Today’s top shower trends range from ultra modern to rustic chic–but they all have one element in common: tempered glass shower doors, walls and enclosures are widely used to make the bathroom look larger and more open. And where there is a glass shower door or wall, there are often water streaks and soap scum.

How to clean a glass shower door is a simple question with many answers. In this article we will dive in and discuss:

  • How to clean glass shower doors, walls, and enclosures
  • The best glass shower door cleaner
  • The differences between natural and commercial glass shower door cleaners
  • How to clean textured glass, such as a rain glass shower door
  • Tips for cleaning glass shower door hardware
  • How to keep glass walls and doors in the shower clean

As you will see, different shower door styles have different cleaning requirements. Large showers and those with more details, such as a grid shower with many different frames, take more work, whereas simpler showers with fewer parts are easier to clean.

How to Clean Glass Shower Doors & Walls

Cleaning your glass shower doors and walls is a straightforward process in most cases. Whether you are using a commercial cleaner or a natural solution, the basic cleaning steps are the same.

  1. Spray the surface to be cleaned, wetting it thoroughly with the cleaner you have chosen.
  2. Allow the cleaner to sit on the glass for a few minutes, to dissolve any accumulated soap scum.
  3. Gently scrub the surface with a sponge or soft brush, and then wipe off the remaining cleaner.
  4. Rinse the surface thoroughly, and then squeegee or towel dry to minimize drips and streaks.

Be careful not to use abrasive cleaners or scrubbers on the glass surfaces in your shower. Soft brushes, sponges and microfiber cloths will all clean gently but thoroughly.

What is the Best Glass Shower Door Cleaner?

What is the best cleaner to use in your glass shower? This is where things can get a little more complicated. Removing soap scum, mildew and hard water stains from glass shower doors can be tackled with both household cleaners and natural solutions. Here are some of the most popular choices:

Household Cleaners

  • Commercial soap scum removers: Specialized products specifically formulated to remove soap scum can be highly effective and are available at most grocery or hardware stores. Follow the directions on the bottle for the most effective cleaning.
  • All-purpose bathroom cleaners: Many general bathroom cleaners are designed to tackle soap scum along with other types of bathroom grime. Many offer specific directions for different surfaces and stains, so be sure to check the bottle.
  • Dawn Platinum Powerwash dish soap: One of our colleagues mentioned that she has been using Dawn Platinum Powerwash dish soap in her shower with impressive results. We did some research, and she is not alone–many references on forums and social media attest to the effectiveness of Powerwash on shower glass. Follow the four basic cleaning steps listed earlier in this article.
  • Magic Eraser: A melamine foam sponge, like Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, can remove soap scum effectively when used with water. Wet the sponge and scrub the surface. You may not even need to rinse.

Natural Cleaning Solutions

Natural cleaning solutions are becoming increasingly popular for those who seek to reduce their use of chemicals, and as a bonus, natural cleaners are cheaper than commercial products. Here are a few to try:

  • Vinegar and water solution: People have been cleaning with vinegar and water for generations, and with good reason–it works. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle to clean your glass shower. Spray the solution on the glass doors, let it sit for a few minutes, and then wipe it off. Vinegar is acidic and helps break down soap scum.
  • Baking soda paste: If you have a heavy build-up of soap scum to clean, you might need a little more muscle, and baking soda paste is your answer. Create a paste using baking soda and a little water. Apply it to the soap scum, allow it to sit for 15-20 minutes, and then scrub gently with a non-abrasive sponge or cloth, being sure to rinse thoroughly afterwards.
  • Lemon juice: Like vinegar, lemon juice is acidic and can help dissolve soap scum. Apply the lemon juice directly to the scum, let it sit, and then wipe it away.
  • Borax: Borax is sodium borate, a natural mineral that has been used as a household cleaner and laundry soap for decades. To use it in to clean your shower, mix some with water to form a paste, apply it on the glass, scrub with a non-abrasive sponge or cloth, and rinse off.

Cleaning Textured Glass

The easiest glass showers to clean are those with clear glass doors and walls. Frameless glass shower doors are also an easier-to-clean style since there are no other parts to trap soap. Half-glass shower doors are also easier to keep clean because they have less surface area. However, textured glass, sliding doors and framed styles are all popular, and keeping them clean and sparkling is simply accomplished with the right approach.

Cleaning Textured Shower Glass

Rain glass shower doors are beautiful and offer the person using the shower more privacy than clear glass. However, cleaning textured glass shower doors requires a slightly different approach compared to smooth glass, due to the grooves and crevices in which soap scum and water spots can easily accumulate. Here are some effective methods to clean textured glass shower doors:

Vinegar and Water Solution

Method: Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. If dealing with heavy buildup, warm both the vinegar and water to enhance their cleaning power.
Application: Spray generously over the glass, ensuring the solution seeps into the textured patterns. Let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing with a soft brush or sponge to get into the textures. Rinse thoroughly with warm water.

Baking Soda Paste

Method: Create a paste using baking soda and a small amount of water.
Application: Apply this paste liberally to the textured surfaces. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes. Use a soft brush (like a toothbrush or a soft scrub brush) to scrub into the textures. Rinse well with water.

Commercial Soap Scum Removers

Method: Choose a cleaner that is designed for bathroom soap scum, being sure to check that it is safe for use on textured glass.
Application: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, which instruct you to spray the cleaner directly onto the glass, allow it to sit, scrub with a soft brush and rinse off.

Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda

Method: Mix hydrogen peroxide with baking soda to create a slightly runny paste. The paste will bubble, which will help carry it into the pattern on the glass.
Application: Spread this mixture over the shower doors and let it sit for 30 minutes. Scrub gently with a soft brush to work into the textures and rinse off with water.

Lemon Juice

Method: Lemon juice works similarly to vinegar due to its acidity.
Application: Apply lemon juice directly (do not dilute!) or spray it onto the textured glass, let it sit, and then scrub lightly with a soft brush before rinsing.

Shower Door Cleaning Tips

Cleaning the Glass Shower Door Hardware, Frame, Tracks, and Seal

 

Sliding glass shower doors, as well as shower doors with frames, require extra attention to keep clean. The same is true for shower door hardware, such as hinges and door handles. Trackless showers are easier to clean, but the seals on those types of shower doors also need to be cleaned.

Cleaning Sliding Glass Shower Doors (and showers with framed doors and walls)

Cleaning a shower with a sliding glass door and tracks takes a few extra steps. Cleaning the glass in the door is straightforward, though you will need to pay attention to cleaning where the glass meets the frame. The same is true for shower doors and walls with decorative frames.

To thoroughly clean the door frame, apply the cleaner of your choice right up to the edge of the glass, and then use a small brush or the edge of a sponge to clean the glass where it meets the frame.

Cleaning the tracks on a sliding glass shower door is a little more involved. Before you start cleaning and while the shower is dry, grab your vacuum and, using a crevice tool, vacuum the tracks to remove dust, dirt, and hair. This step will make cleaning the tracks a lot easier.

Apply a mixture of hot water and vinegar or an all-purpose cleaner to the tracks and allow it to soak in for a few minutes. Next, use an old toothbrush or a small cleaning brush to scrub inside the tracks. Pay special attention to corners and junctions where dirt tends to accumulate. Wipe the tracks with a damp cloth to remove loosened grime and cleaning solution, and then dry thoroughly to prevent water marks.

How to Clean a Shower Glass Door Seal

If your shower door is not on tracks, it probably has a soft rubber or vinyl strip at the bottom that forms the seal, keeping the water in the shower. On glass shower doors, seals are almost invisible–unless they are dirty. Over time, mildew can form, and soap scum can accumulate on the seal, making it visibly grimy.

Cleaning the shower door seal is a snap, and you can do it while you are cleaning the glass, with no extra cleaners needed. After you have cleaned the door, simply run your sponge or cloth over the seal, being sure to clean both the bottom and the sides. Wipe it with a damp cloth to remove any remaining cleaning solution and you are done.

Cleaning Glass Shower Door Hardware

Keeping the hardware on your shower gleaming takes an extra step, but it is easy, especially if you use the opportunity to give the faucets on the sinks and bathtub a quick polish while you are at it. Start by wiping down all metal parts with a mild soap solution or specialized metal cleaner (important if your hardware is stainless steel or chrome.) Using a soft cloth wipe the cleaner on and off the hardware. After cleaning, you can apply a dab of baby oil to help repel water spots from forming. Be sure to clean glass shower door hinges well and wipe any stray cleanser off the glass because any smears you leave behind will show.

Additional Tips for Keeping Shower Doors Clean

  • Once you get your glass shower sparkling clean, keep it that way with these daily, weekly, and monthly tips.
  • Daily squeegee: Use a squeegee after every use to minimize water marks and buildup. This may be less effective on highly textured surfaces but will still reduce the buildup of stains.
  • Weekly wipe down: If you have a smooth glass shower, a weekly wipe down with a Magic Eraser or similar sponge will minimize buildup and keep your shower looking great. If you have textured glass, spray it weekly with the cleaner of your choice, let it sit for a few minutes and then give it a quick wipe. Your shower will look great, and you will prevent unsightly stains.
  • Monthly cleaning: Regular cleaning–including cleaning the seal and wiping down the hardware–will ensure your shower is clean and pleasant to use. Deep cleaning monthly is especially important for textured glass because soap scum embeds more easily in the crevices.

Another important tip for keeping your shower doors sparkling is to improve the ventilation in the bathroom. The more quickly your shower dries, the fewer water tracks are left behind. Our tip: be sure your bathroom ventilation fans can do their job by giving them a good cleaning every six months.

Using these methods will help keep glass shower doors clean and free of buildup, ensuring they remain clear and visually appealing. Regular attention is key to preventing the accumulation of grime and maintaining the beauty of your shower.

Help for Not-So-Beautiful Doors–Glass Shower Door Replacement

Shower doors get a lot of use. If a thorough cleaning does not provide the improvement in appearance that you had hoped for, it might be time to think about a glass shower door replacement. The same is true if the sliding door on your bathtub has worn out and is no longer working properly. A tub-to-shower conversion might be the way to go, rather than simply replacing the door.

Conversions can be a surprisingly affordable way to upgrade your bathroom, delighting your family and bolstering your home’s value at the same time. Either way, it is helpful to talk to a design professional about details such as maximizing the use of space, glass shower door sweep, the best options for your space, and new materials and styles that you might not be familiar with. Contact Re-Bath and schedule a free design consultation today! Re-Bath professionals are always happy to provide insights and options.