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Hint for Easy Glass Cleaning

Updated on January 16, 2017

Cleaning Struggles

If there is anything I dread, it is cleaning the bathtub or shower, that is, until recently. After many products, scrubbing, scraping, and complaining about soap scum, and alkali, I, like many others, am done with the struggle of cleaning failure in the shower or bath.

My husband and I purchased a home eight months ago, and the shower glass doors have been a nightmare to remove the alkali build up. Embarrassing to have guests see, and frustrating to attempt to clean. Both my arms have weak areas from accidents making it just that more difficult to put some "elbow grease" into the scrubbing. The entire process was too grim, and avoidance only made it worse. At least twice a week a vigilant attempt was made to somehow scratch through the hardened water stains, to no avail.

Oh yeah, windows are in the same category with alkali build up on the outside. Anything that takes too much time and effort is just out of my vocabulary these days, but thanks to one person, my cleaning life became easier. Gee, why didn't I know about this thirty years ago?

Well, I am sharing it with whom I can now to help save years of cleaning struggles, and hopefully make another's daily cleaning life easier.

The answer....Lemons. In some cases maybe a little bit of other items, but for the most part...Lemons!

Shower Glass Before

Alkali and soap build up crusted over a year before purchase of the home.
Alkali and soap build up crusted over a year before purchase of the home. | Source

Anything Glass or Chrome

Battling alkali for years, I tried many types of cleaners boasting the ability to cut through old build up, only to find it would take a lot of scrubbing, and still have a residue remaining. I even attempted to use a putty knife to scrape away the deposits, and always ended up using something to scrape it off faucets.

The tiles in the shower also accumulate alkali, and soap residue that solidifies and clings like it has been permanently glued. Cleaning would usually take a couple of hours of scrubbing, and scraping before I would give up and accept the remaining film with defeat.

Well, that has changed. Someone suggested that the citric acids in lemon could cut through the deposits. At first I thought, "Yeah, right, that's what all the major chemical companies said too", and was reluctant to try it. A roommate decided to give it a try on glass shower doors that had build up from a previous owner of the home. she cut a fresh lemon in half, and placed the pulp side on the glass moving it in a circular motion. Much to both our surprise, not only did the lemon cut through it, but it also only took a few minutes!

About five showers later, she noticed the alkali began to build up again, leaving drip shaped stains all over the glass. I suggested using a squeegee after every shower, but decided to go one step farther.

I used lemon juice from a prepackaged container, on a non-scratch pan scrubber which quickly removed all traces of the alkali. In an effort to thwart the onset of more, after drying the glass thoroughly I applied a quick coat of glass-anti-fog cleaner.

The process now only takes about five minutes, compared to two hours before learning about the benefits of straight lemon. Now cleaning the showers, tiles, and faucets daily, or even just once per week is a breeze!

Lemon juice

Lemon juice, packaged or fresh cuts alkali.
Lemon juice, packaged or fresh cuts alkali. | Source

Cleaning

Amazingly, the transformation took only minutes, compared to back breaking, finger cramping scraping and rubbing. Just simple circular motions of the lemon allows the activation of mild lemon acid to break down the elements in the alkali and soap residue. In just moments, the acid dissolves those elements and cleans surfaces like glass, faucets (if there is too much build up, dribble lemon juice directly on the area and allow to sit for a few minutes, then gently scrape off the excess), use a clean, dry cotton cloth to polish the chrome of plastic faucet handles. Chrome around the bath or shower can be cleaned the same way.

As mentioned before, an extra measure was taken to use something that would help eliminate standing water on the glass, so I used a popular product that provides anti-fog for automobiles and home use. The end result is clear glass, no water spots or streaking allowing time in between cleanings. Instead of worrying about build up every day, or week, an individual can enjoy the benefits of the clean, clear glass for a longer period before cleaning is required. Of course, it does help in one can convince everyone taking showers to wipe down the glass afterward! That would probably happen on a cold day in the middle of the Sahara Dessert!

I am sure there are other cleaning products that work well, but for those who would rather go green with cleaning, this is a great way to avoid harsh chemicals, and the fragrance is great! I also used lemon juice to clean the ring and cover on the toilet, tank, sinks, windows, and mirrors.

The chrome products in my kitchen are also much cleaner, and the lemon juice worked extremely well to remove cooking stains from the kitchen range. Everything looks new!

Prepackaged Lemon Juice

Not fresh, but just as good.
Not fresh, but just as good. | Source

Other Suggestions

Pre-bottled or packaged lemon juice works just as good as a fresh lemon cut in half. The aroma is not as strong, but the cleaning properties are still present. If there is a lot of accumulation around the framing of the shower glass, one can make a cleaning paste out of lemon and baking soda. I also use gloves when cleaning also because my skin is sensitive to the acid from lemon, and dries out from the baking soda.

The above photo is on my kitchen counter where I use lemon to clean and shine the granite counter top as well, along with the bottoms of my copper bottom cooking pots.

Another option after showers is to leave the shower door open to allow air ventilation so the water dries off quickly from the glass. If it stands for prolonged periods, it will leave a residue of soap or alkali.

Wipe down glass with a dry cloth after showers, or use a squeegee to swipe away excess water and soap. Set a fan in the bathroom facing the shower to help influence drying, or open a window for air circulation.

