How to Clean Glass Shower Doors and Shower Stall in Your RV (or Home!)

The most hated chore in an RV is cleaning the glass shower doors and shower stalls. Oftentimes, they have caked on soap scum and water spots that kill the aesthetics of the shower. So, we asked numerous RVers what they use and how they clean their showers and those glass shower doors. 

How to Clean Glass Shower Doors and Shower Stall in Your RV (or Home!)

Always On Liberty - How to Clean Shower Glass Doors

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What causes soap scum and water spots in your shower?

How to Clean Glass Shower Doors - Shower Soap

Soap scum buildup is caused by hard water containing mineral salts that coagulates with wet bar soap. Bar soap contains talc and fatty acids that encourage soap scum to form and stick. In scientific terms, soap scum combines calcium and magnesium particles (ions) that are currently in the water with the soap, which forms into a filmy scaly substance.

This soap scum film may be hard to remove from anything it touches; from your shower stall tile, glass shower doors, chrome bathroom fixtures, shower curtains and even your shampoo bottles. This is precisely why you need to keep up with maintaining your shower glass doors. Because the film makes it look unsightly and gross.

But on the same note, another culprit to that ugly white or gray film that clouds your shower glass doors is limescale and hard water. Hard water has high concentrations of calcium and magnesium along with other natural minerals causing limescale. This is what causes those hard, white chalky deposits that you see on your RV water heater components, your kitchen and bathroom sinks and around the faucets.

Will an RV water filter system help?

How to Clean Glass Shower Doors - Water Filters

A water filter system in your RV can help, but only for hard water or limescale issues. It may minimize the soap from soap scum but not completely.

There are several water filter systems made for making water sources safer. Some higher end RVs have an elaborate internal water filter systems while other motorhomes, camper vans  and trailers may have a water filter system installed under their sinks like we do. The most common type are those small blue cartridge water filters you see attached to water hoses near the spigot or RV water port. But those small blue water filters are probably not enough to mitigate hard water spots or preventing soap scum.

You can get a more complex filter system that you can hook up between the water source spigot and your RV’s water incoming port. Those single filter, double filter or triple water filter systems diminish not only hard water spots and effects causing soap scum, but also reduces bad taste, odor, sediment, bacteria and chlorine in your water.

But, those are only controlling the hard water or limescale coming through that particular faucet.

Though this applies to regular sticks and bricks homes, The Spruce explains how hard water occurs and how it damages plumbing.  It also applies to your motorhome’s or camper’s plumbing as well.

But, when it comes to controlling soap scum, well, that’s all in which type of soaps you use.

Read More:  Clear Source RV Water Filter System

What kind of soaps don’t leave soap scum?

Bars of Soap and Bath Gel

So, let’s get to the root of the problem. Soap scum is caused by soap. We know that. But does it matter if all soap causes soap scum to form on our glass shower doors or just certain brands?

According to Kidwell’s Kleaning, Dove, Irish Spring and Caress Bar Soaps are especially fatty and leave behind lots of soap scum. You can still keep the same brand and the same smell, but try those particular soaps in liquid form. The components such as the talc is removed from liquid soaps, thus, the reason why shower gels are so popular. Yet, you still may experience that cloudy talc film on your shower stall walls or shower doors.

So, the gist of it is, if you don’t want that endless nasty household chore of scrubbing soap scum off of your bathtub and shower, stick to liquid soaps. Dr. Bronner’s makes pure Castile soap made for body washing, dishwashing, laundry, etc. Or, if you’d rather, use bath gel body washes and body scrubs instead. That’s okay too. Using these kind of liquid soaps should drastically cut down on the amount of soap scum left on your bathroom walls and shower glass doors.

Shower Cleaning Products

There’s a ton of different shower cleaning products on the market. But unless you know which one’s are tried and true, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and confused in selecting the right one for the job.

However, we’ve recently paid attention to what other RVers are using to clean their showers. And, of course, there’s a plethora of suggested shower cleaners that work according to them. These were the most popular cleaning solvents for tile and fiberglass shower stalls as well as your glass shower doors.

Liquid Cleansers

If your glass shower doors are a bit caked with stubborn soap scum, you may need to use a liquid cleanser that digs in along with some elbow grease. We’ve also read that some use liquid cleansers such as Bar Keepers Friend, Bon Ami or liquid Soft Scrub.

However, don’t scrub too hard to scratch your RV shower door or fiberglass shower stall walls. But also, don’t scrub too hard to put your hand through the glass shower door. RV shower doors aren’t exactly cheap and easy to procure and you certainly don’t want to ruin your RV adventure with your hand in bandages.

Scrub Pads

How to Clean Glass Shower Doors - Scrubbies

Like the shower cleaning solvents, there are also a good number of scrubbing pads out on the market. Some have abrasive pads adhered to sponges while others are the abrasive pads alone.

Frankly, those may be overkill for how to clean glass shower doors or removing soap scum from your shower. Those, in particular, are made for more extensive cleaning jobs. While they may remove the soap scum efficiently, be aware that they may scratch your shower walls.

Though I’ve never tried it, I have read several RVers swear by using dryer sheets to scrub off soap scum as well. They also use them even to get bugs off the front end of their vehicles and RVs. They don’t even scratch the paint or hurt the chrome finish on your RV or vehicles.

