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The Case of the Slimy, Steamed Up Shower Door


Dear Glass Detective,

My husband needed a shower chair in the shower due to a balancing problem. My glass shower has three sides. They were always bright and shiny. Now all of a sudden one panel is completely foggy all the time. I always use a squeegee after each shower. Since the chair I have tried everything you can think of from vinegar mixtures to baking soda to liquid soap and eraser sponges. Nothing works. In fact it even looks more foggy. It’s so frustrating. Can you help me?

Thank you,



Thank you for making contact with the Glass Detective regarding your shower door problem.

If I understand what you are saying, your shower enclosure was always “bright and shiny” but now you are experiencing problems with one of the three glass panels in the enclosure. Specifically, one of the panels has become quite difficult (actually pretty much impossible) to keep clean. So I am assuming the other two are not a problem but this one panel has really been a nightmare for you.

The other fact (perhaps clue is the better word) you provide is that this problem appeared at the time (or shortly after) your husband started to use a chair in the shower enclosure. He uses this chair because he is having balancing problems.

A couple of years ago I had a similar problem after some heart surgery. I remember spending a lot of time in the shower sitting on my chair and not wanting to get out. I loved the warm water. It not only felt good to be in the warm shower but it also took a whole bunch of energy to stand up and get out. Energy that at that time, I did not have. I truly hope your husband improves and at some point will no longer need a chair.

I don’t think there is a direct link or correlation between the chair and the “hard to clean glass panel” unless perhaps the soap or shampoo being used by your husband while he is in the chair is somehow splashing or rinsing primarily onto this one glass panel and not being washed away adequately. Soap and shampoo scum can build up and become a problem and the cleaners you referenced may or may not work well to remove it. This is a problem I have seen several times over the years and even the cleanest of people sometimes encounter this situation. It also can be more prevalent in areas that have “hard” water, meaning water with heavy concentrations of minerals.

I have a strong feeling that soap and/or shampoo residue has created a layer of residue on this one problematic panel. It may only be on the one panel because that is the panel that gets the most soap and residue during a shower or for some other reason. Based on the information you have provided, it is the only logical conclusion I can discern. This doesn’t mean I am right or that some other problem may not exist, I just think that this is where we start with our efforts to resolve the problem. So then, what do we do to fix it?

The following suggestions will not work if the glass has been etched or permanently stained from other chemicals or processes that should not have been used. Also, try a test area on the problem panel first to see if it will work before attacking the entire panel. Lastly, if you are able to get the panel clean, start using a shower spray on the glass after each use of the shower. These are available in pharmacies, hardware stores and online. A quick simple spray after a shower will help maintain the glass for years to come. With these thoughts in mind, here we go:

1. Let’s see if some CLR (Calcium, Lime and Rust) liquid cleaner works on the glass. Wear rubber gloves and follow the directions on the container carefully. You can buy this product at most hardware stores. You may have to use a little “elbow grease” to make this work but I think it very well might do the trick for you. If not, proceed to the next step.

2. Take a razor blade (single edge type blade that you can buy at the hardware store) and hold it at an angle to the shower enclosure glass that allows you to scrape the glass as if you were removing paint drips or splatter from it. Wear gloves and don’t go back and forth with the blade … always go in one direction only. Wipe the blade as needed to keep it clean and don’t use any one blade too long. Use some isopropyl alcohol (available at the hardware or drug store) at the same time. Spray or wipe the alcohol on the glass as you use the blade(s). If this works, wash the glass thoroughly with isopropyl alcohol one final time. If this also fails, go to step three below.

3. Call a reliable local glass shop and ask them to come in and take a look at the problem. There are polishing compounds that can be used to polish out surface accumulations on glass surfaces that glass shops have access to. It’s a little time consuming and will cost a few dollars but it may be less costly than replacing the glass.

I really hope this information is of some value to you and I would love to hear back from you as to how this all works out. And again, thank you for reaching out to the Glass Detective with your glass questions and concerns. I wish you good luck!

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Lyle Hill

Lyle Hill has been in the glass and metal industry for more than 40 years. In this time he has managed glass retail, contract glazing, mirror, architectural window, window film, and automotive glass businesses throughout America. He obtained an MBA from IIT with a focus on Technology and Engineering Management. Hill is also a columnist for glass industry trade magazines and often called the “face” of the glass industry. He has also authored books including “The Broken Tomato and Other Business Parables,” which is available through Amazon. Find out more about Lyle on Linkedin.

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One Response

  1. I just recently got low iron glass installed and every time I shower and the glass fogs up you can see an X pattern through the entire panel, and it’s on every panel. The company is trying to tell me this is normal. Is this normal or should I ask them to be replacing the glass ?

    Thank you

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