Cleaning your shower doors: Two man enter, one man leave

OK.  Shower doors.  Let’s do this.

The crud on your shower doors is most likely a lovely mixture of soap/product scum and whatever minerals are in your water.  I live in the Desert Southwest, and our water practically has to be run through a sieve it’s got so much gunk in it. We regularly replace shower heads because they clog up from mineral deposits.   A good long term solution if you have hard water is a water softener, but I realize that may not be practical for everybody.  Look into it, though, and add it to your list of possibilities.  The LimeAway website has a great map that lists hard water areas across the country.

There are a ton of “best way ever!” methods on the interwebs to get shower doors clean.  You may have to experiment a little.  Here are the top two methods, using the least-possible caustic products:

  1. Abrasive:  Be careful here, because you don’t want to scratch the glass.  No SOS pads, no Comet or Ajax.  Get a non-abrasive sponge (I like these), use plenty of water, and try any or all of the following products.
    • Bar Keeper’s Friend–this is a fantastic cleanser.  It’s gentle and unless you’re taking out your aggression while you clean (it happens…) it’s unlikely to scratch the surface
    • Corn Starch mixed with water to form a paste, rub on door, gently scrub, then use a clean damp rag to wipe off the paste and then a third clean rag to “polish” .
    • Baking soda mixed with water to form a paste as above with corn starch.  Extra rinsing here.
    • Soft Scrub
    • Mr Clean Magic Erasers.  We all know them, most of us love them.  Personally, I don’t have time for these on any space bigger than about six inches square.  Give me a block the size of a shoebox made out of this stuff and we’ll talk.
    • Dryer sheets.  Seriously, yet another use for these.  Love it.  Get a dryer sheet really soaking wet, squeeze a little plain blue Dawn on it, scrub.  Rinse well.
  2. Sprays:  Sometimes, caustic is necessary.  I don’t like it either, but if it solves the problem well, then once or twice a year won’t be the end of the world.  These methods tend to be the Happy Fun Ball of homekeeping.  Get some gloves, open a window, and put the kids and the dogs outside when you do this.  Please follow all manufacturer instructions and recommendations, especially when they talk about “test it in an inconspicuous area”.
    • Lime A-Way.
    • CLR–this is my personal favorite.  I love this stuff.  CLR ain’t messing around.  It cleans the bejeezus out of a bathroom and leaves it all shiny.  A+.
    • Anything from the Scrubbing Bubbles product line.  This stuff is hit and miss for me but it’s worth a shot.  The automatic thing you hang in the shower that is supposed to magically clean it while you’re off living your life didn’t work, but the foaming cleaner is good for touch-up cleaning, rather than dealing with A Situation.

So try these.  Any or all of them.  When you find the one that breaks down your specific mixture of solid shower grossness, please share it so we can all benefit from your experience.

NOW.  Once it’s clean, the hard part is over.  Maintenance is going to be critical here.

  1. Get a squeegee for each shower.  New rule in your house:  Anyone who takes a shower squeegees down the glass and the walls before they step out.  This means EVERYONE.  It takes less than 30 seconds.  No exceptions.  A squeegee in the shower will revolutionize how you clean a bathroom.
  2. Look into getting a water softener.  Yes, it’s an investment, but how many more times in your life do you want to spend a day scraping hard water off your shower?
  3. Take a good hard look at your personal products.  What  do you use to clean yourself?  Because that’s what makes up a lot of the stuff you just spent two hours dealing with.  I know we love our potions that make us look and smell pretty, but that stuff lingers, obviously.  Simplify.  Invest in greener products, because gentler products can be used to clean up after them.
  4. I’ve seen recommendations to spray your shower down with Rain-X once it’s super clean.  This is a good idea (it works on your car, right?) but be super careful about getting any on the shower floor.
  5. In the interest of full disclosure, this is my shower, unstaged (I may have folded the towel hanging on the door).

    This picture was taken through the shower door.  Yeah.  Who's bad?

    This picture was taken through the shower door. Yeah. Who’s bad?

That gets cleaned twice a month, but we wipe down the glass every day.  This is what I mean by maintenance.  Please note the squeegee, and trust me when I say that that is the tool that makes all the difference.


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