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Soap Scum/Film On Glass Shower Doors

16 years ago

Hi there, we have slacked off on using the squeegee on our 1 yr old glass shower doors and now we have a film that appears to be soap scum that will not come off. The door that is always closer to the shower head will not come clean no matter what we do and the door that is not getting splashed as much looks brand new. I have used CLR, Easy Off Bam, Magic Eraser and scrubbed with comet to no avail. The door is clean but in the light it's not as sparkly as the other one and has a spotty film on it. We live in Florida so maybe it is something in the water. I know this is our fault but was wondering if anyone has any suggestions as to how to make my scummy door look like new. Thank you in advance for your help.


Comments (130)

  • jrvance
    11 years ago

    I tried every suggestion on this page. As someone who has been involved in facility maintenance for over 20 years I occasionally look to the internet for ways to solve problems and I really appreciate the power of it.

    For years my housekeeping teams would insist on a supply of oven cleaner to pre-treat and de-scum showers and tubs. On porcelain and ceramic it is extremely effective but as you can imagine, caustic and detrimental to certain finishes.

    So, I mentioned that I tried every suggestion on this page? Hats off to the person that said simply "magic eraser and dish detergent!

    I went through the process to join your forum just so I could share my excellent results and describe what I learned about the method. No more oven cleaner for my housekeepers!

    Liberal amounts of Dawn dish detergent applied to the surface of a magic eraser, no water, and then apply in a spot and scrub in a single direction. This will work for a certain amount of distance and then you have to reapply the dish soap, liberally, and continue the process.

    Amazing! In 20 minutes I was able to restore glass textured surface panels to pristine condition that previously had been worked on by others for much longer with very poor results.

    Lastly, this method also worked very well on ceramic,vinyl and fiberglass shower pans, and chrome.

    Thanks so much!

  • tlloyd
    11 years ago

    I haven't been here in a LONG time, but I had to chime in. I was "lurking" recently and came across this thread...and I tried out the recommendation for the dryer sheets to scrub that film off. My husband thought I was a lunatic to try it, but you bet it worked like a charm! Doesn't matter if they're new or used...that and a bit of spray bath cleaner and everything is spotless, shiny and new! Thank you SO much!

  • whyjbe
    11 years ago

    I read all the suggestions and the one that worked for me was the glass stove top protectant. I am sooooo happy! And the best thing is that I didn't have to apply any more pressure than you would using a glass cleaner.

    Thanks ver1 for suggesting it. I actually joined the forum just to post this message because I had tried so many times in the past to remove the buildup and had not been successful.

    I squirted some on a green scouring pad and as soon as I started applying it I knew that it was working because I could feel the roughness disappearing.

    What I used was Whirlpool Cooktop Protectant (which I had received when I bought a stove).

    I had tried the following which didn't work for me - cornstarch, dryer sheets, glass cleaner, vinegar.

    I had really bad water marks which had accumulated over time. I also applied it to the chrome and it removed the water marks as well.

  • Teelu75
    11 years ago

    This is going to sound very odd but THE WORKS Toilet Bowl cleaner works WONDERS on EVERYTHING.. Soap Scum, Hard water, Rust, ETC....

  • bulldinkie
    11 years ago

    Before I started dialysis I actually waxed my tub every year while spring cleaning I didnt do the floor of the fiberglass tub .Now that I cant get to it Im having alot of problems.I used just regular car wax.I cleaned it good first,waxed buffed it,It looked brand new.

  • jkarlovitz
    11 years ago

    Lots of mention of dryer sheets but I didn't see any mention that they are toxic. Use 'em if it is worth it too you, but so you know:

    What's in dryer sheets according to

    * Benzyl Acetate: Linked to pancreatic cancer
    * Benzyl Alcohol: Upper respiratory tract irritant
    * Ethanol: On the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Hazardous Waste list and capable of causing central nervous system disorders
    * A-Terpineol: Can cause respiratory problems, including fatal edema, and central nervous system damage
    * Ethyl Acetate: A narcotic on the EPA's Hazardous Waste list
    * Camphor: Causes central nervous system disorders
    * Chloroform: Neurotoxin, anesthetic and carcinogen
    * Linalool: A narcotic that causes central nervous system disorders
    * Pentane: A chemical known to be harmful if inhaled

  • dudleyfuddpucker
    11 years ago

    Taken in sufficient quantities purified water will kill you, as will most anything else, for that matter.

