Off-Label! How to REALLY clean glass shower doors

This afternoon KJG happened to mention that she came across an incredible way to get those dratted clear glass shower doors really clean—and do it without working yourself to death. She’d heard you could use Jet-Dry, the blue rinse agent that goes in the dishwasher, to cut soap film in the bathroom.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained…last night in a moment of boredom she poured some on a sponge and slathered it generously over the shower door where her DH loves to splash suds around. Then she rinsed it off.

And to her amazement, the glass came totally clean. With no scrubbing!

This has been a well-encrusted shower door, she says, one that she hasn’t been able to fully de-soapify in years.

So. Try this.

If you have clear instead of frosted shower doors, be aware that some clear doors have a coating that’s supposed to repel soap scum. If yours is one of those, you might want to be careful about smearing Jet-Dry on it—the stuff is pretty strong. Test it in a small corner first. Wear a pair of rubber gloves to protect your skin, and be very careful not to let it splash near your eyes. The manufacturer pointedly does not list the ingredients (what are they trying to say to us?), but the fumes are unpleasant, IMHO, suggesting the stuff is not something you’d want to wallow around in.

Wiping with a Magic Eraser is said to help, too.

Once the shower door is clean, you can make it soap-scum repellant by adding a coat of Rain-X, the water repellant made to go on car windshields.

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Money Beagle June 30, 2011 at 7:15 am

I can’t wait to try this. We have a huge bottle of JetDry from Costco and we also use Rain-X religiously on our windshields, so this was like ‘Duh’ as soon as I read it.

Thanks for the tip, Funny!

Kerry June 30, 2011 at 7:40 am

Have you ever tried CLR or something that’s acidic on it before? There’s never been a problem of soap scum here.

funny June 30, 2011 at 11:17 am

@ kerry: I’ve used Lime-Away when pushed to extreme lengths. It’s hard work, though.

Water here is pretty hard; on the westside, where KJG lives, most of it is well water. Her water is probably harder than mine.

Hereabouts, pretty much the only way to keep hard water and soap deposits from building up in a shower is to squeegee it down EVERY time you shower. That means the walls as well as the glass doors. Try to get every member of the family to do that every time they use the shower… And good luck with that!

MoneyCone June 30, 2011 at 2:44 pm

The label on JetDry scares me too! We too have frosted glass, I use magic eraser and CLR – requires some elbow grease, but works!

Linda June 30, 2011 at 2:53 pm

I guess our water here in Chicago is not as hard as yours. I stopped using Jet Dry in the dishwasher over a year ago and instead fill the dispenser with plain white vinegar. It seems to keep the glassware spot-free, too. Since I have a plastic shower curtain, I don’t think I need to try this trick BUT I may try wiping the liner down with vinegar to see if it removes some of the soap scum that is building up.

BTW, I opened the box of dishwasher detergent early and tried it out to see I had problems with the new formulation. Nope. Seems to work the same as the older formulation. Phew!

funny June 30, 2011 at 4:38 pm

@ MoneyCone: the Magic Eraser idea is a new one on me–just saw it as I was cruising the Web to see what others said about KJG’s idea. I’ve used it to clean white tile grout — works pretty well!

@ Linda: Your water must be a lot better. Did you know you can run a plastic shower curtain through the clothes washer? Back when I was a young thing and we had plastic shower curtains, I used to do that. It can work OK — adding vinegar helps, though.

Be careful with filling the dishwasher dispenser with vinegar; in some models (so they say…) when you let it sit in the dispenser, over time the acidity can damage the machine. I just splash about 1/2 cup into the tub right before I turn the thing on.

Super Frugalette June 30, 2011 at 7:04 pm

I am a lime away & white vinegar type of woman….

frugalscholar June 30, 2011 at 10:37 pm

As the world’s worst housekeeper (should I trademark?), I have to wonder why things are designed that require so much care. Pet peeve of mine.

funny July 1, 2011 at 6:06 am

@ frugalscholar: That is so true!

We have kitchens that no one would dream of cooking in (too much work to scrub the fingerprints off the stainless-steel fridge, stove, & dishwasher); kitchen counters that will etch if you wander off and leave a spot of lemon juice or vinegar sitting on them, sybaritic bathrooms that take a team of housekeepers with special equipment to get clean, wall-to-wall carpeting that makes it impossible to clean under the bed without moving the furniture and that stains if you look funny at it… Good grief.

