I have a glass door with very heavy soap scum.

I used a product that is for cleaning the bathroom and tiles, but didn't help that much. Either the scum is too much or the product is not good enough.
I had tried vinegar but that didn't help either or maybe I didn't do a great job applying it.

Is there an effective process for removing heavy soap scum residue on shower doors?


Plastic putty knife.

plastic putty knife


This is the best thing for thick scum on a scratchable surface. And the price is right too - you can get one for less than $1. Or if you are in Duluth, bust out your windshield ice scraper and give it some off-season work. You will need to apply some grease of the elbow variety.

You can leave the scraper in the shower and get after it again when you notice it building up again.

  • Is it to use directly on dry glass surface or wet? Is this similar to what you have in mind? amazon.com/… I am not in US
    – Jim
    Jul 17 '21 at 17:52
  • I think I have razor scrapers for the kitchen top. Would that also work? Or would it scratch the glass?
    – Jim
    Jul 17 '21 at 17:54
  • 1
    Razor would work great but you would need to be careful. Nice and slow just like shaving your face. The good thing about the plastic putty knife or windshield ice scraper is you can just go wild and you wont hurt the glass.
    – Willk
    Jul 18 '21 at 1:20
  • 1
    So if I understand correctly the process would be: apply oil (salad oil that we eat would do right?) on the area, let it stay overnight. Then start scrapping it. I assume after the scrapping pass with soap and rinse with water?
    – Jim
    Jul 18 '21 at 18:25
  • 1
    Caustic liquids can get on your skin and burn you and get in your eye and blind you. You can buy terribly corrosive liquids at the store. Putting something like that on a wall will get it all over and all over you. That stuff is DANGEROUS! Re steamer: if hot water could get it off it would not be in the shower. Dont waste your money. Re salad oil: I would use my bare hand to apply it.
    – Willk
    Jul 20 '21 at 23:55

Well DIY recipes can be anything up to powerful hazardous chemicals, so I would not discount them entirely. Different chemicals will work better depending on your water and what has built up. Could be lime, calcium or soap scum.

Personally, on hard surfaces I'm partial to comet with safety goggles and a spinny brush, but for softer surfaces with grime and soap scum, you could try scrubbin' bubbles. CLR may be useful for Calcium and Lime as well. Similar products may have different brands where you live. You may need to use a bit of trial and error and it wouldn't hurt to ask local friends what works for them. Some chemicals work wonders if you spray, walk away for an hour, then spray again and scrub. Others seem to gain little. Can't hurt to give a melamine sponge(magic eraser) a shot, and toothpaste makes an excellent soft abrasive in some cases too.

Don't underestimate the value of scrubbing with a brush, it has very good abrasion for how soft it is on surfaces. Don't underestimate the value of putting a brush on a drill, but wear safety goggles so you don't blind yourself with chemical.

Amounts to figuring out what it is well enough to either dissolve it or abrade it without marring the surface below. Be cautious working on plastics.

  • What is CLR? Also what kind of brush are you suggesting?
    – Jim
    Jul 18 '21 at 9:36
  • What googles and brush are you using?
    – Jim
    Jul 18 '21 at 16:23
  • 1
    @Jim CLR is a cleaning product. It's called that because it gets rid of calcium, lime, and rust, but searching "CLR cleaner" should bring it up. Any safety goggles which protect your eyes from liquids splashing into them should work.
    – Kat
    Jul 18 '21 at 19:28
  • I use standard jobsite safety goggles, but swim goggles would be fine as you're not trying to stop projectiles. By brushes, I mean plastic bristled scrub brushes, and if you'd like to use one with a drill, I purchase round "soap dispensing scrub brush"es with longish bristles. I bash off the "container" part, leaving only a round brush, and drill out the center soap dispensing hole and put a bolt in so I can chuck it into a drill. Think about how you mount the bolt so you don't end up with it sticking out and scratching what you're trying to brush.
    – K H
    Jul 19 '21 at 1:11
  • Next time I see my homemade spinny brush I'll take a picture and add it to this post. It's actually the most absurdly useful cleaning tool for the cost of a $5 brush and a $1 bolt if you own a drill. Sometimes I operate the drill inside a bag if I'm worried about getting chemicals in the guts. I couldn't find already made versions where I live, but it's called a "drill brush" and I may not have needed to make my own based on my google search. Canadian tire has a nice 3pc set for $20 and Aliexpress a 5 piece set for $2.82.
    – K H
    Jul 19 '21 at 3:22

Try glass stovetop cleaner and scrubbing pads. They're intended for getting tough residue off glass without harming it, which is exactly the same problem here, and I often use it on my shower doors. It takes a lot of elbow grease, but it will get them sparkling clean. I find it works better if you mist a bit of water onto the door before scrubbing, and it's definitely easier if you take the doors down (I lay them on top of some thick towels so the glass is cushioned).

Here's the particular brand I use and generally see for sale near me, but I imagine anything marketed for this purpose should work.

I've also heard from several people that a steam cleaner works very well, but I've never personally tried it.

  • Aren't the scrubbing pads too rough?
    – Jim
    Jul 19 '21 at 10:12
  • @Jim no, they're designed for glass.
    – Kat
    Jul 19 '21 at 11:40
  • Which scrubbing pads are designed for glass? If I google that, I see the ones we use for pots, which I think are very hard for glass
    – Jim
    Jul 20 '21 at 15:42
  • @Jim I gave a link to an example brand. That kit includes scrubbing pads.
    – Kat
    Jul 20 '21 at 20:42
  • You can use a paper towel instead, it will just take more scrubbing.
    – Kat
    Jul 20 '21 at 20:43

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