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Cleaning Shower Screens
Whether your shower screen is covered in watermarks, soap scum, or you cannot see through it, it's time to make it sparkle. While some stains can be stubborn, there is always a solution to every problem. Unfortunately, cleaning glass shower doors and shower glass walls is not as easy as simply using soapy water and a sponge.
However, dirty shower screens do not stand a chance with a little secret and some determination on your end. So, how do you remove limescale and soap scum off your shower screen and leave it looking good? Some household items in your pantry are your solution. Examples are sodium bicarbonate and vinegar.
Let’s get into how you can clean your shower screen with vinegar and bicarbonate.
What is Vinegar?
Vinegar is a natural disinfectant mixed with water and other ingredients. It contains at least 5 to 7% acetic acid and should be used with care to avoid harm. The most versatile type of vinegar is distilled white vinegar. Vinegar is used in marinades and dressings, and the chances are that you have at least one type in your pantry.
From apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, malt vinegar, sherry vinegar, champagne vinegar, and red wine vinegar to plain white vinegar. And in case you did not know, vinegar is also used in cleaning and is even more effective when mixed with baking soda.
How Does Vinegar Work?
The acetic acid in vinegar breaks down icky build-ups making it a good house cleaning agent. It dissolves brine, glue, and soap scum. It gives your mirrors, windows, cabinets, and wood panelling an extra shine.
Vinegar also gets rid of stubborn stains such as sweaty armpits from clothes. If you mix vinegar with baking soda, it can dissolve red wine stains. And to top it all off, it can even get rid of dog urine and its pungent smell from your carpet.
What is Bicarb?
Bicarb, short for sodium bicarbonate, is a salt. Do you want to test this fact? Go ahead; it tastes just like salt. And like salt, it is a neutral compound from a negatively charged anion and positively charged cation. However, even though sodium bicarbonate is neutral, its PH is higher than 7. This means that it is a little basic making it a good cleaning agent.
Sodium bicarb is not only used in baking but also in removing odours and challenging stains. You can use it to clean microwaves, ovens, clogged drains, stained marble, coffee cups, and even your shower glass. It is also abrasive and works well on grease, proteins, and animal messes.
Amazingly, sodium bicarbonate has broken boundaries beyond baking. You can find it in refrigerators, as deodorant ingredients, and in toothpaste. In Egypt, they used sodium bicarbonate to dry corpses for mummification. So, what is so special in sodium bicarbonate that it's used in baking, tarnishing, and fighting rust? The secret is the exceptional chemical properties.
How Does Bicarb Work?
• Reacts with Vinegar: Sodium bicarbonate and vinegar are partners in crime as their explosive reaction does wonders in your home. A vinegar and sodium bicarbonate solution unclogs blocked drains, cuts through grease, and cleans your filthy microwave and oven.
• Absorbs Odours: Sodium bicarbonate absorbs acidic odours and neutralises them, unlike candles and air fresheners which mask odours. One good cleaning tip is to periodically mix it up and switch it as it becomes less reactive over time.
• Slightly Abrasive: Sodium bicarbonate works better on most stains than regular soap. Although both sodium bicarbonate and soaps are bases, sodium bicarbonate is abrasive and removes stains and dislodges particles from surfaces.
Clean Your Shower Screen With Vinegar And Bicarb
Before you can start the cleaning process, ensure that you gather all the cleaning supplies listed below:
• A cloth or towel
• Sodium bicarbonate
• Spray bottle
• Glass cleaner
Step One: Wet the shower screen
To begin, wet the glass shower with a shower sprayer or use a bucket to splash water on it.
Step Two: Spray vinegar on the shower screen
Now, put vinegar in the spray bottle and saturate the glass shower and the shower door with it. Allow it to soak for roughly 20 minutes or more if the build-up is significant.
Step Three: Scrub the shower screen with bicarb
Dip your sponge in sodium bicarbonate and scrub the screen. Vinegar dissolves the soap scum, and sodium bicarbonate acts as an abrasive.
Step Four: Rinse the shower screen
After scrubbing until the shower screen is clean, rinse it with clean water.
Step Five: Dry the shower screen with a microfibre cloth
Dry the shower screen with a dry cloth and finish the cleaning process by spraying the glass cleaner onto the trims.
The Effect Of Hard Water On Your Shower Screen
While hard water is not harmful to your health, it causes some damage to your bathtubs, sinks, and showers. When is water considered hard? Hard water contains high levels of magnesium (Mg) and calcium (Ca). These minerals form a film on your home fittings when they come into contact with the hard water. If you allow the film to build up, it forms a hard crust.
Preventing Hard Water Stains From Forming
When your shower glass and doors develop watermarks, returning to the original state is impossible. True, you can eliminate the build-up, but some damages are irreversible. It goes without saying that prevention most definitely beats any cure, and therefore the best way to protect your shower screen is through prevention. The following are some practical ways to protect your shower screen from build-ups:
Clean Your Shower Every Day
The easiest way to prevent watermarks is to clean your shower walls and door daily. This might sound tasking, but cleaning it daily does not have to be hectic. There are simple yet effective ways to do the cleaning. For instance, you can wipe your shower screen with a microfiber towel after every use. If the towel becomes wet, wring it and continue wiping the screen.
Alternatively, you can spray the shower screen with a shower cleaner after use which you can purchase from your local store. However, the keyword is to maintain cleanliness after every shower. Otherwise, the limescale will crop up.
Use a Water Softener
Although this is an expensive method, you only have to engage it if you have regular hard water damage. If you live in an area with hard water, you can invest in a water softener machine.
