How to Clean Shower Door Soap Scum {Please Help Me!}

So here’s a question for you.  What is the best way/best products you suggest for cleaning a glass shower door?  They always get all foggy.  Is there anyway to reverse that?

I’m really frustrated as I answer this question because I hate to lose, especially to scum–soap scum that is!  A good friend of mine emailed me this question so I made it my mission to get her shower doors clean.  In her question she talks about the doors being “foggy” but let me tell you that her’s weren’t foggy, they were caked with years of soap scum from previous owners of their home!

So I showed up at her house with my bag of tools:
*White vinegar
*Baking soda
*My favorite sponge

and then a few things I borrowed from her:
*SOS pad

Before I tell you what I did let me tell you that nothing worked!  I tried everything (that I could think of)!

Step 1: Spray the shower doors down with white vinegar and then let the shower steam for 5 minutes.

Step 2: Scrub shower doors with a paste of baking soda and vinegar.  This helped work some of the grime off but there was still a good coating of it on there.

Step 3: Add detergent to the white vinegar, spray on the doors and scrub.  This didn’t seem to make any difference.  I thought the detergent would help cut the soap scum but it didn’t.

Step 4: Go back to using the baking soda paste but scrub with an SOS pad instead of a sponge.  This made the biggest difference but there was still some soap scum residue.

So after spending an hour scrubbing the shower doors I resigned to being defeated by the scum. :(

I’d love to hear if any of you have tricks to getting off soap scum.  Like I said I made it my mission to clean those dang doors so I am open for suggestions!  Have you ever had to battle years of soap scum build up?  What did you do?  And the biggest question: did it work?

UPDATE: After reading all of your fabulous responses I have put together a list of 8 ways to remove soap scum.  To view the post click HERE.

About the Author

"Hi I'm Anna! Welcome to Ask Anna where I love to answer your household questions! I have always loved to clean, organize and decorate and this blog is a fun way for me to help you love it too! I am a busy mom of a beautiful little girl and I'm married to the love of my life. Together we fill our days with projects , laughter and love. I serve an incredible God and overall I'd say I'm truly blessed!"

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  1. Hey Anna!!!Okay…here is what I do for soap scum around my kitchen sink…I think the build up is soap scum…I use…LEMON JUICE! Let it soak and it comes right up with very little scubbing….now…I don't know if it would work on a shower door, but it might be worth a

  2. This answer doesn't help your friend because it's a preventative measure. My Mom did this since we were kids and it works like a charm – NO bar soap in the shower! If you only use soft soap or glycerine bars, you'll never get soap scum. Only other thought I had is to try spraying with Scrubbing Bubbles and let it sit for about 20 minutes – that was always my lazy cleaning solution when I had to clean the bathroom.

  3. Hi Anna!I'm new to your blog. Stopping in to learn how to clean the filter in my dishwasher. :) We have lots of lime in our water = film on our showers. We also had the soap scum when we moved in. I use one part of dawn dish soap with four parts of white vinegar in a spray bottle. We spray it after a shower and then rinse it off ~ no scrubbing. Daily use gives a shiny, happy shower. For this tough job, you may need the daily spray with a scrub, too until it comes clean. I learned this tip from Mary Hunt at Everyday Cheapskate. Hope this can be useful. Blessings.

  4. We have the same problem. The shower door was like that when I moved in 5 years ago.I too have tried everything under the sun. The strongest thing I tried was spray oven cleaner such as easy off. It didn't work either. I have used a product called Lime Away,no luck. I have used a product called CLR, still no luck. I think it is etched into the glass from years of no one properly cleaning it. I think we will have to just live with it or buy a new door. I hope one of your readers has a solution.

  5. Hi Anna,I have found that using clear shampoo works great for removing soap scum. I just use cheap suave and a scrubby pad. It does take a little elbow grease but works for me. :)

  6. I was just thinking. My mom once told me that the chemical in ash the works so well for cleaning fireplace ovendoors is lye. Maybe if you scrubbed with some ash it would come off?

  7. How about Mr. Clean magic erasers? I use them on mine regularly and it keeps the soap scum at bay.

  8. Good Morning. I'm new to your blog and I LOVE IT! I used to work at a lodge and we used magic erasers on ours. And then my mom recently started using rainx on her doors are clean and it's working really well.. she has to clean and respray them with the rainx like once a month. :)Thankfully I don't have any glass shower doors in my house.