    Fear mongering is not the point of this forum, and I doubt anyone on here will try to eat or smoke enough rolls of dryer sheets to have any impact anyway.

    Unless of course you have documented evidence of someone who experienced side effects (any) actually using them as they were intended to be used? (Allergies not withstanding - people can be allergic to anything, like cats, but that does not make felines fall under the category of 'poison').

  • Anna
    11 years ago

    My shower door enclosure is not standalone. It is between 2 walls. I was able to put up a rod and curtain liner inside the shower to protect the door against water damage. So far, so good. The rod and frosted clear liner are not that noticeable and blends in with the door and frame. Even though this defeats the purpose of a nice glass door, at least the rod and liner are inside the shower, not outside and I don't have to wash the glass door so often.

  • koszta_kid
    11 years ago

    Most soap scum is from bar soap-got talc in it.Helped sister clean her rental house. Used plastic food scraper-flat one. Got 2 dust pans off.Then sos pad -lightly.. then cheap shampoo. Then used car wax to coat. Made sure not to get on floor. Like night and day. She told next renter what we did. She used shampoo-said so easy to keep clean.

  • bulldinkie
    11 years ago

    And so is everything on this earth seems.Where do you draw the line.?

  • joyfultune
    10 years ago

    I found the answer to removing soap scum!! I use a rinse agent like jet-dry, used for dishwashers.
    The soap just foams up and it takes no elbow grease.
    Just wipe it on and watch the foam. For build up you need to rinse the cloth or scrubber or sponge often. and reapply with the rinse agent.
    Happy Cleaning

  • Frankcho
    10 years ago

    I did tried everything in the planet I could think of including many of the suggestions here. I finally discovered a product that a cleaning crew at a local apartment complex was using. This thing looks like no big deal and I just though I would be wasting my time, to my surprise it does work, and it works well. It's called Spot-X and is a powder that if it's used as directed it really does the job. I am enclosing a link here to their site. You can only use it on glass. Is non-toxic and non-corrosive. It does not contain phosphates, acids, bleach, solvents, detergents, ammonia or butyl. contains all Natural Organic Ingredients, Balanced Neutral pH Factor, Skin Friendly Formula, Can Be Used By Chemically Sensitive People

    Here is a link that might be useful: Hard water stain and spot remover

  • conniekin
    10 years ago

    LoL I read all the forums. I clean for a living at other peoples homes. Ive been cleaning for over 40 years opps well i guess you can guess my age lol Ive tried almost every cleaner possible to no avail. I live in Canada.My client has glass shower doors. I cannot repeat cannot get them clean. I guess the shower doors are embedded with calcium deposits impossible to remove. Thank Godness they are moving lol My other client said I should throw them away lol which is what her best friend said lol

  • gr8daygw
    10 years ago

    Sometimes the glass is just etched and no amount of scrubbing will do a thing to it. You will end up with very clean but still etched glass.

    OTOH I have heard that RainX will help so I bought some but have yet to put it on. I think I'm afraid I will hurt the glass. Our shower is only a year old since the remodel and still pristine. I squeegee like there is no tomorrow but have to admit I'm getting pretty tired of doing it every single time I shower and my husband won't do it, wah....

  • Evathornton
    10 years ago

    I have been driving myself crazy trying to clean my glass shower doors for the last 7 years. I have tried everything possible and nothing worked until I stumbled on some YouTube videos.These professionals used something called cerium oxide, it is a powdered polishing compound. I checked online and it is not cheap so I started thinking and went thru my husbands garage and found some polishing compound for cars. I tried a little section and it was amazing. Put the polishing compound on a soft sponge and apply in circular motions just as you would on your car.Do small sections at a time.Take a wet cloth and wipe off . after all the glass is done rinse doors thoroughly with water and dry. Follow up with your favorite glass cleaner.This method is a little time consuming but it works great. Finally after 7 years my shower doors look like new. This method also removes light surface scratches from you glass. I wish I had known about this a long time ago, I could have saved myself a lot of money and elbow grease.

