Clean Soap Scum And Hard Water Spots On A Glass Shower Door

clean hard water and soap scum in showerIf you have a glass shower door, you probably loved it at first, and then after some time the relationship started to fizzle. They all look great when they are clean, but over time the spots and white haze start to build, and as with many relationships, once the looks go, the attraction starts to fade. This situation only compounds after you try to clean it off for the first time, and despite your sweat and struggle, you are left with little to show for it. You probably sat there and wondered if there is some sort of concrete mixture flowing along with your water, but there isn’t. All of that build up is mostly soap scum, and the remainder is hard water spots.

Judging from the fact that you are reading this now, you have probably tried several things in your cleaning arsenal  that have not worked, and you most likely even resorted to the myriad of recommendations flooding the Internet as well. Just like the bottles of stuff at your house did not do the job, the same goes for most, if not all, of the web wisdom out there. In fact, it is pretty amazing to read about all of the people swearing by and recommending things that “work” but are really causing long term damage along with faster dirt build up. More on that later. If you are sick of guessing, swearing and dealing with a cloudy glass door, keep reading for a method that actually works.

What Is Soap Scum

We have all seen it, and no bathtub or shower is impervious to this menace. That caked on white build up is more than just dried on suds, and that is what makes it so hard to remove. Soap scum is actually a combination of a hard water stain along with soap, shampoo and body oils mixed together. The calcium and magnesium in your water mixes with the fatty acids in your soap, and when the mixture dries, it gives you that familiar crusty or filmy layer. If you are lucky, you will even have some body oils and mildew thrown into the mix. This powerful combination sticks like glue to tile, fiberglass and marble, but it is especially noticeable on glass.

What Is A Hard Water Spot

Hard water is water that has a high mineral content. Spotting occurs when these minerals are left behind after the water evaporates or dries. These spots are often referred to as lime scale because they will typically form in spots that overlap to form what looks like scales or shingles. As mentioned above, this framework gives soap residue something extra to stick to, and that only compounds the problem.

Depending upon your supply, some water may be more hard than others, and it will make cleaning your tub or shower difficult, but it will also make it more difficult to wash yourself as well. The surfactant property of the soap is destroyed by the excess mineral content, and that causes the scum effect as opposed to the lather or bubble effect. Instead of foaming up on your skin to wash away dirt, soap smears and coats and is difficult to wash off, and the same is true for every surface of your shower too. When water is soft, it will usually rinse free from glass and other surfaces, but the harder it is, the more spots and stains you will experience. Because not everyone can run out and purchase a whole house water softener to counteract the effect, it is in your best interest to have a cleaning product that can take it off with ease.

Traditional Methods

When cleaning soap scum or hard water stains off your glass shower door for the first time, most of you probably reached for something you already had. This was most likely quickly followed up by the revelation of “that crap doesn’t work”. It is amazing how many products out there are designed for this specific job, but they are unable to actual do it. One thing most have in common is how stinky and dangerous they are, and the other thing they have in common is how ineffective they are. Toxic fumes and liquids so dangerous you are not supposed to touch them are not required to get this job done, but the light headed feeling may make you forget about finishing, and the blurred vision may trick you into thinking you did a good job. If you would prefer to skip the high and actually get the door clean, then it is probably time to stop using the traditional scrub or spray you are using now, and switch to something better.

Common Recommendations

If you have been doing your Internet research, then you are probably familiar with the growing list of smart ideas to tackle this chore. Chances are you also noticed the long lists of conflicting comments that typically follow up these genius level schemes. One person will claim that it worked perfectly, and directly following that, another one will talk about how it did not work at all. Its pretty hard to jump right on a method that has one person swearing it is the best thing on Earth while another person is left scratching their head, and this is probably all due to the fact that none of them actually work well, but some people just tried harder in certain situations. If you scrub and scrub, it will not matter what sort of cleaner you use, the scrubbing will work the build up off eventually.

Some of us would prefer to not waste money on products that are futile, and most would prefer to just get to the scrubbing if that is what’s going get the shower clean. Although end results are important, how you get there is as well. As with toxic liquids, intense scrubbing should not be required for something that actually works. We will go over some of the commonly used methods below in case you want to try them, or try to avoid them as the case may be. Once we go over what everyone else IS doing, we will move on to what everyone else SHOULD be doing.

