Hard Water Versus Soft Water: The Effect of Your Shower Doors

A bathroom with a glass shower door
When you installed your glass shower door, you probably loved the sleek, clean look it afforded your bathroom. However, over the passing weeks and months, you might have noticed a filmy residue forming on the glass. This is the result of minerals clinging to the door after water droplets from your shower evaporate.

Learn more about how both hard and soft water can affect your shower door as well as how to combat the unsightly residue and prevent it from returning.

The Effect of Hard Water on Glass Shower Doors

Hard water contains a high amount of dissolved minerals including calcium, magnesium and lime. Rainwater is soft, but by the time it passes through the ground, into waterways and out of your showerhead, it has picked up plenty of minerals.

Very hard water – defined as 10.5 grains per gallon (GPG) or higher – is found across the country, especially in the Midwest, pockets of the Southwest and Florida. The six metro areas notorious for having the hardest water in the country include:

  • Phoenix, AZ

  • Tampa, FL

  • Indianapolis, IN

  • Minneapolis, MN

  • Las Vegas, NV

  • San Antonio, TX

When hard water exits your taps, it leaves behind dingy clothes, spotted glassware and filmy shower doors. Soap is less effective because it reacts negatively with magnesium and calcium. Even your hair may feel sticky and look dull when washed in hard water.

The Effect of Soft Water on Glass Shower Doors

When water is treated to remove magnesium and calcium, it’s known as soft water. While most of the ions are removed from soft water, sodium (a negatively charged ion) remains. This can make your water taste salty and notably increase your sodium intake each day.

Once it falls to the ground, water isn’t found any softer than about 1 to 3.5 GPG, which is considered slightly hard. To be called soft water, it must contain less than 1 GPG. This can only be done with a water softener.

While it may seem as though achieving the softest water possible is beneficial for avoiding residue, it might not be safe to drink. Plus, the sodium in soft water can leave behind stains similar to hard water spots.

How to Remove Buildup from Glass Shower Doors

A damp sponge and even window cleaner isn’t enough to remove hard water residue from your glass shower doors. Instead, try these tips:

  • Spray on a commercial lime- or calcium-removing spray specifically designed to remove hard water spots. Be careful not to spray any grout or stone in the shower to prevent damaging these materials.

  • For fresh hard water spots, rub the shower door with a dryer sheet to lift residue without scratching the glass.

  • For stubborn hard water spots, first spray lemon juice on the shower door. Then rub on a paste of baking soda and vinegar with a soft cloth or sponge. Immediately rinse and dry the door.

How to Prevent Buildup on Glass Shower Doors

Once you remove the buildup from your shower doors, prevent its return with these tips:

  • Wipe down the door after every shower. A squeegee is an effective tool for the job.

  • Use ClearChoice protective coating to reduce water stain damage.

  • Install a water softener if you live in a hard water area to bring mineral hardness down to about 3 GPG.

If you’re ready for a new glass shower door design, look to Glass Doctor® for help. Learn more about our services by contacting Glass Doctor today.