How to master the art of keeping shower glass clean

Turn cloudy into crystal clear.
Contemporary coastal bathroom with a central freestanding tub and double showers on either side.Photography: Louise Roche | Styling: Kylie Jackes

Shower screen looking frosty even though it’s supposed to be crystal clear? Yep, that’s a build-up of old soap, mineral deposits and goodness-only-knows-what, aka a surefire signal that you need to clean your shower glass. While cleaning sages often espouse the benefits of a post-shower squeegee session, if you somehow missed the memo and have neglected the shower glass for far too long, never fear, it is possible to get it sparkling like new again. 

There are many reasons why it’s important to keep your shower screen clean. Firstly, it’s often the most prominent feature in your bathroom – if the shower glass is clean, people will assume the rest of the bathroom is clean too. Secondly, soap scum (the name given to the white film that builds up on a shower screen over time) is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and mould. Then there’s the fact that leaving it, rather than tackling it head-on, is a mistake cleaning expert Barb di Corti, CEO and founder of Enjo, sees time and time again. “Allowing soap scum, water stains and mildew to build up over time makes it much harder to clean the shower screen later,” she says. 

Here, we run through the best ways to maintain clean shower glass, how to clean a shower screen using zero harsh chemicals, how to remove calcium deposits from shower glass before wrapping up with some tips on how to prevent or reduce soap scum build up in future.

stone homestead central victoria shower hexagon floor tiles
(Credit: Photography: Armelle Habib / Styling: Heather Nette King)

First thing’s first, make sure what you’re dealing with is actually just soap scum. The way I see it, there are two main reasons you’re reading this article. The first is that you’re not entirely sure of the best and easiest way to clean shower glass. The second, is that you’ve already thrown everything at the glass and it still looks cloudy. If you’re in the latter camp, you could be dealing with a problem known, rather ominously, as ‘glass cancer’ in cleaning circles. 

Glass cancer basically means that moisture, product residue and debris has made its way into the inner layer of the screen, becoming trapped. One way to work out if this is the case is to carefully take a razor blade to an inconspicuous area of the the glass and scrape it gently. If the cloudy film comes off onto the blade, it’s soap scum. If not, you can assume it’s glass cancer and that no amount of cleaning will remove the cloudy appearance. 

Is it soap scum or glass cancer?

How to clean shower glass

If the sheer amount of shower cleaning videos are anything to go by (a search for #showerglass on TikTok, for example, brings up almost 3000 videos) then it’s safe to say there’s more than one way to clean shower glass. I always like to start with the simplest method that uses the least amount of chemicals. 

Cleaning expert, Barb di Corti, CEO and founder of Enjo agrees. “It’s my preference to avoid harsh chemical cleaners due to their effects on our health, particularly the respiratory system from breathing in chemical fumes,” says Barb. 

The other reason I prefer to use less chemicals is that it requires less rinsing. Old-fashioned bathroom cleansers like Jif or Sugar Soap, for example, may be great at powering through layers of soap scum, but they’re also difficult to rinse away and often leave behind their own cloudy residue. 

Main bedroom ensuite with double shower.
(Credit: Photography: Marnie Hawson / Styling: Siobhan Glass)

“Always work from top to bottom,” says Barb. “Cleanest areas to the dirtiest.”

The #1 shower cleaning tip to remember

How to clean shower glass naturally

What you’ll need: 

  • Spray bottle filled with water (optional extra, dilute 1 part water to 1 part white vinegar)
  • Squeegee or soft microfibre cloth

What to do: 

  1. Spray the logo side of the Enjo Bathroom Glove (or the abrasive side of a non-scratch scour sponge) with water. Spray the glass. 
  2. Working from top-to-bottom, clean the glass using circular motions. 
  3. Rinse and repeat, if required. 
  4. Use a soft microfibre cloth to dry off excess moisture.

To make quick work of a larger shower screen, upsize your equipment, and reach for a window-cleaning squeegee and scrubber on a telescopic handle.

Cleaning a large shower screen?

Best tools for cleaning shower glass


Sabco Duex bathroom sponge scrubber (2 pack)

From $4.65, Woolworths 

This two-sided bathroom cleaning sponge makes the task of cleaning the bathroom quick and easy. One side is equipped with a non-scratch mesh scour (perfect for cutting through soap scum and hard-water deposits) while the other side is coated in chamois to dry and shine the glass without leaving streaks. 

Key features:

  • Affordable
  • A 2-in-1 sponge that eliminates the need for harsh cleaning chemicals
  • Non-scratch scour perfect for scrubbing away soap scum


Bathroom glove

From $58, Enjo

This two-sided bathroom cleaning sponge makes the task of cleaning the bathroom quick and easy. One side is equipped with a non-scratch mesh scour (perfect for cutting through soap scum and hard-water deposits) while the other side is coated in chamois to dry and shine the glass without leaving streaks. 

Key features:

  • High-quality microfibre cuts through grease and grime
  • Machine washable
  • Reusable for up to 3 years


Minky M bathroom cloth

From $9.95, CleanHQ

Power through limescale and soap scum build up using the lightly abrasive side of the cloth then flip it to dry and shine. This double-sided cloth is anti-bacterial and prevents the spread of bacteria – all without reaching for a single disinfectant spray. 

