Soap scum, mineral deposits, water spots and even glass cancer! All horrible words describing a thorn in any homeowner’s backside. Whatever you call it, one thing is certain. It’s a real pain to get rid of. There are many products on the market with amazing claims but time and time again the results are poor or don’t last. In this article, we attempt to cut through the “grime” and provide a simple cleaning method that’s sure to delight.

In previous articles we have explained how to remove discolouration from glass mainly in showers, we go into detail about how to remove hard water stains from shower doors, screens and any other glass that you may have issues with. We recommend some shower glass stain remover type products that work well and some DIY options.

Your first step is always to remove soap, let’s assume you have already done that. Now you’re dealing with just the mineral deposits left on the glass.

Where to start and how bad is the etching…really?

Okay generally, if your glass is over 10 years old, you’re on bore water or you have sprinklers regularly hitting the glass you are going to have some serious etching. Using a fingernail try and scratch away at the etching. If you remove some of it, you’re in luck, you can try the methods below and get good results. If you can’t budge any etching, you might need to give us a call, but let’s try to avoid that for now.

For the most extreme of etching, you are going to need to combine chemical’s with polishing, hard water will actually dissolve the surface of the glass, once removed you will be left with permanent damage. At 1st Choice Fix, we remove the etching then polish the glass back, sometimes in extreme circumstances we even need to sand the glass similar to removing scratches. Obviously, it takes years of training to learn how to do this. But let’s hope your shower isn’t experiencing this sort of damage.

Calcium, Lime, & Rust Remover (CLR) can sometimes provide a miracle when it comes to dissolving the minerals off your glass, follow the instructions and soak your glass with CLR® then scrub with a WHITE scourer. Repeat this step as required if you are getting results, If you can’t notice any difference unfortunately you’re going to have to break out the polisher.

Vinegar is also great for dissolving the minerals of the glass, It’s cheaper than CLR and can be used at full strength, always be super cautious of surrounding surfaces and tape/mask off the area you are working on.

Combining either CLR or Vinegar with 0000 Steel wool can also provide a good result, but unfortunately, 0000 steel wool is expensive, and when combined with acid cleaners it rusts almost instantly. Try it if you’re desperate or combine it with warm water and dishwashing liquid rather than the acid cleaners to get it to last long enough to complete your whole shower. If you can scratch off some etching with your nail this is where I would start, 0000 steel wool, water mixed with dishwashing liquid and A LOT of scrubbing.

Phosphoric acid and alike are also good, but the safety aspect and potential damage caused to surrounding surfaces and long-term damage to the glass generally means it’s best left to the professionals, and here at 1st Choice Fix, we reserve these types of cleaning for tiles and grout.

Choose a method above and repeat until you get good results. If nothing seems to be working you now need to decide if you want to continue the DIY root or Call a professional.

Polishing the Glass

If you have a drill or polisher like a floor sander you can continue the DIY root affordably, if you’re planning on purchasing equipment to polish the glass yourself be advised you might spend more than a professional restoration would actually cost. If you chose to use 1st Choice Fix, we would also seal your shower with EnduroShield Pro to prevent the damage from returning.

Okay enough of the plug, I hear you! You want to do it yourself!

Alright here is what you want to do:

  1. Use a medium to firm foam pad that you have attached to your drill or polisher.
  2. Sprinkle some bicarb soda on the pad, about a teaspoon worth, then soak the glass with straight vinegar.
  3. Let the vinegar sit for a few minutes then spray the pad with the bicarb.
  4. Focus on a dinner plate size area at a time, on a low speed and with the pad flat to the glass with firm pressure start moving up and down left to right.
  5. Repeat as required, and do not let the glass get hot.

If this is working, Great! Good on you!

If you are still not getting good results then we go into some risky territory so you have been warned.

Purchase a water spot remover grit, this should feel like sand, a brand I’ve had decent results with is called Spot-X (you can get this at Bunnings). You will scratch the glass if you allow this to build up on the pad so make sure you are always using it wet.

Now repeat the same technique above, but with the grit instead of the bicarb. Still no results? Add Cerium Oxide into the mix equal to the same amount of grit you are using. Cerium Oxide is also a gemstone polish so suppliers of gemstone supplies should stock it. Again if you’re at this stage your probably best to give us a call. But give it a try if you’re willing. If you’re using Cerium Oxide, Spot-X Grit & Vinegar polishing away and it’s still not budging something is wrong. Try a faster speed, More Cerium Oxide or a smaller area. Eventually, you should get a result.


If you are still not getting results then your glass is going to require professional glass restoration. Here at 1st Choice Fix, we have removed hard water stains from shower doors, classic cars, superyachts and pool fencing 50m from the beach. We know glass like the back of our hand and we pride ourselves on our professional approach and results at an affordable price.

I’m always available by phone on 0401 487 558 or email.

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