  9. I used foaming bath cleaner….it wored great…but maybe my doors were not as bad

  10. I read that using dryer sheets, whether right out of the box or after using in the dryer, will get soap scum off. I tried it on my fiberglass tub and the soap scum flaked right off! Hope this helps! :)

  11. I'm also looking for suggestions for the same thing. We just closed on a house yesterday. Everything is very dirty. I have heard about the dryer sheets. I was thinking Magic Erasers too. At my old house I used the Scrubbing Bubbles automatic sprayer each time we would use the shower. You just hit the button and it sprays the shower with a clear spray. It really worked at keeping the shower really clean looking. When the batteries died, the soap scum came back. I will be putting the Scrubbing Bubbles automatic cleaner in my new showers once I get them cleaned up.

  12. Mr Clean Magic Eraser always worked for me… then you don't need a harsh detergent either!Susan@homeroad

  13. Lemon oil (like for furniture) worked wonders for me. Rub on, let stand, scrub with a mild detergent, rinse and repeat. It may take a few rounds but the citric acid does eat through the dried on soap scum. The added benefit is the oil provides a barrier for future soap scum adhering to the glass.I now squeegee after every use and regularly scrub down the shower with a mild detergent and a magic eraser to keep ahead of the scum.

  14. Girl, that is the VERY reason I HATE glass doors for showers and tubs! Id rather stick with the curtains! Im bummed to hear you had no solution, cause I would LOVE to have heard one! LOL I havent tried this (because I had the hubs remove out glass shower doors.. I hated them THAT much) BUT I would be willing to be the "fog" is more than just soap scum.. I bet it is ALSO due to hard water! WE have hard water.. and it has stained our toilets already! I may not be the BEST at keeping the toilets clean, but I try to clean them once a week… and at the worst once every two weeks.. I know gross. But we have 3 and its not my fav job. ANYWAYs… my point is this.. we bought 3 NEW toilets when we moved in, and they have a ring stain around them exactly at water level where it sits. I know its from the hard water. WE also have hard water "stains and spots" on out brand new fridge! Where the ice machine and water is and comes out. Its "foggy" and white.. just the same as it gets on the glass shower doors. I have tried CLR, which helped just a little… but not much. Maybe I did it wrong.. or didnt let it sit long enough. :( Now I know this isnt a solution for you.. but at least it gives you more info to work with and maybe if you know of already or can find a solution for hard water build up and stains.. then maybe you will be able to get those glass doors clean!! :)Alright.. now with all that said. I wanted to let you know I passed an award along to you! :)If you have already recieved a Stylish blogger award, dont feel pressured to re-post again.. just feel special many people find you rockin and stylish!! :)

  15. Melaleuca tub and tile works wonders on soap scum. You just spay it on, wait 5 to 10 minutes and wipe down then rince. it truly is amazing, someone gave me a bottle to try when we moved in to our new house, cause the bathroom were filthy with buildup, and all I could say was WOW.

  16. Maria, You mentioned those hard water toilet rings. I have found a solution at the local hardwear store. You can buy what is basically a stick of pumic stone, and use it to rub the build up away. It works on hard water stains everywhere and does not damage the surface.

  17. Shannon Lush (an Australian guru on cleaning and stain removal) says that often it's not soap scum but rather that the glass has become etched over the years. Often if the glass looks fine wet but dries grimy, that's what it is. She suggests rubbing with almond oil to hide the marks. I've not tried it myself yet, but it's my next step after my forthcoming lemon juice/oil attempt.

  18. I have tried to reply before and it doesn't seem to "catch" – but trust me – the answer is toilet bowl cleaner. It works!

  19. All frameless shower doors come in several different styles. Frameless folding shower doors can be single or double action, it is up to you. But if your door is to open in just one direction it is crucial that it swings outward into the bathroom to prevent the user from becoming trapped inside.

  20. In our first house we had a glass shower door. I used magic eraser once a week for about a month and finally got it clean. Once I had it back to normal, I always used a squeegee after every shower, and I rubbed it down with lemon oil once a week to prevent anything from sticking to it.

  21. We have extremely hard water and I've been looking for a solution for the hard water deposits on our shower door. Since we've moved in to our house we haven't been able to see through it and I've tried everything! Then I happened upon The Manly Housekeeper who tested a bunch of products and found that ceramic cooktop cleaner did the best. I tried it on my shower door and for the first time since we've lived here it is totally clean! I highly recommend trying that if nothing else has worked!