Key features:

  • Banishes bacteria as it cleans
  • Machine washable
  • Double-sided cloth perfect for scrubbing and shining


Ittar window cleaner squeegee and microfibre scrubber

From $60.57, Amazon

For larger shower screens, use bigger tools to tackle double the surface area in half the time. This window cleaning set comes with a sturdy telescopic pole (perfect for cramped spaces like the shower), 2 microfibre pads for wiping away gunk and grime and a squeegee to wick away excess moisture.    

Key features:

  • Commercial-grade equipment perfect for large shower screens
  • Telescopic stainless steel handle
  • Comes with two microfibre window scrubbers

Cleaning shower glass when water just doesn’t cut it

Water and microfibre didn’t quite cut through the scum that’s accumulated on your shower? Here are some other methods you can try to boost the process and dial down the elbow grease. 

  • Spray undiluted white vinegar on the shower screen and allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes. Wipe away soap scum with a microfibre cloth. 
  • Wet the shower screen. Apply a drop of dishwashing liquid to a damp, non-scratch scour sponge and buff away the soap scum using circular motions. Rinse well and dry thoroughly. 
  • Wet the shower screen. Generously sprinkle a damp sponge with bi-carb soda. Using circular motions, buff away at the soap scum before rinsing well and drying thoroughly. 
  • Wet the shower screen. Dampen a magic eraser and, using circular motions, buff away the soap scum. Rinse well and dry thoroughly. 
  • Spray the shower screen with The Pink Stuff Miracle Bathroom Foam Cleaner, allow to sit for 30 seconds. Wipe away with a damp microfibre cloth. Dry with a clean microfibre cloth. Repeat for stubborn stains. 
contemporary coastal bathroom shower with grey tiles
A change in size and texture of tiles, not colour, add interest to this casual coastal-style bathroom. (Credit: Photography: Jacqui Turk / Styling: Alanna Smit)

How to clean calcium build up on shower glass

If white marks are still plaguing your shower screen, you could be dealing with calcium and limescale build-up. If you live in an area with hard water, calcium deposits can harden on the shower glass, making things that were once crystal clear appear milky or even opaque. Elbow grease alone probably won’t solve this one. 

A natural way to remove hard water build-up on a shower screen is by spraying the shower screen generously with undiluted white vinegar. Allow the vinegar to sit for 10 minutes before scrubbing with a non-abrasive scour pad or a Magic Eraser. 

If vinegar doesn’t penetrate the hard water buildup, products like CLR can be used to dissolve it quickly. The active ingredient in CLR is lactic acid, which eats away at the limescale build-up to reveal glistening, gleaming glass. You can also use CLR on other parts of the shower that are coated in limescale build up including taps and shower head. CLR is a corrosive products, so take care when handling and wear protective gloves and clothing while using it. 

Best supplies for cleaning hard water stains from shower glass


Diamond sponge

From $11.95, Koh

If you’ve tried and love Magic Erasers but want something that will last the distance, upgrade to Koh’s Diamond Sponges. They work exactly like a Magic Eraser but are reusable and machine washable. The abrasive surface of the sponge will make easy work of even the toughest hard water stains – no chemical sprays or solutions required. One happy reviewer writes: “Excellent for cleaning the shower screen, no other cleaning products have managed to get it clean.”

Key features:

  • Versatile sponge that can clean shower screens, oven windows, barbecues and more
  • Machine washable
  • Cuts through grease without the need for chemical solutions


Calcium Dissolver (300mL)

From $39, Enjo

Enjo’s Calcium Dissolver is great for powering through tough hard water stains. It is made from fruit acids, which quickly dissolve calcium and mineral build up. It’s a powerful, non-toxic cleaner designed to make cloudy shower glass gleam like new.

Key features:

  • Natural formula made from fruit acids
  • Non-toxic
  • Only need a small amount to be effective


Advil CLR Cleaner (750mL)

From $14.75, Big W

When you’ve tried everything else and hard water stains just won’t budge, industrial strength CLR can make an opaque shower screen crystal clear again. It harnesses the power of lactic acid to cut through grease, grime and limescale. Follow safety instructions and wear protective gloves and clothing while using. 

Key features:

  • Natural formula made from fruit acids
  • Non-toxic
  • Only need a small amount to be effective

How often should you clean your shower glass?

Once you get a grubby shower screen gleaming again, the best plan of attack is to clean it regularly – like once a week regularly. I know, I know, it’s probably not what you want to hear. But regular shower screen cleans are the key to a speedy whole bathroom clean, as opposed to the type of bathroom clean you block out half a day for (you know the one). If you want to make bathroom cleaning day even easier, it’s best to dry your shower screen using a squeegee or a microfibre cloth after each use. 

5 ways to prevent soap scum and hard water stains building up on shower glass

  • Quickly rinse off shower walls and glass with water after showering to wash away soap and shampoo residue before they dry.
  • Dry the shower after each use. You can use either a towel, microfibre cloth or a squeegee.
  • Clean the shower screen at least once weekly. Quick, frequent cleans prevent stains from building up and becoming more difficult to remove. You can keep a dish wand pre-loaded with dishwashing liquid in the shower for this purpose.
  • If you live in a hard water zone, consider installing a hard-water filter on your shower. 
  • Swap bar soap for liquid body wash. Liquid body wash creates markedly less soap scum build-up. 

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