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How To Remove Soap Scum from Shower Glass

The shower area is constantly subjected to heat, humidity, and shower residue that results in the tricky combination buildup called soap scum. Soap scum is a combination of soap residue, body oils, dirt, and calcified mineral residue from bath water. If the buildup is caught early, refer to the article in this section on removing light soil from shower doors with rubbing alcohol and newspaper. For more serious buildup, apply the following techniques to help dislodge and remove even the hardest soap scum deposits. Glass textures and protective coatings can vary somewhat, so test all cleaning solutions and application techniques in an inconspicuous  location before using them in a wider area.

Fill a plastic bucket or tub with a gallon of hot water. Add 1/2 cup of borax, 1/2 cup dishwasher powdered detergent and mix well. Work on one small section of hardened soap scum deposit at a time. First, apply glycerin directly to a small section using a clean cotton ball. Next, use a clean sponge to apply the borax solution and work gently to dislodge the stain. The glycerin will help lubricate the stain, the detergent will cut grease, and the borax will act as an anti-fungicide and detergent booster. Wipe with a clean sponge wet with water, and repeat the technique as necessary on additional stains.

There are also commercial products available for soap scum stains. CLR is highly effective, but can damage other surfaces that you might find in the bathroom such as protective coatings on the glass doors, plastic laminates, natural and synthetic marble, among others. Follow the manufacturer's instructions, and as with any cleaning solution, make sure to test in an inconspicuous area prior to using in a wider area.

Once soap scum removal has been completed to your satisfaction, follow with a quick overall cleansing using rubbing alcohol applied with crumpled newspaper to help make sure that all the glycerin-detergent residue has been removed. Finish off the cleaning process with a quick rinse of the whole area with clean water. Use a squeegee to wick away excess moisture from the shower door.

Caution: Never mix cleaning agents or chemicals, the result can be dangerous or deadly. Before cleaning, always test the agent on an inconspicuous location to determine its suitability and to make certain it does not damage the material. Wear appropriate clothing such as gloves and protective eyewear, and work in a well-ventilated area. Accidental inhalation or ingestion of cleaning agents can be hazardous and even fatal, particularly to pets and children.

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