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How to Get Your Glass Shower Doors Clean and Sparkling Like New Again (and Keep Them That Way)
Turning my master bathroom into a relaxing spa environment feels so rewarding.
But keeping it that way is another story.
Maybe you recently moved into your home or maybe you just remodeled your bathroom, and everything is finally just the picture of beauty you’ve always wanted.
If so, you’ll be able to relate to my story.
The fun part for me is finding just the right curtains to glam up the window over the tub, buying some fragrant candles for those warm bubble baths on cold evenings and choosing the right wall hangings and décor items to display all my spa bathroom goodies in a beautiful way.
The challenge in maintaining a relaxing spa bathroom comes when it’s time to clean the glass shower doors.
They’re really beautiful when they’re brand new.
But once they’ve been used a few times, they start to look cloudy, grimy and even a little discolored.
That’s definitely not the vibe we’re going for.
And it certainly isn’t relaxing looking at soap scum and hard water stains on my expensive glass doors every day.
Here’s a photo of what my shower looks like practically every day before I get in. The tools and techniques I discuss in this article keep them looking brand new! If you like the look of the coordinating shower bottles, click here to see options.
Hard water stains, dried water spots and soap scum used to be the bane of my existence in the bathroom.
No matter how often I cleaned the shower doors, they always seemed to look dirty.
I didn’t want “cloudy but clean” glass. I wanted “shiny as new” glass surrounding my shower.
And I finally figured out the secret.
I tried a lot of different cleaners and even some scrubby brushes before I finally figured out the real secret to getting those glass panes clean and clear, just like brand new, once and for all.
And you won’t believe how easy it is.
You may even have everything you need already in your home!
You’ll Need a Few Inexpensive and Easy to Find Tools and Supplies
I’ve tried several different cleaning products and tools to get the shower doors clean over the years.
Some work better than others.
Some require less time than others.
Some are all but useless for the task.
I found the most effective shower door cleaning agent to also be the least expensive, and I discovered this by being home the day my shower doors arrived during a bathroom remodel several years ago.
The doors come with a sticker on them that is removed prior to installing, so the homeowner never really sees the sticker.
But that sticker held vital information that would later blow my socks off!
The Only Shower Glass Cleanser You’ll Need
That sticker on my glass panels recommended the only cleanser for the glass doors should be…drum roll please…plain old household white vinegar!
That’s right. White vinegar is the only cleaning agent you need to get soap scum and hard water stains off glass shower doors.
PRO TIP: You can get bulk vinegar at your local warehouse club stores (like Sam’s Club or Costco) in large bottles for a very good value and use it to clean all over your home. At the time of writing this article, you can purchase 2 1-gallon jugs at Sam’s Club for $4.56. That’s 2 full gallons of vinegar for under $5! It’s probably the cheapest and most effective cleaning agent you can use all over your home.
PRO TIP: Never mix vinegar with other cleansers!! You can create a toxic chemical reaction that’s dangerous to you, your family and your pets. Plain vinegar is often powerful enough to get the job done. But if you want to use something else, like bleach or other cleansers, skip the vinegar altogether.
You see, the glass doors are actually treated in the factory with a protective coating that can be damaged by harsh chemicals and abrasives.
I sure hope you’re not using abrasives on your glass doors.
If so, stop doing that right now! You can damage them permanently.
Is Vinegar a Good Disinfectant?
Vinegar really is our friend in the bathroom.
It’s harmless when used in a ventilated area and it just gets everything so clean.
Don’t count on vinegar to disinfect your whole bathroom though.
It will kill certain germs but it’s not as effective at disinfecting as some other products.
Disinfectants won’t take soap scum off your glass shower panels though, so keep that friendly vinegar around for this job!
The Only Glass Shower Panel Cleaning Tool You’ll Need
There’s only one other tool besides the vinegar you’ll need to clean the shower door thoroughly, and that’s a good quality microfiber cloth.
How do you know if it’s good quality?
Well, when you clean with it, does it pick up virtually everything without using any chemicals or a lot of scrubbing energy?
If so, you’ve got a good quality cloth.
