AD It Yourself

How to Clean Glass Shower Doors and Bathroom Mirrors Without Leaving Water Spots

A sparkling guide to streak-free cleaning
How to Clean Glass Shower Doors and Other Glass Surfaces
Illustration: Julia Abbonizio/Getty Images

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Bet you didn’t know that you can learn how to clean glass shower doors in five minutes. Nothing ruins the look of a clean bathroom quite like glass shower doors covered in streaks, hard water stains, mildew, and water spots.

“It’s important to clean shower glass regularly because if it gets built up with deposits, it’s harder to remove at a later time,” says Jean Prominski, professional home organizer and productivity coach at Seattle Sparkle. “Some people report feeling claustrophobic in a shower with a door covered in soap scum.”

But how to clean glass shower doors properly? Worry not, our cleaning tips for pristine glass surfaces are pretty clear and simple. Whether you are a DIY maven ready to make a white vinegar and essential oil cleanser or prefer to fill your shopping basket with commercial shower glass cleaners (not harsh chemicals), shiny streak-free doors are just a few steps away.

A sparkling clean mirror in Hotel Genevieve

Photo: Nick Simonite

What’s more, once you tackle shower glass, you won’t want to stop. The same cleaning tips apply to bathroom mirrors and grimy windows!

How often should you clean glass shower doors?

Don’t wait for spring cleaning to tackle clean shower glass. “Ideally you should be cleaning your shower doors once a week, then once a month you should give the entire shower a thorough, deep clean,” says Ray Brosnan, managing director and contractor at Brosnan Property Solutions in Cork, Ireland.

A dirty shower and mirrors are telltale signs that you haven’t used a bathroom cleaner in weeks, notes Alessandro Gazzo, cleaning expert at Emily’s Maids in Dallas. That’s because both gather soap scum and even toothpaste marks. “If you live in areas with hard water, you usually have hard water coming out of your shower head, and calcium and limescale start building up around your shower door,” Gazzo says.

The best way to stay on top of the mess is to have a damp sponge and a squeegee on hand. Once you’re done showering, wipe away any body wash suds and remove water spots on a daily basis.

Here are some key points to extend the longevity of your cleaning efforts and help you banish grime, mildew, and soap scum thanks to pro cleaning tips.

How to clean glass shower doors with distilled white vinegar

Step 1: Gather the cleaning supplies

The key to clean shower doors without harsh chemicals is to make a simple DIY bathroom cleaner. You’ll need:

Step 2: Mix the cleaning solution

“As far as homemade cleaners, white vinegar is an absolute must,” Gazzo says. Mix equal parts water and distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle and add a few drops of an essential oil if you’re concerned about the smell.

Step 3: Apply the homemade white vinegar solution

After mixing your solution, spray it all over the glass shower doors and let it sit for about 30 minutes. While you’re waiting, this could be a great time to clean other areas of the shower where mineral deposits and other buildup can occur, like grout, shower door tracks, shower head, and faucets. For extra stubborn spots add a little baking soda to the solution and let it fizz. After half an hour, scrub the doors with a non-abrasive sponge and wipe away with a clean cloth.

How to clean glass shower doors with lemon juice

The vinegar solution should take care of stubborn hard water spots and other grime, but lemon juice helps with a streak-free finish. Start by mixing equal parts water and lemon juice in a spray bottle and spritz all over the glass doors. Though you can use a squeegee or microfiber cloth to wipe away the lemon juice, Brosnan recommends using newspaper. “The paper soaks up all of the moisture as opposed to just pushing it around, making it perfect for a streak-free finish,” he says. Don’t think that paper towels are an even swap for newspapers. Its pulpy texture is the prime culprit for streaks and lint.

Next, tackle the water spots on the bathroom mirror

Once you know how to clean glass shower doors, keep your supplies out and scrub the mirror. Even if you deep clean the entire bathroom, a dirty mirror will tarnish the whole thing. “Your reflection in the mirror will get marred by water stains and toothpaste splatter, and, although it may be subconscious, it will impact your view of yourself,” Prominski says. “Instead of seeing yourself through a clear and bright reflection, you will see yourself through a cloudy and dirty one, and [it] will reinforce ideas that you are lazy and messy, which will impact your self-esteem.” Clean mirrors and glass are a must for good feng shui. “Dirty mirrors block the flow of energy and can reflect a dirty environment,” she adds. Don’t be surprised if you get a burst of confidence after cleaning your mirrors.

“Cleaning a mirror in a bathroom takes less than a minute,” Prominski adds. “It’s a quick and easy way to spruce up the bathroom.”

Keep a bottle of Therapy Clean Window & Glass cleaner under your sink for quick upkeep. The refreshing plant-based formula is infused with natural mint and fir scent.

