Got stubborn marks on your shower doors and other glass surfaces that simply will not budge, no matter what you try? You're not the only one. I've heard from readers who say they've tried everything from my Magic Soap Scum Cleaner to cleaning vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, oven cleaner, muriatic acid, steel wool, Bar Keepers Friend, Bon Ami and other expensive chemicals to get rid of the horrid, ugly stains and white haze.
While the Magic Soap Scum Cleaner takes care of the problem most of the time, even it cannot touch a severe situation where the minerals have become so embedded that the surface of the glass has become permanently etched.
I've heard from readers who say it took multiple cleanings with the magic stuff to get their glass doors truly clean. But others report they've tried everything from the magic stuff to straight 30 percent white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, other chemicals and even razor blades to scrape away at the problem without success. I have to admit that this left me in a quandary and close to suggesting that replacing the glass is the only solution.
And then I discovered the solution: sandpaper. Yes, you read that right, but don't stop reading yet. This is no ordinary sandpaper. I'm talking about automotive waterproof sanding wet/dry paper that has such a fine grit. It is used in the automotive industry to polish the surface of a car to a mirror finish. You can use the same type of sandpaper to sand away the mineral buildup and return that glass to its original clear, clean, sparkling self.
The best product for this job is Starcke Wet/Dry Premium Waterproof Sheets, which cost about $12. This is a six-sheet assortment of finish sanding paper ranging from 3,000 to 7,000 grit. The grit is so fine it will not scratch the glass the way that woodworker sandpaper, steel wool or other abrasive products can and will.
For severe watermark stains on glass, start with a piece of 3,000-grit paper. Cut it to a size that feels comfortable in your hand, as you are going to scrub the glass. Wet both the glass surface and the sandpaper with water to provide a lubricant. You don't want to do this completely dry. Using a circular motion, scrub the entire surface of the glass. You will immediately begin to cut through those stubborn deposits. Prepare to be amazed.
Next, move up to 5,000 grit, and then to #7,000 as needed to remove even the tiniest micro-scratches that may have been left behind. At this point, you will be polishing the surface with what feels like a piece of paper -- that's how fine 7,000 grit is.
Depending on the severity of the problem, this could take five minutes or much longer to finally achieve the level of success you have in mind. But know that this will work. Your shower doors will look like new without the use of fumes or expensive chemicals.
To keep your glass shower doors looking beautiful, get a cheap shower squeegee or a microfiber cloth to wipe the shower down and remove all standing water after every use.
Mary invites questions, comments and tips at firstname.lastname@example.org, or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com, a personal finance member website and the author of "Debt-Proof Living," released in 2014. To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.Copyright 2017 Creators Syndicate Inc.