Best Way to Clean Glass Shower Doors with Hard Water Stains

by Jay | Updated on October 22nd, 2022

Do you have stubborn hard water marks and stains on your bathtub or shower doors that won’t budge no matter what you try? You aren’t alone.

After a long day, one of the most refreshing everyday rituals is taking a bath. It’s going to cool you off, and it’s going to help you relieve all the tension you’ve gathered all day.

bathroom with shower

However, this wonderful moment of relaxation may not last long because soon after you leave the shower, you may find hard water stains over the beautiful glass doors.

There’s no reason to panic about that. Here, we’ll share useful tips on how to deal with these stubborn stains using daily household products.

First, are these soap scum or hard water stains?

Soapscum and hard water stains are two common types of residues that build up with the use of a shower over time. The easiest way to combat grime and stains in your bathroom is to regularly clean and take active, preventive steps to clean soap or hard water stains. Although both frequently occur and struggle to clean up, soap scum and hard water stains occur for various reasons.

Soap scums

Soap scum forms when the compounds in soap are combined with various minerals typically present in tap water. The soap used, which lingers in your tub after washing, combines with magnesium and calcium and produces a layer of build-up. It cannot be easy to extract if left untreated for too long.

Hard water

When water mixes with several minerals, such as chalk, calcium, lime, and magnesium, it transforms into hard water. And the combination of minerals and hard water is difficult to clean and can leave a sticky film on the surface. This residue reduces the transparency of the glass and can make the glass shower doors appear unappealing. So here are a few ways to know if you have hard water.

Cleaning Hard Water Stains

shower hard water stains

1. Use White Vinegar

Ah, what are we going to do without white vinegar? From cooking to maintenance jobs, this solvent manages to remove stains that no other cleaner can remove. The best aspect is that it is not costly, and most households already have a bottle of vinegar that is convenient for us.

While we might think differently, white vinegar is a good acid liquid that won’t leave any stains behind. Also, given that vinegar does not use toxic elements, it will not cause unpleasant pain in your hands or eyes. So, all in all, there is no chance of white vinegar being used for cleaning.

Follow the next steps to use white vinegar to clean the glass door stains effectively.

  • You may make a mixture of vinegar and lemon juice for more umph. Not only does it improve the likelihood of a cleaner’s success, but it also leaves a good scent after you’ve finished. Lemon juice is another acid that works well to remove minerals and stains.
  • After the mixture has been created using the two liquids mentioned above, pour the result into a spray bottle. You should put it in the microwave for about a minute. The use of the mixture at a slightly high temperature is stronger than at a low temperature.

If you’re doing the previous step, ensure the bottle doesn’t contain any pieces that may cause an accident.

  • You should be ready to start cleaning after this phase. Grab the bottle and start sprinkling the vinegar over the glass. If you’ve covered all the spots, let the substance rest for three minutes, and then wipe it with a lint-free cloth. A paper towel will serve as well.
  • After that, the water stains are supposed to come off. Keep in mind that when we’re using vinegar with lemon juice, you might also mix it with water. It will work in most situations.

2. Use Salt and Water

White vinegar is a household ingredient that anyone should use, but sometimes we forget to get it in the supermarket. However, there is an even simpler way to try: to use a mixture of salt and water. It’s easy but very powerful.

How is this mixture working? Salt can be an effective scouring powder that will easily remove most stains. First, create a mixture using water, then spread it over the stained surface. Then take a clean cloth and make circular motions over the stains.

When vinegar is not usable, salt and water could function well enough to remove mineral build-up over glass surfaces. Of course, it might not work, but don’t worry; we have a few more approaches that you can try.

Stronger Solutions for Harder Stains

There will be a time when the approaches mentioned above will not do anything about the stains. But, of course, giving up is not an option, and you should keep trying until the glass door appears as spotless as it once was. Luckily, we’ve got better cleaning methods just in case.

The next cleaning techniques, quite frankly, rely on solid formulas to remove stains. So this is how you do it.

3. Use Toothpaste

Toothpaste, just like bleach, works beautifully, removing stains and markings on various materials, including glass doors. It is an alternative to baking soda, which is also useful for cleaning.

Put a small amount of toothpaste on a wet towel and start rubbing over the stained surface to make circular motions. Make sure that every bit of the surface is covered with a stain, and repeat the process as often as you deem appropriate.

Then wait a few minutes and use the same mixture of water and vinegar to clean off the toothpaste and any residue.

4. Use Commercial Paste Cleaners

There is a range of commercial items for removing stains, similar to paste formulas. You’d like to use these items because they don’t leave stains on the surface.

Unfortunately, these cleaning agents leave an uncomfortable foggy haze if you do not remove it completely after rinsing. To prevent these problems, be sure to obey the instructions given by the manufacturer.

Maintenance to Keep Hard Water Stains Away

Similar to how you’d deal with every other problem, you’ve got to act quickly to keep hard water stains away. If possible, take care of the stains as soon as you notice. It may be tempting to abandon them later, but it would only cause you more trouble in the long run.

To keep your glass shower doors looking gorgeous, get a cheap shower squeegee or use a microfiber cloth to clean the shower surfaces (walls and doors) to clear any standing water after use. You’d also want to clean your glass weekly to prevent any build-up.

In addition, you should take the extra mile to apply a safe coat of wax-based items a few times during the year.

Other ways to keep water stains off

Change soap

Since the dirt comes from paraffin wax in bar soap, consider switching to another cleaning agent when you shower. Choose a body wash or liquid soap to avoid the issue. Some bar soaps do not contain talc, which adds to the dirt. Choose certain talc-less bar soaps to reduce the amount of dirt.

Soften Your Water

Consider a home-wide water softener if you live in a hard water area and experience other mineral-related issues. However, since this choice is costly, consider it only if hard water makes it difficult to clean clothes and maintain plumbing. You can also do daily cleaning of your tub to minimize the build-up of soap, so you will not have as many hard water stains.

Waterproof your shower

Since water creates stains, you want to treat your shower glass with a product that prevents water from remaining on the surface. You use waterproofing treatments on your vehicle’s windshield, and these same items will protect your tub.

Look for these water-repellent windshields from car shops or online. Then, if you have some product left over, save it every three to four weeks for future re-application or use it for your vehicles.

Vent it out

Getting rid of the glass moisture will shield your shower from hard water stains. One of the easiest ways to keep your shower door clean is to let your bathroom and shower air out after every use. Leave the shower door open and run the vent for at least 20 to 30 minutes after the shower. Doing this will help your shower air out and reduce the moisture-promoting moisture in the room.


With the cleaning methods mentioned above, you will no longer have to worry about stubborn stains sticking to your glass doors forever. However, getting the water stains off will take a few household products, effort, and a lot of patience if you don’t manage to remove the stains on the first try.


Jay is a health and wellness enthusiast with expertise in water quality and nutrition. As a knowledgeable advocate for holistic well-being, Jay successfully manages Type 2 Diabetes through informed lifestyle choices. Committed to sharing reliable and authoritative insights, Jay combines firsthand experience with a passion for enhancing health."