How to Clean a Shower Door

A glass shower door.

When you get into your shower, are you careful not to let your skin touch the shower door? Typically, this is a good clue that it’s time to clean your shower door. I’m also guilty of letting my shower door get filthy and gross. And usually when I’m having company is about the time I realize the disaster it has become. Oh, what to do?

While there are many “quick” soap scum cleaning products available for the shower, some contain toxic ingredients that can be hazardous to your health and the environment. If there is a warning label on it about irritating your eyes or skin, it may be one of the products I am talking about (the ones where the burning sensation filters through the house and your significant other complains about the smell from downstairs). Instead, try a non-toxic, green method using household products that you probably already have. In this article, I will outline the steps I follow in cleaning my glass shower door and finish with some recommendations on how to avoid the embarrassing problem in the first place.

Steps for Cleaning a Shower Door

  1. a shower doorExamine the condition of the shower door. From a distance, your shower door may look, uh, not so bad. But take a closer look. Are there hard water spots on the glass? Is there a white buildup on the metal frame? How much soap scum has built up? Knowing how big the job is going to be will help you determine which cleaning products you will need to gather.
  2. a blue bucket and yellow spongeGather your supplies. For just a case of regular soap scum buildup, you will need a small to medium bucket, a sponge, white vinegar, an old toothbrush, and a few drying towels that won’t leave fibers on the glass (I like microfiber). If you have mold or mildew, you will also need a spray bottle. If you have hard water stains, grab some lemon oil to use.
  3. looking inside the showerPrepare the shower door for cleaning. When you have a plate with dried-on food, what do you do? You soak it. Similarly, you want to get the shower door wet before you begin cleaning. You may even want to run the shower with hot water for a while for the steam to work its loosening magic. Rinse away any stuck-on debris and try to remove any of those pesky shampoo clumps that somehow flew from your head and affixed themselves to the door.
  4. using a toothbrush inside the door runnersPerform an initial cleaning of the shower door. I can’t stand touching grime so if you’re like me, you may want to throw on some cleaning gloves. Fill your bucket with hot water (not so hot that you burn yourself), and add a half cup of vinegar for every two quarts of water. Using vinegar is a great way to clean glass; it kills bacteria, it’s biodegradable, and it’s less harsh than some other products. Use your sponge to apply the mixture to the shower door. Scrub using a side-to-side motion starting at the top and working your way down. For any buildup in cracks of the frame, use the old toothbrush to remove the grime. Then rinse. How does it look? You may be able to skip to the drying portion.
  5. limescale on the doorRemove any mold, mildew, or limescale. That white buildup on the shower door is limescale. You may also notice mold or mildew standing its ground and refusing to go down the drain. This is where the water bottle will come in handy. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in the bottle. Spray the areas with this solution soaking them thoroughly and then wait about five minutes. Now scrub with your sponge and rinse.
  6. drying the shower doorDry your shower door. Letting your shower door remain wet is part of how your shower door problem came to be. Take your drying towel and give the door a thorough once-over. Make sure you try to remove the water from the crevices of the frame. At this point, you should be admiring the shiny shower door that will amaze your guests. But wait, what are those water spots still doing on the glass?
  7. bottle of lemonCleaning those pesky hard water stains from the glass.Your shower door should be looking pretty good, but some of you may still have hard water spots that can be difficult to remove. I recommend using lemon oil to buff them away. While the door is dry, add the lemon oil to a cloth and apply it to the spots. Buff it in a circular motion (think Karate Kid) until the spots are gone. For an extra shiny glass door, keep going and use the cloth to shine up the entire door.

Maintain a Clean Shower Door

So really, you don’t have to let your shower door get so dirty that your mother is embarrassed of you. After you take a shower wipe down the shower door with a towel. You can even use a squeegee to remove the water and film. If you tend to have mold issues, make sure you use your exhaust fan while showering to keep the moisture levels as low as possible in the bathroom. Keeping the shower door cracked open a bit can also help it dry faster. Above all, regular scheduled cleaning is the best preventative measure you can take to avoid a huge shower door project.

Chemical-Free Options for Cleaning a Glass Shower Door

shower squeegeeShower squeegees. Many companies make shower squeegees that attach to your shower walls. A squeegee is a quick way to remove water from your shower door as well as strip off the soap and film that can build up if left to dry there. Just like using a squeegee on windows, swipe in a vertical pattern starting from the top and work your way to the bottom. Make sure to use a slight overlap to force the water down and off the shower door.

microfiber clothsMicrofiber glass cloths. Using cloths instead of paper towels when cleaning and polishing the glass on your shower door is better for the environment. The fact that they can be washed and reused also makes them a more economical choice. And the shine looks just as good—if not better.

spray bottle of EcodiscoveriesEcoDiscoveries Tub & Tile. If you have a heavy buildup of soap scum, you may want to try a safe, organic cleaner like the one made by EcoDiscoveries. It can be used on a variety of bathroom surfaces that accumulate soap scum, including shower doors. It effectively removes buildup without the toxic chemicals that can harm your eyes and skin. You can find ecodiscoveries sold on Amazon.