HELP! Clear Glass Shower Doors w/ hard water stains

kristinamariaJanuary 15, 2009

I have extremely hard water and have clear glass shower doors in my master bath. I can't get the hard water stains off to keep it clean. I have tried everything it seems...all those harsh, yucky, expensive keepers friend,hydrogen peroxide. Someone mentioned vinegar...could that work? They look soooo horrid and I am so embarassed. Any suggestions would be great! thanks!

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Welcome to GardenWeb, kristinamaria.
Yes, vinegar should do it. Pour it in a spray bottle and spray on the glass, let it work on the calcium build-up for a couple minutes and then wipe off.

Long term, you should look at getting some type of water softener, and you should squeegee the glass after every shower to keep the calcium from building up.

If the vinegar doesn't do the job, you can move to something like Lime-Away or CLR, but try the vinegar first - it's cheaper and less corrosive to the metal parts in the shower.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 7:44AM
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Thanks for the welcome and the idea...I'm going to try it tommorrow!

    Bookmark   January 18, 2009 at 8:04PM
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Also if you use Rain-X on the shower doors, they won't get mucked up.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2009 at 12:05AM
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Fabric softener sheets. Wet then scrub. Wipe residue off with a damp cloth, then squeegy. I tried Rain-X once. Almost passed out from the fumes. Can't be good for you and must be applied from inside the shower with the doors closed. Have noticed it is often recommended though.....


    Bookmark   January 19, 2009 at 8:39PM
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If you are able to get it off, mine was so bad from renter not cleaning properly, you are lucky. Mine was so bad that nothing would get it all off. We tried razor blades to scrape it off. If you are able to get it clean there is a spray that home improvement sells. It is in a pink can and is something like Gel Gloss? It seals the glass from water stains. You reapply every few months and it works great. My pool cleaner sprays my french doors and I plan to use it on the new doors. The old ones were ruined by my not tackling this early on. I used it on my shower and it keeps it really nice.

After getting it really clean, use squeegy, stay on it. Do not let it get that bad again. It will become one of your most important and rewarding chores.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2009 at 10:20AM
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I had a sliding glass shower door and tried to keep it clean (never ending battle) but the grout/adhesive goo that sealed the door to surrounding plastic shower walls also became dirty and peeling off. I tried to repair the goo stuff and finally gave up. I unscrewed the shower door frame, removed it, cleaned up the plastic shower edges, and began to use a shower curtain. The curtain rod squeezes in the top of the shower edges and I have a pretty plastic curtain that has gentle flower designs on it. The curtain background is an opaque white with kinda white splotches. There is no "liner" since the pretty curtain is plastic itself. Water stains are not an issue because of the white splotches in the design - you can't tell if there is a water stain or not. No mildew probs now since the whole thing airs out better with the doors gone. I LOVE it. No more work! Just normal cleaning the shower, no more gross stuff. Light goes through the curtain but you cannot see the person in shower.


    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 3:37PM
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What you will have to do is use a heavy duty cleaner like Lime-Away or CLR and use several applications. Use the cleaner with a scrubbing pad. It may be too far gone to look like new. After you have done the heavy duty cleaning, then keep up with the regular cleaning after each showering. Keep a squeegee in the shower. Keep a spray bottle of vinegar and water next to the shower. Spray the shower down after each use, then squeegee it off. If you do not have a sqeegee or spray bottle, just take your towel and wipe down the shower.

If someone has one of those closed-in showers, always leave the door open for a while. Allow the shower to dry. People close those doors; leaving a hot, moist shower to get mold and mildew.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 12:47AM
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I had the same issue. We live in a very hard water area (lime is our big culprit). I searched here for suggestions and tried EVERY, and I mean EVERY recommended cleaner. CLR, an auto glass cleaner I had to special order, vinegar, dryer sheets, steam, blah blah blah. They all did next to nothing.