  22. I had this same problem. It drove me crazy. Then I found real MAGIC! Mr. Clean Magic Erasers work SO well! I mean, like no effort needed. They are sort of pricey, but it is so worth it to get all that scum off. After that you just need to do routine upkeep.

  23. piece of cake, spray the shower doors with Shout, or another laundry stain treatment. Let set for at least 30 min, then wipe with a sponge. Works like a charm.

  24. Ok I know this might be weird but I used it on my glass doors and my mothers tub with thick, thick build up. "The Works toilet cleaner". Warning, dont get it on fixtures. I used and mild abrasive and rinsed. Dont leave on longer that 5 to 10 minutes. Bought it at Kmart, found it recently at a dollar store. "Works" great!

  25. One has to determine the difference between soap scum, mineral deposits, and etched glass. I have both soap and mineral.I have cleaned homes professionally for several years and moved into previously owned homes many times. For many years I used a powdered product called Bar Keepers Friend. This is a great product as far as powders go. It is the best on rust, safe for glass, porcelain, and fiberglass. It works pretty well on minerals with a blue scrubbing pad. I like magic erasers also. I have tried some of the chemical cleaners with over-whelming smells and not much result. The very best thing for mineral deposit is the Limescale Remover from a company called H2O at Home. It is absolutely unbelievably the best thing ever. Just spray on full strength and let it sit. You will shortly see it bubbling away the minerals. Repeat as necessary. I used an old toothbrush to help it along periodically. The very best part is the smell. There is hardly any. It is also safe around food, children and pets. The first time I sprayed without the major fumes I was very skeptical about its effectiveness. I continued to prepare my meal and brush and spray periodically. By the time I finished the meal (aprox. 30 min.), the minerals were completely gone around my kitchen sink.Next I tackled my stall shower. The soap scum was easily removed with shampoo and a nail brush. The minerals have been removed with the Limescale Remover on the metal fixtures and another product of the same company called Natural Clay Powder which scrubs and leave an oil protection after rinsing. To order these products and more visit

  26. I 2nd Bar Keepers Friend. I LOVE that stuff and it does not scratch. But I also use regular cooking oil on my shower doors. It works like lemon oil but is better for you. So canola, coconut, olive oil, whatever you have on hand works. After you get most of the oil off just buff to a shine. I also wax the door when it is clean and it GREATLY reduces how often I have to clean the door. IT sounds like a lot of effort but it really isn't. Plus it looks GOOD after I wax the door.

  27. Pumice Powder was told to me by our glass door installers. I have not tried it yet and we have terrible hard water, nothing else is working so I'm off to trying it now. Plus its non-toxic (I believe).

    • ElizabethR says:

      The best thing that I have found for this is actually very simple. I use on part blue Dawn dish soap and one part HOT vinegar in a spray bottle. Shake it to combine the two together. The consistency may still look watery, but once you spray it on your glass doors, it will stick like a gel would. I normally would leave it over night if it’s the first time I’m cleaning them, but after that you normally only need to do it for about ten minutes. Take a sponge with warm water and begin wiping it away. It will get really sudsy, but easy to clean off. Use a newspaper or coffee filter and glass cleaner to get them nice and shiny.

  28. Easiest thing to clean glass shower doors? Ta-Da!! A paint scraper, you know, the handle that holds a razor blade. Scrapes it right off!

    • That’s genius! Why didn’t I think of that!?!


    • K. Saucedo says:

      On several occasions, as cleaning houses, I used a flat razor blade. It cuts the limescale, soap scum and anything off, gives you a clean slate to work with in preventing the build-up.

      On second thought, there is something else you could try: It is a diswashing product called LemiShine. It is a concentrated version of citric acid. I have used in on faucets, ceramic tile, corners & crevices, dishwasher and in my front load washing machine. It does work wonders, and smells great. You can find it at Target and Walmart.

  29. Bar Keepers Friend! I have textured doors like that and I was getting ready to replace them before I tried this tip! Just wet down the doors and sponge, sprinkle BKF on your sponge and prepare to sweat as you go to town. My doors look like NEW! I though nothing would work as I had “tried it all”. This one works!

  30. Heather Britton says:

    Half a lemon dipped in sea salt. Rub the lemon all over the shower doors and the soap scum comes right off!

  31. I clean of a living and have tried several things tat make a big difference they eventually irk but the time. Use bar keepers power (like comet). This powder is amazing! I also use glass stove top cleaner. I make a past using the two and scrub it with a grill scrub sponge. It’s really heavy duty and I don’t find it to scratch the glass. Work in small sections and when it’s clean treat your glass with rainX. It works and the rainX keeps it from coming back.

