For decades people have been struggling to keep their glass shower doors looking like new. The harder your water, such as well water or city water heavy with nutrients, the harder it is to keep those glass shower doors looking transparent.
Besides a good water softener, the best prevention for this is to use a squeegee each time you shower. Many bath specialty stores carry these affordable solutions in a variety of appealing colors to match nearly any decor. Prevention is the best choice to help you keep those doors looking presentable, but if those pesky water spots still haunt you, we have a few ideas that can help.
Frameless Glass Doors
If the staining on the glass portion of the doors has already occurred, no worries, you should be able to get them removed. One of the oldest remedies is vinegar or a vinegar and water solution.
You can soak a towel in a bucket of the mixture and use the towel to wipe the stains clean. For more stubborn stains using this method, you can soak the towel in the solution and hang it on the door in the problem area for a few hours. This way you can let the solution do the work for you.
There are also several products on the market designed to cut through tough water spots which is often a form of calcium build up. Products such as “Lime away” and “CLR” seem to work best. If you have smooth glass shower doors or bathtub doors, you can also use a single edge razor blade and a quality glass cleaner.
Make sure you hold the razor blade at an angle to the glass to avoid scratching. This will however take a little bit of work especially on a larger shower doors. If you have textured or pattern glass on your shower doors, you may be able to clean one side using this method, although on the textured surface you will have to stick with one the solution methods. Always finish with a good glass cleaner and a towel to avoid streaking
Framed Shower Doors
These types of doors have an added complexity to cleaning the water spots off of them. The glass portion of the shower doors can still be cleaned just like the frameless shower doors described above. The aluminum portion of the doors cannot be cleaned with a razor blade, because they scratch more easily.
You can try the commercial products or the vinegar solutions with a soft cloth towel but avoid a paper towel as they can sometimes scratch the finish. Aluminum is much softer material than glass and is more susceptible to the water spots actually “etching” themselves into the aluminum finish.
Once you try the solution methods and the spots are still visible, more times than not we have experienced that the spots have actually eaten into the aluminum and cannot be removed.
Still Not Coming Clean
If you have water spots that cannot be removed you still have some options. If the damage is on the glass portion of the shower door, you can purchase new glass and reinstall it into your existing frames. If the damage is on the aluminum frame, usually your only option is to purchase a new door.
Many shower door companies change their designs frequently, and chances are the new frame will be different and your old glass won’t fit. Even when just replacing the glass, it is usually less expensive to purchase a whole new shower door. When you order just the glass, it is considered a custom order compared to purchasing a stock shower door, which many quality glass companies have on hand. Custom orders usually take one to two weeks, where a stock door can be picked up or delivered in a few days.
In addition to the material costs, the labor involved in installing a new door is usually less than breaking down an old door and reinstalling the glass. To complicate things even more, many of the original screw become corroded and frequently break off increasing the labor involved even more.
Most homeowners can remove the old door themselves, saving them a few dollars, and should they decide to have the new one installed by a professional, most shower door companies will be happy to recycle it for you.