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How to Clean Shower Door Tracks the Smart Way

Hand wipes sliding shower door track with towel, in retro colored and styled home bathroom setting.

​Your shower door glass will make or break the look of your bathroom, but it’s the areas you don’t see that have the most significant impact on your health. Even if you’re keeping the glass sparkling clean and crystal clear, are you as disciplined with cleaning your shower door tracks?

Nobody likes to get caught up in the minutiae of cleaning, especially in hidden and hard-to-reach spots around the house. But in a moisture-rich environment, like a shower, it doesn’t take much time before mold, bacteria, and wear start to set in. Wait too long, and you’ll have a time-consuming (and disgusting) cleanup on your hands.

If you haven’t cleaned your sliding shower door track in a while, you’ll want to make it a priority. Before reaching for abrasive chemical cleaners, learn all about how to clean and protect your door tracks with safe and simple solutions!

How to Clean Shower Door Tracks with Vinegar

In the bathroom, white vinegar is arguably the most versatile cleaning solution. It can dissolve hard water marks, cut through soap scum, and kill mold and mildew, all common issues with sliding shower doors.

Tools You’ll Need

  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Spray bottle
  • Sponge
  • Cotton balls
  • Old toothbrush
  • Microfiber cloth

1. Spray Tracks with Vinegar

Fill your spray bottle with ½ white vinegar and ½ water. If you have mold growth, fill the spray bottle with only vinegar.

Spray the door track with vinegar. If you have tile or stone floors, you’ll need to protect them. Instead of using a spray, you can soak cotton balls or paper towels in vinegar and place them along the track.

2. Wait 10 to 30 Minutes

Let the vinegar sit for several minutes. Vinegar’s acidic nature breaks down any dirt, stuck-on grime, soap scum, and mildew. You may need to wait up to 30 minutes if you have a large buildup of gunk in your shower door track.

3. Scrub, Rinse, and Dry

After letting the vinegar take action, wipe out any grime, water deposits, and mold with the scrubbing side of a sponge. Gently scrub tight spots with an old toothbrush or grout brush.

Rinse the door track thoroughly with fresh water. It’s crucial to remove any lingering vinegar. Dry the door track with a microfiber cloth or paper towel.

Helpful Tip! If you’re cleaning your whole shower, clean the tracks with the same white vinegar/dish soap shower cleaner you use on your glass door! It breaks through soap scum on metal just as quickly as it clears up glass. Clean your door track like this every time you clean your shower door, and you may never have to worry about mold or mildew.

How to Clean Shower Door Tracks with Baking Soda

Another favorite in DIY household cleaners, baking soda is a fantastic option for keeping your shower doors clean! The deodorizing and mild abrasive qualities of baking soda are perfect for refreshing your sliding shower door tracks.

Tools You’ll Need

  • Baking soda
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Old toothbrush
  • Q tips

1. Apply a Baking Soda Paste

Mix baking soda and water until you have a thick paste. Apply the paste to the metal tracks with a dry cloth.

2. Wait 30 Minutes

Let the baking soda paste rest for at least 30 minutes, giving it time to break down the layers of grime. Allow it to sit longer for stubborn stains and tough stuck-on gunk, giving it up to an hour to work its magic.

3. Scrub and Rinse

Use a damp cloth to scrub dirt and soap scum out from the track. Use an old toothbrush or a Q-tip to scrub in tight corners. Rinse the remaining baking soda with water and dry with a clean cloth.

How Not to Clean Shower Door Tracks

Most shower door frames consist of anodized aluminum or stainless steel. Anodizing is a controlled oxidation process that creates a hardened surface layer in aluminum. Aside from shower door tracks, you’ll find anodized aluminum in numerous places around the house, including small appliances and cookware.

There are many benefits to anodized aluminum, particularly in the bathroom. Anodizing makes the already rust-resistant aluminum stronger and less susceptible to damage, while the porous surface allows manufacturers to color and seal it for various aesthetic combinations. You can find decorative, scratch-resistant aluminum finishes ranging from bronze to chrome to match any style.

Stainless steel and anodized aluminum are ideal for shower door frames because they’re resilient, attractive, and rust-proof. But don’t overestimate their durability against abrasive cleaners. 

In general, any substance too acidic or too basic can damage a metal shower door track. Outside of pH-neutral dish soap, you need to be careful about how you use any material to tackle your shower doors, including the natural cleaners in this article.

One of the worst mistakes people make when cleaning with vinegar is misusing it on metal or stone. The acetic acid that’s effective at preventing soap scum can also eat away at most surfaces around the house.

Even mildly alkaline substances like baking soda can discolor and damage stainless steel or aluminum shower door tracks if it sits too long. That’s why it’s crucial to follow up vinegar or baking soda cleaners with plenty of water.

Avoid Harsh Chemicals

Cleaning shower door tracks with harsh chemicals like bleach can damage the metal. It may seem like the best solution when you have mold and mildew buildup, but the sodium hypochlorite in bleach can cause staining and pitting corrosion. And although ammonia-based cleaners are fine for stainless steel, they can easily damage aluminum.

Skip the commercial cleaner and opt for DIY solutions to give your sliding shower door tracks an enduring shine. When you consider the abrasive quality of chemical cleaners and the health hazards of chlorine and other toxic ingredients, it always makes more sense to opt for natural solutions, especially in tight areas like the bathroom.

Schedule a Deep Cleaning Today!

Cleaning shower door tracks may seem straightforward, but it’s easy to ruin the finish if you take the wrong approach. The best solution is to use mild soap and clean them more often to prevent soap scum and mold from building up in the first place. But when your shower doors get extra dirty, these simple DIY techniques will get you an incredible, long-lasting shine every time!

If your shower door tracks are looking rough, chances are they aren’t the only cleaning opportunity in the house. Save yourself the time, effort, and frustration of deep cleaning and schedule a maid service instead. Request a booking with Anita’s, and find experienced, local house cleaning professionals in just a few clicks!


Anita's Housekeeping Editors