Cleaning Tips to Remove Limescale from Glass Shower Doors and Taps

By Will Tottle | How to Guides

Jun 16

Limescale is a blemish on an otherwise pristine bathroom that can hinder the proper function of your showerhead, taps and pipes. It can leave the walls of your shower cabin constantly looking and feeling dirty. As it builds up, it can clog the holes of the showerhead and spouts on the faucets. This can limit your water pressure or lead to your showerhead to spray water in all kinds of directions.

If you happen to live in the areas of the UK famous for having hard water (Essex, Kent, Bristol, London, Southampton, etc; in fact almost the entire country and especially the Eastern two-thirds), then you already know what a major problem it can be.

What is limescale?

Calcium carbonate, also known as limescale, is a crusty deposit, prominent in areas with hard water. As water gets on your shower fixtures, tiles, and glass in your bathroom, builds up happen. After moisture evaporates, it leaves this light-coloured, hazy mineral build-up. 

These hard water stains are especially hard to eliminate, but you can avoid that. We are about to help you remove as well as to touch upon prevention.

What’s the difference between soft and hard water? 
  • Hard water contains a considerable amount of dissolved minerals like magnesium and calcium.

  • Soft water contains less dissolved minerals. An example of soft water is rainwater.

Water becomes hard when passing through the ground and into our conduits. En route, it picks up minerals like calcium, magnesium, chalk and lime. Because of those minerals, hard water tastes significantly better.

What causes limescale?

The answer to this question is pretty straightforward - limescale is caused by hard water. Each time you take a shower and let the water dry on the surface the pale, hazy water spots are the minerals left behind. The mineral composition and the time passed since the last cleaning determine how hard it will be to remove the limescale from the glass shower.

Shower Tub Bathroom
How to remove limescale?

Hard water stains are alkaline, that’s why the key to removing them from your bathroom with minimal abrasion is acid. 

  • Look for an acidic cleaning product with phosphoric, sulfuric, or hydrochloric acid to break down and remove limescale from shower screens. 

  • Follow the instructions on the product’s label and apply it to the hard water stains as instructed. These products tend to work well on acrylic and enamel surfaces but can damage others, including aluminium, grout, natural marble, stone, terrazzo and so on. 

  • Test the product on an insignificant area if you are treating such materials.

Limescale cleaners are easy to get a hold of - just head to the cleaning isle at your local supermarket and you’ll find a plethora of such products. They are fast and easy to use, but have in mind that acidic cleaning products are toxic so take safety precautions like wearing eye protection and gloves when using them. 

Important: Don’t use such products on surfaces that come in contact with food!

However, if you want to skip the scrubbing you can get your bathroom deep cleaned as a part of a professional cleaning service. Professionals like the deep cleaning experts at Fantastic Cleaners can remove signs and build up as part of a high-end treatment. The specialists wash all surfaces, descale, and clean the sink, tub, shower, toilet bowl, and all other nooks, and crannies with hard water stains.

A natural way for removing limescale from glass and any other surface is by using white vinegar. It is acidic and colourless so it doesn’t cause staining. Add lemon juice (also acidic) to the vinegar to increase and its effectiveness and a fresh scent. This method is appropriate if you don’t have a special cleaning solution, you prefer a natural method, or want to clean surfaces that come in contact with food. 

Take a look at limescale-prone areas along with tips on how to naturally clean those below:

How to remove limescale from glass shower door? 

This is a little tricky because the vertical surface makes it impossible for the liquid to stay on it and work on the scale. Follow the steps we prepared and you should be left with a sparkling, and clean glass

  1. Boil a cup of vinegar - use a stove or a microwave. Take it to the bathroom and place it on a potholder. Be careful not to burn yourself. Leave the vinegar to cool off for a minute.

  2. Dip paper towels in the hot vinegar and stick them onto the glass of the shower cabin. This assures that vinegar stays on the limescale area, without dripping away.

  3. Let vinegar-soaked paper towels sit for at least 30 minutes. If glass is covered with thick limescale, allow more time to pass - around an hour. To keep the towels wet, spray occasionally with vinegar. This allows mineral deposits to soak and dissolve.

