If someone were to ask you what the hardest room in the house to clean is, you'd likely say the bathroom. Sure a little bleach and cleanser will keep the mirror and counter tops looking nice, and toilet cleaner works well in the bowl, but what about your glass shower doors?
You've likely noticed they are not as clear as they once were anymore. It's a problem that's more common than you may think.
Shower doors get cloudy when soap scum and dissolved minerals from the water supply cling to microscopic crevices in the surface of untreated glass. So what can you do about it? Some hard water stains will yield to scrubbing with white vinegar and a non-scratch pad. Before trying this solution, protect your hands with latex gloves and be prepared to use some elbow grease. The vinegar odor can be quite strong so you might want to test your reaction to breathing the fumes before using vinegar in an enclosed area.
If you find that vinegar is ineffective, then you may be dealing with stains that have actually bonded to the surface of the glass. Some people report success with using a paint-scraper or razor blade to remove bonded stains. Should you choose to try this method, be extremely careful not to scratch or etch the glass. Using a blade also carries the risk of injury and infection. Another possible solution would be to resort to using harsh chemicals like Lime-away or CLR.
Vinegar and scrapers didn't work for Vicki Lewis of Cottonwood, Calif., and she didn't want to use harsh chemicals. When it got to the point where it would have been easier but too expensive to replace the shower glass than to clean it, she finally concluded that the only way to obtain a safe and simple product that would easily remove hard water stains was to develop one herself.
Lewis consulted professional cleaners and chemists and found the explanation for why the stains were so difficult to remove. "To successfully remove the stain you must break the molecular binding between the mineral and the microscopic crevices in the glass," says Lewis. "My initial research centered on how the minerals bonded to the pits in the glass and how to break the bonds. Even more research showed how to prevent the minerals from binding to the glass in the first place."
Twelve years after she started her testing, Lewis introduced Bring-It-ON Cleaner for removing hard water stains on both interior and exterior glass surfaces, without caustic chemicals, harsh odors, or hard scrubbing. Environmentally-safe Bring-It-ON is a combination of powerful detergents, mild jewelers-grade abrasive and oxygen bleach, which has the added bonus of helping to eliminate most odor causing bacteria in the bathroom and kitchen. In testing, tough organic stains like coffee, berries, mold and mildew yielded to the formula, as did stains caused by alkali, rust, oil and grease.
Regardless of whether you use a home remedy or a commercial product to remove your hard water spots and stains, apply the solution to a damp sponge or non-abrasive pad and rub gently in a circular motion until the stain is gone, then rinse. Most products are safe for use on porcelain, ceramic tile, stainless steel, fiberglass and Formica, but you should always test it on an inconspicuous surface before use.
Once the glass is clean, you can prevent stains from coming back by treating the surface with a sealant. Lemon or orange oil will provide a temporary coating and a pleasant aroma. For a longer-term seal you can use an automotive or furniture paste wax, or try out Lewis' homegrown solution -- Pro-Tect Shield, a product designed to provide a long-lasting seal which prevents the minerals in hard water from attaching to glass and other surfaces in the first place.
Whichever solution you choose, spray it onto your glass or tile surface and buff it off with a soft terry-cloth towel. This coating fills the microscopic pits in the surface to which minerals cling and prevents the stains from setting in. This process requires just a few minutes of time. Repeat frequently to ensure that the coating remains intact. To extend the effectiveness of the sealant, squeegee the glass after each use. Installing a water softener to reduce mineral content in the water will also help.
Water spot problems are not limited to shower doors. These solutions should work for water and mineral stains on bathroom and kitchen ceramic tile, Formica, Corian, porcelain and fiberglass. Outside the home, they should also be effective on windows, automotive glass, pool tile and outside furniture. Do not use on automobile paint, marble, Plexiglas or soft plastic.
Bring-It-ON Cleaner and Pro-tect Shield are available for purchase at www.BringItOnCleaner.com, or you can call in an order toll-free to (800) 867-2643.