Can anyone figure out how to clean this glass?
July 23, 2007 7:57 PM   Subscribe

I installed a clear glass shower enclosure in November 2005. After showering, I use Tilex Fresh Shower on the glass. Now, after nearly 20 months, the glass has something that looks like "build-up" (see picture) that I cannot get rid of. I've used Windex and all its equivalents, white vinegar, Tilex Tub and Tile cleaner, The Works, Kaboom, CLR, lime remover, and even bleach on a small section. I also used a razor blade thinking it might be able to be scraped off but there does not seem to be build up on the surface; it is smooth to the touch. Any idea how I can clean this so that the glass is clear again?
posted by ampang701 to Home & Garden (27 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Do you use bar soap or liquid body wash? Bar soap has talc in it, and that builds up on stuff in the shower.
posted by wuwei at 8:01 PM on July 23, 2007

Magic Eraser
posted by amyms at 8:06 PM on July 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

posted by TomMelee at 8:06 PM on July 23, 2007

Maybe try some baking soda or something similarly physically abrasive?
posted by SassHat at 8:09 PM on July 23, 2007

Hopefully, that's not on the inside of the glass, between two panes that are supposed to be glued flush together.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:19 PM on July 23, 2007

Second the Magic Eraser. After that you can still use the Fresh Shower every day, but about once a month or so, do a good scrub down so it doesn't get that way again. Even the Fresh Shower needs a boost once in awhile.
posted by la petite marie at 8:24 PM on July 23, 2007

Brasso may be worth a try. Or a cleaner made for glasstop ranges. Or Glass Wax.
posted by The Deej at 8:45 PM on July 23, 2007

It sounds like it may be etched, rather than built up. I hope I'm not right because if so you're out of luck.
posted by cali at 8:59 PM on July 23, 2007

only thing I can think of is Goo Gone
posted by edgeways at 8:59 PM on July 23, 2007

A mildly abrasive cleaner and a lot of elbow grease. It may be the minerals in the water depending on where you live.

I'm in NZ so I don't know brand names that would work offhand, but it's the liquid stuff you'd clean your stovetop or bathtub with that's got that slightly gritty feel to it. It's fine on glass; just rinse it well or it streaks.
posted by tracicle at 9:15 PM on July 23, 2007

A-MAZ and some old fashioned elbow grease will do the job nicely.
posted by paulsc at 9:23 PM on July 23, 2007

Red rouge and a powered buffer.
posted by hortense at 10:00 PM on July 23, 2007

Thirding the Magic Eraser - it worked for that stuff on my shower when I first moved into my apartment. You could try using Scrubbing Bubbles cleaner first to loosen things up.
posted by Iamtherealme at 10:29 PM on July 23, 2007

Yikes. I can't tell from your photo if this will work, but on my shower door I use baby oil. Yes, baby oil. It seems to do more to keep the scum at bay than anything else I've tried. I sponge the doors down with the oil (inside only), let it sit for a while, and then wipe it off with water. Can't hurt to's cheap and non-toxic.
posted by splendid animal at 10:48 PM on July 23, 2007

It seems to be either calcium build-up from the water or a build-up from something in the spray you have been using.

You will need an abrasive cleaner such as Jif or the US equivalent and some elbow grease. I've tried those sprays that are supposed to keep your shower glass clean without any work and found them to be harder to clean off than the soap residue. There ain't no free lunch in this world, I'm afraid.
posted by dg at 10:50 PM on July 23, 2007

I once used a medium hard brush on the end of a power drill. The brush was designed to be used with the drill, it was circular and had a metal shaft in the middle. I sprayed with cleaner and then methodically used the brush over the entire glass section of the shower.

I don't know what is built up, but it most likely can be removed with scrubbing. I have also used a creme cleanser, the type with extremely fine grit in it. This might not work for you, but it made my glass extremely clean without scratching.
posted by tomble at 4:42 AM on July 24, 2007

I have a clear glass shower door as well. When it gets really murky I do this:

Wet it down. Then go get dishwashing soap. Squirt some on your fingers and smear it on the door ... sort of like fingerpainting. Let it sit five minutes or so. Then go to it with a soft cloth. The secret is using a pretty high concentration of soap to water.

Also, we always squeegee the door down after showering and that keeps the stuff from coming back so bad.
posted by lpsguy at 5:52 AM on July 24, 2007

Once you do find a solution if I were you I'd simply get a shower squeegee and use that from now on.

Have you tried checking out the Shower Fresh website? Heck, I'd write THEM and ask them if their product did this and how to remove it.
posted by konolia at 6:28 AM on July 24, 2007

2nd the squeegee. After a few times using it, you get really fast at it, it becomes 2nd nature, and nothing will keep it clean better than that. You'll still have to clean it once and a while (try Softscrub), but the buildup will be little to none.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 6:52 AM on July 24, 2007

(dg: in case you're wondering why the Americans are snickering, we have a product called Jif here too, but it may or may not work on a cloudy shower door.)
posted by bink at 7:50 AM on July 24, 2007

cali said it might be etched--to expand on that, I've heard of bacteria or funguses that produce waste that eats away at glass. That would explain why nothing is working. Unfortunately I don't have more information or a solution.
posted by needs more cowbell at 7:54 AM on July 24, 2007

i would try toothpaste myself. my glass blender jar actually gets a build up sort of like this but probably has little in common really. i tried everything i could think of and what people suggested and toothpaste works best. get the cheapest kind you can find (dollar store or whatever). although it may be the abrasives that get it clean and i hope they would not etch your door. probably not though.
posted by annoyance at 8:36 AM on July 24, 2007

Are you sure it's glass and not plastic? If it's plastic, it could be permanent. (And toothpaste on glass will permanently fog it, because toothpaste contains powdered silica.)
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 9:42 AM on July 24, 2007

Are those hard water deposits? If so, try something with a mild acid, like vinegar. Or Lime-A-Way (a cleaning product that is used for removing hard water stains).
posted by monarch75 at 1:42 PM on July 24, 2007

Copper scrubber or pumice bar worked for me.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:21 PM on July 24, 2007

If not, escalate to SOS pads.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:22 PM on July 24, 2007

A pumice bar would also permanently fog glass. (Pumice is a matrix of powdered silica.)
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 4:49 PM on July 25, 2007

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