By they way, don’t try to use the ultra fluffy type of microfiber cloths that are made special for cleaning screens on phones and glasses.
You need the short pile microfiber. It’s just better at cleaning the soap scum from glass without having to use a lot of force while cleaning.
If you don’t already have one of these at home, you can find one very easily, and they’re quite inexpensive.
I have purchased most of my microfiber cloths from Sam’s Club and QVC.
I’ve gotten great quality microfiber cloths and towels from both retailers.
PRO TIP: To keep your microfiber cloths delivering tough scrubbing power without scratching, never use fabric softener on them. You can use detergent, but don’t use liquid softener or dryer sheets. The softeners will clog the tiny fibers and prevent them from cleaning properly. To avoid using softener, I just wash my microfiber cloths in with a normal load of towels then hang to air dry.
Make sure you have a cloth that is on the thinner side…low pile and thin enough to feel through the cloth.
This will be essential when figuring out whether you’ve gotten everything off the glass.
The Only Tool You Need To Keep Your Shower Glass Panels Sparkling Clean For Good
Once you’ve gotten those shower doors all sparkly and shiny like brand new glass, there’s only one tool you need to keep them looking that way.
And, lucky for all of us, this tool is also very inexpensive and easy to come by.
You will need a shower squeegee.
I know what you’re thinking.
“But, I don’t want to squeegee my shower. I’ll never remember to take it in the shower with me, and I can’t stand having it look awful and take up space in between showers.”
I’ve got you.
I had the same problem before I discovered this squeegee.
This squeegee is clear so it’s almost invisible in the shower, and it comes with a Command® strip hook so it hooks right on the wall anywhere you want.
You can see I have mine completely out of sight.
It disappears if you’re not looking for it.
That’s my favorite thing about it.
My second favorite is how the Command strip hook adheres perfectly to my textured ceramic tile, even with the steam, heat and temperature changes in the shower.
PRO TIP: Follow the directions for using the Command hook! You have to adhere the sticky part to the wall, then remove the hook and let it sit for 24 hours before placing the hook back on and using it to hang the squeegee. That 24 hours is crucial! It allows the sticky strip to expand and adhere properly before you put any downward weight on it. Don’t skip that step. You’ll be quite pleased with how well the hook stays on your shower walls.
Another thing I really love about this squeegee is that it has never rusted!
It has been hanging in my shower for more than a year and there is no sign of rust, discoloring or metal fatigue.
It’s very good quality.
So that’s all the tools and supplies you’ll need to get those shower doors clean and keep them that way.
Clean Your Shower Doors With Ease
First things first.
Let’s make cleaning the shower as convenient as possible, shall we?
I do it when I’m already showering. There’s no need to change clothes, remove shoes, reach across the shower to the wall and so on.
I’m already taking a shower, so it’s the perfect time to go ahead and clean it while I’m already in there.
The method I’ll show you won’t take a lot of time, so it works right into a normal shower routine.
I spray vinegar directly onto the shower doors just before getting in the shower.
Then I turn the shower on to warm up, and make sure my shower head isn’t facing the doors so it doesn’t just rinse off as soon as it’s sprayed on.
PRO TIP: Don’t spray so much vinegar that the steam will create fumes while you’re showering. A little goes a long way. If you prefer, you can use Scrubbing Bubbles instead. It sticks nicely to the glass while it’s cleaning and works almost as well as plain white vinegar.
Take your microfiber towel or cloth into the shower with you and set it somewhere it will stay fairly dry until you use it.
When you’re finished with your normal shower routine, you can take your microfiber cloth and wipe down your glass panels.
You will be able to feel the difference in the glass between the clean areas and the hard water or soap scum areas. (This is why you’ll want a cloth on the thinner side. You need to be able to feel little bumps through it)
You shouldn’t have to work too hard.
A good microfiber cloth does most of the work. But maybe the first time will take a bit longer.
When your cloth gets sopping wet from vinegar and water, wring it out. You don’t need to rinse it.
The trick is to keep the towel on the damp side while you’re using it, not soaking wet.
