Nothing compares to sleek, clean, frameless shower doors that go all the way to the ceiling. However, right after that first shower in a renovated bathroom, you might regret choosing those clear shower doors.
Because they show hard water buildup, soap scum and splatters of shampoo and conditioner, clear shower doors are by far the toughest to keep clean. How quickly this buildup builds up depends on your location, water source and the type/saturation of minerals in your water.
Two common types of buildup are hard water and soap scum.
Also called lime scale, hard water spots appear when water evaporates and minerals are left behind. Vertical surfaces, like your shower doors, show these as small shingles or scales. Hard water is a foundation for soap scum, giving it something easy to attach to.
It’s a vicious cycle, especially since soap scum is usually a cocktail of both soap and minerals, and more hard water leads to more soap scum.
Shower Door Challenges
Utahns are pretty lucky. According to the state’s former Division of Drinking Water director, Ken Bousfield, “The fact that we’re on top of a mountain contributes to the high quality of water.”
Still, “quality water” doesn’t equate to water without minerals and chemicals. Many chemicals are found in Utah tap water, according to the National Drinking Water Database, but the traces are minimal and well within legal parameters.
Tap water with a few additional elements is good for your health. “They stabilize it,” said Bousfield. Natural minerals found in water include calcium, magnesium and potassium, all “good minerals” that we often choose to add to our diet via supplements.
All tap water has traces of chemicals and minerals, which eventually leads to hard water buildup. Hard water is defined as water that has a high mineral content, but that’s subjective. It’s created when the water is purified by passing through limestone and chalk deposits, which are mostly made of calcium and magnesium.
What to Do?
If you’re shopping for new or replacement shower doors and you know you have hard water, you might want to consider opaque shower doors or those with a pattern. You can hide minor hard water deposits and soap scum with these doors, at least until your next bathroom cleaning.
You can also soften hard water — test your water hardness level with kit, available online or at most home improvement stores. Next, choose a softener with the help of a water expert. Sodium chloride, potassium chloride and reverse osmosis filters are common.
Keep in mind that water softening systems for the whole house can be costly, but you may be able to lease the equipment. If that’s not an option, consider special cleaning products for hard water and soap scum problems. Most household cleaners are alkaline, and no match for hard water. You need an acidic cleaner designed specifically for hard water.
For more guidance on choosing the best shower doors, contact Murray Glass today.