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Removing Soap Scum from Shower Doors

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Hand washing shower wall

Soap scum is a white film that builds up in showers and bathtubs. It can be extremely frustrating when your trying to have a sparkling clean bathroom and the soap scum just won't go away. This is a guide about removing soap scum from shower doors.


Solutions: Removing Soap Scum from Shower Doors

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Tip: Use Glass Etching on Badly Worn Shower Door

I bought a fixer upper home and it has a shower that was etched so bad with hard water spots, so bad that a steel wool pad and a drill with chemicals did not do the trick. I didn't want to replace the glass, had lots more money to spend on other things. So I went to a craft store and bought glass frost/etching acid. I bought a roll of painter's tape and stencils. Figured out a pattern that I wanted.

I put a "Fleur D'Lis" on the top of each glass pane, with the stencil that I bought (could be butterflies, flowers, etc.) and ran the tape along the edges of the glass panes (length wise). Then I striped the glass with the tape (horizontally), measured with little pieces of the tape below the fleur d'lis design and ran a piece of tape from edge to edge, using the little pieces of tape as guide to make the stripe level. Then more small pieces of tape at the bottom of the first stripe of tape then leveled off another stripe.

Standing in the shower, adjust the tape and stripe pattern so the personal parts of your body are covered by the frosted glass. I etched the entire part of the glass where the "never-you-mind" areas are, then I started striping again to continue the pattern from the top of the shower glass panes. In the middle of the glass pane, I etched another design but I had to tape that off to not overlap the frosting, which was a pain in the never minds, but it came out good.

You might want to try it. I saved myself a bunch of money and it doesn't look too bad for a cheap quick fix. Now I can concentrate on other things to buy for my new...older...home, and this will do until I can get another shower stall along with a water softener system! Good Luck. I am very happy with the outcome and semi-filled bank account.

Source: TOO frugal to get a new shower and had to come up with something inexpensive.

By Suzette from Ripon, CA

Tip: Product Review: 365 Soap Scum Remover for Shower Doors

I have been looking for a soap scum remover for months and have tried all the typical products you see in these links and a dozen more. This includes scrubbing bubbles, foam, sponges, 3M type scrubbers, Automotive tar remover, turpentine - I was getting desperate!

I finally called Procter and Gamble, the people who made the bar soap we were using (Olay) and was told to get their "Pantine Clarifying Shampoo", and this would dissolve it. Wrong! It didn't budge. I even called the glass shower door company and they told me to scrape it with a razor blade, Ha, that doesn't work either. Now, I was getting obsessed!

Well, hallelujah, I was walking through the local "Whole Foods" store and picked up a spray bottle of their store brand, "365" "Spray Scum Remover", what do I have to lose at this point?. This product is listed on the label as "foaming action, cypress scent, concentrated and biodegradable". You don't dilute it but spray on from the bottle. It's inexpensive at $3.99 but the best thing about it is, it works. The directions say to spray on and wipe with a clean cloth and rinse. I sprayed it on, and it's clear, so I left in on overnight and the next day, getting in the shower, you could see that the scum was gone! I still can't believe it after all the products I tried, this works.

I was going to buy another glass shower wall and now, I've saved that cost! I know Whole Foods is not in every city and you may not find it in your local chain stores but try Whole Food's web site and I'm sure they would send it to you, it's worth the shipping cost whatever it is. Good Luck!

By Jimbo from Naperville, IL

Tip: Use Laundry Detergent for Soap Scum

Remove the ring of soap scum from your tub with liquid laundry detergent. For a really bad case mix dry laundry soap with water into a paste and apply to scum. Let it set for a while. It should come off very easily. Works on showers as well.

By Walton from Mesa, AZ

Tip: Soap Scum Build Up

To remove heavy soap scum buildup on clear shower doors without the heavy cleaning fumes use Avon's original Skin-So-Soft bath oil. Be sure to rinse well as the shower floor gets slippery.

By Debi

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Here are questions related to Removing Soap Scum from Shower Doors.

Question: Shower Doors are White Instead of Clear

We recently moved into a beautiful rental home. There is one problem, the shower door has so much build up that it looks like it is covered in white film. The owners obviously did not bother to clean it. I have tried everything. I am just concerned that the soap scum has actually etched the glass, what can I do?

By Nan from CA


Most Recent Answer

By vynbos11/09/2010

Use Mineral Spirits (aka White Spirits aka Paint Thinners). Like magic, it dissolves the scum the instant it touches it.

Question: Cleaning Stubborn Shower Doors

My shower enclosure doors have suddenly got severe soap scum and nothing is removing it. It is on one fixed piece more than the others. What can remove this easily? I have tried vinegar, but nothing doing.

By Patricia


Most Recent Answer

By Justjean01/14/2012

If after cleaning with any of the methods suggested, and you find your door appears to have that permanent white etching, you can camoflague it really very well by wiping on olive oil and polishing it off with 4-5 paper towels per door. The door wil not look or feel oily. It will continue looking wet and clear. It will last a few days with daily showering. It is nice to know you can have it look good for when company comes or for a house sale. The door shown was cleaned and oiled this AM. It dates from 1979. It has a slight texture to it.

