How to Clean Glass Shower Doors

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Hubert Miles

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When you’re showering, you want to unwind while getting clean. What you don’t want to be doing while showering is staring at the grimy buildup on your glass shower door. People often only notice this buildup once it’s too late, and it becomes harder to clean. If you’re wondering how to clean your glass shower door, then look no further!

You will need a powerful cleaning agent to clean a glass shower door. You can use a commercial cleaner or create a homemade solution of white vinegar and water. Apply the cleaning agent to the dry glass door and let sit for several minutes. Wipe the glass down with a lint-free cloth or paper towel.

In this article, we’ll break down the reasons that your glass shower door gets dirty. Understanding these causes will better allow you to prevent and clean your shower door and walls. In terms of cleaning your glass shower door, we’ll break down everything you need to know to get that glass door back into a pristine condition – and how to keep it that way.

How to Clean Glass Shower Doors

If you want to get your glass shower door sparkling again, then you’re in the right place! Keep reading as we break down how you can get (and keep) your glass shower door clean.

1. Choose a Cleaning Agent 

You have two main options when it comes down to a cleaning agent for your glass shower door. The first, of course, is using a store-bought commercial cleaner for your shower door. However, you also have the option of using an environmentally friendly homemade cleaning agent.

If you want to purchase a cleaner, you’ll be able to do this online or at your local grocery store. If you’re struggling with the severe buildup of hard water stains, soap scum, or mildew, you may want to contact a local shower glass company for a high-performance cleaning agent recommendation.

If you decide to go the homemade cleaning agent route, you’ll be able to do this by simply combining one part white vinegar with three parts distilled water. You can store your solution in a spray bottle for easier shower door cleaning.

2. Gather Your Materials

Once you’ve decided on which type of cleaning agent you want to use, you’re almost ready to clean your glass shower door. The next step towards getting that glass shower door clean is gathering the materials you’ll need to clean it.

Of course, you’ll need the cleaning agent you’ve decided on using. If you’re using a commercial cleaning agent, you’ll want to wear protective gloves while cleaning your shower. This will protect your hands from the chemicals present in the cleaning agent.

For the actual cleaning of your glass shower door, you’ll need a lint-free towel to wipe the glass door down with. You’ll also want to have some newspaper or paper towels on hand to wipe the window down without leaving streaks.

Finally, you might want to add a squeegee to your arsenal of shower-cleaning tools. A squeegee can be extremely handy in maintaining the cleanliness of your glass shower door – but more on that later. On to the next step!

3. Dry the Glass Door

To properly tackle the buildup of soap scum and mildew on your glass shower door, you’ll need to ensure that your shower door is fully dry before cleaning it. The cleaning agent you’ve decided to use will need to be left on the shower door for several minutes.

To get the most out of your cleaning agent – whether it’s homemade or store-bought – your shower door should be completely dry before you begin to apply the cleaning solution. This will help ensure you get the best results when cleaning your glass shower door!

4. Apply Cleaning Agent to Shower Door

The next step is actually to clean your shower using your chosen cleaning product! If you’re using a commercial cleaner, you should always consult the provided directions, as the instructions for use may differ slightly from other methods.

Regardless of which type of cleaning agent you’re using, you’ll want to leave it on the shower door for up to ten minutes before wiping the door down. This will allow the cleaning agent to soak into the grimy buildup in your shower properly.

5. Rinse Cleaning Solution with Warm Distilled Water

Once you’ve left your cleaning agent on your glass shower door for a few minutes, you’re ready to rinse it off! When doing this, you should use warm distilled water. Remember, hard water is what partially got you into this mess, so you don’t want to use that to rinse your newly cleaned shower.

6. Wipe Down the Shower Door

Using a lint-free cloth, paper towel, or newspaper, you’ll want to wipe down your glass shower door after rinsing it off with distilled water. Using one of these materials to wipe your glass door down will prevent streaks from appearing.

You should avoid using scouring pads or similar cleaning supplies when cleaning your glass shower doors. Not only can these remove protective coatings from glass shower doors, but they can leave scratches on your shower door. In general, the material you use to wipe down your glass shower door should always be a non-abrasive material to yield the best results for you.

How and Why Glass Shower Doors Get Dirty

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In a modern bathroom, a glass shower door can provide a sleek and beautiful bathroom aesthetic. However, without the proper maintenance, dirt will collect on your glass shower door over time, diminishing your bathroom’s sleek aesthetic.

Many people assume that, because they wash in their shower, that their shower is self-cleaning. Due to this, many people do not adequately wash their glass shower doors. Once they notice the buildup of dirt, it may be even harder to clean your glass shower doors. 

Your glass shower door is dirty due to hard water, soap scum, and mildew, which cause the buildup of dirt. Some glass shower doors have protective coatings to protect against this buildup. The dirt that accumulates on your shower door can be awful to look at, especially when you’re getting clean.

Moreover, these buildups could carry potential health risks. The buildup of soap scum, for example, can breed a pink bacterium known as Serratia marcescens, which could potentially cause various respiratory, urinary, wound, and eye infections. Untreated mildew could develop into mold and worsen allergies or result in respiratory issues.

