How to Clean Glass Shower Doors in Your RV or Boat

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 RV showers and glass shower doors. 

Always On Liberty - How to Clean Shower Glass Doors

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How to Clean Glass Shower Doors and Shower Stall in Your RV or Boat

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 type 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 *drum roll* 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 are tried and true, it’s easy to become overwhelmed in selecting the right one for the job.

However, we’ve been paying attention to what other RVers are using to clean their showers. We were actually surprised that there isn’t a single go-to shower cleaner that everyone uses in their RV shower.

According to an RV lifestyle social media questionnaire, these are the most popular cleaning solvents for tile and fiberglass shower stalls as well as your glass shower doors in RVs.

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.

The three big favorite liquid cleansers, Bar Keepers Friend, Bon Ami or liquid Soft Scrub are proven winners.

However, don’t scrub excessively 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 or easy to get.

And you certainly don’t want to ruin your RV adventure with your hands in bandages.

Can you use abrasive scrub pads to clean your RV shower doors or walls?

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 are overkill for how to clean glass shower doors or removing soap scum from your shower. Those type of cleaning pads are made for more extensive cleaning jobs. While yes, they may remove the soap scum efficiently, they may scratch your fiberglass shower walls.

And though I’ve never tried it, I have read several RVers swear by using dryer sheets to scrub off soap scum.

They also use them even to get bugs off the front end of their vehicles and RVs; claiming they don’t scratch the full body paint or harm the chrome finish.

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 cats, I got the special edition Scrub Mommy Cat! They also have a special edition Scrub Daddy Dog for dog lovers too!

These household scrub pads are literally rock hard when they’re dry. But after wetting it, they becomes soft and pliable. And, 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

Are there homemade cleaners you can use to clean your RV shower?

Some RVers are holistic minded and would prefer not to use toxic chemicals in their RV. So, if you’re wondering if there are homemade cleaners you can use to clean your shower, the answer is yes.

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.

But, the most popular homemade cleaner is mixing 1/2 white vinegar with a 1/2 Dawn dish soap in a spray bottle.

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 the homemade cleaning solvent to sit about 10 minutes to allow it to do its thing. Then, follow up using a Scrub Daddy or teflon coated kitchen scrubbie. But again, you don’t scrub too hard.

You may have to repeat this process as to how long the soap scum has been on the glass.

Precautions before using any household cleaning solvents to clean your shower

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. And, run the bathroom fan. Also you may want to run a small portable fan to push the chemical smell out a window.

Since your RV shower is in a tight confined space, I recommend wearing a mask. You seriously don’t want to breathe those chemicals in. They can cause respiratory distress, asthma attacks, allergies or worse, long-term damage to your nose, throat and lungs.

For solvents that have a high concentration of chemicals that you can’t pronounce, you probably want a better respirator mask.

Also, most shower cleaners may 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.

So I highly recommend wearing latex gloves that are specifically made for household chores.

Also, I know this sounds a bit redundant, but we are all about keeping safe, even in our RVs.

Whenever you’re using caustic sprays of any type, you should always wear eye protection. Some household cleaners will 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, keep any and all household 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.

So, never store household cleaners under the sink or within easy reach of children’s little hands without taking safe precautions.

For safety sake, it’s wise to write your local poison control center’s number in sharpie on each bottle. Or know where to find local poison control centers on the road.

Be aware of using household cleaners containing bleach in your shower

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

First, bleach contains chlorine. You should NEVER use bleach in conjunction with or mix with ANY other cleaning solvents. Mixing 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 used to use a spray bottle of straight bleach to clean our white grout in our tile shower. It didn’t take but a few months to notice our grout completely degrading and literally crumbling; ending up a costly repair.

But also, 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 to save yourself the headache and from costly repairs.

How to prevent soap scum from sticking to 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 washable 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 cheap plastic shower curtain  eliminates adding to the landfills.

However, since you can’t use a shower curtain to shield the shower walls, so there are a few things you can do to help prevent ugly soap scum.

We use a squeegee after every shower. And once every couple months, after cleaning the shower I’d spray and polish the shower with pledge.

However, I always made certain to lay a towel down on the shower floor to overspray. Doing this will prevent falls from slipping.

Some RVers even apply a coat of car wax or Rain-X after cleaning. Which, makes sense because the water and soap will just glide right off.

Wrapping up how to clean the shower doors in your RV or boat

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 don’t work. Word on the street is these bathroom cleaning methods work! Knowing how to clean your shower will leave you more time to enjoy the real reason of RVing.

Final takeaway, 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 pledge, car wax or Rain-X after thorough cleaning

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 Cleaning and Maintenance

How to Clean your RV Fantastic Fan and RV Window Screens


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