RE: Cleaning Stubborn Shower Doors

Question: Cleaning Soap Scum on Shower Doors

What is the best way to keep soap scum at bay on glass shower doors?

By Stella_admin from Manchester, WA

Most Recent Answer

By Frances Adams [11]05/10/2011

When our home was new, the instructions for the tub and shower said to apply automotive wax to the sides and glass doors, but not to the bottoms, of the shower and tub, to help keep soap scum from forming. It could probably be done after the glass is cleaned well. I didn't do it of course, and now use generic 'Soft Scrub' and a nylon kitchen scrubber to clean the shower doors every week or two.

Question: Shopping for 365 Spray Scum Remover

Can anybody please give me a phone number where I can buy 365 Scum Remover as Tasmania doesn't sell it anywhere? Cheers.

By Lori

Most Recent Answer

By yoyoesca06/05/2014

365 Spray Scum Remover is no longer sold at Whole Foods.

Question: Removing Soap Scum from Glass

I'm trying to remove soap scum from glass. I made a huge mistake trying to clean it with Cascade, but it only made it 10 times worse.

By Dulce

Most Recent Answer

By Betty [104]09/02/2011

If it's very thick and on a shower door the quickest and easiest way to get rid of it is to put a straight razor blade in a holder and scrap it off. Work very gently. I've done this on bathtub tile while the tub is dry. The scum falls in the tub and get it out with the vacuum cleaner attachment. I quit using bar soap for this reason. Liquid cost more but it doesn't form soap scum.

Question: Soap Scum on Shower Doors

How do you clean soap scum off shower doors?

By Marilee from Bakersfield, CA

Most Recent Answer

By Deanj06/11/2012

I use a product called Bartenders Friend from Home Depot with a bit of vinegar and a non scratch sponge. Once my shower is clean I wipe it down with a towel after every use. Then once a month I clean the shower and it is a snap because using the towel after every use it picks up most of the soap scum.

Question: Cleaning Shower Doors

I just purchased a home. Two bathrooms have shower doors in very good shape, but on the bottom of the doors is a huge build up of water gunk. It almost looks liked dried on cement. I think it is old water build up. How can i remove this?

By Debbie f. from Mission Viejo, CA

Most Recent Answer

By Janette [87]07/21/2012

I have used oven cleaner on shower doors. Works wonders.

Question: Ring B Gone for Soap Scum

A nephew suggested I use Ring B Gone for cleaning stubborn soap scum from my shower's glass doors. I bought it, but then saw a label warning not to use it for glass. Has anyone had any experience with using this product for glass shower doors and if so did it work and/or cause damage to the glass?

By Jeff R.

Most Recent Answer

By ruthie [8]03/10/2012

I use regular shampoo on a back scrub brush to clean shower door it also works on tub and shower walls. just scrub down and rinse off. The shampoo makes the scum come off real easy.

Question: Cleaning Plexiglass Shower Doors

What is the product that cleans plexiglass shower doors?

By Jolene

Most Recent Answer

By Elizabeth11/17/2011

Sounds strange but I use WD-40. I wash the doors and dry with an old rag. Then spray with WD 40 and they shine like new. Hope it works for you as well.

Question: Steam Cleaners and Soap Scum on Shower Doors

Can a steam cleaner be used to clean plastic shower doors?

By Moosexquisite from Ramsgate

Most Recent Answer

By Marna Goodyear [2]09/15/2010

I adore my steam cleaner. However, I think you need to clean the doors first and then use the steamer after to keep the doors clean. The best product I've ever found is Don Aslett's Showers 'N Stuff. I buy a gallon at a time and use it in a spray bottle. Nothing even comes close to this stuff. I used it on a fiberglass tub that was stained brown that nothing would clean; this cleaned it in no time. Great, great product, and I wouldn't use anything else. No affiliation, just a huge fan.


Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.

Archive: Cleaning Soap Scum on Shower Doors

Any good products for soap scum on shower doors and in shower? What about ring around the toilet?

Kate from Maryland

RE: Cleaning Soap Scum on Shower Doors

Onetime I called a professional cleaning service to evaluate cleaning my mom's home and they suggested cleaning the shower doors with Lemon Oil. They said that they would do that each time they came and it keeps them spotless. (04/18/2006)

By Jenny Connard Tucker

RE: Cleaning Soap Scum on Shower Doors

Try Dawn dishwashing soap for soap scum. My dh cleans toilets regularly so I don't really know. I have used chlorine bleach in the past with good results.