Finally discovered something that works: High-strength vinegar. I got it at the grocery store, sold with the regular vinegar, in a gallon jug. I sprayed it all over the doors, applied paper towels, and sprayed them again so it would soak for awhile. Scrubbed with a scotch brite type pad and it came off. Regular vinegar had done nothing, it had been like spraying water. The high-strength vinegar was like a miracle. I could actually see the cloudy mineral deposits coming off as I sprayed.

This was after literally 4 yrs of shower door heck. I was so incredibly happy!! I now pick it up every time I go to that grocery store to keep a gallon of it on reserve at all times.

Hope it works for you!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2010 at 12:35AM
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THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU sweetbean! *with HUGE smile on face, jumping up n down!* I tried so much stuff (some that I thought would choke me to death!) I saw your post and gave vinegar a try. You were RIGHT! It came off with such ease I stood in amazement just staring! I will use good old fashioned CHEAP VINEGAR FOREVER! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! *with HUGE smile on my face!*

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 12:00PM
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I am having the same problem in my son's shower. I tried vinegar,plus a few other things today, without success. I will try soaking the paper towels on the doors for a while to see if it works.

To maintain the doors clean, I recommend the Method brand shower spray. I use this in my shower because it's too high for me to reach with a squeegee and it's as clear as the day it was installed. Once I get my son's door clean I will insist he use it too.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 3:48AM
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just tried vinegar again on mine, this time really saturating the doors and letting it soak. Nope, didn't work. I'm so frustrated.

wasn't high strength vinegar and I didn't use a Scotch Brite pad perhaps I'll try that....

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 8:56PM
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I have this theory that many, not all but many, locations in the Southwest US have significant boron in the water. If that is the case I don't think all the vinegar in the world is going to help. Some dollar stores sell a cleaner with a very, very dilute HCL [Muratic acid, Hydrochloric acid]. This will remove boron.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 3:56PM
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I would suggest that the marks may not be hard water deposits but etching of the glass, which cannot be removed. I had to replace a whole glass shower surround due to horrible etching. We have a water softener in our house...and have to be very careful not to use too much detergent in the dishwasher or the glassware etches. Same thing happened in the shower. The glass company suggested we switch from bar soap to body wash (which I don't like.) But, I did switch from Tone soap to Dove and squeegee the glass religiously. So far, no further etching. I suspect that the folks not having luck with vinegar may actually have etched glass.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 9:59PM
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My sister always washed her glass shower down with CHEAP shampoo while in the shower. Her doors sparkled. I started washing mine the same way and it works.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 12:45AM
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Just posted an answer to a similar thread on this forum:
Try Mr. Clean Bathroom & Shower Eraser. Works great, no chemicals. I even have been known to scrub the shower stall a bit while showering myself.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 11:33PM
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My doors aren't etched, I can remove the deposits with my fingernail. Can I safely use a Scotch Brite type pad on glass?

It isn't soap scum.

I tried Mr. Clean eraser but not a special bathroom one.

I talked to the water bureau and they supplemented our high mountain lake water with groundwater in February and it had a high mineral content. They didn't know what minerals or how to remove. Said I was the only caller. We have soft water here and I haven't had hard water deposits on anything since I lived in Arizona.

My doors are less than six months old. Previous doors were used for sixteen years with none of this mineral deposits.

Lemi shine worked in the dishwasher and cleaned up all my cobalt blue ceramic dishes which had deposits on them and it worked on my tub spout but not the doors.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 10:57AM
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I'm late to this discussion, but I just came across a home-made cleaner that seems to be working on my glass shower doors (and acrylic/fiberglass tub surround). It's one part hot vinegar (not boiling, just hot) and one part original Dawn in a spray bottle. You can spray this on and leave it overnight if necessary. After I spray, I work it in circles with a scrubby sponge so I make sure all the surfaces have some solution on them. I also used one of those white erase sponges (mr Clean etc.) after I rinsed the solution off. It seems to be working.
I have a horizontal etched stripe design on my shower doors and unfortunately, I had put them on backwards with the texture to the inside, so you can imagine what the calcium etc did. This is taking more than one pass, but they look really good. As soon as I'm satisfied with the results I will turn the doors around so I don't have to go through this again.
Also, I intend to use some car wax on the tub/shower surround so I don't have to worry about this too often.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 7:57PM
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Try Fantastic and let it set for 5 minutes. That product has never failed me. Be careful of vinegar, it will bleach your pretty towels. I spotted mine when I stupidly used the vinegar and soda to keep my drains clean. I found out later from a scientists it was a waste of time.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 8:07PM
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I have tried everything up to this point and nothing has worked except the vinegar/Dawn concoction. Part of the problem is the reverse door situation. When I get the doors totally cleaned up and turned to the right side, I think they will be much easier to keep clean.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 8:17PM
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One addition to this thread, once you get your doors clean (whatever method you use), it can *help* to seal them. Some people use RainX which is used for auto windows but I've heard some people haven't had good luck with it.