Removal of Soap Scum or Hardened Water Spots

Household Uses of Lemon

Kitchen
Bathroom
Patio
Appliances
Tile and Sinks
Glass or Chrome Table Tops
Sinks
Toilet
Outdoor Furniture
Copper Bottom Pans
Shower
Barbeque
Copper bottom pots, use 1 teaspoon of salt with lemon, and gently scrub with a non-scratch pad. Works great to get that copper back to a shiny finish! Soak BBQ grill in lemon to get through burned on food elements.

Shower Door After Lemon

Shower door after using lemon directly on the glass, lightly rubbing in large circular patterns with a non-scratch pad. Wow, what a difference!
Shower door after using lemon directly on the glass, lightly rubbing in large circular patterns with a non-scratch pad. Wow, what a difference! | Source

Lemon/Lime Juice

I discovered you can use lemon or lime juice, and coupled with salt cleans pots, and pans, kills bugs...accidental find. Use of lemons in the bathroom also keeps the room smelling fresh. Using whole lemons, I keep the pulp, add salt and seal in a tight container for use that lasts about two weeks, for sinks, drains, even garbage cans.

Summary

The over all view of cleaning shower glass and other items can be rather dim when there is accumulating soap or alkali. Lemon, or lemon juice contains a mild acid that penetrates the elements of soap and alkali build up creating easier removal.

List of items to use for cleaning:

1. Fresh lemon cut in half, or a bottle of lemon juice.

2. Baking soda for areas around framing.

3. Non-scratch pad.

4. Water to rinse the lemon or combination of lemon and baking soda off.

5. Dry cloth or paper towels to dry glass.

6. Optional: Glass cleaner that provides a non-streak finish, or anti-fog cleaner.

Cleaning time is reduced dramatically, utilizing minutes instead of hours, and it takes less effort to remove the alkali, or soap scum build up.

The results: Sparkling clean, clear shower glass, shiny chrome, copper bottom pots and pans that look like new, and the fresh scent of lemon citrus that lasts for hours.

References

Photos Courtesy of: Marilyn Fritz

Video:

Utuzit, R., 2012. Housekeeping Tips: How to Remove Hard Water Stains on Glass Shower Doors. Retrieved January 18, 2015 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47Wu_kaxVg4.

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    • Marilyn Fritz profile image
      Author

      Marilyn 2 years ago from Nevada

      Hi Everyone!

      I am adding some new information here, or at least it is new to me. I am a proud owner of copper bottom pots and pans, though up until now, were difficult to keep clean and shiny on the bottom. Well, I can tell you that I found a solution that takes seconds and it is related to lemons, or lemon juice!

      I was looking at the discolored bottoms of my pots and pans, disgruntled that I could not keep the copper bright and shiny. I had attempted to use copper cleaner at least once every two weeks, but it just took too long, with too much elbow grease to get them back to new.

      I had one pot turned up side down in the sink, while I was getting ready to clean some vegetables. I had heard to use lemon juice and salt to scrub veggies and melons to take away any pesticides or unwanted residue. A little of the solution dripped on the exposed copper bottom. Lo and behold....instantly the discoloration dissolved revealing the shining copper! I stopped cleaning the veggies and placed a little lemon juice and salt on my sponge, and began to lightly wash the bottom. Much to my utter amazement, the tarnish just simply dissolved away...no elbow grease, no heavy scrubbing! I called my husband over to see what I was doing, and even he was amazed how quickly the tarnish dissolved! I an now an avid lemon juice/salt user on a regular basis to easily keep my pots and pans looking like new. Oh the joy of lemons! I am now also growing a couple of lemon trees!

    • Marilyn Fritz profile image
      Author

      Marilyn 3 years ago from Nevada

      I am adding a quick note here to inform that a mixture of lemon and salt is great for removing tarnish from copper bottom pots and pans! I accidentally poured some of the mixture into a sink where a copper bottom pot was sitting, and 10 minutes later I picked it up to wash it and found shiny copper in the places that came in contact with the solution.

    • Marilyn Fritz profile image
      Author

      Marilyn 3 years ago from Nevada

      I was amazed how quickly the juice from the lemon cut through the alkali, especially when I had driven myself crazy scrubbing with detergents hours earlier and failed. I couldn't believe my eyes!

    • Marilyn Fritz profile image
      Author

      Marilyn 3 years ago from Nevada

      I tried vinegar, but the build up was too crusted on. Vinegar took off a little bit, but the lemon totally cut right through it! Woohoo! I was so happy. I want to thank you Marina7 for the reminder about Borax. I haven't seen that since I was a little girl, when my mother used it on windows that had alkali build up from sprinklers. It does work great as well!

    • Ardot profile image

      Ardot 3 years ago from Canada

      Nice! Lemons, who knew!? I might try it out one day. I just cleaned my shower with a magic eraser and it worked great!

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 3 years ago from East Coast, United States

      I sometimes use vinegar to get those marks and drips off glass shower doors but the smell is not pleasant. I am going to try the lemon, that will smell so much nicer. Vinegar can almost take your breath away! (Voted up and shared)

    • Marina7 profile image

      Marina 3 years ago from Clarksville TN

      Great hub and written with great care. Also, Borax also helps.

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