  32. I don’t have answers about how to clean the glass doors after they’re deep in residue or eventually etched, but I do know a good way to prevent it from happening again. After the doors are finally clean (or replaced in desperation), rub on clear car wax and then buff it off. It’ll need to be renewed occasionally, but it makes a HUGE difference. (Luckily I don’t have to worry about that anymore. And thanks to your other post, I know to get fabric shower liners instead of plastic.)

  33. Anna, the most effortless way to clean glass shower doors is scrubbing bubbles. You only spray, let it sit for a few minutes, then I use a nylon body poof to scrub it down, then rinse. Using a squeegee after every shower helps to minimize the scum, but when noticeable time to spray again. My friends also tried this and couldn’t believe how effortless it was and also worked on their grout.

  34. The absolute best soap scum remover I have ever used, is a dryer sheet!! NO LIE. Take an unused dryer sheet ( I use Bounce) and get it slightly wet and start rubbing on the area in which you want to clean. We have very hard water, besides the soap scum and it takes it all off. Once the dryer sheet gets a little gunked up with the soap goo just rinse in water and repeat. The dryer sheet does not scratch either.

  35. Hi Anna, I help a friend of mine who started her own house cleaning busness 6 months ago. We have come across many hard to clean areas. One specific, a seriously caked on soap scum glass shower. The whole thing. I have tried everything and I do mean everything I could think of. So finally I got tired of fighting it. At this point , Just before giving up I looked down at my carrier that has all of my cleaning products and saw the razor blade. I think technically it is a window scraper but I don’t know. All i do know is that I slid that blade across half a million times and could literally see it flaking off. I sprayed it down with a degreaser first to help lift it off. I let it dry for a minute and then scraped. It is going to take a few more times of this before the whole thing is like new, but you can tell a major difference. It is the only thing that made any difference. Everyone noticed it. So good luck on your friends shower! I hope to read somemore helpful tips for the houses we clean. I love making my job simpler. Thanks so much

  36. I know this is an old post but I found this on Pinterest – works amazing!!

  37. Lysol and rough sponge. Let sit a minute. Rinse with water after scrubbed. Easy.

  38. Our shower walls were like that when we moved in. I used an old credit card to scrape the soap scum off then sprayed with a strong vinegar and water solution and used a nylon pot scrubber to get the hard water off. Did a fair to good job. Maybe this would work for the door too.

  39. There is scum on my fiberglass surround shower….I have tried everything under the sun
    it will not come off…I think maybe I will paint the fiberglass shower…what do you suggest?

  40. Have you tried TheWorks Tub and Shower cleaner and a green scrubby sponge? Spray the Works on and let it sit for a bit to soften the scum, then use a green scrubby sponge to scrub it off. I like Scrubbing Bubbles with bleach too.

  41. The thing that works on my scummy doors is Barkeepers Friend! That stuff is awesome!

  42. While I know this isn’t a conventional method, it is easy and has worked for me! I would caution people not to get this on counter tops, marble, granite or floors!!!!! I accidentally one day grabbed what I thought was the dish soap to squirt it on a piece of brass I was cleaning, but instead grabbed the lysol toilet bowl cleaner and squirted it on the brass! Voila, the brass instantly went from green to a new finish shine! I then tried it on my copper, and an instant new finish! Our shower doors become spotted with hard water spots because of our well soooo…I thought I would try it on the shower doors and tarnished brass in the bathroom sink…voila, a new faucet..Then I proceeded to clean the glass and brass on the shower doors….like new again! I use a damp kitchen scrubby with the sponge (yellow) and scrubby (green) with a little Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaner (Lime and Rust) and it removes all spots, the heaver ones will take the scrubby. It has not harmed the shower liner, which is fiberglass, nor any of the brass. Again, I would test carefully before proceeding. I also use this to clean my kitchen stainless sink and it comes out like new. Again, don’t leave it on stainless too long, only a quick scrub and rinse and dry with a clean towel! Good luck, hope it works for others like it has worked for me. PS.. Don’t tell Lysol, or they will raise the price! There is no strong odors either. I do use rubber gloves when using this. Good luck!

  43. I just cleaned my shower stall. I have the cloudy type older doors. I used Borax…20 Mule Team Borax. Just dipped a sponge in water then into a bowl of Borax and started scrubbing…worked great…cleanest my shower has been. I used it on the walls and floor of the stall too…much better than scouring powder or spray cleaning products with bleach. It took about 20 minutes!