    This post was edited by Evathornton on Mon, Dec 31, 12 at 17:23

  • Evathornton
    10 years ago

    Sorry but my last entry was incorrect. Do not use rubbing compound!!! It is polishing compound. Sorry for the confusion

  • Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana
    10 years ago


    It is possible to edit the post you made at 11:32. Just look to the right of your post and click on Edit.


  • lpetchen
    10 years ago

    Just came across this thread this morning as I was searching for a way to remove the hard water/soap scum stains from my 5 month old shower doors. I was all set to buy the "specialty" glass cleaner from the company that installed the shower doors and decided to search here first. Boy am I glad I did! Thanks everyone, I tried the cooktop cleaner I already had, and it worked beautifully!

  • Christy2311
    10 years ago

    We bought a house with a granny unit that the previous tenants teenage son had been living in for 2 years. I don't think he ever cleaned anything at all. Ever. After trying all your basic cleaners plus CLR to get the soap scum/ hard water or whatever the massive white yellow film off the shower doors, I read this post. I actually had a Mr. Clean sponge, which I had previously thought useless and of course dish soap so I gave it a try. 15 minutes total and very little pressure and it was clean. I couldn't believe it, and with no nasty fumes. I used the sponge without water and reapplied the dish soap as needed, then rinsed. Soooo easy! I would say to try this first due to low cost, low effort, and low toxicity.

  • dmcgee5034
    9 years ago

    I've tried a million and one products, and tried all the suggestions posted here with varying degrees of UNsuccess. Today I saw a product on an end cap at my local Orchard Supply Hardware while shopping for other things. I bought it and figured it would be another dud, but I think I have a winner! It's called "Scrub Off" by Ettore. Water Spot Remover. $5 for the bottle, 16 oz. I can't believe how great my glass doors look! Easy to use, too good to be true!

  • KelinMD
    9 years ago

    Try something from the auto parts store for windshields, like Rain-x. It cleans it and then forms a barrier that water beads off.
    The other thing I've had great luck with is toothpaste. I shined/polished all our silver with a non abrasive paste (old fashioned just can't be a gel.) Works like a charm, and it will work on lots of things in the bathroom. I would buy a cheap tube of Crest and buff it onto the door with a wash cloth like car wax. Let it dry, then buff it off. You might only need water for the final rinse. Cheap, nontoxic, and minty fresh!

  • cindyk2006
    9 years ago

    I rub cooking oil on the glass and then remove it with dawn dish detergent!.. Have used it for years and it is the only thing that works. Don't know if it will work on tile, since I have never used it for that but I assume it would.

  • violetwest
    9 years ago

    I was lucky enough to buy a new house, and during the orientation, I was told to wipe off the shower door after each use, and to use Rain-x type product on it periodically.

    So far, it's worked great -- although, not necessarily for my tile (which I don't wipe off after every use.)

  • CRinBrookhaven
    9 years ago

    I use Bar Keeper's Friend (liquid version) and it works GREAT! I had years of build up and it was clean in about 10 minutes. I put it on a nylon sponge/scrubber thing. Scrub a little then rinse several times with a wet towel then dry with a huck cloth.

  • springlering
    9 years ago

    We had our master bathroom totally remodeled last September by Granite Transformations. Almost immediately, the brand new shower door and glass started getting scummy, and the iridescent tiles in the shower became dull. But worst of all, the crushed glass white "grout" started turning the color of old toenails.

    I called and emailed the local franchisee for cleaning advice, but they never even bothered to follow up with me.

    I tried everything I could think of: Tilex, Soft Scrub, baking soda, vinegar, Magic Glass, Magic Eraser by itself, 3Ms scrubby pads, and more. Nothing helped.

    After reading this thread, I thought I'd give the Magic Eraser and liquid Dawn a whirl on the glass, and while I was at it, I figured I'd try it on the walls and floor, since nothing else had worked. OMG! I had to post right away. I don't know about the glass yet, but the tiles are shiny and iridescent again, and most of the white "grout" is no longer that disgusting yellow color. I don't even care about the glass, I'm just so overjoyed to see the tiles looking nice again.

    Beaucoups mucho grando thanks to those of you who suggested the Magic Eraser and Dawn liquid combination.