Good Luck! (04/18/2006)

By Faye

RE: Cleaning Soap Scum on Shower Doors

Lemon oil on a dry soft cloth. Just wipe down the doors and the soap scum will disappear immediately. (04/18/2006)

By Lahlbrand

RE: Cleaning Soap Scum on Shower Doors

One of the best ways to keep scum off bathroom walls is to stop using BAR soap. It contains paraffin (or wax) which is what coats the tiles and doors, causing the scum. Since we switched to liquid soap (cheap if you buy half-gallons at Walmart, Target, etc.), we have no scum problems anymore. Even the mildew-grout problem is much alleviated since the wax doesn't hold the water in the grout. I quickly (30 seconds) dry my shower after each bath so I don't have mildew. My DH doesn't dry his shower and bleaches the mildew a couple of times a year. (04/18/2006)

By ccarnow

RE: Cleaning Soap Scum on Shower Doors

That ring around your toilet is most likely calcium scale. There are three effective ways of removing it, depending on how hardened it is. In the first two methods, you want to make sure the water level is above the ring. I recommend you first try Denture Cleaning Tablets and letting them soak overnight. Toilets are, with the rare exception of fiberglass models, made of Vitreous China, same stuff dentures are. They are also good for maintaining a clean bowl (I recommend using them once a week, generic brand ones are usually very cheap like 99 cents a box).

If that fails to rid the ring, next try a 2 liter Coke, the full sugar kind and not the diet. The Citric Acid is of a higher concentration than with the tablets. Again, let it sit overnight.

If by some stretch of fate that fails, the only other thing I can recommend is to cut off the water feed, empty the bowl as much as you can, and fill it with white vinegar and let sit overnight. That ring may mean some seriously hard water which also means you may notice a slow filling of the bowl after a flush. If so, you may want to cut off the water and empty the tank. Next, take an old towel or dry rag and dry where the bowl meets the rim (this is where the water enters the bowl. Then cover the little ports under the rim with duct tape, making sure it is sealed very well. Press down on the flushing lever and pour a gallon of white vinegar into the hole and let sit over night. The next day, when you remove the duct tape, you will notice all sorts of brown scale and crud washing away from behind the tape with the white vinegar. Turn the water feed on and flush about 3 times in a row. Your filling cycles should be much faster now. (04/18/2006)

By Otakop

RE: Cleaning Soap Scum on Shower Doors

I had soap scum on clear glass shower doors. I tried everything. Still couldn't get a really clear shine. Then I used "Whink" which is a rust remover (contains some type of acid so wear rubber gloves). Squeezed on a sponge and wiped down the doors - then wiped off with a clean sponge. The doors look great. Now I use only glycerine soap or shower gel in that shower and use a squeegee on the door after each use. End of problem (04/19/2006)

By c thomson nj

RE: Cleaning Soap Scum on Shower Doors

Mr Clean magic sponges work great. I keep one on the shower/bath to use quickly before stepping out. No effort at all. (05/02/2006)

By Jron7667

RE: Cleaning Soap Scum on Shower Doors

I spray my doors with Glass Plus (alcohol based glass cleaner), then I use a Mr. Clean Magic sponge. Soap scum comes off easily, (06/02/2006)

By pat

Archive: Cleaning Soap Scum on Shower Doors

How do you get soap scum off of shower doors? I scrub it looks good wet but dries with a soap film.

Andrea from Buffalo, NY

Baking Soda and Dish Detergent

Make a paste of baking soda and dish detergent. Apply this to your damp shower doors and scrub with a nylon pot scrubber. I have had good results with this method. (10/23/2006)

By ShellR


I tried a product called Kaboom cleaner. It is the best cleaning product for soap scum and hard water stains. No scrubbing. I found it in Kmart for about $3. (10/24/2006)

By marginy


Remember - like attracts like in chemistry. Soap is made from fats, therefore an oil will (slowly) remove the buildup. This doesn't help much due to removing one oil with another oil. I liked the Dawn dishwashing soap and dishwasher soap works even better. To be truely thrifty though, make a paste of wood ash (pH 11) and spred it over the soap buildup. Some of the soap will be removed with each treatment with no scrubbing. Add a little elbow grease and it's all gone with no toxicity.

If that doesn't work, or if you don't have a woodstove, Comet powder works fine and it is cheap.

Good Luck! (10/29/2006)

By Hot Water

Archive: Cleaning Soap Scum on Shower Doors

Does anyone have a miracle cleaner for soap scum on a shower door? I have tried everything on the market. NOTHING works on it.


Archive: Cleaning Soap Scum on Shower Doors

Remove built up soap scum from glass shower doors with a pumice stone. Works great and can be done while you're in the shower!

By Balber from Getzville, NY

Archive: Cleaning Soap Scum on Shower Doors

How do I remove soap scum on shower doors? They are hard to get at.


Archive: Cleaning Soap Scum on Shower Doors

How do I remove stubborn soap scum on my glass shower doors? I've tried bleach and bi-carb of soda. That didn't work. Any suggestions?


Archive: Shower Doors are White Instead of Clear

I have tried everything from CLR, jif, sugar soap, Magic Eraser, metho and water, Shower Power, and a foam type soap scum remover and still the shower is white instead of clear.