  4. Take a damp rag and generously sprinkle with baking soda. Soda is a mild abrasive that reacts with vinegar resulting in super effective cleaning power.

  5. Wipe down the shower door without using too much force. Otherwise, you could scratch the surface.

  6. Pour distilled water over the glass and rinse it. If limescale remains, repeat, and scrub till none left.

How to remove limescale from a showerhead?

Showerheads split into two categories - handheld and fixed. Regardless of the type, they are prone to limescale, which can limit your water pressure. Fixed showerheads are harder to descale compared to units you can remove. 

However, you can save both from scale by using vinegar.

For handheld showerheads:

  • Remove parts from the stand and place in a plastic container or a bucket. 

  • Pour enough vinegar to cover.

  • Leave it to soak for up to an hour. If your showerhead is brass, leave for 30 min tops.

  • Take parts out and rinse with water.

  • Scrub limescale left with a sponge or old toothbrush.

  • Rinse again.

  • Turn the shower on to wash any limescale remains.

For fixed showerheads:

  • Take a plastic bag and half fill it with vinegar.

  • Place the shower head inside the bag so it is submerged in vinegar.

  • Tie it in place. Use an elastic band or string, and leave it soaking for up to an hour. Again, if the showerhead is brass, don’t leave it for more than 30mins.

  • Remove the bag and turn the shower on to flush any limescale left.

  • Repeat the steps if necessary, until you completely descale the showerhead.

If you still observe low water pressure after cleaning your shpwerhead inspect the shower hose to check if it needs replacing.
How to remove limescale from a tap? 

Taps also require special attention when it comes to cleaning limescale because of their shape. Like with the shower door you can’t simply pour vinegar on them because it just drips off. The area with the most limescale build-up is usually the spout of the tap, where a thick layer forms. Remove the limescale from your taps by following these steps:

  1. As with the shower, start off by boiling a cup of vinegar and getting it to the bathroom.

  2. Soak a cloth or paper towels in the vinegar and wrap them around the tap, making sure that the whole area is covered. Secure it with an elastic so it stays in place.

  3. Leave the cloth or paper towels in place for 30-60 min. depending on the severity of the build-up. If the vinegar starts to dry out - spray some more on the paper/cloth to properly soak the water stains.

  4. Remove the cloth and wipe the limescale with a sponge. It should come off easily, but if you encounter any stubborn spots sprinkle some baking soda on the sponge and scrub lightly.

Tip: If the limescale around the sprout still won’t come off, cut a lemon in half and screw it onto the spout. Leave it for an hour or so and scrub away the remains of the scale.

Grey Stainless Steel Bathtub Faucet
How to prevent limescale?

Use a squeegee - keep one in the bathroom and when you are done with the shower go over the walls, glass and even the floor with it. It has a big effect on limescale prevention and water stains. Also, it greatly reduces the water that needs to evaporate and the potential forming of mould.

Install a Water Softener - some people believe that the best/only way to solve the resulting problems that hard water can cause it to tackle the root of the problem and install a water softener or add a shower head filter. However, these can be quite expensive, making them not an option for many of us. What’s more, there are actually other ways that are just as effective, while costing a fraction of the price.

Using Scale Wizard - while water softeners will actually change the mineral content of your water, there is another product that can have the same effect of preventing limescale but in a different way. Namely the Scale Wizard limescale remover, which uses electricity to both prevent and remove any limescale deposits. By changing the structural content of the calcium molecules in your water, it can effectively do the same job as a water softener. Better still, at under £80, it only costs a fraction of the price when compared to the hundreds of pounds you’ll pay for a water softener. Best of all, it comes with a five-year warranty and a money-back guarantee—so you know it works!

Shower Guard - if you want to ensure that you don’t continually have to scrub away these deposits, you can also use Shower Guard or another similar product. It uses nanotechnology to coat glass, tiles, porcelain and other surfaces to prevent the mineral deposits from sticking to them in the first place. and allowing you to reduce the amount of time you have to spend cleaning your shower cabin.

About the Author

Author Will Tottle - I work and write for Smart Price Warehouse, mainly the blog "The Smart Approach" where we cover topics on health and product reviews mainly focused on Steam Showers, Shower Cabins and Whirlpool Baths