There are three main things to look out for that can cause your glass shower door to look dirty:

  • Hard water
  • Soap scum
  • Mildew

When left untreated, soap scum can even fuse with mildew or mold over time. The result could be grime in your shower or bathroom that is as hard as concrete and nearly impossible to remove. By understanding how these different elements can result in a dirty shower door can help you prevent this buildup of dirt in the future.

Hard Water

The hardness of water refers to the level or amount of calcium and magnesium that the water contains. The higher the levels of these substances in water, the ‘harder’ the water. Soft water, on the other hand, typically has higher concertation levels of sodium.

The high concentration of calcium and magnesium in hard water is one of the leading causes of dirty glass shower doors. Once the water evaporates from your shower, traces of these minerals remain behind, collecting on your shower door and walls.

These spots that are caused by hard water are also referred to as limescale. According to a survey done in the United States, an estimated 85% of homes in the nation utilized hard water. This means that the grimy buildup of limescale is a rather common issue across America.

Soap Scum

Soap scum is a substance that forms a white or grey layer of dirt when soap is used with hard water. This can occur in a shower, bathtub, or even in a basin when hard water is present. The calcium and magnesium present in the hard water combine with the soap to form the soap scum substance.

If your home uses hard water, soap scum will undoubtedly form in your bathroom. Whether you’re using a bar of soap, shampoo, conditioner, or even body wash, soap scum is an inevitability when these substances come into contact with hard water.

If soap scum buildup is not adequately dealt with, the resulting griminess can be harder to clean. That is because soap scum will continue to build up in certain areas each time soap comes into contact with the hard water – until it’s dealt with, of course.


In many homes across the globe, mildew is a widespread issue and one of the leading causes of dirty glass shower doors. Mildew forms because the moisture and heat present in your bathroom are the perfect breeding ground for mold.

Mildew and mold often form in the crevices and corners of your shower. You may even notice that your shower grout’s white color has been altered due to mildew or mold. Mildew should be dealt with immediately so that it does not progressively develop into mold.

Glass Shower Door Maintenance Tips

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To keep your shower door looking pristine, it will require some regular maintenance on your part. Earlier in this article, we looked at what you can use to clean your glass shower door and how to do it. Along with the following glass shower door maintenance tips, dirty shower doors will be a thing of the past!

1. Apply a Protective Compound  

Once you’ve properly cleaned your shower door, you can apply a hydrophobic compound to your glass shower door. One example of a product like this is Rain X, which can be bought online or in-store. These products are easy to apply and come with all the relevant instructions.

By spraying your glass shower door with a product like this, you’ll be able to prevent water spots from forming on your glass over time. This will reduce the amount of time you need to spend cleaning your glass shower door over time!

2. Install and Use a Vent Fan  

Bathrooms need good ventilation. As discussed earlier in this article, using your shower can result in humid conditions, which is ideal for the growth of bacteria. If your bathroom has a vent fan, you should switch it on before you start your showers.

If your bathroom is not equipped with a vent fan, you should consider installing one. These fans help draw both moisture and odors from your bathroom. Having a vent fan in your bathroom will help prevent mildew and mold from forming in your shower.

3. Leave the Shower Door Open

If you don’t have a vent fan or the funds to install one right now, there’s another life hack that can help keep your shower door looking fresh! By leaving your shower door open after showers, you will improve the ventilation in your bathroom.

By getting used to leaving your shower door open when not in use, you’ll release the humidity instead of trapping it inside your shower. This will help keep your glass shower door looking clean for longer.

4. Keep a Squeegee in the Shower

A simple and cost-effective lifehack for clean shower doors (and walls) is to keep a squeegee in your shower. Regularly using a squeegee after showering can help prevent stains in your shower from hard water or soap scum.

Once you’ve finished showering, you’ll want to take your squeegee to remove all the water droplets from the glass door and walls. To do this, start in one corner, dragging the squeegee down the glass. You’ll want to repeat this process until you’ve removed all the water droplets from the glass.

By getting into this habit after showers, you’ll prevent many stains that would otherwise form on your shower door and walls. This habit can help save you a lot of time spent cleaning in the future!

5. Install a Water Softener

Like installing a vent fan, this is one of the more expensive options on our list. A water softener is a filtration device used to remove high concentrations of minerals from hard water. This will prevent the buildup of hard water stains and soap scum marks in your shower.

Furthermore, you’ll feel better after using a water softener! Hard water can often irritate skin and leave it feeling drier than before you showered. Using a water softener will leave your skin and hair feeling healthier after your shower. You’ll feel great, and your shower will look great!


In America alone, more than eighty percent of all homes utilize hard water, which has high concentrations of calcium and magnesium. When hard water reacts with soap products in a shower, it results in a substance known as soap scum, which collects on shower doors and walls.

Furthermore, the humid conditions in a shower can also result in mildew forming inside your shower. Mildew can even be aggravated by the buildup of soap scum and will leave your shower looking less than ideal!

Luckily, it is possible to clean a shower using either a homemade or commercial cleaning agent. By regularly cleaning your shower and following a few simple glass shower door maintenance tips, your glass shower door will always look immaculate.


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Hubert Miles

I've been conducting professional home inspections since 2002. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Professional Inspector (CPI), Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and FHA 203k Consultant. I started to help people better understand the home inspection process and answer questions about homeownership and home maintenance.
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