Last winter I spent some time removing all the hard water spots from my ceramic tile and glass in the shower and then treated them with a copolymer that helps to repel water. We have *extremely* hard water in my city so if I squeege the walls after each shower, the shower stays pretty clean. If I wait more than a week or two to clean, however, I do have to get out CLR or LimeAway to get the hard water deposits off. But, with the coating on them, it's much easier to clean the light limescale build up off without having to scrub and scrub.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 12:14AM
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Update: The Dawn & Vinegar worked really well. Then I used the Gel Gloss (that someone else mentioned). The Gel Gloss is also a cleaner as well as a surface sealer so it helps to get rid of whatever residue might be left after the Dawn/Vinegar. My shower door and surround look terrific and stay that way for a long time.
BTW, I'm doing the same thing on the headlights of my car. They are discolored from road grime. I use a Sonic Scrubber on them (the non abrasive pads) - little by little they are getting clearer and the Gel Gloss helps keep them clearer.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 9:49AM
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I can finally add to this post! My shower doors were beyond repair... we were convinced we would have to get new ones before we sell in two years. We checked into the price of new doors and yikes! Thought we better look harder for an answer.

We tried vinegar, the heated vinegar & dawn combo (worked okay at first and then not at all); all manner of store bought products, including; CLR, LimeAway,etc. Finally I saw a reference to Spot-X Hard Water Stain And Spot Remover and looked at the reviews on Amazon. I ordered it and it worked a miracle!!! My doors and dark green tile look like new! it was a little tricky getting the paste the right consistency. It can't be too wet. But after a try or two,I did my whole shower enclosure and still have half the bottle left. We have easily saved ourselves $2,000 or more with not having to replace our shower doors. Not to mention the shower seems so much bigger now that the doors are crystal clear!

Here is a link that might be useful: Spot-X Hard Water Stain And Spot Remover

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 2:12AM
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Is Spot X and powder that you mix water with?

Along the same lines, has anyone tried Amaze?
Its a paste (already has water mixed it); I think
they have several versions of it.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 10:34PM
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Hubby is in the water business. Just use good old fashion lemon juice. Works like a charm

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 9:42PM
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I want to thank those above who suggested Rain-X. I am a bit of a clean freak and scrub my shower 1-2 x's a week. The glass doors are a struggle, but spraying with a daily shower spray after each shower does seem to help. I am going out and buying Rain-x today:)

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 8:40AM
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MR. CLEAN MAGIC ERASER. It is a chemical free sponge that only requires water to clean. Hard water stains wipe right off glass shower doors. It is safe to use on just about anything. I even use it to clean my granite. Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2015 at 12:00PM
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Peggy N CleaningSvcs

Works toilet bowl cleaner will take off just about anything. It was the only thing that we found that removed iron stains with minimal scrubbing. It is caustic though and the fumes could knock you out so make sure you have good ventilation.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2015 at 8:50PM
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White vinegar and water solution, paste of baking soda and lemon juice or baking soda and white vinegar mixture are the good solutions to remove hard water stains from pipes and sinks. But you have to use it once in two days to keep it in a clean way. Mostly I consider a maid service from Handi maids in Orangeville ( ) for house cleaning once in every two months. So I doesn't need to worry about the cleaning task, mostly the furniture, kitchen and bathrooms.

    Bookmark   on Monday at 3:33AM
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