  • Traditional Shower Cleaners – Scrubbing bubbles, abrasive liquids, smelly sprays, or any container with a fancy picture or mascot on the front are your typical option when perusing the cleaning isle at your local store. What’s funny is that most of these are designed for this one job, but they are also often noted as not actually working. Common cleaners like tile cleaners, soft scrubbers, lime eliminators and the like are pretty dangerous, and not too many people seem to have luck with them. Lime Away and CLR seem to be top recommendations for this job, but Kaboom and others are pretty commonly referred to as a waste of money. Even when you do hear about one of them working, it does not seem to be unanimous at all. The ingredients in all of these are pretty harsh, and most will leave behind a residue or lasting smell. The smell will fade over time, but the residue will remain to come in contact with your skin and attract new dirt that will stick to it. One thing is for sure. The harsh sprays and expensive  cleaners most folks pick up at the store are not cutting it, and quite frankly the hazardous ingredients are not worth the risk.
  • Magic Eraser – People swear by these things for small jobs, and they do work to scrub away small spots of stain or color, but for a big job like this it seems kind of silly to use one. If you are unaware of how they work, they are actually abrasive, so they do work for scrubbing, but they sort of disintegrate as you use them. Most folks would go through several if trying to clean a whole shower door, and you would still have the rest of your tub to clean as well. When recommending these sponges, the addition of dish soap is usually mentioned to cut through any greasy layers. In some cases this may work depending upon the amount and exact type of build up you have, but it will be mostly elbow grease that produces the results. Add to that how expensive it would be, and it does not seem like the best choice for the job. Also, are these things good for glass? And where does the sponge go as you use it?
  • Jet Dy Or Some Other Dishwasher Additive – These little bottles are pretty costly, but they are supposed to eliminate spotting on glasses and other dishes, so the theory is that the same should hold true for your shower door. As the story goes, the substance itself should do the work, and foam off the scum and hard water like magic. Good luck with that. Even after scrubbing, you may not have a clean surface, and you may have completely wasted your time. It seems like this stuff is designed to work in conjunction with your dish washing detergent, so using it alone may be the problem, or the fact that it is unable to work may be the problem. You be the judge. If you go with this option because you have it on hand, that is one thing, but to run out and drop money on some of this is probably not the best idea. Many people out there would concur that this is not the best way to remove soap scum from your shower door, although it is still recommended by some that feel like it is an effective technique.
  • Dryer Sheet – These things are recommended for all sorts of stuff, but we wouldn’t even recommend using them for your laundry. Read more on why you should stop using dryer sheets and how toxic fabric softeners are. It is an interesting proposition, but the results seem to vary. While it may be effective on slight build up, it is not going to do the trick for anything heavy. If you do choose to try this out, please make sure to wear gloves as you do not want to be holding a wet dryer sheet with your bare hand. Some folks will say to use them dry, and others will say that wet is the way to go. Either way, a simple wipe is supposed to do the trick. The main downsides would be the toxic nature of these sheets and the inevitable residue you will be laying down. Also, as with anything that sounds to good to be true, this one just might be.
  • White Vinegar – There are lots of things you can clean with vinegar, and this happens to be one of them. This method is useful to mention because most people have some at home, and it does actually work with enough effort and the correct technique. It will not remove thick layers or scum that seems like cement, but for light lime scale or hard water, it can be effective enough to give it a shot. Because vinegar brands and specific mineral content will vary, so will your results. To try this technique, simply wet a sponge with pure vinegar, and wipe the area all over. Heating it may make it work better, but be careful with getting it too hot. Keep applying as it dries because you want the door to soak for at least five minutes to allow the vinegar time to work. After several minute of effort, the soap scum should begin to break apart and melt away. Once this happens, take a rinsed sponge and wipe away until it is clean. You will get a pretty strong smell, and in most cases it will not go away right as you finish. This may irritate some folks, but you may be more irritated by your dirty shower, so it is worth a shot if it is all you have.
  • Bar Keepers Friend – This is by far the most highly recommended method out there it seems, and it is probably due to the fact that with enough effort, it will actually get the surface clean. That’s great. What’s funny aboutall of thepeople that are literally head over heals about this stuff, is thateach and every one of them is most likely ruining their shower in the process. Theinitial glee of finding something that can actually clean will quickly turn to dismay due to the cleaner itself, and the method they are using to apply it . It sure is nice to find something to remove the soap scum haze, but you should think twice before youpurchase a bottle of this stuff for this job.Take a look at the back side of the container because it actually says right on it to NOT use it on glass. Hmmmm. Why would this be? Oh yeah, because it is too abrasive, too acidic or too something else for use on glass. “But the pictures look great, and the lime scale and hard water are gone”. Of course it is, you just used a highly abrasive cleaner, and applied it with another highly abrasive implement. After scrubbing hard all over with a recommended green scrubby, the surface would have to be “clean”. But it gets worse because there are even comments about how a regular abrasive green scrub pad did not work, so they went with something even more harsh, and that did the trick. Great. But lets examine the long term effects.