In my shack, Satan and Proserpine took out the plastic shower surround (tacky, it’s true — but incredibly easy to keep clean) and lined the shower with beautiful travertine tiles. It’s gorgeous. But…you don’t want water and soap on it. (!) In theory, it has to be de-soap-scummed and resealed every six months! From ceiling to floor!!! To avoid having to do that, if I take a shower (which is rarely–I use the bathtub in the winter and the garden hose in the summer) I have to take a microfiber cloth and wipe it down, from ceiling to floor, every single time I get in it.

That is for the birds.

Kerry July 1, 2011 at 9:15 am

This is why I love water softeners. I remember my sister’s first apartment in Arizona had brown water.

My parents have a whole house softener, and I don’t know what my apartment complex does, but it’s not as bad–still tastes bad though.

I’d like to say that I’ve read about shower head filters that may help with the travertine tiles, but I don’t remember. That’s crazy to have to wipe it down like that every time, but they’re very beautiful tiles I bet! I imagine the Romans would have said ‘oh well’ and gone into debt paying for someone to do it. :P

valleycat1 July 1, 2011 at 7:44 pm

We squeegee the glass shower door, which keeps the water spots under control pretty well. At least once a week the entire bath/ shower gets washed down with a rag or a mildly abrasive sponge & some cheap shampoo from the dollar store. Nice aroma, no dangerous fumes, & pretty effective. One of us just does it at the beginning of our shower – almost like playing in a bubble bath! We just have to be careful because things get pretty slippery before rinsed. We also use the rainx on the door when we’re in the mood to do a deep cleaning.

Kay Lynn @ Bucksome Boomer July 1, 2011 at 8:02 pm

We have hard water in San Diego too. Thanks so much for writing about this trick; I’m going to try it soon.

Betty September 19, 2011 at 5:47 pm

I just experimented with JetDry on my toaster and I must say it’s gorgeous. The shine is blinding me, but I’m wondering if it will make a mess when heated. I tried it on my floor, but it was sticky. White vinegar took care of that. You never know until you try.

Carole December 26, 2011 at 7:33 am

Used the JetDry, and LOVE it! What a simple but great idea. Don’t have RainX, but will by the end of the week. For the fingerprints mentioned on stainless steel, I use WD40 or furniture polish, both will make the steel shine like new. Will try scrubbing my tile with cheap shampoo, already squeegie-ing entire shower down every time, but do you think we need to wipe with a towel too?

funny December 26, 2011 at 8:58 am

@ Carole: I use home-made window cleaner (vinegar + water + splash of ammonia) to clean ceramic tiles. Windex or its knock-offs (which contain the same stuff) will do a fine job, too.

As for wiping showers with a towel, it probably depends on the water hardness. I started using a microfiber rag because it’s easier and seems to work better. But each to her own, I’d say.

Big Daves BBQ January 14, 2012 at 7:56 am

Scarey Advice. Do NOT use Rain-X indoors. Especially not in a shower where you’ll be enclosed on a daily basis. It has harsh chemicals that aren’t meant to be inhaled. Try Clean Shield, or a similarly designed product instead. Just make sure it’s OK for indoor use before you apply.

funny January 14, 2012 at 9:58 am

Thanks, Big Dave. Is there a way we can know what’s different between Clean Shield and Rain-X? What about Jet-Dry? What’s in that stuff, anyway?

Meincognito May 21, 2013 at 4:55 pm

Tried the Jet Dry on glass shower doors that had years of scummy spots (because I refuse to squeegee after showering) and could not believe my eyes. Figured it wouldn’t work but poured some on sponge, applied it to the glass and watched in amazement as soap bubbles began appearing. With almost no effort scummy stuff began sliding down the door. Cleaning service (and me too) has been unable to rid the doors of that streaky, spotty look. I did both doors and rinsed them off… 90% cleaner than when I started. If I hadn’t been so lazy I could probably have removed 100% but will do it again tomorrow and finish the job. This time I’ll use a spray bottle and the squeegee that I forgot I owned.
I use those Finish Tablets in the dishwasher now so my pretty full bottle of Jet Dry has been just sitting under the sink unused.

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