  • Carol3245
    9 years ago

    I absolutely swear by CAR POLISH. I use the "Kitten" brand - its a cut and polish in 1. Use a damp cloth and swirl it on, then go over it with a kitchen scouring pad. Then wait about 10 minutes and wipe it off. If the shower/bath is quite bad you may have to do it twice.
    My shower is 2 walls glass and 2 walls dark blue tiles. I also use it on the tiles but it does get stuck in the grout and you will need to use a small nail brush to get it out. My shower comes up crystal clear. Try it just once and you will never use anything else. Make sure you use a CUT and POLISH. Polish on its own doesn't work. :)

  • thankurnmo
    9 years ago

    Ok I have been meaning to try the DAWN and magic eraser (because I have both on hand and seems simplest). So help me out please. You put a lot of the DAWN on the eraser, and then go circular on the glass? Then wiping off- what kind of cloth? Scrub or rinse? Really want to try this, but afraid to mess it up. Thank you

  • jojo100
    9 years ago

    I have had good luck removing soap scum on my shower doors with Scrubbing Bubbles bathroom cleaner. Just spray it on let it sit for a little while and rinse off. It works beautifully with no scrubbing.

  • thankurnmo
    9 years ago

    I ve been meaning to update. I decided to try with a magic eraser and dawn. I put the dawn on the eraser and rubbed it on the glass- with some pressure but not scrubbing. I then poured water on it and wiped it off with a micro fiber cloth. Most of the soap scum really did come off quite nicely and quite easily. For some of the more stubborn parts, I went over it again and then even did some windex. I am so pleased!!!

  • krissie55
    9 years ago

    Once you have all soap scum off of the glass/tiles, stop using "bar soap" to bathe with.

    Use liquid instead of bar of soap.

    Rinse glass/walls good after showers. Dry or squeegee walls/glass.

  • thankurnmo
    9 years ago

    Yes, I had read about the bar soap so I banned bar soap when we re-did the bathroom... I may have mis-spoke- the problem was either still from liquid soap or just mineral deposits. We do have a water softener, but we definitely have minerals in the water. In any case, the glass looks really good now with minimal work so I am happy

  • pattyxlynn
    9 years ago

    I posted this in the hard water thread but it works here too. it saved us a lot of money!

    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

  • Lisa3105
    9 years ago

    Has anyone tried using car polish to clean and then prevent the formation of soap scum from glass and tiles in the bathroom? I haven't tried it yet but just found a short blurb about it online. It makes sense as it beads on a car and water and grime slide away.

  • gaby094
    7 years ago

    It helps to clarify if talking about fiberglass surface tubs or the other finishes and also realizing that contents of products vary from brand to brand so some dryer sheets might wiork, others not, same with any of the cleaners.

    Here's to all of us who are dealing with scum and hard water deposits!

  • toriat
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Try bar keepers friend glass cooktop cleaner. Scrub with one of the yellow smiley scrubbies.

  • dicklacy
    7 years ago

    I had the exact problem with soap scum, like everyone else I tried all the usual cleaners to no avail. Then read a posting about using the "liquid" form of BAR KEEPERS FRIEND. With very little effort I applied it with a dobie sponge, let set for a min. then rinsed off with soaking wash cloth. Then throughly dried with a paper towel. All the scum disappeared like magic. Found Bar Keepers friend at "Ace Hardware". It' a keeper !!!

  • gr8daygw
    7 years ago

    I bought some Rain-X to put on my shower door and enclosure but after a couple of years I have yet to apply it, I'm a bit of a procrastinator. I wonder if it really works? I'm the only one who will take the time to squeegee the glass in our shower, so if it works, it would be well worth the effort. I don't have soap scum as much as the water etches the glass after prolonged non-squeegeeing by a person who will remain nameless. they say, pick your battles : /

  • bmorrison84
    7 years ago

    Hi all! Just like everyone here I've tried about twenty different products to no avail. A couple of the products would 'eventually' work with a ton of scrubbing but I finally stumbled on the best cleaner I have ever used when I was trying to remove black permanent marker from a whiteboard one day. Low and behold it's a hand cleaner called Fast Orange. It's a citrus based hand degreaser with a light abrasive mixed in. Almost unbelievable how great it works for my shower and tub enclosures and glass doors, not to mention grease stains, cook tops, you name it. It has become my go to product and has saved me countless hours of work.