Step 1: Remove toothpaste and makeup splatters

If your mirror has any spots of toothpaste, makeup, or other buildup, use warm water and a clean cloth to remove them. Take a duster across the surface to clean the mirror of debris before proceeding with the cleaning solution.

Step 2: Mix vinegar and water

Gazzo recommends equal parts white vinegar and distilled water mix. Just add them to a spray bottle, apply to the surface, and wipe with a microfiber cloth. Mild dish soap and rubbing alcohol work well too.

Step 3: Spray and wipe

Clean in a zigzag to avoid streaks. 

Photo: Detry26/Getty Images

Spray your white vinegar mixture all over the mirror. Then, take a clean microfiber cloth and wipe away the solution in a zigzag motion, covering the entire surface. Like the shower, you can also use newspaper in place of a cloth to achieve a streak-free finish.

How to clean windows

If you’re on a glass-cleaning roll, you’ll likely want to give some attention to your windows too. If you’re strapped for time and can’t knock out a full window cleaning tutorial, look to our abridged version. Here’s what you’ll need:

Step 1: Mix the solution

Use a cleaning solution or a mix of water with liquid dishwashing soap in a bucket. No need to be overzealous with the soap, a few drops will do.

Step 2: Squeegee

Squeegee will get your windows cleaner faster than a cloth. 

Photo: John Block/Getty Images

Dip the squeegee in the solution and apply it to the window in a top-to-bottom motion. Drag the squeegee across the window, working from top to bottom and curving the squeegee downward at the end of the stroke. Wipe the squeegee off with a dry cloth between each stroke.

Step 3: Dry

Once you wipe away most of the cleaning solution with the squeegee, run a dry microfiber cloth or newspaper over the windows to remove excess water, particularly in corners and on the windowsill.


What is the best thing to clean shower glass with?

What you don’t want to use on your glass surfaces is multipurpose cleaning solutions, as they can leave a haze and streaks. Gazzo is a big fan of the distilled white vinegar and water solution, but if you’re not going with a DIY cleaning solution, he recommends Mrs. Meyer’s Glass Cleaner because it’s ammonia-free, plant-based, and effective. To deep clean these surfaces, Bar Keepers Friend Soft Cleanser is fantastic, he adds.

Mrs. Meyer's Mirror & Window Cleaner

To deal with mildew in the shower door tracks, squirt some Dawn Antibacterial EZ Squeeze dish soap and scrub with a small brush or an old toothbrush. Then wipe down with a wet sponge and warm water.

“Steam is a great cleaner as well because it can help loosen up soap scum,” Gazzo says. “Besides, it’s the safest cleaning agent in the world.” Dupray Neat steam cleaner comes with microfiber soft cloth pads to help get the job done.

Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner

Regardless of the cleaning method, you’ll want to use a microfiber cloth specifically designed to clean glass to ensure you get rid of the water spots without leaving a linty residue. Prominski likes soft cloths from Norwex.

How do you get hard water stains off glass shower doors?

Prominski deals with hard water stains with either Windex or Magic Erasers on shower doors. “If you’ve got a tougher job, use a tougher cleaner like CLR Brilliant Bath,” she adds.

Gazzo tackles stubborn hard water stains by applying Bar Keepers Friend Soft Cleanser to the surface, and then a few sprays of a window cleaner. Wipe away. Or you can use the same vinegar mix, but add a few drops of dish soap and replace distilled water with rubbing alcohol.

Bar Keepers Friend Soft Cleanser

Skip abrasive cleaners as they will scratch glass. Multipurpose cleaners, bleach, and bar soap will leave behind a haze. You’ll also want to skip anything made of metal, like dish scrubbers. Some scouring pads are okay to use on glass (like superfine steel wool), and some are too abrasive (like a “green scrubby,” the green Scotch Brite heavy-duty pad) and will scratch glass. If you must scrub the glass, make sure to use a “no scratch,” very fine scouring pad like these and test in a small area before using it.

Is it okay to use Windex on glass shower doors?

Yes! Especially if you’re not a fan of white vinegar DIY cleaners. Prominski swears by Windex for cleaning bathroom mirrors and shower glass. “It works really well and doesn’t leave streaks,” she says. Sprayway Glass Cleaning Foam also works well.

Sprayway Ammonia-Free Glass Cleaner

Does Dawn and vinegar clean glass shower doors?

“Most glass shower doors will be lightly coated with a soapy scum, but this can be blitzed easily with a natural cleaning product such as vinegar,” Brosnan says. Start by combining two pumps of dish soap, like Dawn Platinum, with some white vinegar in a spray bottle. “If you’re worried about a strong vinegar smell lingering in your bathroom, just dilute the mixture with some water,” he says. Alternatively, you can add a few drops of an essential oil to mask the strong odor from the vinegar.