semi-frameless-new-1Installing a glass shower door is a considerable investment of time, energy, and money. But it’s worth it, given the enhanced aesthetic appeal it gives to your home. However, did you know that the type of water running through your bathroom could prevent your glass shower from remaining bright and beautiful?

It’s true! One of the major factors affecting the accumulation of stains and scums on your glass shower is your water type.

There are two major types of water: hard and soft water. In this article, we examine them and explore how they can affect your glass shower door.

How Hard Water Affects Glass Shower Doors

Hard water is water containing high amounts of mineral ions. The most common ions present in hard water include calcium and magnesium. Other ions that may be present in smaller proportions include iron, aluminum, and manganese. The exact ratio and concentration of minerals found in water are highly dependent on the location.

Water hardness can be measured in ppm (parts per million), GPG (grains per gallon), or mg/L (milligrams per liter). According to the Water Quality Association, water containing more than 1 GPG (or 17.1 mg/L) is considered hard.

Areas known for notoriously having the hardest water in the United States include Tampa, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, and San Antonio.

How exactly does water become hard?

You see, rainwater is the purest form of water. Why is that? Because it is formed from the evaporation and condensation of water from the earth’s surface.

However, when rainwater falls on the ground, it seeps through the porous media in the soil. As it moves through the soil, it picks up minerals from the ground. Since different locations have different ground minerals, water from different regions has different deposited minerals.

Since most of these minerals are soluble, it may be difficult to tell if water is hard by mere sight. But hard water reacts to objects in undesirable ways.

Hard water in glass shower door

As you would have observed, whenever you use your shower, water droplets stick to the body of your glass shower, as well as your tiled floor.

With time, the water droplets evaporate, leaving behind mineral deposits on your glass shower. This is kind of like what happens when you boil salty water until all the water evaporates. What is left is the white salty deposit.

It is these deposited minerals that stain your glass shower. Different minerals have different colors, so it’s possible to tell the minerals responsible for the stains. Here are some examples:

  • Iron stains typically appear red, but they sometimes look like white slim.
  • Mildly acidic water may leave green stains on your shower glass.
  • Manganese will leave either a black or brown tint on your shower glass.

Asides from the stains, other problems caused by hard water include:

  • Blocked showerheads

As these mineral deposits continue to buildup, they clog the opening in the showerhead, thereby reducing the water pressure.

  • Soap scums on showers and tubs

In hard water, soap reacts with calcium to form sticky soap scum. This is caused by the inability of soap to dissolve in hard water completely. If you’ve seen soap scum rings in your bathtub, now you know why they’re there.

  • Permanent damage

Hard water can also result in chemical etching, which may cause some permanent changes to your glass shower materials. For instance, some cloudy residue (which is impossible to completely get rid of) may develop.

How Soft Water Affects Glass Shower Doors

Soft water is water with a very low mineral content, typically defined as less than 1 GPG. When water is treated to remove magnesium and calcium, it results in soft water. During the process, sodium is usually used to catch unwanted minerals. Consequently, soft water may contain a small amount of sodium (salt). Hence, drinking soft water may increase your daily sodium intake.

Now, you might be thinking soft water is perfect for a glass shower because of the reduced mineral content. However, remember there are sodium ions in soft water. And the sodium can still leave stains similar to hard water stains. But it worth mentioning that dealing with soft water in your glass shower isn’t as problematic as dealing with hard water.

Tips for Removing Water Stains

  • Spray commercial lime.

Lime or any other calcium-removing spray can be used to removed hard water spots. Take care not to spray on grout or stone (if present in your bathroom) to avoid damaging chemical reactions.

  • Spray lemon juice.

You may not realize it, but that lemon juice sitting on your fridge is acidic and can help remove mineral stains. Spray the lemon on the stain and let it sit for about 10 minutes, then wipe clean.

  • Baking soda and vinegar mixture

Make a paste using baking soda and vinegar. Apply the paste over the hard water stains and let it sit for 15 minutes. Then properly rinse with water and wipe the surface dry.

Tips for Preventing Water Stains

Here are some of the things you should do to prevent water from ruining your glass shower:

  • Clean your glass shower door daily

Take out the time to clean your glass shower after each use (if possible). You can make use of a squeegee or microfibre towel. Doing so will ensure you get rid of mineral deposits before they start to build up.

  • Install a water softener

If you live in a hard water area, consider installing a water softener to bring down the water hardness in your shower to reduce the rate of mineral deposition.

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