But, since you’re probably wondering what my all-time ultimate favorite shower scrubbie is, I’ll let you in on a little secret. I absolutely love the Scrub Daddy! And because I love kitty cats, I got the special edition Scrub Mommy Cat! They also have a special edition Scrub Daddy Dog for dog lovers too! While these household scrub sponge pads are rock hard when they’re dry, after wetting it, they becomes soft and pliable. And, of course, because of that cute smiley face, it makes shower cleaning a little more fun!

Scrub Daddy Original

Scrub Daddy

Scrub Mommy Cat

Scrub Mommy Pet Cat

Scrub Daddy Dog

Scrub Daddy Pet Dog

Homemade Shower Cleaning Remedies

We’ve read more than a few recommendations about making your own shower door cleaner. While some use straight white vinegar in a spray bottle, you may need a tougher cleaner to get your glass shower doors sparkling again. Some use a Magic Eraser in conjunction with the spray vinegar.

One of the most popular homemade cleaner is taking a spray bottle and mixing 1/2 white vinegar with a 1/2 Dawn dish soap. Then spray onto your glass shower doors thoroughly. You may want to spray a few times and over-emphasize spraying the top of the doors as the cleaning solution will run down. Allow it sit about 10 minutes to allow the solvent do it’s work. Use a Scrub Daddy or teflon coated kitchen scrubbie. You may have to repeat this process as to how long the soap scum has been on the glass.

Precautions before using any cleaning solvents

How to Clean Glass Shower Doors and Stalls Rubber Gloves

I can’t stress enough to make certain you take safety measures before figuring out how to clean glass shower doors and the inside of your shower. Since showers in RVs are in relatively tight quarters, it’s important when using any cleaning solvents, showers or otherwise, to properly ventilate the area. So, open the windows to allow free flowing air to circulate. Also run a small portable fan to push the chemical smells out.

Also, I highly recommend wearing latex gloves made for household chores. Most cleaning solvents contain chemicals that can damage and/or leach into your skin causing minor to moderate irritation. Some may even burn your skin, so get those gloves that can handle those shower cleaning agents.

Again since your RV shower is in a tight confined space, I recommend wearing a surgical mask. For solvents that have a high concentration of chemicals that you can’t pronounce, you probably want a better respirator mask. You seriously don’t want to breathe those chemicals in. They may cause respiratory distress, asthma attacks, allergies or worse, long-term damage to your nose, throat and lungs.

Also, I know this sounds a bit redundant, but we are all about keeping safe, even in our RVs. But, whenever you’re using caustic sprays of any type, you should wear eye protection. Some of those cleaners can sting or burn your eyes. If you accidentally get any of these shower cleaners in your eyes, you could experience eye injuries or worse, loss of your eyesight. 

But most importantly, and I can’t stress this enough but keep these cleaning agents out of reach of children and pets. They contain caustic ingredients that can cause harm or injury if not used in the proper manner. It would be wise to write your local poison control center’s number in sharpie on each bottle. Never store them under the sink or within easy reach of children’s little hands.

Be aware of using shower cleaners containing bleach

While you should be highly concerned with the health effects of using caustic cleaners or cleaning solvents, those containing bleach create other issues.

First, bleach contains chlorine. NEVER should you use in conjunction with OR mix ANY other cleaning solvents with bleach. Mixing any ammonia products with bleach will result in dangerous and deadly chlorine gas. 

On a more aesthetic reasoning not to use cleaning products containing bleach is that bleach degrades surfaces; especially when used as a concentrate. I remember using a spray bottle of bleach when regularly cleaning our white grout in our tile shower. It didn’t take but a few months to notice our grout degrading and literally crumbling.

But also, as you most likely know that bleach will damage your clothing by spotting and weakening the cloth fibers. So, in my opinion, just avoid any products that contain bleach or using straight or diluted bleach at all costs.

Preventing soap scum from even sticking to your glass shower doors or shower stall

Prevent Soap Scum Buildup

There’s a lot of easy preventative ways to keep your shower doors from building soap scum. Personally, I hate to even entertain the thought of cleaning them, so I just put up a shower curtain. That said, a reusable shower curtain is best as it can be thrown in the washer when needed. Using a reusable shower curtain as opposed to a plastic shower curtain is you’re not adding to the landfills.

However, since you can’t use a shower curtain to shield the shower walls, there are a few things you can do to help prevent ugly soap scum. Our chosen method is simply using a squeegee after every shower. But, we’ve read others apply a coat of car wax or Rain-X after cleaning. Which, makes sense because the water and soap will just glide right off.

So again, you can stop soap scum from even sticking to your glass doors simply by:

    • Use liquid soaps instead of bar soap
    • Installing a shower curtain
    • Using a squeegee after showers
    • Apply car wax or Rain-X after thorough cleaning

Final thoughts on how to clean glass shower doors

How to Clean Glass Shower Doors and Stalls-2

It’s apparent that by all these suggestions by RVers, that they truly are tried and true. Because as traveling nomads, we don’t have time for searching endlessly on how to clean glass shower doors. But also, we simply don’t have room for shower cleaning supplies that either don’t work or are mediocre at best. So, word on the street is these do all work which will leave you spending more time having fun camping than cleaning the dang shower!

Other “How To” cleaning jobs for your RV

How to Clean and Sanitize RV Fresh Water Tank

RV Hot Water System Cleaning and Maintenance

RV Air Conditioner Vents and Filters Maintenance

How to Care for your RV Fantastic Fan and RV Window Screens

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