Once you feel you’ve gotten all the grime off the glass, you can rinse your cloth and rinse down all the glass panels with your shower head. Hopefully you have a removable one. If not, you may need to take a cup in the shower with you when you’re cleaning so you can rinse the glass down.
PRO TIP: If you use shaving cream, the cap to the shaving cream can works nicely as a rinsing cup if you don’t have a removable shower head.
You should notice right after rinsing that the doors are clean, see through and the water drops are running off instead of sticking in place.
Keeping Your Glass Shower Panels Clean
Once you’ve cleaned your glass shower walls, the best way to keep them that way for the longest period of time is to squeegee the water off them after every shower.
PRO TIP: If you dry yourself off with your towel and wrap it around you while squeegeeing the glass, you’ll save yourself the discomfort of feeling like a popsicle while squeegeeing.
I know what you’re thinking.
“That sounds like a lot of work.” -or-
“How am I going to get my [husband]/[child]/[roommate] to squeegee the shower every time they get out?”
Ok, I have good news.
It doesn’t have to be every single time.
You can go a couple showers in between squeegee sessions and still have very clear glass panels in your shower. But you may need to clean them a bit more often since water and soap will be sitting on the glass more regularly.
Here’s a close up of my shower doors right after getting squeegeeing them after a shower. You can see there is a little steam and water on the edges, but this dries clear. If you love the look of the coordinated refillable shower bottles, click here to see our color options.
That’s not so bad though.
I’m the only person using my shower, and as long as I squeegee it daily, I can go weeks without having to actually clean the glass.
Of course, this will be different for everyone, depending on how hard your water is, how much product you use on your hair and body, and what the composition of your products are, but you get the idea.
How to Squeegee Without that Awful Squeegee Screeching Sound
If you’ve ever tried to squeegee glass, you know the dreaded sound it can make.
It sounds like a cross between scraping nails on a chalkboard and a nighttime cat fight outside your window.
You just got chills from just the mere thought of those sounds, didn’t you?
Sorry about that. I know it’s awful.
So, I’ve developed a good system of avoiding those sounds altogether.
If you’re anything like me, you won’t be encouraged to squeegee daily if the sound makes you want to run away.
There are two tricks I’ve found can reduce or entirely eliminate any unpleasant sounds that result from squeegeeing glass.
First, don’t use a lot of pressure.
You don’t really need to push hard to get an effective clearing of the water from the glass, and it’s not really good for the glass walls and doors to be pushed on regularly either.
And second, try to always hold the squeegee at an angle that places the handle parallel to the glass.
This becomes more difficult as you reach the bottom of the glass because the handle on the squeegee will hit the floor of the shower or the bottom of your half wall before you’ve cleared the entire glass panel.
But the solution is to lighten up you pressure as you reach the bottom so the squeegee is just skimming the glass.
If you purchase the same squeegee I use, these two tricks should solve the terrible sound problem.
If you decide to purchase a different squeegee, adjust your angle and pressure until you figure out the right combination for that squeegee.
Bonus: Cleaning The Rubber Waterproof Edgings
Once you get all those glass panels shiny and looking new again, you may look around and realize the little rubber edges to the glass that create a waterproof seal around the door are pink or rust colored with mildew and crud that you just can’t reach with any of your scrubbing tools.
Did you know you can actually remove those strips from the glass to clean them?
They don’t slide up and down. They slide right off the side of the glass panel. There shouldn’t be any adhesive keeping them on.
It’s pure friction that keeps them adhered to the glass.
The easiest way to get those plastic rubbery strips clean inside the grooves is to pull the strip straight off the glass and use a cotton swab dipped in vinegar to swipe inside the groove where it fits on the glass.
All clean. Easy peasy!
PRO TIP: If you only slide off the end that needs to be cleaned, you won’t have any difficulty getting the strip back onto the glass.
Ever since I’ve been using these inexpensive products and easy tricks, my glass shower panels always look like they were just installed.
I no longer dread trying to scrub, scrape and coax the grime off or feel ashamed of the dirty look.
If you try my approach, let me know how it worked out for you. Did it change your life? I can’t wait to hear about it!