    Set aside the fact that you had to scrub like crazy to get this stuff to eliminate all of the soap scum, and focus on the clean glass, but also consider what is happening with repeat applications. The reason why glass is such a good surface for shower doors is due to how nonporous it is. This is also true for tile, fiberglass and just about anything else you will find in the bathroom. The smoothness of the material is what helps to keep it clean because it prevents dirt from sticking, and it causes water to sheet off so it does not dry to form spots, or absorb to grow mildew. So what happens when you scrape up one of these surfaces in the name of cleanliness? Well, you end up with all kinds of micro-scratches,  and a surface that will never be the same.

    This damage will not be visible to the naked eye at first, but it will be just enough to hold onto dirt, oil, soap and other stuff, and that will actually cause your shower to get dirty faster. It also helps this same grime to hold on tighter once it is on there, so when you have to clean it even sooner, it will be more difficult to remove. Now you will be scrubbing harder and longer, and doing you will be doing it more frequently, so the damage will become worse and the whole situation will slide down a slippery slope of annoyance and frustration similar to what you experienced before you found the best cleaner for the job. This method has proven to get the job done, but you will be risking your expensive tub in the process, so it may be in your best interest for the long term to find something that produces equal results in a safer and easier to use package.

Simply Good Method

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could completely remove soap scum and hard water stains from your shower door and every other surface without scrubbing for hours, breathing harsh fumes, or resorting to some far fetched recommendation? Well you are in luck. Scum Off Shower Cleaner is a safe and effective alternative to everything else you have tried. It is free of harsh chemicals, does not sting your nose, it is safe to touch with your bare hands, and most importantly, it actually works. What’s even better than that is that it requires almost no scrubbing to achieve perfection and eliminate all spots and film. Add to that the fact that it is super concentrated, and therefore, low cost in comparison, and you have a powerful cleaner that will get the job done without breaking the bank or causing long term damage and frustration. This stuff even removes the residues left behind by other cleaners, and will not leave one of it’s own, so unlike the options above, your shower door will come clean easier and stay clean longer.

What Is It?

Scum Off is a showe specific cleaner from the makers of Quick N Brite. It is a natural formulation of high quality ingredients that are incredibly gentle and safe for humans, but also amazingly tough on soap scum and hard water. When you smell it, it has a very mild aroma that is barely there, and never irritating for those with allergies or asthma. When you look at it you will notice that it is a gelatinous liquid that is has a simple white coloration and a unique, almost snot like consistency. This stickiness and thickness is due to the concentrated formula, but it also makes it cling to tub walls and shower doors like a champ. Anyone can finish the job to perfection with this cleaner because it does not require strength or endurance to scrub the area clean, and it is safe for people with sensitive skin, or allergies to more harsh, chemical laden solutions.

How Does It Work?

Unlike most cleaners you are familiar with, this stuff is not a spray and scrub variety. You are not supposed to just put it on there and then scrub away with something abrasive until the area is perfectly clear. This stuff works much differently, and by doing so, it will actually make your job easier in the process. The combination of ingredients in Scum Off allow it to break down organic build up and crustiness, and then float it off the surface it was clinging to in order to make it wipe or rinse away with ease. Most tough stains will actually bond with the material they are covering, and you can either work it free mechanically by scrubbing, or by breaking it down naturally to loosen the hold. Either way, once the scum or stain is no longer glued to the glass, that is when you will be able to eliminate it. With Scum Off, you will still take a similar amount of time with the job, start to finish, but the twenty minutes you would usually spend scrubbing and sweating, you can spend doing something else because with this stuff you just walk away and wait.

