Best Ways To Clean Glass Shower Doors With Hard Water Stains

Upgraded Home Team
by Upgraded Home Team

Hard water has a habit of leaving behind stains on plenty of surfaces. For those unsure how to deal with it, hard water stains just become a part of life. Those pesky stains show up on top of taps, on mirrors, on silverware, and, often, annoyingly, on glass shower doors. How do you remove it when it’s on your glass shower doors?

The best way to clean glass shower doors with hard water stains is by using a solution of water and white vinegar or dishwashing soap. These solutions can be to remove light white stains which, while harder stains necessitate more intense solutions. For severe stains, consider using sandpaper or Barkeepers Friend.

This article will provide you with the best ways to clean hard water stains off of your glass shower doors. You don’t need to continue searching for the answer since we have all you need to know, right here in one spot.

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What Causes Stains On Our Glass Shower Doors?

At first, it might not make sense. We use water to clean our surfaces. How could the same water cause stains in the first place? Technically, water isn’t actually what causes the stain. It’s what’s in the water that is leaving those marks behind. So, if you’re on well water instead of city water, the rust within your well may come through the water, thus leaving stains on your shower doors.

Hard Water Versus Soft Water

The first thing to know is that not all water is created equal. Water can be placed into two categories. It can be either soft or hard. Hard water has many minerals in it, such as calcium and magnesium. People who get their water from a well may have experience with hard water.

On the other hand, soft water is water that only has one mineral: sodium. Those that suffer with hard water may use a water softener to remove minerals. All water starts off as soft water when it rains back to the earth. However, it becomes hard water when it picks up minerals from the ground.

Also, it can change states when it mixes into other bodies of water that are hard water.

The Trouble With Hard Water

The nutrients in hard water can make it healthier for us to drink (and it can sometimes taste better), but it’s not great for our glass shower doors! Those with hard water probably already know about those infamous hard water stains.

When the water evaporates, it can leave minerals behind. This process is what causes the stains on the things inside your home.

The Trouble With Soft Water

While soft water does not create stains, it can taste saltier than hard water. This is due in large part to the way water softeners filter out the nutrients in the water.

The filter uses sodium ions in order to remove the calcium and magnesium in the hard water. After softening, sodium is left behind which can give the water a salty taste. It can also feel “slimy” or like soap is hard to rinse off.

Not all water softeners rely on sodium to get the job done. However, these alternative filters can be more expensive which leaves them as a second choice for many people.

Getting Rid Of Hard Water Stains

The most surefire way to get rid of hard water stains is to get rid of the hard water altogether. You can do this with a water softening filter, which strips the water of its minerals. Another, cheaper way to get rid of a hard water stain is prevention!

Stopping it before it even gets the chance to form is the best way to keep your shower doors and other surfaces from getting stained. That means you have to make sure the water doesn’t have time to set and evaporate. This will require drying your tub, shower doors, and other surfaces immediately after use.

Your glass shower doors are a particularly vulnerable surface. Once water touches a surface, you can use a miniature squeegee or cloth to remove it. This way, it doesn’t have a chance to evaporate and leave that metal residue behind.

DIY Cleaner: A Natural Approach

Mix one part dishwashing liquid to three parts vinegar in a container or spray bottle. Instead of dishwashing soap, you can also use lemon juice, if you prefer. Spray or cover the area in need of de-staining thoroughly. You can wear a cloth on your face to mask the smell if the vinegar is too strong for you.

It will need to sit for at least a half an hour but an hour or two would not be amiss. This will allow the solution to work its magic.

Once you’ve let it sit, you can scrub the stain off your glass shower door. A toothbrush can be used to get the hard-to-reach spots. Voila! Your stains should be all gone.

Major Stain Removal

The simple vinegar-dishwasher soap mixture will help for stains that have not been setting for years. Unfortunately, stains that have seen longer nights won’t leave so easily. These stains require either more intense ingredients or more elbow grease.

Minor Stain Removal

If your stains have already set in, prevention isn’t a good answer! Plus, it’s not always easy to remember to dry the shower door after using it. Luckily, simple stains are easy to remove and require no fancy ingredients. Just some white vinegar, dishwasher liquid, and time will do the trick.

Using Sandpaper And Elbow Grease

When vinegar and soap fail, something else must be used. Something that can scrape off the minuscule minerals that have clung to the glass becomes necessary. Wet/dry sandpaper is a great scrubbing material that’ll leave your glass gleaming. Packs can be found on Amazon or at hardware stores.

However, you need to make sure to get the right kind of sandpaper so that the glass itself isn’t compromised. This threshold is between around the #3000 – #7000 grit — other grits can scratch your glass.

Starting at #3000 grit, wet the sandpaper and glass with water, and then scrub the surface in circles. Gradually swap sandpapers to higher grit levels until your surface sparkles.

A Few Important Notes About Scrubbing

  • It’ll be easier to scrub the lower part of the shower door if it is curbless. Here are other benefits and drawbacks of the curbless shower. You can also find out what the ideal shower height is for you.
  • Some may use steel wool instead of sandpaper in order to scrub their shower doors. However, there is a risk that the glass will be scratched, so caution is necessary.
  • Using the finest steel wool on the market may help to prevent this, but doesn’t guarantee it. You should do a small test patch to ensure you aren’t damaging your glass doors.

Other Stain Removal Products To Try

For the more difficult stains, some use cleaning products such as stainless steel cleaners. The powdered version of Barkeeper’s Friend is a popular choice. It can be ordered online. Fine steel wool can be used with this cleaner.

Related Questions

Where can I get a water softening filter?

Water softening filters are often available at home improvement stores such as Home Depot. They range in the price, generally $300 to $4000. The price depends on what brand and strength of water softener you choose.

Water softening systems can be set up to filter all the water coming into the home. There are also shower head softening systems, if you need something smaller. According to Water Filter magazine, shower head softeners are not as effective as full-home systems, however.

Are water softening filters worth the price?

Water softening filters may be pricey, but they’re important for much more than hard water stains. Soft water allows you to use less soap because the minerals in soft water cause the soap to be less effective.

It can be more beneficial to hair and skin as well. Plus, it is also not as corrosive to household appliances, meaning you don’t have to spend money on replacements.

Not only that, but hard water can also cause your clothes to fade with time. So, when you add all of the incidental costs, the softener may be more affordable than you think.

How often should I spray down my shower with vinegar and soap?

For maintenance, periodic spray-downs would help to ensure a sleek finish to your shower. How often you should spray down the shower is a matter of how bad your hard water problem is. Generally, weekly spray-downs of vinegar is an ideal amount.

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Our Takeaway

Hard water stains can be unsightly, but they’re harmless. By using the correct products and scrubbing the right way, you will be able to remove these stains from your shower glass doors without much effort. All it takes is a little bit of this and that, with a little bit of elbow grease. Afterward, your shower will look brand new!

Upgraded Home Team
Upgraded Home Team

We are a team of passionate homeowners, home improvement pros, and DIY enthusiasts who enjoy sharing home improvement, housekeeping, decorating, and more with other homeowners! Whether you're looking for a step-by-step guide on fixing an appliance or the cost of installing a fence, we've here to help.

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