Glass Cleaners for hard water stains
My apartment has terribly hard water, plus a shower with glass doors. What does that make? Instant soap scum. I went looking for the best cleaner that would cut through soap scum, plus remove the underlying hard water spots. After careful study, I found a winning product.
First, some context and explanation. Hard water spots, also called “lime scale, ” occur when droplets of hard water dry on a surface. The water evaporates, leaving the minerals behind. On vertical surfaces this looks like overlapping scales, or shingles. Hard water is problematic for many reasons (I’m going to tackle this topic at large in an upcoming post), but in the bathroom it’s trouble because the mineral scales give the soap scum something to stick to, and soap scum build-up happens much faster. Soap scum is a combination of soap plus minerals, so not only does the lime scale make the soap scum stick, but hard water produces more soap scum overall.
This soap-scum-plus-lime-scale combination presents a problem for traditional household cleaners. Most general household cleaners are alkaline (or have a pH level greater than 7). The foundation of many cleaners is bleach, and bleach has a pH level of 13. Soap scum needs an acidic cleaner to break up its minerals, however. With my thick soap scum, due to very hard water, I needed an even more specialized product. I knew from experience something like Tilex (which pledges to remove soap scum) just wasn’t going to cut it.
For this test I scoured housekeeping books and online message boards to assemble as many product recommendations as possible. I knew any cleaner that pledged to remove hard water spots would also work on soap scum, so that is what I searched for.
Here is what I found:
- Some people online speak highly of Bar Keepers Friend
- Martha Stewart recommends Lime-A-Way.
- Others online speak highly of Kaboom. It pledges to “remove soap scum, dirt, hard water stains, calcium, lime, grease and grime.”
- CLR (Calcium Lime Rust) is the other widely available anti-hard water product.
- Finally, for a control I included the strongest alkaline cleaner I had – toilet bowl cleaner with Clorox.
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