How To Use It

  1. To begin, wet the entire surface with warm or hot water. This lubricates the surface, and the added heat will help the cleaner work better.
  2. A non abrasive scrub sponge is included with every container you purchase, and this tool is ideal for application. It will be safe on every surface of your tub or shower, but it will also give you the perfect amount of scrubbing power to cut the surface tension on your soap scum build up. You want to get the sponge wet before you use it for cleaning, and warm or hot water will always be best.
  3. Squirt full strength cleaner directly onto the glass door, or put onto the sponge and then apply it that way. Continue to cover the rest of your tile, marble, stone or fiberglass, and you can even use it on the fixtures.
  4. When applying it, use a circular motion. Work from top to bottom, and side to side to ensure you cover the full surface.
  5. After all surfaces are covered, stop. WALK AWAY FOR 30-60 minutes. This step is key, and necessary for success. You could spend the time scrubbing away, but it is not necessary.
  6. After it has sat, come back with a newly wet sponge and a small amount of cleaner and wipe again in the same way. This will dislodge anything that is still stuck while it washes away most of the grime.
  7. Now rinse the surface with the shower head, clean wet cloth or cup of water to reveal a clean surface.
  8. If you missed a spot, or had some wicked build up, you may need a second application. If so, repeat the steps above.

Once finished, no signs of scum or hard water should remain, and every surface should be squeaky clean and gleaming. No residue will remain, so it will stay clean for a longer period of time, and not only will you be getting rid of the soap scum and hard water without scrubbing, you will also be eliminating any mildew and other dirt as well. It neutralizes odors, cuts through body oils, and breaks apart crusty or gooey layers in a safe and effective manner that is simple to master. It works so well that we are able to recommend it for use by anyone, and sell every container with a full money back guarantee. Try it because nothing else works, or try it because you are looking for something safer and easier to use. Whatever your reason, it will help to make it easy to make your white shower door clear again as you watch the soap scum and hard water slide right off.

Why Does It Work So Well

It’s hard to believe that you could get a glass shower door so clean without scrubbing your brains out, but it truly is possible. As you let Scum Off sit on top of the grime it begins to break it apart and wear it down. This is the same sort of action you get when scrubbing with a brush or abrasive pad, and it is needed to get the yucky stuff off, but it is way easier when the cleaner does the work for you. Other toxic sprays try to burn right through it, or make it more slippery, but this one actually dissolves it naturally. Other ingredients take this process one step further by making the dirt float like a boat once it is no longer stuck, and has started to break apart. This combination works the spot free as it makes it easier to move. When allowed to work all the way, a tough water spot that would not rub out will now wipe off in a single swipe to leave crystal clear glass underneath. Because it does not leave a toxic residue once the cleaning is complete, new dirt will not coat your tub or shower as quickly as it used to, and when it does, it will not build up as fast. This will reduce the frequency that cleaning is required, and it will also make each session easier to finish because the grime won’t be so gnarly.

Daily Maintenance = Less Work

Quick daily maintenance is the easiest and most effective way to keep your shower door and every other surface clean, and if done regularly, you will never see thick build up, and you will be able to go long stretches between each cleaning. To keep a shower door spotless day after day, simply wipe it down after each shower. When no water dries in place, no hard water spots will form. This is by far the most simple way to make sure you never have a hazy door, but it can be tough for some people to commit to.

Shower Squeegee

A shower squeegee will allow you to quickly eliminate moisture in order to leave a dry door, but a high quality microfiber cloth will do the trick as well. As long as you are leaving no moisture on there to form drops, you will not see any scum building over time. The squeegee has a built in hook so you can hang it over your shower head for convenience, and quickly clear away water before you step out. The flexible blade conforms to the surface and pushes away all residual water to leave glass spot free. Simply hang back up when finished, and it is good to go again no matter how quickly the next bather needs to wash.

Microfiber Cloth

A cloth works best for large showers, or ones where there is a rack close by. You will want it dry when wiping, so it can not just hang out in the shower at all times. To use one, simply wipe in one continuous motion from top to bottom making sure to cover all surfaces. A good cloth should absorb and eliminate all water spots with a single pass in most cases. Wring out when finished and then hang dry for the next use. It should still work damp for multiple showers, and they dry quickly so it will not stink or grow stuff when left for several days.

Microfiber Sponge

Almost like a squeegee and cloth combined, our Super Multi Sponge offers incredible drying power and an advanced surface that will help you remove every spec of grime in a single swipe. The sponge will absorb and remove more moisture than a cloth, and it will clean and shine the surface better than a squeegee. Simply take a dry sponge and wipe the surface dry after you shower, then set on a ledge to dry for later use. When no residues and minerals are allowed to dry in place, you don’t have to worry about the door getting dirty over time. Thanks to the advanced cover, you’ll be able to wipe the surface clean with only water as a detergent, and thanks to the double-thick sponge inside, you’ll be able to soak up every last drop of moisture at the same time.