Use a Shower Squeegee
You can get a squeegee from any local store. Some of them can become attached to your shower wall, so they are always in hand. After every shower, simply scrape the moisture from the glass to stop the watermarks from appearing.
Use a Sealer
Sealing your shower screen is a good way of protecting it from hard water damage. A sealer works by sealing your shower screen's glass pores to prevent hard water stains. There are numerous types of sealers available in the market. For instance, you can get one that cleans and seals the shower screen or one that seals and protects the shower screen from watermarks for up to six months.
Use a Hydrophobic Compound
This is a trick that works wonders for your shower screen. Once you clean your shower screen, use a micro-fibre towel to buff in a hydrophobic compound, such as Rain-X or Clear Choice, as you dry the shower screen. A hydrophobic compound effectively keeps your shower screen free of watermarks and limescale.
Alternatives To Vinegar And Bicarb
Regularly cleaning and protecting your shower screen is the best way to keep it in good condition. However, if your shower screen already has some water stains and build-ups, you may want to use mild cleaners that will not cause damage to the glass. Over the past years, people have discovered several home remedies for removing water stains caused by hard water. They are:
Water and Vinegar
This is the simplest method. Mix a cup of vinegar with a cup of water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution on the shower screen and allow it to sit for around 30 minutes. Then, wipe it using a dry cloth, and the stains are gone.
Vinegar and Baking Soda
Make a paste of baking soda and vinegar, spread it on the stains, and allow it to sit for about 20 minutes. If the watermark stains have built up, allow the paste to settle for a little longer. Finally, rinse the shower screen and wipe it dry.
Did you know that the lemon juice in your freezer can make a good cleaning agent? Just spray the lemon juice onto the shower screen, allow it to sit for a few minutes or so, and clean it dry.
Alcohol, Tea Tree Oil, and Water
Mix two cups of alcohol with a cup of water in a spray bottle, then add 15 drops of tea tree oil. Then, shake the solution to mix correctly and use it after every shower. Using this remedy allows you to kill two birds with one stone as it prevents watermarks and leaves your bathroom smelling fresh.
Vinegar and Dish Detergent
One of the cheapest cleaning agents is under your sink. Using dish detergent will leave your shower screen sparkling. To clean your shower screen using vinegar and dish detergent, follow the steps below:
1. Gather the supplies, including vinegar, bucket, sponge, dish detergent, and a towel.
2. Then, turn the shower on to make the shower screen wet.
3. Now, lather the sponge and clean the glass from the top to allow dirt to flow downwards. Scrub well and rinse off with clean water using a hose. If you do not own a hosepipe, you can use a cup to splash the shower screen.
4. Once you rinse the shower screen, it is easier to notice the build-ups on the glass. Dip the sponge in vinegar and clean the shower screen again as you pay attention to the rough areas one at a time.
5. Finally, rinse the shower screen and wipe it with the towel. The dish detergent removes soap scum, and the vinegar gets rid of the build-ups.
Salt and Vinegar
First, spray the shower screen with vinegar and allow it to sit for around 20 minutes. Make a solution of salt and vinegar. Get a scrubbing brush or sponge and scrub the shower screen with the solution. After that, rinse it with water and use your regular glass cleaner to clean it. Use paper towels to wipe it dry.
When cleaning your shower screen using ammonia, there are a few precautions to observe. You should never lock the door, always wear protective gloves, and most importantly, never mix it with bleach. To clean heavy build-up, mix three cups of water with one part of ammonia in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture onto the shower screen and allow it to settle for around five minutes. Rinse thoroughly, and then wipe with a micro-fibre towel. If the build-up is not heavy, mix two cups of water with two spoonfuls of ammonia.
A magic eraser is a special sponge with cleaning properties that remove stains from surfaces. To remove soap scum and watermarks, dampen the magic eraser and wipe your shower screen; for best results, use the magic eraser immediately after your shower. The moisture on the shower screen left after the shower helps the eraser clean the dirt and any soap scum.
Can Vinegar Hurt Your Bathroom Fixtures?
Despite vinegar being hailed as natural and safe, it is not safe to use to clean stains on all types of surfaces. Here is a short list of items you should not use vinegar to clean.
A vinegar and water combo eats away your expensive marble countertops and leaves them with stains. If you unknowingly use vinegar on your marble countertop, you can fix it by sanding and polishing the countertop. To avoid that, keep vinegar away from your countertops.
A steam iron can last for decades if maintained properly. While you should clean it regularly, avoid vinegar at all costs. The acidic properties of vinegar can damage iron. If you live in an area with hard water, ensure you fill the iron with distilled water.
Most blogs advise you to use vinegar to strip away the crusty build-up in faucets and showerheads. The idea is rational, but the time is not. Soaking the shower heads and faucets in vinegar for even five minutes risks the finish.
The acid in vinegar eats away the fixtures. Invest in a water softener for the best protection against limescale and build-ups for your chrome bathroom finishes.
Opt For Professional Shower Screen Cleaning
Never underestimate the strength of vinegar and sodium bicarbonate to keep your shower screen sparkling clean. If you have a shower screen riddled with soap scum and watermarks, you do not have to use commercial solutions; instead, use vinegar and sodium bicarbonate!
And if you do not have the time and energy to keep your shower screen always clean or it is excessively grimy, you can hire reliable local professional cleaners. These experts have the necessary knowledge in cleaning showers and bathroom cleaning, and will leave your shower screen looking as good as new and offer some secret tips to maintain it.