How to Remove Soap Scum From Glass Shower Doors: 4 Ways

By Marsha Harrison

how to remove soap scum from glass shower doors

Hard water can make bathroom surfaces look dingy. Glass enclosures are particularly hard to clean as layers of chemicals, moisture, and dirt build up.

What’s even more annoying is that regular bathroom cleaning products do not work on them.

But don’t give up just yet. Follow along as I share different tricks on how to remove soap scum from glass shower doors.

Cleaning Supplies

Check your pantry to see if you have any of these items and use them to clean soap scum from shower doors:

  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Dish soap
  • Ammonia
  • Baking soda
  • Magic eraser

  • Note: Refer to the specific tutorials to find the details of the recipes and supplies.

Method #1: White Vinegar and Dish Soap

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1. Prepare your cleaning solution

White vinegar alone can get soap scum off shower doors but you will need additional supplies for particularly stubborn areas. Hence, make sure to prepare these:

  • Liquid dish soap
  • Vinegar
  • Spray bottle
  • Sponge or soft microfiber cloth

For this to work on stubborn stains, boil your vinegar. Pour equal amounts of the warmed vinegar and liquid dish soap into a spray bottle.

Just a fair warning to everyone: I know scrubbing out soap scum can take forever to clean years of soap scum off glass. However, do not mix vinegar and bleach no matter what.

The combination creates fumes that are harmful to your lungs. For a complete list of which products you must not mix, check this article on Good Housekeeping.

2. Spray the cleaner onto the glass surface

Because the vinegar is hot, be careful in handling the cleaning solution.

Test the mixture on a hidden area of the glass enclosure by spraying a small amount of the solution. Then wipe off it with a cloth or sponge to check if there are any scratches on the surface. If no adverse effects are detected, proceed to spray the entire enclosure.

As WCMA instructs, let the solution sit on the glass for 20 to 30 minutes. This will allow it to work through the stains.

Next, use your sponge or cloth to scrub the glass shower door cleaner soap scum.

This should conclude the tutorial. But, for those who have sliding doors, Garrety Glass suggests using vinegar to clean up soap scum on the tracks.

Be sure to cover the drain holes with paper towels then fil the slots with vinegar and leave it overnight. The next day, simply take out the paper towels and wipe the leftover vinegar to clean it up.

Method #2: Ammonia

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1. Pre-cleaning prep work

In a spray bottle, combine 3 parts water and 1 part ammonia. Put the lid back on and shake well.

Tip: Before you start cleaning, make sure you appropriate personal protective equipment on. This includes goggles, gloves, and an apron.

Due to the ammonia’s pungent smell, the space you are working in has to be well-ventilated. Furthermore, be sure that the mixture is out of children’s reach.

You can check this Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety for complete information regarding proper protection.

2. Apply the mixture to the affected area

Spritz the solution onto the soap scum and let it work through the build-up for up to 10 minutes.

Then use a scrub brush to get rid of soap scum on shower doors and other glass surfaces. According to this blog on Sebring, you should see the stain diminishing as you rub them out.

Lastly, remove the residue with water and dry it with a cloth or squeegee.

Method #3: Baking Soda Paste

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1. Create the paste and apply it to the glass surface

Using this recipe from The Spruce, combine ¼ cup of distilled vinegar and 1 cup of baking soda in a small plastic bowl.

Just a heads up: Mixing the two will cause some fizzing. Once it stops frothing, you can use your sponge or microfiber cloth to scoop some of the paste and spread it on the glass surface.

Let the paste stay on the surface for 15 minutes. Get another fresh microfiber cloth to wipe off the paste with water. Ensure that all residue is removed and that the surface is dried.

2. Optional: Do another round for the stubborn stains

For areas with thicker layers of soap scum, create another batch of vinegar and baking soda paste using the same recipe above. Next, prepare some table salt.

Get your sponge or microfiber cloth and dip it in the paste solution, then in the salt. This should make your mixture coarse, which can help you scrape the heavy buildup.

Tip: If your bathroom floor or walls are made of natural stones, know that not all of them can withstand salt.

Hence, ensure that your stone surfaces are safe by keeping them away from salt. You can read this article on LSI Stone to learn more about this.

Method #4: Magic Eraser

1. Get your magic eraser wet and squeeze the excess moisture

Begin by soaking your magic eraser to activate the micro-scrubbers. Doing so will allow them to work deeper into the hard water stains and clear up your glass more effectively.

Tip: According to the manufacturer’s website, Magic Eraser Foaming Bath is the most suitable variant for the job.

After wetting the magic eraser, squeeze out the excess water. Here, you should notice that the eraser is starting to foam up. This is a sign that you’re ready to use it for removing soap scum from glass shower doors.

2. Start wiping

Once you have prepped your magic eraser, start wiping it vigorously on the glass surface. With continuous firm yet steady strokes, you should see the hard water stain start to fade.

Tip: Another great piece of advice from the manufacturer is to use your magic eraser on the shower tracks if it is made of metal. But be sure to spot test in an inconspicuous area first.

On that note, let me emphasize that this product should not be used in combination with bleach and other cleaners.

Frequently Asked Questions

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1. Are there other cleaning methods I can try besides the ones mentioned above?

So your attempt to remove soap scum from glass shower doors with vinegar did not work. Perhaps you do not have the items I listed above.

Now, you’re wondering, “Does bleach remove soap scum?”

The answer is yes. Bleach can be used as a soap scum removal solution, which you can learn on Trusted Cleaner’s website. You can try borax using this tutorial on HGTV.

Alternatively, you can check out how lemon juice can clean bathroom surfaces on How Stuff Works.

2. What is the best way to clean glass shower doors with soap scum?

As always, the most practical strategy is to never allow the soap scum to build up in the first place.

Investing in a water softener is a good long-term measure but if you don’t have the budget for that, there are cheaper ways!

A quick fix you can do every day is using a squeegee to remove moisture on your glass after showering. This will help you prevent soap scum on shower glass.

Squeegees or window scrubbers are inexpensive so buy one if you don’t have one yet!

For your weekly regimen, Better Homes & Gardens recommends giving your shower a once-a-week wipe-down using a foaming cleaning pad or sponge.

At least once a month, do a deep clean on every surface and corner of the shower area.

Besides removing soap scum from glass shower doors, you can spray water repellent on the glass!

Conclusion

Cleaning can be a tough job if you don’t know how to deal with specific types of stains. Moreover, it can be hard to scrub away layers of dirt and other substances that build up over time.

This is why I shared various strategies on how to remove soap scum from glass shower doors. By trying each one of them, you can determine the one that works best for you.

In conjunction with that, don’t forget to perform monthly maintenance to keep your bathroom looking good as new.

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