Cleaning an Aluminum Shower Frame

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It's easy to see how aluminum became the metal of choice for installing shower doors and shower frames. It's lightweight, highly recyclable, more affordable than many other metals, and resistant to corrosion. That last point is obviously an important characteristic for metal that's going to get wet every day. Despite the fact that they shouldn't be rusty, cleaning aluminum door shower tracks is still tricky because they have so many nooks and crannies where soap scum and mineral deposits can accumulate.

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Use Steam to Loosen Gunk

While an aluminum shower frame shouldn't rust, it can be corroded and pitted by acidic cleaners. You may ultimately need to use those cleaners to tackle stubborn limescale, but it's worth trying a chemical-free cleaning solution first. A lot of the deposits and soap scum that build up on aluminum shower frames can be scraped away.

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First, all that debris needs to be softened so it's easy to remove. If you have a handheld steamer, run it over a section of the aluminum frame for a minute or so. You can also create your own steam by running the shower on its hottest setting until the bathroom is foggy.

Use a narrow plastic scraper tool to scrape up as much stuff as you can. Then, wrap a microfiber cloth around the tool and go over the entire shower frame again to collect more debris that may still be clinging to the aluminum.

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Cleaning Stubborn Spots

If soap scum and limescale remain after you've steamed and scraped the shower frame, move on to trying an acidic cleaner. Good old distilled white vinegar is a popular choice as a DIY shower frame cleaner. Use cotton swabs dipped in vinegar to wipe the metal or use a spray bottle of vinegar to spritz the frame and scrub the aluminum with a microfiber cloth.

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Another cleaning method that lets you avoid vinegar fumes is to use Mr. Clean Magic Eraser products. The company says its melamine sponges are safe to use on shower tracks. A block sponge may work fine for your purposes, but Magic Eraser sheets are even better for getting into grooves and crevices because they're thin and flexible.

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Tip

If you're really committed to deep cleaning aluminum shower door tracks, find someone to help you remove the shower doors temporarily so you can access the entire frame.

Cleaning Shower Doors

As you're cleaning aluminum shower door tracks, it makes sense to give shower doors themselves a thorough cleaning, especially if you already have the vinegar out. Vinegar makes the best shower glass cleaner if you're looking for a DIY way to clean soap scum, mold, and mildew from shower doors. Fill a clean spray bottle with plain vinegar to mist the doors and then use a stiff-bristle brush to scrub them. To remove stubborn spots and stains, use a mixture of half vinegar and half soapy water; the grease-cutting power of liquid dish soap should be effective at eliminating soap scum.

If you cleaned your shower frame with Magic Eraser products, you can safely use those to clean shower doors too. You don't even need to rinse the doors when you're finished scrubbing them.

Optionally, apply a shower door water repellent to the doors when you're finished cleaning them. It should help prevent soap scum and mineral deposits from building up again.

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