Got stubborn hard water marks and stains on your tub or shower doors that simply will not budge no matter what you try? You’re not alone.
I’ve heard from countless readers who say they’ve tried everything from my magic soap scum cleaner to cleaning vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, oven cleaner, muriatic acid, steel wool, Bar Keepers Friend, Bon Ami and other expensive chemicals to get rid of the horrid, ugly, hard water stains and white haze.
While most of the time the Magic Soap Scum Cleaner takes care of the problem, even it cannot touch a severe situation where the hard water minerals have become so embedded, the surface of the glass has become permanently etched.
Some readers report that it took multiple cleanings with the magic stuff to get their glass doors truly clean, while others report they’ve tried everything from magic stuff to 30-percent white cleaning vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, oven cleaner, muriatic acid, steel wool, Bar Keepers Friend, Bon Ami, and even razor blades to scrape away the problem—all without success.
I have to admit this has left me in a quandary and about this far from advising new doors to be the only solution.
Then I discovered the solution: Sandpaper.
Yes, you read that right but don’t stop reading yet. This is no ordinary sandpaper.
I’m talking about an automotive quality waterproof sanding wet/dry paper with such a fine grit, it is used in the automotive industry to polish the surface of a car to a mirror finish. You can use the same type of sandpaper to sand away the mineral buildup that has etched your shower door and return it to its original clear, clean, sparkling self.
While sandpaper is readily available in any home improvement store, please be very careful in making your selection, You want automotive quality wet/dry sandpaper.
The best product I’ve found for this job is Wet/Dry Premium Waterproof Sheets. This is a 12-sheet assortment of finish sanding paper ranging from #1500 to #7000 grit. The grit on this type of sanding paper is so fine it will not scratch the glass, the way that woodworker’s sandpaper, steel wool, or other abrasive products might.
Start with #3000
For severe watermark stains, start with a piece of #3000 grit paper (cut it to a size that feels comfortable in your hand as you are going to scrub the glass with it).
Wet both the glass surface and the sanding paper with water to provide a lubricant. Do not attempt to do this completely dry.
Using a circular motion, scrub the entire surface of the glass. You will immediately begin to cut through those stubborn deposits. Prepare to be amazed.
Move up to #5000
Next, move up to #5000. Repeat as above making sure the sandpaper and the glass are wet.
Finish with #7000
Move to #7000 repeating as needed to remove even the tiniest micro scratches that may have been left behind.
At this point, you will be polishing the surface to that mirror finish, with what feels like a piece of paper—that’s how fine #7000 grit is.
Depending on the severity of the problem, the entire process could take five minutes to much longer to finally achieve the level of success you have in mind. But know that it will work. Your shower doors will look like new—no fumes or expensive chemicals.
First published: 9-27-18; Updated & Republished 2-3-20