Glass shower doors with visible soap scum, hard water stains or mildew can make your bathroom look dingy and dull—and promote the growth of mold. Even in the largest bathrooms, shower doors account for a good chunk of your “wall space” and can enhance or detract from your bathroom’s looks. That’s why shower doors are designed not only to keep the water in the shower but to add a decorative touch to the space.
Your glass shower doors endure a lot of moisture, chemicals and dirt that combine to create buildup on the glass and frame. If you haven’t cleaned them in a while, they may even seem like a lost cause. But these helpful tips and the right tools will get your shower doors looking their best once again while giving your bathroom the sparkling clean look you love.
Why Do Glass Shower Doors Get So Dingy?
Hard water is high in minerals such as calcium and magnesium carbonates, which create residue when the water comes in contact with limestone and chalk deposits. When the hard water mixes with your soap, it leaves stains and streaks on your glass shower doors—this is where soap scum comes from. Soap scum can eventually damage the glass because it’s porous. The hard water minerals seep into the glass and can cause corrosion like etching.
Soap scum is different from mildew, which is a thin coating made up of fungus. Mold grows in warm, damp places, so a shower is the perfect breeding ground—especially those nooks and crannies where your shower door glass meets the frame. Mildew can be harmful to you and your family, so getting and keeping your glass shower doors clean is important for health and aesthetics.
These tips will teach you how to keep your glass shower doors sparkling clean and healthy.
How to Get Your Glass Shower Doors Shining Again
There are plenty of commercial cleaning products designed to chemically remove mold, mildew, soap scum and hard water stains, but there are also more eco-friendly and healthy alternatives for cleaning glass shower doors. If you do choose to go with commercial cleaning products, remember that you should never use abrasive cleaners on glass doors or aluminum frames.
Before you attack scum and grime with harsh, industrial-strength cleaners, try some of these natural methods. Not only will your shower doors be nice and clean, but you’ll also avoid toxic chemicals and vapors that can harm you and your family.
For light buildup on glass shower doors, moisten dryer sheets and use them to cut through soap scum and newer hard water stains. Mr. Clean’s Magic Erasers also work really well for removing grime and residue from your shower doors, tile and more.
For an all-natural DIY cleaner for soap scum, try lemon juice. It may not have the acidic cutting power of vinegar, but it smells better and still cleans well. Here’s how to do it:
- Combine three tablespoons of lemon juice and one cup of water in a spray bottle.
- Spray your glass shower doors and the frame thoroughly and let the mixture break down the scum and stains for five minutes.
- Wipe everything with a clean sponge, then dry and buff the glass and frame with a microfiber cloth.
For tougher buildup and stains, you may need something stronger. Boost your cleaning power by using distilled white vinegar instead of lemon juice.
- Heat a half-cup of distilled white vinegar in your microwave for 30 seconds.
- Pour the warm vinegar into a spray bottle.
- Spray the glass shower doors and frame thoroughly and allow them to soak for five minutes.
- Wear rubber gloves and scrub the glass and frame with a non-abrasive soft bristle brush.
- Rinse everything with warm water.
- Dry and buff the glass and frame with a microfiber cloth.
If you haven’t cleaned your glass shower doors in a while, you may have to add a little more cleaning power and use more elbow grease to remove the layers of buildup.
- Pour a half-cup of baking soda in a plastic container and pour in just enough white vinegar while mixing the ingredients to create a thick paste.
- You’ll immediately see fizzing; once that stops, take a non-abrasive scrubber and scoop up some paste.
- Wipe the paste on the shower door glass and frame and let it sit for 15 minutes.
- Scrub everything thoroughly and rinse off the residue with warm water.
- Dry the glass and frame and buff them to a sparkling shine with a microfiber cloth.
How to Clean Glass Shower Door Tracks
Unless you have frameless glass shower doors, you’ll need to clean out those metal shower door tracks. Soap scum, grime and mildew accumulate in these tracks and are highly visible—and not always easy to clean. The tracks are designed to let water drain out, but if they’re not kept clean, the drain holes can clog and you’re left with standing water full of germs and soap residue—the perfect conditions for mold, mildew and odors.
Here’s how to get your shower door tracks clean and keep them that way:
- If the drain holes are clogged, clear them with a piece of wire or pipe cleaner.
- Plug the drain holes with pieces of a paper towel.
- Fill the track with distilled white vinegar and let sit overnight.
- In the morning, use paper towels to soak up the vinegar.
- Use an old toothbrush to scrub any stains and loosen debris.
- Take the paper towel out of the drain holes and rinse the track with warm water.
- Periodically check the tracks and make sure the drain holes are clear to keep moisture and buildup to a minimum.
Keep Your Glass Shower Doors Shiny and Clean
Shower door maintenance is often left off even the most comprehensive cleaning checklist. You’ll want to keep a few tools handy for daily maintenance to prevent mold and reduce how frequently you’ll need to deep clean.
All you need to keep your glass shower doors and your shower clean is a small squeegee, a microfiber towel and a strong—but eco-friendly—cleaner. The best time to do daily cleaning and maintenance is right after you shower.
- Keep a squeegee in the shower and wipe away water and residue from the glass shower doors and the shower walls before exiting.
- Wipe off the squeegee and excess moisture on the walls and shower door with a microfiber cloth.
- Complete your routine by spraying a mold-deterrent spray on the glass doors and frame.
- To keep moisture under control, always keep your glass shower doors open when you’re not showering.
Here’s how to make your own shower maintenance spray:
Mix a half-cup of rubbing alcohol, a half-cup of hydrogen peroxide, one tablespoon of dishwasher rinse agent and one teaspoon of liquid dish soap into a spray bottle. This cleaning solution is also great for your shower head and any other areas in your shower.
If you want to protect your glass shower doors from the buildup of soap scum, grime and mildew for weeks at a time, use a rain-repellant formula made for car windows. Be sure to use this solution only on the glass doors! The protective barrier the rain repellant creates will prevent scum and stains and stop the hazy film that ruins the look of your glass shower doors. You can add this to your monthly cleaning checklist and keep your shower doors clean and sparkling.
For a more permanent solution for keeping glass shower doors clean, switching to liquid body wash and installing a water softener will help prevent soap scum film and reduce the minerals that cause hard water stains.
We hope these tips for cleaning your glass shower doors helps you create a more beautiful bathroom. You’ll enjoy a cleaner showering experience and reduce the chances of mold and mildew. If you need help getting your bathroom, or any other room, clean and healthy, The Maids is ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work.