Limescale is one of those substances you probably never think about until you see it all over, such as on the shower door or the showerhead. This mineral buildup may feel chalky and sometimes a bit hard, but it's fairly easy to remove from shower door glass with vinegar. Like professional limescale-removal products, vinegar eats away at the minerals causing the buildup without harming the glass.
Why Limescale Happens
Minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, naturally occur in tap water and are abundant in areas known for hard water. After using the shower, the water droplets on the surfaces within the shower eventually evaporate, leaving behind calcium carbonate, also known as limescale. Over time, limescale builds up until it looks like a whitish residue. It's most obvious on surfaces such as glass or on metal shower fixtures.
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You may notice a similar buildup inside a tea kettle or as a white ring along the old water line in a pot after you've boiled water in it. Those white deposits are also limescale. Water spots on dishes are also mineral deposits caused by hard water.
Remove Limescale With Vinegar
Inexpensive white vinegar is an excellent limescale and water-spot remover for shower glass, fiberglass shower stalls, the showerhead, and metal shower fixtures. If your shower walls are natural stone, avoid using vinegar on them, as it may etch or otherwise damage the stone. Vinegar won't harm shower glass or the metal frame or track for a sliding shower door.
For minimal limescale, mix equal parts white vinegar and distilled water in a spray bottle. Don't use tap water, as it may leave more water spots behind. If your shower glass is covered in limescale, use straight white vinegar without added water. Spray the shower glass from side to side starting at the top and let it sit for a few minutes. Open the windows if you're sensitive to a strong vinegar odor.
Wipe away the vinegar spray with the soft side of a scrub sponge, working from side to side and starting at the top. If you still see mineral buildup in any area you've wiped, spray it again with vinegar and then rub it with the scrubby side of the sponge.
Treating Stubborn Limescale
If the shower glass hasn't been cleaned for a while, it may be a bit harder to remove the limescale or soap scum mixed in with the limescale. Spray the glass with vinegar again and then sprinkle some baking soda on a slightly damp sponge. Scrub the wet areas of the glass with the baking soda, which should foam a little as it works as a mild abrasive. Though vinegar and baking soda eventually cancel out each other's special powers, the foaming action helps lift various types of residue off the shower door. Rinse the door either with another vinegar spray or with tap water but immediately dry it off if you're using water, as that prevents more limescale.
For the most stubborn buildup, warm 1 cup of white vinegar in a microwave or in a saucepan until it's almost simmering. Carefully bring the warm vinegar to the bathroom and then soak durable paper towels in the vinegar. Use a spoon or thick rubber gloves to remove the paper from the vinegar, wring out a little of the vinegar, and then paste the paper towels on the shower glass, where they should stick easily. Remove the paper towels after 30 minutes and then wipe down the shower doors again with vinegar on a sponge or with baking soda on a damp sponge if any mineral marks remain.