  • rhfield
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I read several of the comments from '06, then scrolled down to the bottom. Back then, someone mentioned using a razor blade to see if it was really soap scum. He/She was totally ignored while other "remedies" were mentioned. Well, I tried some magic stuff my wife found, and it barely touched the streaks. I had used Kaboom on the floor which worked quite well, so I tried it on the glass door rubbing hard using fine steel wool. It was only marginally effective, and I was not satisfied. So, I went out in the garage where I have a small pack of a dozen or so safety razors and pulled one out. It works great! A bit time consuming and takes a bit of elbow grease, but it completely removes the streaks. Just need to brush away the powder it creates and clean the glass before applying RainX (or its equivalent). Voila! Can't wait to show my wife.

  • chris curtis
    6 years ago

    Heat vinegar in microwave oven. Apply to shower door and walls with
    sponge, rubbing surfaces. Wipe dry with clean cloth. Works for me.

  • bailey82
    6 years ago

    Finally! Last night I smeared a combination of hot vinegar (microwaved 2 minutes and an equal amount of blue Dawn. I had used it last year (guest bath only used once a year). I followed the directions, just let it sit and the bottom of the tub looked great. It did not budge the insane soap scum on the side of the tub. The tub was only used during Christmas vacation by our adult daughter who never cleaned. I was in panic mode tonight and saw someone above mention Awesome Cleaner from the Dollar Tree. I put a little water in the tub to wet the vinegar/dawn mixture from last night, swished my scrubber pad in it to wet it. Poured Awesome powder on it and thanked God because it worked! I could not believe it worked and was in panic mode because my daughter is bringing her boyfriend in town with her! Now if I could just get the rest of the house presentable!

  • fred flintstone
    6 years ago

    Another product to use with very little scrubbing is smooth top surface cleaner. Also great for the fireplace glass. I was very surprised to see how easy this stuff really cleans.

  • Russell Sova
    6 years ago

    We bought a condo in Florida that has glass shower doors. I cleaned it a couple times with Windex and a whole lotta wiping, but it was a long and arduous task. After reading tips on here I tried using a wet dryer sheet. If you keep spraying the glass with a gentle water spray as you go, it takes the film right off! Glad I read that on here.

  • checkers9538
    6 years ago

    We redid our bathroom a couple years ago and have a custom cut glass shower door. It was a treated glass that was to be less apt to show water spots. Regardless, we still squeegy it off after every shower. After 2 years it is showing signs of buildup and I would like to clean it without scratching or harming the treatment it came with. Any suggestions? We were told to use Miracle Scrub Glass Cleaner. I have some on order so hope it works. Also what applicator is safe and non-scratch/abrasive? I see Scotch brite has some sponges that say non-abrasive, but hesitant since this door is treated.

  • Tricia
    5 years ago

    I tried glass stovetop cleaner as suggested somewhere above, and it did the trick! Definitely need a little elbow grease, but it’s good exercise!

  • Daurie Basham
    5 years ago

    I found a bottle of this in the trash room when I was taking out the garbage one day, someone had moved out and left a full bottle of this, a new kitchen garbage can, magic erasers etc. I know- so exciting Im not sure if this helps your shower door but someone else may need this tip!! There was this black gunk accumulating in the metal slider of the shower door and it was really disgusting, i sprayed X14 on it and let it sit for a few minutes and the stains just melted away and i just had to clean up the liquid goo the stains turned into

  • mycommenthere
    4 years ago

    This thread is very long, so not sure if anyone has already suggested - or if you've already tried...but vinegar + baking soda pretty much cleans everything! :)

  • Pat Stewart
    4 years ago

    ....after experiencing no result with other cleaners and a lot of elbow grease to boot, I gave ecozone kettle and iron skaler go....unbelievable results in seconds....I will never se anything else if u use this ...

  • lharroldblake
    3 years ago

    This is my shower after Diamond Magic. Sorry but I can't find the before shot. Diamond Magic is made in Hawaii, hard to find and expensive to ship and worth every penny. Google a Seller. Use a Mouse sander with a WHITE scrubby pad on it and a very small amount of Diamond Magic. Amazing! I had tried so ,many things that I was about to give up and buy new glass. No need- good as new now.