Daily Shower Spray

Use Scum Off to make a daily spray for a slightly easier way to accomplish the same task. Because there is spraying involved it will be easy to get the kids on board, and because it is Scum Off you can be confident that it is totally safe for them to handle. Simply mix 2Tbs into one quart of water and spray down every surface when you are done with the shower. Instead of drying in place, water will sheet down, and run off to prevent minerals and soap from getting stuck. For best results use directly after showering while the surfaces are still wet.

Scum Off is easily one of the best ways to clean soap scum and hard water from your glass shower door, and it will make all other areas of your tub sparkle too. It is easier to get the results you want, and it will take way less effort on your part. It is also incredibly gentle on your skin and respiratory system, and safe for use around kids. Despite being so safe, it is also incredibly powerful and effective for this chore. Stop breaking out the gas mask to tackle this job, and don’t spend another weekend swearing at your shower door. Forget about trying fifty different things you have around you house, and settle on one proven product that is simply good. Your shower will be spotless and you will be able to move on to the next impossible cleaning chore on your list.

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  1. Holy clean glass Batman! I was all set to leave a nasty message when this crap didn’t work. Thanks for making me look bad. My shower door is cleaner than ever. Now what the heck am I supposed to complain about?

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  2. Could I use Scum Off on the outside of my windows? And is it safe to use on the aluminum edges of the window?

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    • Yes and yes. It is perfect for outside windows and even has instructions for doing it right on the bottle. Also don’t worry about the aluminum because not only is it safe, but it will actually clean it just as well as the glass.

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  3. Daily maintenance truly does work! However, i can’t do it every single day no matter how much i want to because of work. I use some cleaners though when cleaning. Every weekends i try to find time to scrub the glass shower door.

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  4. Hard water spots, soap scums, the ones i hate about glass shower doors and removing them can be a daunting task. That’s why it is really important to clean your glass shower doors every single day. The more build of scums and hard water spots, the harder it will be to get rid of them.

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    • Very true. Less dirt always equates to easier cleaning. Daily maintenance will prevent most build up in the first place, so when it is time to clean, it will take less time and effort to do a good job.

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    • We’ll leave the psych evaluation to the professionals, but this is not something we hear often. Technique is important with this particular cleaner, and there are some tricks that can improve results in extreme cases. We would love to help you get the results you expected. Please reply here to let us know how you applied it, or give us a quick call to speak with a specialist.

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  5. In spray bottle of half water and half vniegar, spray liberally all surfaces. You can then use some type of non abrasive scrubber. I like the magic eraser but use whatever you like. You may have to repeat process but it is the safest,inexpensive and earth friendly way to clean just about EVERYTHING!!! I love vniegar because you will not have a residue or streaks on anything you clean. Vinegar is also a natural way to rinse the residue from your hair.

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    • Thanks for the tip. Vinegar is great, and it’s easily one of the top natural cleaning options out there. Have you ever wondered what happens to those magic sponges as you use them? They’re made from a plastic foam right? And they disintegrate as you clean, so where do all the plastic shards go?

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  6. I have clear glass shower doors and one wall and hard water and soap scum have built up over 7 years to the point you can’t see the inside.I have tried every cleaner possible in the market and still has made no difference whatsoever.I have watched you tube videos and followed their methods and nothing seems to work.I am about to call a professional cleaner to come and look at it. But I read about Scum off.Do you think this thing will work or I am just wasting my money.Email me please.

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    • It will definitely work, but don’t expect it to remove 7 years of heavy build up with one magical application. It will take off one layer at a time, so the first time out, you will need to apply it more than once. After it’s totally clean, it will be easy to maintain the look.

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  7. That’s true that soap scum can be difficult to remove. I had no idea that it was a mixture of hard water stains and soap. No wonder it’s harder to remove. It sounds like hard water is what makes cleaning the shower so hard.

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  8. As a general contractor for 30+years, i can tell you, this product is junk, and water will work better. Mineral deposits that have been on glass for more than a MONTH, will not come off with a cleaner in a bottle! Replace them and clean them off after your shower.

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    • Take it from the guy who replaces stuff unnecessarily to make a living, or go with actual results from years of happy customers. You can absolutely remove months or years of build-up from tile, glass, fiberglass and other bathroom surfaces using this product. Of course replacement and daily maintenance will provide a perfect looking surface, but you can also eliminate the grime to rejuvenate the surface. No new doors, and no contractor fees required.

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