Combine the vinegar and the dish soap in a 1:1 ratio in a spray bottle. Spray the door with the solution. Leave on for five minutes. Wipe off with a soft cloth.
7. Dryer Sheets
Try a few dampened dryer sheets as a soft-scrub cloth to restore a glass shower door. The same formulation that allows dryer sheets to soften water deposits in your laundry allows them to soften hard water deposits on your glass shower doors. After wiping the shower glass in circular motions with the dampened dryer sheets, go back over the door with a soft cloth or paper towels.
8. Eraser Sponge
An eraser sponge allows you to clean and restore a shower glass door with no chemicals. Simply wet the eraser sponge and scrub the water spots and soap scum to restore the glass to clear sparkle.
Lemon juice provides a natural acid for cleaning and restoring shower door glass. Use full-strength or dilute it. Spray freshly-squeezed or bottled lemon juice on the shower glass and allow the fragrant juice to sit for five minutes. Wipe with a microfiber cloth. Dry with a microfiber towel.
10. Rain-X Shower Door Cleaner
Rain-X Shower Door Cleaner removes hard water stains and soap scum from shower glass. After allowing the deep cleaner to work, rinse and wipe dry with a soft cloth to restore sparkling shine
11. Rejuvenate Shower Glass Door Cleaner
Rejuvenate non-toxic, bleach-free, and fragrance-free cleaner removes soap scum and restores shower glass without scrubbing. Spray, leave for three minutes, and remove with a soft cloth. While safe for most shower materials, including natural stone, check with Rejuvenate and shower material manufacturer guide to verify it is safe to use in your specific shower configuration.
12. Scrubbing Bubbles
Scrubbing Bubbles mega foamer removes soap scum and grime to restore shower glass to clear shine. Spray glass, wait three minutes, rinse or wipe with a cloth, then wipe dry.
Some Scrubbing Bubbles formulations contain bleach, and the ones that do not may harm shower surfaces. Read the cleaning product and shower fixture manufacturer guidelines to ensure it will not damage your shower fixtures and materials.
Vinegar is a naturally-derived glass shower door water spot remover. Before you use vinegar to clean, verify it is non-harmful to the shower door trim and other shower materials. Because it is an acid, vinegar is harmful to some shower components like natural stone tiles.
Cleaning vinegar has a higher acidity level (6%) than white vinegar (5%). You may choose either for cleaning, and you may use at full strength or dilute it with distilled water if desired. Apply with a cloth or spray bottle.
How Do Hotels Keep Glass Shower Doors Clean?
Hotel shower doors have two advantages over many home shower doors. Most hotels have water softeners, and hotels have someone whose job is to clean the shower doors each day or after each guest leaves, depending on the situation. Each of these contributes to the clear hotel shower door views.
How does a water softener help keep a shower door clean?
According to EXTOXNET, hard water, seen in about 85% of the United States, is a result of dissolved calcium, magnesium, and manganese, and is visible as spots on shower doors. Home or professional lab tests are available to help you determine if hard water is helping to cause limescale (chalky calcium carbonate) and other mineral deposits on your shower doors and other home fixtures and features (pipes, appliances, showerheads, etc.).
Home versions are available of the water softeners found at hotels that make you feel as though your hair and skin are softer. Water softeners help keep shower door glass and shower fixtures from collecting dulling soap scum, lime, and other buildups during regular use.
Is Shower Glass Coating Worth It?
Two types of shower glass coatings are available to help seal the porous glass surface and protect it from clouding and spotting. Hydrophobic shower glass coatings repel water and hard water minerals. Hydrophilic coatings attract water to spread water in sheets and carry hard water minerals away from the glass.
While they come at a higher cost, both installers and consumers praise both coatings for reducing water spots, time spent cleaning, and the amounts of chemicals needed to clean the shower doors. The coatings also reportedly provide a more sanitary shower setting by not providing a place for hard water minerals or mold and mildew spores to cling.
On a daily basis, shower doors are exposed to hard water mineral deposits, soap scum, human dirt, and human skin cells. This daily exposure leaves hard-to-clean water spots. While daily cleaning is the best way to handle water spots, this is not always possible. Many natural and commercial products can help restore and maintain shower glass door clear views.
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